Kimi Raikkonen has claimed that he is ready to go racing after a winter spent testing and developing Ferrari's new F60 contender, but insists that he cannot predict whether the Scuderia will be able to retain its front-running status in 2009.
In a typically limited interview with the official Formula One website, the Finn confirmed that he was satisfied with the work that had been done in preparation for the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix, and was more at home with the latest product of Maranello that he had been with the 2008 car, but admitted that there were so many unknowns heading into the new campaign that forecasting Ferrari success was impossible.
''I feel okay and the car seems to be good, so let's wait and see how we are doing at the first race,'' he insisted, ''I am happy with how the car works now but, of course, testing is something very different to racing and we are going to many different tracks, so we will have to wait and see. But, as I said, for now I am pretty happy and the rest we will see in a few weeks. It could be all tight but, then again, it might not be. I don't know more than anybody else - I just see the times. That's it.''
Having struggled to defend his 2007 world title to the point where it became widely assumed that he may even announce his retirement from the sport, Raikkonen maintains that he is happier with the F60, although - or maybe because - the car is a very different beast to its predecessor.
''We haven't really pushed for a special lap time, [but] the car is handling well and that is the main thing,'' he claimed, ''If we don't face any more problems, we should be okay. It is very difficult to say what everybody is doing, so we better wait until the first race with any predictions.
''The rules are new and, with KERS, there are always chances that something could go wrong, as we haven't had so much testing with it, but I think we are on a pretty good level with it, so hopefully everything goes well. We are more or less where we need to be with the weight and, if the car works as well as [in testing in Barcelona], because we cannot move the weight distribution, there should be no issue. Of course, with the rule changes, the handling changes a little bit - and it can get tricky if it's bad weather - but then that goes for everybody. I am ready to go racing.''
Asked whether he was heading into the season in a different frame of mind to 2008, where he appeared, at times, to have lost the motivation to fight, Raikkonen insisted that nothing had changed.
''I don't know anything about a different feeling,'' he claimed, ''It's a new season, so it's hard to know what to expect. Everybody starts from the same level so, hopefully, we can score good points in the first few races and go from there. [F1] has always been fun but, definitely, if you're doing well, it's more fun. But we haven't started the season yet!''