Even though he has gained a fan in Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, McLaren-Mercedes star Kimi Raikkonen plans to spoil the Scuderia’s victorious homecoming at Monza this weekend.

Even though he has gained a fan in Ferrari team boss Jean Todt, McLaren-Mercedes star Kimi Raikkonen plans to spoil the Scuderia’s victorious homecoming at Monza this weekend.


Having recently clinched the 2004 driver’s and constructor’s championships, Ferrari plans to cap its achievements by dominating the Italian Grand Prix for tens of thousands of jubilant tifosi.


“Obviously, it can't get any better for us than the weekend we have coming up: the Italian Grand Prix," newly crowned seven time world champion and Ferrari star Michael Schumacher said. "It is our home race and we’ve already won both titles. What we would like is a huge Ferrari party. We want to celebrate with our fans”.


However, having beaten Schumacher to claim his second grand prix victory at the recent Belgian Grand Prix, Raikkonen is eager to trounce his German rival on Ferrari's home soil.


“I am really looking forward to racing again at Monza this weekend following the result at Spa," said the Finn. "The car was running really well, as the win and fastest race lap demonstrated, and hopefully we will be up there at the front again.


"Monza has seen some real battles in the past and it would be nice to continue that trend this weekend," he added. "Although there have been many changes to the track, it is still awesome to drive, with its fast, sweeping corners, such as Parabolica, and the long straights.


"Parabolica (where Schumacher recently crashed) is actually one of the most important sections of the track, it is great fun to drive as you are on the absolute limit," he continued. "We scrub off half of our speed as we brake from the straight to negotiate the corner, however it is crucial to maintain as much speed as possible through here, as it takes us back onto the main straight."


If Ferrari had to pick Schumacher's successor today it would definitely be Raikkonen, the Scuderia’s team principal Todt revealed this week. "I like Kimi Räikkönen," the Frenchman said, adding that he admired the 24-year-old McLaren-Mercedes star for his natural speed but also his style.


“He doesn't make wild statements," said Todt, "or try to raise his profile. I prefer Räikkönen over (current Williams-BMW and future McLaren-Mercedes driver) Juan-Pablo Montoya. Montoya is too wild for me - sometimes unnecessarily."


Todt admitted Räikkönen, or whoever he might like to recruit for the 2007, “might still be contracted” to a rival. He added: "But I might try to fight that."


But Schumacher, who recently stated that he has no intention of retiring from Formula One before his contract ends in 2006, is determined to get back to the top step of the podium in Italy after finishing second to the highly-rated Raikkonen in Belgium.


"It (the Italian Grand Prix) will be closely contested because our competitors have improved. McLaren-Mercedes and Renault have done well in testing but I think that we too can challenge for the win. In fact, as always, that is our objective," he said.


"As regards the track, there have only been a few small modifications made and so not that much has changed. I have completely got over the crash I had there last week. Racing involves risks that, luckily, do not often have serious consequences. So, let's bring on the weekend and the race," the German added.

Original article from Car