Maurizio Arrivabene has revealed he sat down with Ferrari's designers in December and demanded they build a car that would better suit Kimi Raikkonen this year.
Raikkonen struggled throughout 2014, pointing to a lack of grip and feedback from the car's front end as the main reason. Arrivabene arrived at the team following the final race of 2014 and said he quickly set about asking for a car that would suit Raikkonen's driving style.
"I remember it was the 10th or 12th of December and I was asking [chief designer] Simone Resta, and Rory [Byrne, Ferrari consultant], we were watching a picture of the car and I said what can you do to transfer the weight of the car a bit more in front?" Arrivabene explained. "Because I said Kimi likes to feel the car in this way and Sebastian [Vettel] is more or less the same.
"They said we need six months. I said what can you do in three? They said we have to work day and night. I said ok, I'll work together with you guys, come on."
Arrivabene said the concession Ferrari managed to achieve over the use of engine tokens throughout the year was key to the development of the power unit, which is now one of the car's main strengths.
"Initially it was the engine and now it's still the engine because I want to say clearly that without the tokens that our president was able to cut into the strategy meeting in December it was not possible for us to develop the engine. But afterwards, when you have a good engine, you need to have a good chassis, a good aero and so on. And I have to thank all the guys at Maranello, every single guy at Maranello, that they were able in three months not only to work on engine development but to work in every single part."
Raikkonen praised the way in which the team is working together this year under its new management.
"Obviously a big chunk of it [the performance] is the engine itself," Raikkonen said. "It's a big improvement on horsepower plus reliability but you cannot just give all the credit to them. The car has improved a lot: much more downforce, the car is handling much better because of that, and obviously how the whole package has been done and put together.
"I think the big key is that all areas have improved quite a bit plus the people have been working more closely, as one team putting it together more nicely, so obviously the end result is what we have now and I'm very happy how things are going, very happy with the team and I think not many people expected after last year that we can be in this kind of position this early and now we are going in the right direction.
"So I'm sure we will get there but we want to start winning races more often and we just have to have some patience and do the work that we've done so far and we will get there."