Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has given the Maranello based team’s new driver for 2007, Kimi Raikkonen, a public vote of confidence.
The 27-year-old Finn has struggled to match teammate Felipe Massa’s pace so far this season, despite earning significantly more money and being signed by Ferrari to effectively succeed the team’s undisputed ‘number one’ Michael Schumacher.
Instead, however, even the usually loyal Finnish press is beginning to dish out criticism of Raikkonen’s form in 2007.
The major newspaper Ilta Sanomat declared this week that, following the first four races so far, the German born Nico Rosberg – whose famous father is Finnish – “is now our number one”.
Raikkonen left the Circuit de Catalunya mid-race last Sunday, after his F2007 broke down with an alternator failure.
He was later quoted as saying that his bosses gave him “permission” to hastily depart, despite the fact that it created the anomaly of the widely circulated post-race team photographs featuring Massa, boss Jean Todt, and even Michael Schumacher — but not Kimi.
Montezemolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “We are content with Raikkonen. His retirement in the grand prix on Sunday was our fault.
“If his car had made it to the finish, he would be much higher in the driver classification than he is now.”