2007 Columns

Kimi’s Column – Back to business in December

From KimiRaikkonen.com

img124/1598/454272xz0.jpgThe best news. Obviously it was the news I wished to hear. Finally it is all clear. We are the champions and nothing can be said about that anymore.

I can honestly tell I that I did not stress this ICA affair at all. Nothing had changed since the stewards went through it after the race at Brazil. One team just wanted to have a go at it.

Now it is over. I think it is good for the sport and obviously it is good for me and for Ferrari.

Earlier on, I had lost the title twice in the final stages of the season. I can still feel how it hurt. For me, winning is everything. Now I can say that it feels even better while you have lost it before you finally succeed to win it.

We did a great job as a team. We had a good plan how to deal with the season. We had some difficult moments, and we focused on doing our own things and the final results say it all. We showed to the whole world that you should always try your best until the very finish.

When you clinch the championship like this, you will never forget this great feeling. I have felt great the whole time since the Brazilian Grand Prix. Now that this last mess off track is wiped off, I can enjoy my holiday even a little bit more.

On Friday, I waited to hear the news at home in Switzerland. We have had a nice autumn weather. I have been working out, and of course, chilling out with my closest friends. It is good to have a chance to charge the batteries while it does not take that long to dash along again everywhere. I have heard that there is a lot of programme for me in the beginning of December.

The team has been working very hard. They tested in Barcelona, and from what I have heard, everything looks very promising. I am looking forward to start testing again. I will start in Jerez, in early December.

It will be very interesting to feel how the driving is while now the wheels will be spinning in every corner.

After the test, there will be the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Monaco. It feels great to be going there to get the championship trophy for the first time in my career.

I have never been so keen to go to these kind of gala evenings, but this time it is different. Obviously my festive spirit is sky high, as we have so much to celebrate with the team.

Kimi finally in The Hall of Fame!

From
Formula1.com/teams and drivers/hall of fame

img139/2613/kronhalloffame2eq9.png As expected due to the recent ICA court hearing, the official F1
website took their time in hosting Kimi his rightfully earned place in
the Hall of Fame. Nice one Kimi, enjoy sitting there in F1 history!
Also below, Formula1.com look back over Kimi’s career:

Fast-tracked into the sport with the shortest CV on four wheels, the
unknown newcomer who came from nowhere and said next to nothing
immediately proved he knew exactly what he was doing: driving a Formula
One car as fast as it could possibly go. The car couldn’t always keep
up with his talent and it took seven seasons for Kimi ‘Iceman’
Raikkonen to become World Champion. Notoriously inanimate and
uncommunicative, the silent speedster’s frozen expression in fact
masked the hidden depths in one of the coolest, most original
characters in the sport’s history…

Kimi Matias Raikkonen spent
his childhood in a house built by his great grandfather in Espoo, a
suburb of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. To provide for Kimi, born on
October 17, 1979, and his older brother Rami, their hard-working
parents Matti and Paula toiled, respectively, as a road builder and an
office clerk. Money was scarce but the Raikkonens were a happy family
and their humble homestead surrounded by open countryside was an ideal
environment for the two rambunctious youngsters to flex their racing
muscles. At first (when Kimi was just three years old) the brothers
tore around on miniature motocross bikes fitted with training wheels. A
move to karts paved the way for Kimi (who began competitive karting at
10) and Rami (who eventually became a successful rally driver) to make
rapid progress in motorsport, though it came at a cost. Matti had to
work nights as a taxi driver and nightclub bouncer and funds diverted
to karting meant plans to replace the outside lavatory with a proper
bathroom in the family home had to be postponed.

Kimi, a
reluctant student who used his schoolbag as a sled to slide down
snow-covered hills, enjoyed winter sports, especially ice hockey,
though he eventually gave it up because he hated getting up for
early-morning practice. At 16 he left school and enrolled in a course
for mechanics, believing this skill might be the only way to stay
involved in motorsport. Very soon his mechanical expertise, and the
need for family funding, became superfluous, as Kimi’s natural talent
for driving fast led to sponsored rides.

Following a rapid
series of successes in Finnish, Nordic and European karting, he jumped
into a racing car and promptly won two British-based Formula Renault
championships. In the fall of 2000, despite having just 23 car races to
his name, he was given a test by the Sauber Formula One team. Impressed
by his immediate pace and assured approach, Sauber shrewdly signed the
21-year old to drive for them in 2001. His having short-circuited the
conventional route to the top provoked fierce debate over his right,
let alone his readiness, to race at the pinnacle of motorsport.
Raikkonen rapidly silenced his critics (he finished sixth in his Grand
Prix debut) and attracted the attention of McLaren, who saw him as a
likely successor to the retiring two-time champion, Mika Hakkinen.

One
Finn after another proved to be a good thing for McLaren, for whom Kimi
the ‘Iceman’ never gave less than his maximum, always driving to a
personal limit that at least equalled, sometimes exceeded, the best of
his peers. Experts endlessly praised his seamless, straightforward,
mostly mistake-free style. “I never really think about what I’m doing,”
Kimi said in a rare outburst of self-analysis. “I just do it.”

His
five seasons at McLaren coincided with a period of unevenly performing,
often unreliable, cars. Yet he finished second in the championship
twice (2003 and 2005), won nine races and finished in the top three on
36 occasions. His podium appearances and subsequent TV interviews
exposed him to public scrutiny under which he tended to squirm and
fidget, tugging his ears, rubbing his nose and trying to hide beneath
his baseball cap. He seldom smiled, spoke sparingly in a mumbled
monotone, then all but ran for the nearest exit.

Yet in his
private life the poker-faced enigma’s icy reserve was prone to
spectacular bouts of thawing out. ‘Drunken Race Ace Kimi Bounced Out Of
Lapdance Club For Fiddling With His Gearstick!’ shrieked a headline in
a British tabloid newspaper. Spanish media gleefully reported that the
vodka-loving Flying Finn was found lying fast asleep outside a bar
embracing an inflatable rubber dolphin. In Monaco he was filmed
cavorting on a yacht, swaying unsteadily on the upper deck then falling
onto a lower level where he landed on his head.

“What I do in my
private life doesn’t make me drive any slower,” the free-spirited
speedster insisted. In truth, the Iceman’s private life was running
smoothly and he was well-settled on the domestic front, having in 2004
married Jenni Dahlman, a gorgeous Finnish fashion model and former Miss
Scandinavia. At their sumptuous Swiss home there was plenty of room for
their two dogs and Kimi’s car collection. Asked to name his most prized
possessions, he replied: “My wife and my Ferrari Enzo.”

In 2007
he began driving a Ferrari Formula One car for a living, having been
hired (for a reported $41 million a year) to fill the considerable void
left by the departing seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher,
whose unrivalled work ethic and team leadership qualities were not part
of a Raikkonen repertoire that seemed more akin to another past
champion. A week before his debut with the team, Ferrari’s new recruit
was in Finland, winning a dangerous snowmobile race he had entered
under the alias of ‘James Hunt.’ When the same ‘James Hunt’ later
competed in a powerboat race dressed in a gorilla suit Kimi said he
invoked the name of his hero as a riposte to the media
sensationalization of his private life.

He got off to a fast
start with Ferrari, winning the season-opener from pole position,
though by the penultimate race he was third in the driver standings,
behind the McLaren team mates Fernando Alonso, seeking a third
successive title, and Lewis Hamilton, the record-breaking rookie.
Though Raikkonen had won more races, five to their four apiece, he
remained the long shot among the trio of contenders at the final race,
in Brazil. The phlegmatic Finn delivered sensationally, winning the
race and the 2007 World Drivers’ Championship by a single point.

On
the podium the new champion swigged as much champagne as he sprayed
and, grinning at last, the Iceman broke his silence with a veritable
torrent of words. “I’m very happy. I came from pretty much nothing but
my family, friends and sponsors helped me get here. People will
probably look differently at me and make up more stories about me. But
I am going to lead my life as I want and that’s it.”

