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Raikkonen unfazed by place in Ferrari history
Miles Evans | March 15, 2007 13:56 IST
The 'Iceman' seemed as unflappable as ever at the prospect of stepping into the shoes of Michael Schumacher, whose retirement at the end of last season marked a watershed for the team and the sport.
The 27-year-old Finn had endured four mixed seasons with McLaren before he was plucked by the Maranello outfit to replace the seven-time world champion and partner Brazilian Felipe Massa in what was inevitably going to be a watershed year.
"Of course I know the history (of Ferrari) but I don't really know the details because it's not going to change my life," the deadpan Finn told reporters on Thursday. "It is a very big famous team and I am happy to be part of it."
Raikkonen finished second in the drivers' championship twice during his four-season spell with McLaren, with whom he enjoyed all his nine race wins.
And he was pushed to admit the prospect of driving for the sport's glamour team was an enticing one.
"It's always exciting especially with a new team, everything is new. We've done a lot of testing but it's the race that matters. The car seems good so it's exciting to get to the first race and see how it goes.
"We want a good strong race as a team and we'll just have to see what happens. It's a big difference with a new team of good people to work with. It seems to be going very well. It has been an exciting month and a nice experience."
Asked if he was fazed by replacing the great German, he replied with an emotionless: "Not really. I've got expectations on myself, I want to win races and fight for the championship, that's what the team wants.
"McLaren has been strong in testing, Renault was quite good and BMW. These three teams will be our main rivals but we will wait and see."
Raikkonen's arrival in Melbourne was apparently delayed after he appeared in a skidoo race in Finland, where he competed under the nom de plume of James Hunt.
The choice of name was no clue as to his favourite driver, because he doesn't have one.
"The race just came up. It doesn't matter if I did it under my own name. It could have been any other name."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage