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Kimi Raikkonen: New Ferrari deal doesn't guarantee better results

Kimi Raikkonen is confident he can still compete for victories and world championships in Formula One.

The Italian outfit ended speculation about Raikkonen's immediate F1 future when it confirmed earlier this week that it had decided to retain the Finn and extend his contract for a further season in 2018. Raikkonen has failed to win a race since returning to Ferrari in 2014 and is 86 points adrift of teammate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who has claimed four victories this year alone.

Kimi Raikkonen. Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Raikkonen was branded "a laggard" by Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne at the Austrian Grand Prix, following a run of below-par performances compared to Vettel. While he has endured a difficult campaign so far, the 2007 world champion insists he would not have committed to a new deal if he no longer felt competitive.

"It's purely the racing," Raikkonen said when asked what had convinced him most to stay. "I enjoy racing and obviously I want to do well. If I didn't feel I could go fast and wouldn't be happy in myself, I wouldn't be here. I have zero interest to waste my time or the team's time to be part of it. It's not the nicest place just to hang around.

"The racing is the main thing. Yes there's a lot of other sides of F1, but the racing is the biggest part. That's it. As long as I feel myself that I can win races and fight for championships, when I don't feel like that, I would be the first guy to do something else."

When asked if the knowledge of having his place on the grid secure for next year eases the pressure on him, Raikkonen replied: "I don't think so. Maybe this weekend you guys [the media] will not ask. Next race, it'll start again. That wouldn't be a big surprise for me. Obviously it's easier to deal with only that side of the stuff, and we can put all our effort on pure racing. It doesn't change the end result, it doesn't guarantee better results or worse results."

Raikkonen refused to be drawn on the specific reasons behind Ferrari's decision to hand him a contract extension.

"You'll have to ask them [Ferrari]. Obviously the only thing I was interested in was to be here next year. I didn't really care what the rest is thinking. Obviously the team feels the same way. What are the reasons? You have to go and ask them. I don't know what else I can say.

"I think we work very well together as a whole team. It's a very good way of working. But obviously I'm not the guy who decides who does what. I have no idea what will happen in his case. Hopefully all that stays how it is now."

Author: Lewis Larkam, ESPN UK
Source: http://www.espn.co.uk/f1/story/_/id/20444601/kimi-raikkonen-new-ferrari-deal-guarantee-better-results

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