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Kimi’s Column – Post Brazillian GP

From www.kimiraikkonen.com

krcolumnbrazil071.png picture by SaimaAzam 472425s.jpg picture by SaimaAzam

23rd October – Kimi Raikkonen landed at Zurich airport in the afternoon. These are his first words as world champion back in Europe:

I am so happy it almost hurts. This is THE BIGGEST THING that I have been dreaming of since I was a small boy – to be the champion of the world. I was seven years old when I first saw a race track: it was an old, small kart circuit called Bembole; just five kilometres from where I lived. It was like a second home for me.

Now, 22 years later, I have many favourite race tracks, but the most important one is Interlagos, more than 5,000 kilometres away from home.

I’ve always said that the aim of my career is to become world champion. I came very close a couple of times and in the end everything turned out fine. We have always given our best to try to win. Doing that in sport you have to always push to the max until the end. You never know what may happen in a race; you only have to look at the last three races and you know what I’m talking about. Fuji was really terrible for us: we were at the back of the pack and our race was over almost immediately.

krcolumnbrazil072.png picture by SaimaAzam

We left Japan and were 17 points behind, without the possibility to fight back. I think I can say that not more than ten people outside of the team would have bet on us. But we didn’t give up. In a certain sense we believe in miracles. China was our joker: we won and the driver on the top of the standings didn’t make any points. That gave us some hope, but there weren’t many chances for us left.

The last race was really emotional. The first four drivers in the field didn’t retire, but there was a tough fight for positions between us and our competitors. Maybe I had the best start of the season and maybe I could have passed also Felipe at the first corner, but I had a plan and it didn’t involve a fight with my teammate. I could see in my mirrors that Hamilton was next to Alonso in turn 3 and that he had a problem. I realized that we had the chance we had hoped for: this first lap seemed to be decisive for the whole championship.

It was a great race and I think that I’ve never experienced such emotions in the cockpit. Everything worked perfectly fine. It was like a birthday present from heaven! We could have had more pace and I want to thank Felipe again for his support: he did what he could do, just like a perfect teammate. As a team we couldn’t do more than a double-win, but when I had crossed the line the most important thing to know was what Hamilton had done. I asked for information over the radio but there
krcolumnbrazil07.png picture by SaimaAzam
was just silence for a couple of seconds: finally Chris told me that he came in seventh and my heart nearly went into flames due to happiness! This is it: now we’re world champions!

 
I want to thank all those who have been close to me over all these years, all my fans. I love you all - truly. Thanks to the team: it is fantastic being a part of the greatest team of all times. This year I really enjoyed Formula One more than ever before. I dreamt about winning the title with Ferrari and I bet that this is every driver’s dream. This team never stops: they work at the max and never give up. We had some difficult moments, but we always managed to come back. And this shows the quality of the people working there. Thanks again! But I also want to thank the sponsors and partners: together with them we really have the package of a world champion.

Now I go to the Finali Mondiali at Mugello, to celebrate with all of Ferrari: it’s my first time there and it’s the perfect moment to get there. And then it’s time for a holiday, the first as world champion.


The IceMan Rules Them All

img523/2070/354622sel1.png
The Ice Age: Raikkonen came to Ferrari in hope of a better future and now he has it

Kimi’s comments from www.kimiraikkonen.com
- "It is very diffcult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the
moment – it is an incredible emotion," Kimi said after winning the race and
the 2007 Championship. "I want to thank the team for everything they have
done this year. Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as
though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced
its reward today.

Thanks also to my parents, to my wife Jenni and everyone who
believed in me. I have achieved what I have been after for a long time. Now
everything else will be an extra. Today, Felipe’s help was vital and he was
amazing. We had to get a one-two and then see what the others did. This time,
things went out our way and the unexpected did happen. This has been a very
nice year for me during which I have enjoyed Formula 1 like never before. In
Ferrari, I have found a great family and I am proud to have won the title with
them".


It’s been great to read so many articles and reports of praise on Kimi Raikkonen, however, it does feel weird to hear it all of a sudden especially when they mostly wrote negative things about not only his style on the track but his lifestyle. The carbreaker, the playboy, the drinker – they’re all exaggerations of the F1 circus. Hence, why he is called the new James Hunt of F1.

Now, the media are now giving positive appraise but it’s exactly what we (the fans) have been thinking of Kimi since he joined Formula One back in 2001 with Sauber, who is now team BMW-Sauber. Moving towards McLaren just after his debut year, he was a shooting star never to fall. It had been a long partnership at McLaren Mercedes, but those five years with the silver team were ridden with reliability bugs and Kimi was always getting close to the title, but never reaching it. He had been fighting single handedly in the last three years and becoming vice-champion twice, in 2003 and 2005, it was becoming clear that his man has been let down. Amidst the times of gloom were also times of glory – but one thing remained clear, he never gave up.

He was compared to Stirling Moss – a fantastic and fast driver never to have won a championship. It seemed for a moment in his career that Kimi would remain in this shadow. But the Scuderia Ferrari was his next step, a leap infact, as he was taking on the task of becoming the Red team’s new Michael Schumacher and proving his critics wrong. And he has done it. Six wins, six podiums, six fastest laps, and three pole positions on his debut season with Ferrari is not half bad.

Here are some snippets of those admiring Kimi for what he always was – they just didn’t realise it until Sunday!

BBC Review: Raikkonen The Playboy KingWhile his rivals were in Australia preparing for the first Grand Prix of the season, Kimi Raikkonen was back home in Finland taking part in a snowmobile race.

To ensure no-one found out about it, he entered the event under a false name – James Hunt, a choice of pseudonym that says much more about Formula One’s new world champion than the man himself ever will.

Hunt, the 1976 world champion, is the man who most personifies the image of the Formula One playboy lifestyle, and Raikkonen is the modern driver who comes closest to following the model.

So it is in some ways a surprise that, despite his elevated status within F1, Raikkonen has virtually no profile with the public at large.

In other ways, though, it is not.

He answers the media’s questions with as few words as he can get away with, in a metallic monotone of a voice, refusing to reveal almost any part of his real personality to the media.

ITV: Kimi’s career in pictures - Kimi Raikkonen had just one full season of car racing behind him when he made his Formula 1 debut, but he soon proved that he belonged at the top level. Winning the title, however, would take a little longer… We chart his route to glory.

Quick learner – After a handful of races in 1999, Raikkonen contested the 2000 Formula Renault UK Championship and swept to title victory.

First F1 test – With the FRenault title clinched several rounds early, Kimi skipped the final races and started a Formula 1 testing programme with Sauber instead. The Finnish novice stunned the team with pace, and Sauber resolved to bring him straight into F1 in 2001…

Kimi fully deserves it, says manager - “He’s become the champion of the world – it’s what he’s always wanted!,” he told ITV Sport’s Louise Goodman.

“And bless him he really deserved it. He has kept his mouth shut, has done the job and up pops the championship.

“For me he is by far the best driver, the coolest kid in the world and today is an example of what he is about.”

"To be honest, yes I did [think he could do it], I have felt very positive all weekend, as has Kimi,” he said. "As with every race he steps into and it spreads onto me.

“I have got to tell you that a lot of the press around here are pretty happy that he’s pulled it off from what looked like a pretty slim chance, he went and done it. Fantastic.”


KRS’s Season Finale Preview| Kimi’s Column – Pre Brazil

Here is my own preview video about the season finale of the 2007 F1 World Championship. I already showed RTL’s preview,
but I felt like making KRS’s very own one. Hope you like it. But it
seems as if FOM have had it removed on YouTube, for no good reason,
despite it actually promoting the damn sport’s final! They never cease
to amaze me!


         Download it here!

Size – 8MB

Duration – 1.03mins


Kimi’s Column – Pre Brazil GP

iuxqwpvbhnkqjpiolios.jpg picture by SaimaAzam

Down to the wire. The fight for the championship has gone right down to the wire. I’m still an outsider to win the title, but as we saw in Shanghai two weeks ago, anything can happen.

I have a very competitive car, so that helps. Obviously, the driver who has the most points must always be the favourite in normal conditions. But it’s going to be exciting.

