Raikkonen 'needed' by Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen's future at Ferrari would appear to be safe in the wake of team principal Marco Mattiacci's glowing reference.
- Related Content
Raikkonen'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.
Yet whilst Alonso has again sparkled and dragged results from a car off the pace of the all-conquering Mercedes, Raikkonen has been a damp squib.
The Finn has been out-qualified by Alonso in eight of the 10 grands prix so far, but worse still 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 former made clear his disappointment with the latter's result.
"We have only been able to count on one car again, and we have to improve on that," said Alonso.
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 has even been talk 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, so allowing them to sign Alonso.
Certainly Raikkonen did himself few favours earlier this month when he said he would likely quit F1 at the end of 2015.
Yet Mattiacci is in no doubt Raikkonen's form will return, as 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."
As to whether the Alonso/Raikkonen partnership will continue next season, Mattiacci added: "They are both contracted with us for 2015; Fernando for 2016 also."
For his part, Raikkonen is at least growing in confidence with a car that has so far this season been far from his liking.
Raikkonen's lowly position at Hockenheim was due in part to clashes with Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Alonso, sustaining minor damage to his car.
Despite the result, Raikkonen is confident his form and situation will improve over the second half of the campaign.
"The car continues to feel more like it should, even if the results are not where they should be," said Raikkonen.
"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.
"In the race the car felt good on new tyres, although the front left didn't last because of the damage to the front wing.
"On another weekend, when I get more parts, it should help and we can start turning it around and get more points.
"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."