Kimi Raikkonen believes the new Lotus E20's suitability to Melbourne's Albert Park circuit stands him in good stead ahead of his return to Formula 1.
While the 2007 world champion remains guarded on his own chances and refuses to be drawn on testing form, Raikkonen says he believes that the driver friendly Lotus will at least give him the best possible opportunity to perform well in the season opener on Sunday.
"You need a car with good traction and everything from testing says that the E20 has good traction so that will help us," he said. "Strong turn-in and stable braking help too, and those areas also feel good with the car so we are well placed.
"The track can be a bit slippery at the beginning of the weekend and the Melbourne weather is not always very warm; the Melbourne weather can definitely be a bit tricky. This will be the first race so I don't know how we’ll compare to the other teams.
"My engineers have been running simulations and looking at the test data so we have an idea of how the car should work at Albert Park, but we won’t know for sure until we get out on track. It's very difficult to say before we’ve been out on track, but I think and hope we’ll be reasonably strong."
Raikkonen repeated that it was impossible to predict where Lotus sits in the pecking order, and that he simply remained focused on his own programme in the run up to the weekend.
"I will try to do as well as I can and see where we end up," he said. "For the first race in Australia we want to have a good weekend without any major issues or mistakes.
"I don't know where we’re going to be on the grid - nobody knows. If you look at the lap times from testing everybody is very close to each other. We don't know what everyone was doing with fuel load and that makes a massive difference. We'll have some idea after practice in Melbourne, then after qualifying everyone will know exactly where we are."
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