We go to Brazil in position 3. The main thing is that we still have a chance to fight. We will give it our all, that’s for sure. I’ll fly to Sao Paulo on Tuesday. There, I’ll have my 28th birthday on Wednesday. I have no plans to celebrate. It’s better just to focus on the weekend. I hope for just one present for my birthday and I hope to get it after the race on Sunday.

I decided to take a few days off in Dubai before flying to Sao Paulo. It helped with the training and there is great weather at this time of year.

It is nice to get on going after the Chinese Grand Prix. I had a very good feeling with the car and the team in Shanghai. There was no time to make miracles. We have just done some simulations in the factory so that the car is ready to roll on that bumpy Interlagos track.

I guess the boys at McLaren have done their job as we did. There is a lot of pressure on both sides. They are the favourites yet they fight against eachother too. Hopefully we benefit from that.

To do well in Sao Paulo, we  need to have a very strong and solid weekend without problems. Obviously the front row is very important.  So is a good, strong all round package. Also, the engine is important, pulling up the hill.

I will treat the final race the same way as the last two. My aim is to win and the rest is not up to me. For me it is a similar position to 2003′s season final. Then, I lost the title to Michael. But looking back at the race, it was a close call and at one point during the race it looked possible.

Hamilton has seven points more than us. It is not easy to go to the last race to just get a couple of points more. We cannot calculate. We must win. For us, it is a straight forward race.

I have been reading stories, that the tyre choice from Bridgestone – super soft and soft – should be better for McLaren, like it was in Monaco and Hungary. It is true that the supersofts did favour McLaren early in the season.  But since then, Ferrari have improved the set up. So we will just have to wait and see, how it goes in Brazil.

I have been close to winning in Sao Paulo, but it has never quite paid off. To have finished there 3 times in second place is not bad. Once I already had the trophy at my home, but two weeks later I had to give it back (to Giancarlo Fisichella).

Two weeks ago I said the same about Shanghai and then I won. Let’s hope it is the same result again.



In other news ahead of the Brazillian GP:

Ferrari to squeeze extra performance from engine – For Brazil, Ferrari’s two F2007 cars for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe
Massa will be fitted with fresh engines. Under current regulations the
engines must last two race weekends, but with only one round left this
season, Ferrari will be pushing as many of the tolerances as possible
to gain extra performance according to the team’s track engine chief
Mattia Binotto.

This is what McLaren did very often throughout the 2005 championship, and it ended in tears basically. Despite winning 10 of the 17 races and claiming 10 fastest laps they didn’t win the championship. I hope Kimi isn’t let down in this final race by an engine that can’t handle it’s power.

Massa to stay at Ferrari through 2010 – Ferrari have announced that they have extended Felipe Massa’s contract until the end of the 2010 season.

There had been rumours that Massa would have to leave the team to
make way for Fernando Alonso if the Spaniard split with McLaren after
this year, but Ferrari boss Jean Todt dismissed this speculation last
month and insisted that the team were committed to Massa and Kimi
Raikkonen.

Massa’s new deal is also set to end continued suggestions that
Alonso could join Ferrari for 2009, when the Brazilian’s previous
contract would have expired. Raikkonen’s Ferrari deal runs to the end of the 2009 season.

That’s great news! Because I didn’t like the thought of Alonso joining Ferrari and ruining things there too with Kimi, like he has done at McLaren. It would be an awesome line up for sure though, considering how Massa will probably do very badly without traction control in the next few years.It’s the perfect chance for him to mature more and even better with a pro like Kimi alongside him despite not being very friendly with eachother. Go on Felipe, make friends!


Kimi’s Column – Post Chinese GP

The speed is there.
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I had the greatest feeling on Sunday evening. We did not quite get the maximum results from these two races in the Far East, but nevermind that. We had the speed to win them both. That is the most important fact while looking towards the big final in Brazil.

It did not look that good afte Fuji, but we got it right in Shanghai. The hope is still there. It is good to be able to go the last race and still be able to fight for the championship.

Obviously it would have been better, if Alonso too, had not scored any points in China. But most of all, the most significant result for us was the first DNF of Hamilton.

The championship has not been in our own hands after the second DNF in Nurburgring. Still, the only way we can approach the final is just to make sure we are able to do our very best. We’ve got to get our cars to speed to the finish as a 1-2 at Interlagos.

If we manage to do that, it will, obviously, still be up to how the two other drivers go in the race. All we can do is to try to win the race. Whoever wins the championship, depends on the McLarens.

In Shanghai I was very confident with the car since the first lap on Friday practise. We knew all the time that we have a very strong race car – whatever the weather will be.

In the end of the day, it was a matter of getting the balance right for the right moment. We listened to the weather men and acted accordingly. We knew we had to be patient in the beginning of the race, while we set up our car so we could attack when the track started to dry up.
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We lost the pole, although I did a very good lap in Q3. Hamilton had less fuel and it was impossible to beat him then. After the start, we had some difficulties. We had so much understeer and the car wouldn’t turn properly into any of those corners. It took some times, but finally it became better and better and we finally caught Hamilton.

Because of the yellow flags I had to wait. I had to lift my foot in almost every corner. I was already besides him but I had to back off. There was no sense to push too hard and destroy it all.

Then the flags disappeared. Hamilton went a little bit wide and we were infront. Obviously, it didn’t change anything but it was good to get past him. After that we just concentrated on our own race and brought the car safely back home.

I was asked, was this the most sweetest victory for me as a Ferrari driver. It was my first P1 in a wet race for Ferrari, it was a difficult one so I had a really good feeling. But still, it could have been better without that mystery in Fuji, with the sudden new tyre rule.

Now, we are back in the fight. Once before, I have been able to fight for the title in the final race. Then, it was Michael (Schumacher) who led by nine points. Now, it is Hamilton with seven points, and Alonso with 3 points ahead of me. It is not any easier this time. But you never know now what happens in the race. Michael got only one point in 2003. I just hope that Lewis is not able to get anymore than that. With Fernando, there is more to play with.

Ferrari has now won 200 Grands Prix. I have only played a small part in this great history, but I am very proud to be part of this legendary team. 200 wins just proves that Ferrari always strikes back. Good for us!


Kimi’s Column – Post Japanese GP

krarriveshanghai-1.jpg picture by SaimaAzamThe worst of moments.

What have I said before? Everything can happen in motorsports. That is the reason why I have never been too keen to say too much before the races.

We went to Japan in quite a difficult situation with the points. Now we have to deal with what happened there and, for sure, now it looks much worse. But there’s nothing we can change about it.

Obviously, we just have a little hope for the championship. But it is better to have a slight hope rather than no hope at all. We will not give up. No way. We are fighters and we will prove it again. Now we’ll just do our very best to win these last two races. It is up to the others how we finish in the championship.

I still believe we had the speed to win the Japanese Grand Prix. It was not the rainy weather that stopped us winning. We did not get a chance to, because all of a sudden there was this new rule where you are only able to use the full wet tyres for the start. If we had known about it, then obviously, we would have changed the tyres before the start.

When you make this kind of important decision, you must make sure all the teams know about it early enough. We got the information of this rule while we were already in the race.

Of course, it was a big risk to start with intermediate tyres, but hey, we had to gamble. While the McLarens were infront of us, to be able to fight for the championship we had to try to overtake them both. To really try to win, you just have to try something different compared to your competitors. If you’re in the front and leading the championship however, then you just play it safe and try not to lose too many points.

It was a terrible moment, as I was told I had to come in and change the tyres or we will be black-flagged. While coming in, I knew that our race looked nothing but good. Or otherwise, you could have gone home knowing we did not fight for this win anymore.

I was asked was it the most difficult race I have ever had. I do not know. Everytime it rains, it’s as difficult as it was in Fuji. If you are behind a car, you are not able to see anything behind that water wall. If you’re coming through behind the others, you just have to hope no one slows down too much in the racing line.

We managed to climb to 3rd position after being last. But every single overtaking move took ages. I managed to catch Heikki before the finish and I also passed him, but then he took his place back in the exit of that corner.

