Kimi Raikkonen says that Ferrari still has work to do when it comes to improving the reliability of its SF16-H car after suffering issues in the first two races of the 2016 Formula 1 season.
Raikkonen was forced to retire in Australia when running third after a fire broke out on his car, while teammate Sebastian Vettel failed to make the start in Bahrain due to an issue on his power unit.
As a result, Ferrari has already slipped 40 points behind Mercedes in the constructors’ championship despite being tipped as possible challengers to the German marque in 2016.
Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference, Raikkonen acknowledged that Ferrari needed to improve the reliability of its new car, but remains upbeat about the baseline of the SF16-H.
“We’re still positive about what the team has built over winter, that hasn’t changed at all,” Raikkonen said.
“Obviously it hasn’t been ideal, the first two races, for us as a team. We had two podiums but two not scored, not finished. That’s not what we want.
“Obviously there is quite a bit of work to be done on that side – but the speed is there. I think we have a good package, we just have to improve it and make it even better but, the car has improved in all areas. It’s not just one thing that has improved over the winter.
“It’s a brand new car again: engine has improved, the car itself. It’s the teamwork that has brought us a better package. Still not as good as we want to be, not the best that we wanted to be – but this is definitely a good car and we go from there.
“If there is something I would prefer more, we prefer it when we have a better car and a faster car so that’s good and obviously some handling things we weren’t happy with last year we tried to improve – and have improved. But there’s always things to improve and do things better.”
Raikkonen ran well in second practice on Friday in China to finish at the head of the field, leading a Ferrari one-two. However, the Finn found conditions troublesome out on track.
“It has been quite a difficult day overall, I was struggling to get the grip on the tires probably due to the wind,” Raikkonen said.
“I was sliding a lot and this feeling was not very nice. When I put the super-softs they seemed to work better, I had more grip and this helped to have a pretty good lap.
“We’ll see how the weather conditions turn out to be tomorrow, we’ll try to make a good day and then get the maximum out of the race.”
The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 1:30am ET on Sunday.