Oct.15 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen, to next month be deposed as F1's world champion, is facing a long winter of on-track preparations for the 2009 season.
Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa has told a Finnish newspaper that the 28-year-old, who has struggled recently with the F2008 car, will take responsibility for a "large part" of the team's test programme ahead of next year."Kimi will do approximately 9000 kilometres, or 30 grand prix distances," Costa is quoted as saying by Turun Sanomat."In one month's time he will drive many more laps than during the entire season," he added.Raikkonen is hoping the sweeping new regulations for 2009 allow him to return to contention for the title."So much is going to change," the Finn said. "Around Christmas time we will see exactly how it is going and how much we have improved or not."Since last Sunday's Japanese grand prix, Raikkonen has faced renewed claims that he is no longer fully motivated.By finishing third in the Fuji race, the Ferrari driver dropped out of mathematical contention for the 2008 crown, but he seemed not to realise this when he faced the media.Asked by a reporter for the French sports publication L'Equipe if he still rates his chances of winning this championship, Raikkonen answered: "There's always a chance."I saw last year that things can go right or wrong, so we keep pushing and trying."A few days later, he defended his error."I didn't think of the title really after Spa, because that would have been the only way to control the point situation. Now it was just a matter of time when it was over," he explained.