It was a great result for my friend Heikki and for his future, but for me finishing second would have been almost the same as finishing in third place. We should have finished first. Only that result would have helped us.

It looks like Hamilton has wrapped it up, but we will not give up. We will at least try to make it difficult for them by winning the last two races.

Now we are heading to China. I have never won in Shanghai but I have finished second and third there. It is quite a normal circuit. Shanghai suits us as well as any other place. Let’s just wait and see, how it starts to go over there. We push hard until the very finish and on Sunday evening we hope to have the best feelings again.

I hope Kimi gets to feel that great feeling one more time, before this season is over too. His debut season at Ferrari has nearly flown by but it must have felt like ages for Kimi. Working with the car and team to find that sweet spot, he finally came ‘back’ and was winning races. He’s done a brilliant job and we are proud of him! Ferrari must be focusing on their 2008 car now, as Aldo Costa recently voiced his concerns regarding the time constraint on both this year and next years developments. Ferrari had better sort their reliability out, because this is not what Kimi signed up for. Massa has also been let down by unreliability. But there has also been a lack of strength in strategy, Ross Brawn come back please! In these final two races, Kimi and Massa will be on a rampage and let’s hope nothing ruins another weekend for Kimi.


Kimi’s Column – Post Belgian GP

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Kimi was celebrating his Spa victory in a night club, as this Finnish article shows.

It was cool!

krspafinish.png picture by SaimaAzamWhat a great race. We didn’t have the slightest problem during the whole weekend. I managed to dominate the race from the start to the finish line.

Sometimes there are certain circuits, whereby everything seems to run smoothly, and there are other circuits – like Nurburgring – where I have no luck at all.

I bet every driver likes Spa. For me, it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favourite place – numero uno. That is for sure. I have loved the place since my very first visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.

We were beaten in Monza, but now we got the Belgian Grand Prix in the way we wanted to. We gained more points to the leader than we lost in the previous race.

We expected McLaren to be competitive in qualifying also in Spa,  but Ferrari also expected to enjoy a better race pace.

It was a question of getting the set -up right. We went in our own direction.  We took less wing while we counted on that we wouldn’t lose too much in the big corners of the middle sector.

The qualifying was really tight. I had got a good start for the last lap and then I just tried to hang on there. I did not know the lap times before we had got the pole!

krspagrid.png picture by SaimaAzamI had a really good feeling already on Saturday evening. We had a strong start and there was no reason to stress too much for that. Now we got the start right again in the race. Felipe came close but I had a better line and was able to get out first of turn one. The McLarens’ were fighting against eachother there. I’ve seen a replay of their incident and it was hard racing. But I did not see anything unfair.

As we approach the final 3 races, it’s going to be hard racing all the way. I really enjoyed the Belgium Grand Prix. After the successful start, I managed to go quickly enough to make a gap between Felipe before the first pit stop. The gap was indeed big enough after the first stop, and then it was a matter of bringing the car safely back home.

The backmarkers cost some time, because some of them did not seem to care much of the blue flags.

This win gave the best feeling for me. I was in a really good mood going back home. Afterwards, I enjoyed some good food and had a Finnish Sauna with some friends in Wollerau!

I am not going to be at the tests this week. I just have to put my neck in 100% condition for the next back-to-back races. I did not have any problems because of the neck, but it is still very stiff. krspagrid2.png picture by SaimaAzam

I will fly to Japan at the beginning of next week. I cannot say anything about the Fuji circuit,
because I have never raced their before. But there is nothing to worry. I will walk around the place on Thursday and I can only learn the circuit while driving the F1 car on Friday.

They say Fuji can suit the McLaren better. We are not able to change the circuit, but we are able to work on our own car. That is what the team is doing in Jerez – with 110% effort the car will be competitive for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Thirteen points in the gap to the leader. It is still a lot, but here we come!

Maybe Kimi should be at the tests, but we all know by now that he isn’t very keen on testing. As long as he is 100% fit, he can fly like the wing. Although he says there was no problem during the whole weekend at Spa, Ferrari’s reoccurring issue with the rear of their car seems a little strange – hopefully they will have fixed it for the final 3 races. In the Finnish version of this column, regarding Hamilton and Alonso’s racing at Spa, Kimi said "There the silver cars pushed each other. Must be very "warm" atmosphere in the neighbour." Hahahaha! If you want to go back over the whole weekend at Spa, download the already popular highlight video below! It’s all or nothing now, so keep flying Kimi!


Kimi’s Column – Pre Italian GP

img403/5251/d06ita970el2zv9.jpg
At Monza last year, Kimi took a brave pole position opposing the Tifosi and their hero Michael Schumacher.
Although Michael won the next day, Kimi knew he could be leading them a year later.


It’s a fact that what we drivers like most is racing: that’s our passion. That’s why I am a bit anxious about the next two races, at Monza and Spa-Francorchamps. I had the same feeling before the back-to-back races at Magny-Cours and Silverstone last July. Well, having seen how it went there, I hope this is a good sign!

It was a good test at Monza, where we could try out some new things for the car. Looking at the times, I think you can say that we have a fierce fight ahead of us; but you never know how much fuel the others use during the tests, so we’ll only see during the qualifying what the situation is really like.

I’ll be racing at Monza for the first time with a Ferrari and it will be really special to feel the heat of the tifosi. I can’t wait to see all the flags with the Prancing Horse in the grandstands. I always liked the atmosphere at this track. Already during the test many fans came to see us there and it’s good to know that you can rely on their support. This is a very special track from the technical point of view; it’s different from all the others. You need good aerodynamics, so you remain stable over the curbs, to be quick; but you also need a great engine, as you give it all for most of the lap.

Traditionally Ferrari has been very competitive here, but also McLaren has been very strong, during the years when I raced for them, but for some reason or another I never managed to win. Let’s hope we can make it this time, by being perfect from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Winning the home race of Ferrari would be a great feeling.

My goal has to be to make up points on all of those who are ahead of me in the standings. The more we can close the gap on Alonso and Hamilton the better it is for me and Felipe. All the upcoming races are crucial: we can’t commit any more mistakes. The team gives 110% and we have to beat our competitors and need to gain more points than them every time.

After the tests at Monza I went home to Switzerland. I cycled, went to the gym and watched the World Championships in Athletics in Osaka. I was really happy for my fellow-countryman Tero Pitkamaki in javelin throw: it seemed that he had some problems during qualifying, but in the competition he was really good and could win.

Let’s hope we can do the same in the last races of the year!


Kimi’s Column – Pre Turkish GP

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Kimi’s Column – Post Hungarian GP


Kimi’s Column – Post European GP


Kimi’s Column – Post British GP

Sweet double.

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Sometimes it feels pretty strange to race in Formula One. A couple of weeks ago it seemed that no one gave us any chance to fight for the championship. Now after two successive victories under our belts it seems like they cheer us like kings-to-be.


At the end of the day nothing has changed. Except now that I feel happy. Of course it was great to win at Magny Cours and it was great to win at Silverstone just after 8 days.

We had got pretty close a couple of times in both circuits before, but never had the mission fully accomplished. Something went wrong everytime. Now with Ferrari, I managed I managed to do it right, finally.

It was especially great to win at Silverstone. It is one of those circuits I have always enjoyed. I like the circuit, I like the challenges it gives and I like the atmosphere of the place. More important than beating McLaren on their home soil, we gained some points in the championship with two wins from the last two Grands Prix.

I was annoyed after the qualifying on Saturday. We had a very good strategy and we felt we had the speed to get pole. I just went too wide in that last corner. You can gain time going wide in that place but too wide. It was just my mistake and I cannot stand making mistakes like that.

It was good however, that it did not cost too much time. Our life could have been much easier, but anyway, we recovered fine.

Those 6 laps before my second pitstop were the most important laps of the British Grand Prix. I knew from the first pitstop that Alonso had fuelled short, so it was important to stay as close to him as possible, and then when he pitted I could put the hammer down.

The car has been quick over the whole weekend so I was confident that we could get the job done, when he pitted. I did encounter some traffic on those laps, but we expected the need to pass some backmarkers.

