Feb.20 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Ferrari is continuing to impress with the apparent speed of its 2015 car.
At Jerez recently, the fabled team – despite having gone through the turmoil of a personnel revolution after its disappointing 2014 campaign – surprisingly emerged with the quickest pace as the winter test period began.
And the SF15-T continued to shine in Kimi Raikkonen’s hands on Thursday, as the second of just three pre-season tests began in Barcelona.
At the top of the times, both the Finn as well as ultimate pacesetter Pastor Maldonado, of Lotus, were quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s Spanish grand prix pole time of 2014.
Raikkonen pointed out that some on track were using soft tyres on Thursday, but the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 revealed that the SF15-T was not among them.
“We used only the medium and the hard,” the 35-year-old driver confirmed.
“The car is a completely different story from last year’s,” Raikkonen reported.
“We’ve still got a long way ahead of us but the team is working well and has produced a very nice car.”
Raikkonen hinted that all the high-profile personnel changes, including a new team boss and Sebastian Vettel as his teammate, were made “for the right reasons”.
“There is a nice atmosphere in the team,” he is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint. “I see a motivated and happy group of people, but as I said, we know that we are just beginning and we will still work to improve.
“But we are together as a team, which is a good starting point.”
Autosprint reports that Raikkonen’s best lap on Thursday was not only good enough for the 2014 pole, but his top speed between turns 4 and 5 as well as on the main straight was fully competitive.
“As I already said,” the 2007 world champion is quoted by Speed Week, “it’s a totally different car, a different story.”
Italy’s Omnicorse, meanwhile, revealed that new team boss Maurizio Arrivabene arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya mid-afternoon on Thursday.
“Let us not be surprised in these days,” the former Marlboro executive insisted.
“It’s too early to make any assessments, but the team is there,” he added.
“And that is important. I was sure that it was enough to give a little tranquillity and motivation to a group that can do great things,” Arrivabene added.