Kimi Raikkonen’s future at Ferrari appears to be safe following a glowing reference from team principal Marco Mattiacci.
The Finn’s return to Ferrari has been nothing short of an embarrassment for a driver who won his 2007 world title with the Maranello marque.
It was fully expected there would be fireworks this season between Raikkonen and team-mate Fernando Alonso as the two world champions battled for supremacy within the team.
But while Alonso has again sparkled and dragged results from a car off the pace of the all-conquering Mercedes, Raikkonen has been a huge disappointment.
The Finn has been out-qualified by Alonso in eight of the 10 grands prix so far and has finished behind the Spaniard in every race.
Following Sunday’s German Grand Prix in which Alonso conjured a fine fifth place whilst Raikkonen was outside of the points in 11th, the Spaniard made clear his disappointment with the his team-mate’s result.
He said: “We have only been able to count on one car again, and we have to improve on that.”
Heading into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the last before F1’s summer break, Raikkonen has a paltry 19 points to his name, 78 adrift of Alonso.
There have been suggestions that Ferrari could again buy out the remaining year of Raikkonen’s contract that expires at the end of next season, as they did at the end of 2009, which allowed them to sign Alonso but Mattiacci is in no doubt the Finn’s form will return.
He said: “Kimi is the driver we need – we need to make more points, but he’s the driver we need. He knows what he can do better. He’s a professional driver, he won a world championship with Ferrari, he’s motivated, he knows his area of improvement.
“He sees Fernando ahead, he sees it is tough and it’s a tough moment, but we are all together in this. He has the utmost confidence and support from Ferrari.”
Raikkonen is confident his form and situation will improve over the second half of the campaign.
He said: “The car continues to feel more like it should, even if the results are not where they should be. The car felt much better at Hockenheim, more to my liking. I could drive it more as I wanted, and it started to feel nice.
“But it’s not easy. Things are not going to plan. Something always goes wrong, which hopefully will stop at some point. Having difficult weekends is not fun, but it’s part of racing. I would obviously rather have good weekends than bad results all the time, but I’m sure it’s going to change. It’s not like we’ve lost it, it’s just a difficult moment.”
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