Raikkonen: New Ferrari engine 'definitely helpful for us'

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Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen gave a thumbs up to Ferrari's new engine, believing the unit is in "a better position" compared to last year.

Ferrari designed an all-new power unit for this season after suffering a significant power deficit relative to rival manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Honda in 2020.

Last year, Scuderia boss Matti Binotto acknowledged the impact on the performance of its engine of successive technical directives published by the FIA in 2019 and which were followed by an extensive investigation by the governing body into Ferrari's unit which many believed operated beyond the fringe of legality.

The result was a confidential settlement signed between the FIA and Ferrari in early 2020 that undoubtedly slashed the unit's output.

But based on his experience so far in pre-season testing onboard Alfa's new C41, Raikkonen reckons that Ferrari's efforts to produce a new and improved power plant have been fruitful.

"I am sure they've made progress, and it's better," Raikkonen said. "But then you would expect that the other manufacturers have also improved.

"But yeah, comparing what we had last year, it is in a better position. We’ll have to wait to see where it is once the racing stars, but it's definitely helpful for us."

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was also happy with his first impression of his team's new engine, but the Monegasque admitted it was still "early days".

"Everything feels quite good, but again, it's very difficult to comment now," he said.

"Nobody’s pushing everything to its limit, especially in those conditions. So, for now it's early days but everything feels good and it stacks up with what we expected."

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