It was great to win back to back races. It’s what the team and I really needed. The team have done a fantastic job over the last two races to make up the ground. But we all still need to keep working hard to stay ahead of our main competitors. I chilled out with some friends in the UK and then travelled back to Zurich the morning after. Now we go to Spa to test the car.

I would like to make it three wins in a row, especially at that circuit. Like Magny Cours and Silverstone, the Nurburgring is a place where I never got it fully right with my former team.

We are only half way through the season and you can see how the performance advantage swings from one team to another in the first half of the season.

Hopefully Ferrari can keep this advantage and I can keep winning. Then we shall see what it brings at the end of the championship.

That’s the spirit Kimi. He’ll be as determined as ever to win, especially at this bogus track of the Nurburgring. I remember the sad times there (2005 and 2003). But no more! Ferrari will be working on their reliability again after Massa’s engine stall at Silverstone which cost them points. Eventhough Nurburgring suits the McLaren car, and they have been strong there usually, they may have reliability woes of their own. It’s getting tense in the championship and Kimi will be 100% aggressive and focused.


Kimi’s Column – Post French GP|British GP Preview

The patience was rewarded.

img528/8022/lat2007070180944pvnh7.jpg Winning is always nice. It never happens too early or too late. It was, obviously, a long time ago that we won in Melbourne. Now we finally got everything right in Magny Cours. It is a relief for sure. It does not really change anything, but for the whole team it was good.

Our life is a little bit easier from now on. Everybody can relax while knowing that our persistant work was successful. We are heading in the right direction.

I was asked how painful it has been to lose so many races in a row. But it was not that painful, really. While we knew all the time what caused the problem and we were able to work to improve things, we were confident that the result would come at the end of the day. Like it did.

I have had no doubts that I could have lost my skill of driving. There has never been even the slightest doubt of my motivation or of my confidence. It was just a question of getting everything right with the whole package.

It was a real good car already at the Indy race, but it did not work out exactly right. Magny Cours just proved that our feeling was right. Now we have the car to fight for the victories.

Winning the race in Melbourne did not give us a w rong picture. We knew that the problem was there, but the car worked well in that circuit.

I was asked after the French Grand Prix, if we were back to how we were in Australia. Hopefully we are, but I really do not know. The next race in Silverstone will tell more.

Now we go with good feelings to promote the new Fiat 500 in Turin on Wednesday and from there we carry on with the team to Silverstone.

I think it was a good timing for our first 1-2 result just after the celebrations of Ferrari 60 Years. Of course the team expects us to get the same kind of result from every race.
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Silverstone is such a nice circuit to race. I have always liked it. Before Magny Cours, we had a very good test at the British track. If we get all the parts tested there to the car, we will be even more competitive next weekend.

I would not draw any conclusions of the gap between Ferrari and McLaren. I guess that it depends a lot on the circuits how well the cars go. We were behind McLaren at Indy, but in France we did the opposite and we were ahead. That is why it would be just a waste of energy to think which team might be leading at Silverstone. We have to wait and see, how it goes there from Friday then on.

We know that we are working towards the right direction. Now I have a very good feeling with the car. It feels just great to get back to racing within a few days while last weekend was so good.

Hopefully see you in the podium again!


Can’t wait to see you at Silverstone Kimi!

Just like the man said, it never was a question of his motivation and confidence. I knew it was just a matter of time. It’s not too late for Kimi, and if the car is better at Silverstone then he can win there. And I hope he does! He had really good pace at Indy and Magny Cours, and showed Massa that he isn’t a pushover.

Keep Flying Kimi! Don’t miss my flag, it’ll be waving proud, doesn’t matter if it’s windy and rainy, your our sunshine!
News:
Ferrari testing a new engine
which may appear for Silverstone? That’ll be handy….


Meanwhile: Big news!

As you all know about the alleged espionage within Ferrari regarding Nigel Stepney, now McLaren are involved in the juicy mix of peverted politic within F1! /Sensationalism

Stepney dismissed by Ferrari

Nigel Stepney, the engineer at the centre of a legal enquiry over
possible sabotage at Ferrari, has now been dismissed by the Maranello
team.

The Ferrari stalwart, who was viewed as one of the key figures in
the resurrection of the Italian outfit’s fortunes over the past decade,
is under investigation by the Modena district attorney amid claims he
sabotaged the Ferrari cars prior to the Monaco Grand Prix…

…Stepney told The Sunday Times recently that he was convinced of his innocence and confident he would be cleared of all charges.

"I have confidence I’ll be cleared by the legal process that is now taking place. It is just part of a dirty tricks campaign and everything is in the hands of my lawyer, so we’ll wait and see what happens."

McLaren employee suspected of espionage

McLaren have suspended a senior member of their staff amid suspicions
that he unlawfully obtained technical information belonging to rivals
Ferrari.

…McLaren have said they will cooperate with the investigation and
have suspended their unidentified member of staff while that process is
ongoing.

"McLaren became aware on [today] that a senior member of its
technical organisation was the subject of a Ferrari investigation
regarding the receipt of technical information. The team has learnt that this individual had personally received a
package of technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of
April. Whilst McLaren has no involvement in the matter and condemns such actions, we will fully cooperate with any investigation."

"The individual has, in the meanwhile, been suspended by the company pending a full and proper investigation of the matter.

"No further comment will be made."

McLaren suspect is Mike Coughlan!? He’s their Chief Designer for crying out loud.

Mike Coughlan, McLaren’s chief designer, is the senior engineer suspected of espionage against Ferrari, autosport.com has learned.

The 48-year-old Briton is suspected of unlawfully obtaining
technical material belonging to Ferrari in collaboration with Ferrari’s
Nigel Stepney.


Kimi’s Column – Pre French GP

Filled with hope.

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It was a great week. We had a good test in Silverstone. The car felt much better than it did during the Amercian tour. I’ll go to France filled with hope.


Las
t weekend we celebrated the success of the 60 year old Ferrari. It was a marvellous show. It was the first time I got an experience like that. It was just a great feeling to be part of something as big as Ferrari.

It is a shame that I have not been able to bring better results so far in this season. We aim for the best results everytime as a team but it has been a while since we have got what we have been looking for.

The test in Silverstone was very important as we had some new parts to test. I feel it was a positive step, but to truly find out if we haveimg221/979/0620silverstone3sff9.jpg made a step forward – relative to our competitors – we must wait until Magny Cours. Now I feel, more than before, that this year it is so important to get onto the front row, because it is very difficult to follow other cars. I have suffered from that too many times during the races.

I am feeling more confident with the car now. We certainly had good balance in the last race so lets hope we can carry that into the next two races.

Like always, you never know what the other teams are doing in testing. We will see in Magny Cours, if we did catch McLaren or are they still ahead of us. Obviously McLaren is the big question mark, but we are full of confidence to get good results.

Magny Cours is a very smooth track, with a mixture of fast and slow corners. You need a good aerodynamic package to help through the fast corners – and with good traction control through the slow corners.

I have never won there, but I like the circuit. It is challenging to race there. Five years ago it was quite close. I was leading the race, but something happened and I lost to Michael. I am not one of those drivers who dwell on things. I would really like to win there too, hopefully it will be a different story this year.

It has not been confirmed if this race will be taken off the calendar next year. On a positive note, Formula One will be visiting new exciting places next year, Valencia and Singapore to mention just two. For a racing driver, it is always nice to get to race on new circuits, where nobody has raced before.

We are seven races into the championship and it is important to close the gap to our main competitors as soon as possible Let’s see what happens, but I will give it my best shot.



I’m going to thoroughly enjoy what possibly may be the last race of Magny-Cours. Though the races produced there in the recent years have resulted in the race being called Magny Bores by some, I love the circuit for itself. Watching the cars on this track is fantastic, as it’s fast and has a good flow to it. Check out this onboard lap with Raikkonen in the McLaren at the French circuit last year.

