Kimi greeted reporters at his first press conference for Ferrari with ‘Buon giorno a tutti’ (‘Good day to all’ in Italian), thereby displaying linguistic capabilities far beyond his predecessor who took around 8 years to arrive at the same level (Though in Schumi’s defense, he could say ‘Buon’ comfortably by his fourth year). Kimi also clarified that he is not Michael Schumacher and is indeed Kimi Raikkonen, in case there were any doubts in that area. He firmly pointed a finger at Ron Dennis (who is still reeling from the shock of being called a ‘control freak’ by Kimi) for McLaren’s recent problems and denied that his alcohol consumption had anything to do with it.

Felipe Massa meanwhile was a little late for the press conference as Michael Schumacher had caused him to take a tumble. No we are not talking about the racing legend, but the ski slope at Madonna Di Campiglio named after Ferrari’s new super-assistant, also reputed to be the hardest slope in the area. Felipe looked a little red and flustered on arrival, but to his credit, handled the press conference that followed very well. He clarified that Ferrari will be treating both drivers equally in all aspects except for salary, and he also assured the ardent tifosi that he was confident of beating his teammate to the title provided it didn’t rain. While Massa didn’t exactly showcase his wet weather skills during the 2006 season, he certainly displayed the raw pace to challenge Kimi. As for driving in the rain, he is already taking the required measures. Massa is scheduled to perform a variation of the rain dance shortly after his Fiorano test – intended to appease the rain gods and keep them away from racing tracks. It involves donning a lot of feathers and hopping on one foot, but the results are assured.

Both the press conferences were very well received by the tifosi (especially Kimi’s digs at McLaren) and they are eager to see some competition between the duo once the season begins.