'Räikkönen can fight for 2013 title' – Salo
27 February 2013 – Ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo believes fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen has a genuine chance of fighting for the 2013 Drivers’ title, stating that the former World Champion and his Lotus team are ‘very well prepared’ after a season together.
Salo, who made 109 Grand Prix starts during his time in the sport, reckons better knowledge of his surroundings and Pirelli's tyre compounds will allow Räikkönen to hit the ground running in 2013, without showing any signs of his two-year sabbatical.
"Yeah, I think so," Salo told GPUpdate.net when asked if Räikkönen can put himself in the hunt for the title. "He was not really ready last year. When the season started you could see that he was a little bit rusty and the team didn’t believe in their chances.
"I think they are very well prepared now and Kimi has more knowledge of both the tyres and the car. At the end of last season, I think he was only lacking the points that he had missed out on earlier in the year."
Salo went on to pinpoint qualifying as an area in which Räikkönen can improve this season, with the 33-year-old averaging a grid slot on the fourth row last year.
"I think it’s about getting qualifying right and starting from the front so he scores some more points," Salo added. "He missed these chances in the first few races last year. I think if they handle that then they can be fighting for the title at the end of the year."
Räikkönen will be back behind the wheel of the E21 chassis in Barcelona later this week, completing his final two days in the cockpit before the Australian Grand Prix.