Let’s see what this race may be for the current stars in this years championship. This track is a strong one for Alonso from previous records, so
he’ll be tough to beat in that McLaren if it remains the obvious faster car. Lewis Hamilton, though, may win his 3rd
GP consecutively here because this is an easy, predictable, smooth flowing track. We all know he’s very fast, so it’ll take something special from Kimi & Co to come out on top here.

Kimi has finally clicked with something in his car (the throttle pedal maybe? Haha! Joke…) and if he improves on his
pace from Indy, he’ll have a good shot for a podium at least. If the Ferrari has made a big step from testing then the win can be in Kimi’s reach. But none of us don’t know for sure how strong the Ferrari will be,
even with the soft and medium tyres, the latter of which they seem to perform better with.

I would be thrilled if Kimi won there to regain what should have been his 5 years ago. Check what happened in
2002. Ironically, he may take it back in the red car that robbed him of it, a Ferrari!


Bad News:

The inside story on the latest 2011 proposals

It
is important to point out that everything that is included in these
proposals is open to discussion and that the manufacturers are playing
an important role in the development of the regulations….The engines will also have small electric-assist elements which we hope will make them sexy for the fans….The engines we imagine in 2011 will be
quite different because they will be designed for efficiency with the
electrical-assist features built in."…

…Purnell says that the engines will probably only be producing around 400 horsepower but will feature push-to-pass buttons…The latest ideas on aerodynamics
include active front and rear wings on the cars, so that they will
change angle as they go down the straights, creating less drag and thus
allowing the cars to go faster.

Is this Formula One? You’ve got to be joking…It’s beginning to sound like Formula Nursery (or kindergarten). I don’t mind if Kimi wins just 1 title or even none by then, it’s going to be an insult for talented drivers like him!

Good News:

British GP to be shown in HD

British Formula One fans will be able to follow the next week’s race at Silverstone on the big screen thanks to Vue Cinemas.

The company will broadcast the race live to 30 multiplexes across
the UK, in High Definition quality and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
sound. The race action will be uninterrupted by commercial breaks.

Tickets for the event are available now from www.myvue.com.

Woohoo! I would have gone if they told us before…I have tickets for the GP! And being at the GP, you don’t have air conditioning, popcorn (unless you bring your own) and close up coverage of everything! Oh dear.


Kimi’s Column – Post Indianapolis

img519/8654/lat2007061658139pvpc5.jpgA lot of home work.

The tour in North America is over and we’ve got a very rough week ahead of us. Obviously we’ve got more home work to be done than a doctor’s orders. But we are very focused to get everything right. For sure, nobody in this team will ever give it up.

We have a very important test in Silverstone heading for the next back-to-back races in France and Britain. I’ve got a very busy programme with the test on Wednesday followed by promotional work at the weekend in the programme.

Well, what can I say about Indianapolis? Of course, I expected much more than 9 points from Canada and USA. Nine points is better than nothing, but after the race on Sunday I felt I ‘ve got even less because our main contenders collected much more. The leaders are now much more infront of us and that, really, was not the plan.

Of course I am disappointed, we have lost ground in the championship. But it is not over and things can turn around very quickly. And that’s what makes motor racing so exciting. You never know what will happen in the next moment.

The fight will go on. The season is reaching half way point and the pressure on us all is growing all the time. Sooner or later also the pressure will hit Hamilton and we will see how he is able to deal with it, while being leader of the pack.
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We lost points especially in our performance of qualifying and then at the starts. It is clear that McLaren have taken a step forward in the last 3 races. They seem to be able to get heat in their tyres which gives them more grip in the first lap.

During the last 2 races I have started on the dirty side of the track which did not help. On top of that, I started at Indy with the hard tyres while my competitors started on the softs. That aside, it is still something I need to improve as it makes life very difficult when you lose positions at the start.

I did not get a good start and lost out on two positions. You lose a lot of time during the early stages when stuck behind cars in the middle of the pack and the leaders have clear air.

However, when I did manage to pass both Heidfeld and Kovalainen, I was able to push. The car was well balanced enabling me to get the fastest lap en-route. Obviously when you are behind your teammate during the closing stages, a driver does not want to risk too much.

Now we test at Silverstone with some new parts to try. Hopefully we can close the gap.

One thing is for sure. We really need to get better results now in Magny Cours and Silverstone than what we got in North America. A lot depends on the test this week. Hopefully everything will finally go according to our plan.



Kimi’s Column: Post – Canadian GP

What a Casino! (Casino? Does Kimi mean chaos? Lol. Kimi’s been to a Casino before then…)

The Canadian Grand Prix was once again a very difficult race for us all. Obviously we did not get the results as we expected but after all the problems we experienced, I would say finishing fifth was not that bad.

It could have gone much, much worse out there.

The whole weekend was difficult. We did not have as strong package as we hoped img249/6785/krcanada07bjp4.jpgfor. We try as hard as ever to improve it for the next race and we will see the result as soon as after a couple of days during this weekend at Indianapolis.

I just chill out and play some ice hockey before moving out to the USA.

The best thing in Canada for me this time was the meeting with the school kids arranged by Bridgestone. They asked me whatever they wished. It was really nice. I just loved to talk with the kids. There were all smiles.

But it was not nice to answers questions after qualifying and the race.

The race was very hectic with all the safety car periods. Even at the start I touched Felipe with my front wing at the first corner so it was never handling 100% and after Robert Kubica’s accident I was losing a lot o downforce on the car. The fact was that I had some debris of Robert’s accident stuck in my front wing.

That is why it was so difficult to say anything about the potential of the car.

The car was not turning properly into the corners. Then I lost my brakes. Suddenly it went down and I lost one position to Sato. It was pretty difficult, while not knowing when the brakes were working and when they did not work.

The main thing was, that we got some points. While also Fernando and Felipe had some problems, we managed to reduce the gap to them. Hamilton won and is now 21 points ahead of me. Of course, I would rather lead myself, but I am certain that Lewis will have his share of not so good races.

At the moment, we keep pushing to make sure we get the maximum out of each race. The last three races have not been what I expected but I will do my best for myself and for the team. We would need a maximum result. That would help a lot.

McLaren have been the fastest car for the past two races and it will be important for Ferrari to regain the momentum we had in the early part of the year.

The next stop is Indianapolis. It is difficult to say what we expect from there. We really won’t know before we get there. But I enjoy the circuit and Indy has been a good circuit for Ferrari in the past, so I am really looking forward to the race next weekend.

It is a bit of a strange circuit. There is this very long straight, so you have to have good speed for that. Then the infield section is very tight and you have to take some corners with the lowest gear. However, you are able to overtake, if you are quick enough in that straight. Usually, I have had good races there without problems.

I wish all the best for Robert Kubica. Hopefully he is able to race in Indy. All the drivers are delighted to see Robert not injured, which is a testament to the safety standard of a modern F1 car. It was a very big accident.

Kimi’s Column – Pre Canadian GP, Interview, School visit photos

The image “http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/1051/krkidstq3.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.< Check out Kimi’s comments further below

img406/116/12sah4.jpgHero or Zero

It is a rough series of races ahead. There are three GP in next four weeks’ time. In addition to that we have also a test at Silverstone between the second and the third race.

Because of this busy time it felt great, for a while, to drop by back at home in Finland. I trained hard and spent some time at sea, too. The weather was just fine, a real summer. I’ve got a good feeling before leaving for America.


Monaco is just a distant memory. Now everything is charged for Canada.


Before Monaco we tested in Le Castellet with the car set up for Montreal. Felipe took care of the work of Monaco and I tested the car in a circuit configured for Canada style. The car felt very good, but you never know how it goes. When you don’t test in the same circuit where you race, it’s different. We’ll have to wait and see just how competitive we are, when we arrive in Montreal.


If there is something I know, it’s that I can take the best out of the car. That gave a very good feeling during the test and also in practice in Monaco.


I have never driven for Ferrari in Montreal or Indianapolis, so I can’t say how the car goes in those circuits. In any case, the team has had good results in both places. That is very encouraging, indeed. We can expect interesting races.


One thing is for sure. McLaren will not be one minute ahead of us, like they were in Monaco. The nature of Montreal is so different compared to Monaco, although we speak about two street circuits.


