Ferrari technical director James Allison has stated that Kimi Raikkonen is simply driving slower than his teammate Fernando Alonso, and his struggles have had nothing to do with luck.
The battle between Alonso and Raikkonen was expected to be the highlight of the 2014 Formula 1 season but till now it has been a one-sided affair. Two-time champion Alonso outpaced the 34-year-old in all six races so far, and scored 61 points, compared to the Finn's lowly 17.
Raikkonen was set for a podium finish in the Monaco Grand Prix but because of driving errors and misfortune, he had to settle on 12th place. After the race, the 2007 champion said he requires more luck in the upcoming races.
Allison has denied that Raikkonen's recent struggle is because of any technical issue as both drivers are getting the same feedback about their cars. He added that this year's cars are very different from last year, and are the same for everyone on the grid.
"I'm not sure it's entirely fair to say he is struggling more than Fernando," said Allison. "They both have similar feedback with the car, and there are aspects of this year's rules that make the cars across the pitlane a far from easy aspect for the driver. There is a lot more torque from the engine, a lot less aerodynamic grip, and the tyres are deliberately less aggressive than last year."
"All that means they are quite a handful to drive, not too breezy for anyone, be that at the front or back of the grid. The problems Kimi has with the car under braking, downshifting, are the same as Fernando, and pretty much the same as being experienced by other drivers at other teams. He's just going a little slower than Fernando at the moment, but that gap is closing as the year progresses."
Allison, believes that the gap between drivers will reduce in the upcoming races but the gap in the constructors' championship is increasing with every Grand Prix. Ferrari was expected to challenge for the title with radical changes in the rules this season but has struggled so far.
The Prancing Horse has failed to match Mercedes, who have dominated the season so far. It's almost one year since the Italian manufacturers have won a race, and its best finish this season was the third place in the Chinese Grand Prix.
"It's very difficult to produce a rate of improvement substantially different to the people we are fighting with," Allison pointed out. "However, we've had a race or two where the pieces we took to the track were useful, but not big steps forward."
"We hope in the coming races to have a more steady progression of things we hope will lift us up in our competitiveness. But we won't know for sure until we get there because it depends on what everyone else does."
"I don't think we can claim to have produced a chassis that is, at the moment, the equal of either the Mercedes or the Red Bull. We're not lagging hugely behind, but there is work for us to do before we can hold our hands up and say we are completely happy with the chassis performance."