Kimi to make Ferrari debut in late January

Thu, 21 December 2006, 03:48

Kimi Raikkonen will make his test debut at the end of January, it has been revealed at a traditional Ferrari media event.

On the website of Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, it is explained that the Maranello based team’s new red racer is to debut at Fiorano between 15-20 January, before it heads to Ferrari’s other private test circuit, Mugello.

Finn Raikkonen, 27, will then drive the car for the first time between 21-23 January.

“Kimi must understand that this is his moment to win the world title,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told reporters.

“Then Jean Todt can calmly retire, and I can withdraw to (the Italian island) Anacapri!

“Just as (Michael) Schumacher did, Raikkonen arrives at Ferrari in the right moment. We are a team that has lost Schumi, Brawn and Martinelli, but we still have veterans like Costa, Simon, Baldisserri, Battistini.

“We have Michael in his new role, and also Domenicali, Almondo …”

Montezemolo, 59, also played down suggestions that Raikkonen’s affection for heavy drinking could prevent him from ever achieving Schumacher-style success.

“(Eddie) Irvine was a bit like that, and even a boy from Kerpen liked to have a drink, even if it is hard to believe.

“We are not worried about Kimi — he is motivated and has just the right approach for Ferrari.

“It must be said that in 2005 Raikkonen would have been champion with a more reliable car. He broke down five times while he was leading.

“(Felipe) Massa is also strong and perhaps he will even be regularly faster.”


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