I won in Canada two years ago. Like every circuit you need to get the set up exactly right. You need a well balanced car in low downforce configuration and a car that is not too hard on brakes.


I have always liked the weekend of Montreal. It is one of the nices places to visit and I enjoy the stop and go style of the circuit. Qualifying is important, but it is not essential to get a good result. There are one or two places to overtake.


We are now fourth in the championship and 15 point behind the leaders. The gap is not that big and my position is not that miserable, not at all. A couple of good races for us and a couple of bad ones for the competitors and the whole situation would look totally different.


Like the team boss Mr. Todt said, if we would be 15 points behind and it would be only two races to go, my fight for the championship would be over. But it’s still 12 races to go, so a 15 points gap is not that big.


The last two results have not been good for me. However I feel I’m still very much in with a chance of fighting for the championship. I will do my best to finish and win as many races as possible and we will see at the end of the year where we end up in the championship.

In F1 you go from hero to zero very quickly. That is the nature of the sport. I just get on with my job and do the best I can.

That’s the spirit Kimi, nevermind what people say; just continue with what they can’t see: you working hard in your own way. One thing though, it’s best to never underestimate your rivals. Aim for Number 1 no matter what.


News:

Q & A with Kimi Raikkonen

The Finn was drafted in by Bridgestone for a special appearance at
the Coronation School in Montreal – where he was put up in front of 400
eager children keen to meet a real sporting hero for the first time.

Raikkonen relished the attention and interest, and even dared take
some questions from the children themselves about his career, the life
of an F1 driver and the sport. But the best question of all came from a
kindergarten child who asked simply: How do you drive so fast? (That’s a good question actually! Wonder what Kimi replied with…)

After the event, autosport.com heard from Raikkonen about
how he found the experience, his confidence levels for the weekend
ahead and what he thought about some slightly controversial comments
from local hero Jacques Villeneuve about Lewis Hamilton’s driving.

Q. How was it?

Kimi Raikkonen: It is nice to be here at least. It is nice to
see the happy kids. I think it is nice to do this kind of thing. It is
much more relaxed and they appreciate it much more than many other
people, so you get more out of it.

Q. Have you met children at events like this before?

KR: It is up to the team what we do. I don’t know really what
will happen when we go there. It is nice, the kids get much more out of
it and appreciate it much more than some other places where we go.

Q. Did you get to meet sport stars like this when you were at school?

KR: I never had any heroes, but I don’t even remember because
it is too long ago. But usually sometimes in some schools the kids can
meet some people, but I cannot remember too far back

Q. But your presence here can have an impact on their future can’t it?

KR: Yeah for sure, and it is nice to see the kids are so excited.

Q. Did the kids’ questions surprise you?

KR: Not really. You never know what the kids come up with. I
think they always come up with the best questions usually, so I am not
surprised.

Q. Can you win the race this weekend?

KR: We try definitely. It is never going to be easy. I think
we have a good chance. It all depends how well everything goes through
the weekend but we have a good strong package and we have every chance
to win.

Q. Are you feeling confident? Do you like the track?

KR: It is a nice circuit, a nice place, but a lot of things
can happen here usually. I have had some good races and not so good
races here. But the last two races were okay. I won in 2005 and I was
third here last year, so I think it is a good place usually for me. I
think we have a good package and have all the chances to win the race.
That is what we are going to try to do.

Q. Do you feel that Felipe Massa has an advantage in the team because he has won more races since the beginning of the year?

KR: I think he had an easier time with the car. We have
improved the car and it seems to be better now for me. We had a good
weekend in the last race before I hit the wall, so it didn’t help. I
think the car seems now to be quite good and I am much easier able to
drive it.

Q. So there is no number one driver at Ferrari?

KR: No. As long as I have been there, there has never been a number one. We will see what happens.

Q. What do you think about the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?

KR: It is a nice circuit. It is quite challenging, quite hard
for the car. The long straights are hard for the engines and the
bouncing over the kerbs does not give the easiest time for the cars. I
think the only question mark is the surface of the circuit. Last year
it broke up during the race, so it was like driving on sand at some
corners. Hopefully they have done something about that?

Q. Are you still learning the Ferrari?

KR: I think you are always learning every time you go out. We
had a good first race, but I still wasn’t happy with the car. We start
to get more happy with the car now, so hopefully we will get the
results.

Q. Do you think you have to win this weekend after what happened in Monaco?

KR: I think the last two races have been difficult, although
at least we got one point out of Monaco. That could make a big
difference in the end. So for sure it helps if we can win and that is
what we will try.

Q. Are you surprised by speed of McLaren drivers?

KR: No, not really. I think when I was there, when we had a
good car I was quick. But last year that wasn’t the case and there
haven’t been many years like that. This year they have a good package
and they are strong everywhere. So I am not surprised.

Q. Do you think your Monaco form, and the fact that McLaren were
so dominant, was a one-off because of the nature of the circuit?

KR: When I was at McLaren we were always quick there. Even
last year when the car wasn’t quick anywhere else, it was good there.
So I wasn’t surprised that they were strong because they have a good
car. We will see what happens here.

Q. Fernando Alonso has said that he reckons you are just one bad
result away from dropping out of the championship fight. Is there
pressure on you to get a good result here?

KR: For sure we want the close the gap rather than fall
further behind, but I made only one mistake in the last weekend (at
Monaco) and it cost a lot.

I think anywhere else that mistake would not have made such a big
difference. It is so difficult to overtake there, but at least we got
one point. We have had two bad races in a row and without those we
could be right up there. But we will try and win and see where we end
up.

It is hard to think that every other driver will manage to go
through the whole year without any problems, so as long as we don’t
have any problems any more I think we have a good chance to get back.
We are still fighting.

Q. Jacques Villeneuve has said that Lewis Hamilton is a driver
who is dangerous on the track and some of the ways he drives warrants a
black flag. What do you think?

KR: I don’t want to get involved in that…

Q. How do you think Lewis is driving?

KR: He has been doing a good job. I haven’t been so close to
him in the races to see what he has done, but I don’t want to get
involved in that situation.

He is a good driver. Everyone knew he was good even before he came
to F1 and he has a good team behind him. So he is doing good this year
but we are trying to beat him.

If there are any photos of Kimi with the children at the school, they will be up here exclusively, so don’t miss them! He looks like a big kid himself with the children below… :) Check the photo album for bigger pictures.

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Photos! (screen caps from Italian TV)
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News:

Count Kimi out
…Unless Kimi Raikkonen comes good in Canada this weekend, and way beyond, he is out of this year’s title chase.

Trailing championship leaders Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton by 15 points, he needs to win the next eight races to get ahead of them and going on current form that is highly unlikely.

In fact, it is fair to say the Finn has been the disappointment of the season….


Raikkonen is not performing because there’s a conspiracy between Jean
Todt, whose son, Nicolas, manages Felipe Massa, and Schumacher to
upstage the Finn in favour of the Brazilian. Todt, you see, is not
happy that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo personally negotiated
Kimi’s $55-million per annum salary while Todt would have liked
Schumacher to remain in the team or, alternatively, to get Valentino
Rossi on board.

Now — so the conspiracy theory goes — Schumacher, as ‘adviser’
to the team, is isolating Raikkonen in favour of his protégé, Massa,
and the Kimster is left in the cold.


How much sense is there in that?…

I’ve been following this particular columnist for a while now, and I really like the way he looks at situations from more than one perspective. I have to agree with that, even though Kimi hasn’t performed to his potential after Australia, there’s a lot more than what’s shown on the surface. Kimi needs to keep his head together and not let the team get him down, pyschologically or even with his teammates results. Come on Kimi, show everyone that you are no number 2 driver, show them on track! Time is running out. I know there’s no point in saying he shouldn’t have even gone to Ferrari in the first place, but now that he’s there he must stand his ground, for his own sake, not for the sake of being praised by these F1 journalists and entertainers. And it’s safe to say that Kimi never really has cared about what others think, but in this case, inside Ferrari, he has to make them re-think what a spectacular driver they really have and that this dark patch is just that, a dark patch. It won’t last forever. Believe me!

Andretti surprised Massa leads Raikkonen

…"He knows the car, and he knows the people – he’s part of the team. And I think Kimi, coming in, probably felt that.

"I don’t know Kimi that well, but I always think he looks somewhat … passive. I don’t know if it’s that way inside or not. Maybe he doesn’t have the team rallying around him as much as you might expect.

"I’m on the outside, looking in, and this is just conjecture, but I was sure that Kimi would immediately take charge, and it doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment.

"I’d imagine his character is stronger than Massa’s, and I think that ultimately he might endure a high-pressure situation better. My feeling is that it will unfold that way, and it’ll be interesting to see if it does."…

Andretti has voiced the opinions of many Kimi fans here, I think. Going into Ferrari, we knew Massa had an advantage being there a year before. But we thought Kimi’s out right speed and talent would crush him. We were mistaken, it’s not as easy as we may have thought. But Kimi being passive is certainly influenced after his disappointing results after Australia. Remember though, the way Massa was sulking like a baby when he saw Kimi take pole position at Australia? Wow, is that really the ‘team comaderey’ Ferrari have? At least Kimi gets over his faults and problems, and doesn’t behave like that around people, let alone your team. Kimi does handle pressure better in that way. However at Monaco, Kimi reportedly got angry with his qualifying so much that he raised his voice to his mechanics to get the car fixed quickly. But that’s a completely different thin from how Massa coped with his misfortune at Australia. Why? Because Massa was NOT happy for Kimi getting pole, and hanged his head down. I’d rather have our Kimi leave a track before his teammate wins a race, than show a face like that, wouldn’t you agree? I also feel that Ferrari have not done enough in welcoming this new driver to their team. I seriously believe they haven’t done their part well, just as Kimi has not done what we all expected. Kimi isn’t the only party to be criticised and blamed here. It’s a team effort, and as far as Michael Schumacher is concerned, it’s still his team…isn’t it? An advisor for WHAT? Telling the team how they should rally around Massa when Kimi isn’t doing well? Wow, that’s brilliant team work, shun out the loser. Why cant he just get lost for good and let Kimi be at peace with his new team? I get furious each time I think about it so I better stop writing now.

Meanwhile:

Ferrari bullish on Canada chances


Kimi’s Column: Post – Monaco GP

(Incomplete, more coming soon)

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Sure, the gap between me and the top makes life harder, but this is still the first part of the championship. We will give it our all to catch up and we will fight until the end.

In case nothing really surprising happens, there are four drivers who can win a Grand Prix. This situation might actually help me a bit with bridging the gap.

I knew that McLaren were to be very strong in Monaco, but I also knew that we could have a very good rhythm. It would be nice to have a direct confrontation. I hope that everything will finally go well at the next race. I’ll go to Canada after a short trip to Finland.

In the second session I started on extra-soft tyres and when I came out of the swimming pool chicane I bumped with the right front wheel into the guard rail.

It was not a very heavy bump, but enough to break the steering (arm) and to crack the suspension’s lower arm: in the past I already hit the guard rail in a much more violent way and nothing happened.

This time there was nothing we could do, although the team tried very hard. It would have been much too risky to get back on the track without having everything set up perfectly. This was my mistake. Let’s not make a drama out of it, because these things happen in racing and there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. (I hope he told his mechanics the same thing; they were running and panicking all over the place!)

The car was perfectly set up since the beginning of the weekend, as it also was during the tests at Le Castellet the week before. I felt that maybe for the first time this year I could have given the max with the F2007. (Oh dear, that’s just made me feel even more gutted. Oh well, he’ll bounce back. Nurburgring 2005? Failed. Next race at Canada: he won, while the others were making mistakes.)

It’s annoying when you’re always stuck behind a slower car and you can’t do anything to improve your position. At least we managed to bring home one point; still better than nothing.

Other news: An onboard shot of how Kimi hit the barrier in qualifying last weekend
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ITV – Ted’s Monaco notebook
…Kimi’s crash in qualifying won’t have done much to improve his
relationship with Ferrari and the Finn ignores Michael at his peril.

Many Ferrari observers note that Kimi’s relationship with Ferrari is
not yet strong enough to go it alone and reject Michael’s input.

After his qualifying crash, I asked Raikkonen what effect it would
have on his championship. I got a classic Kimi understatement: “It
doesn’t help."

www.turunsanomat.fi
This article basically says Ron Dennis is still friends with Kimi and he didn’t really enjoy seeing Kimi’s problems in qualifying. Ron Dennis also mentioned that on track relationships with other rivals is obviously influenced by competition, but off track they are as friendly as ever. This can be said for any teams and drivers in F1 i.e we saw Alonso and Briatore hugging and shaking hands at Monaco.

Todt looks back at the Monaco GP
…Todt emphasised that Kimi Raikkonen was still very much a championship contender, even though he has a 15 point deficit to the World Championship leaders after five rounds. "It’s still very open, very open. If there were two races to go, then a 15 point deficit would be impossible. But 15 points with 12 races to go, which is an average of 1.25 points per race, is not so much."

Todt explained that in spite of there being no testing between Monaco and Montreal, the team would still be pushing hard. "We have a few modifications which we will have for the next race. You must always push harder. We respect our competitors very much. They are very good, they are very strong. They have been more reliable than us at the beginning of the season. Some others are fighting hard behind us, so we have to push. "Since the beginning of the season, two teams have been ahead of the others, and I think it will be like that for a while, but as I said before, some others behind are working hard and I’m sure we can progress. We need to progress more than the others." Once again, Michael Schumacher was overseeing Ferrari’s operation at Monaco and Todt explained his involvement. "He has been observing and if he feels he has something to say he will speak with the engineers." But he wouldn’t go so far as to say that Schumacher had a major influence in the team’s decisions. "You know the team is quite well organised. We rely on the people who spend all the time in (Ferrari’s base at) Maranello or at the track to improve the car and the development of the car, but Michael’s input is always very interesting and makes everybody happy.

Irvine puzzled by Kimi’s lack of form
Kimi Raikkonen needs "to get his act together", according to former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine. (Oh, what a bright and unthought of comment! Irvine was always a slow minded prat.)


Kimi Raikkonen’s Column: Pre – Monaco GP


img338/294/raikkonen2007bahrain06pfu0.jpgThe greatest challenge.

If I had to follow Formula One as a spectator and had to choose one race, I would have no doubt: I would go to Monte Carlo.

I reckon it is the greatest race among all the grands prix. There is so much excitement combined to that weekend; all the luxury and glory of Monte Carlo. It must be great to see the race and it is great to be able to race there. Racing itself is not that great – but as a challenge – to drive fast in a F1 car through these streets – it’s the greatest of them all. I love to take a challenge: the more challenging it is, the more I love it. I always look forward to the Monaco Grand Prix

This is a very special place for me and I will never forget my success in 2005, in a race, which I think was one of my most beautiful ones. It will be the seventh time I am going to race here and the first time with Ferrari. As usual we will have lots of work to do, but I hope I can also pass some time with my friends and family on the boat at the harbour.

It is fundamental to have a good lap and I will give it all. Until now the qualifyings did not work out as I wanted it to be, but we did a lot of work to improve the situation. It would be wonderful to win with a red car and it would be much easier if I could start from the front row.

I was in a very strong position to win the race also last year when I did not start from the front row, so everything is possible, but it would be nice to start from the pole so I can get a chance to control the race from the front.

Each time I get in the car I am learning more and more about the tyres. They are very different from the tyres I used last year. Fernando, like me, is driving for a new team and with new different tyres. From what I have read he is basically saying similar things, but you’ll have to ask him.

Last week we had really positive test at Paul Ricard and I’m feeling more comfortable with the car.

Obviously we don’t know what our competitors have done so we will see things a bit clearer only on Thursday, during the free practice sessions. Lets see then. There are four drivers competing for the top spot in the championship, but there’s no particular driver I am concentrated on. I will go to every race with the same attitude: trying to give my best and collecting as many points as possible. There is no other option for us. It is as simple as that.

After the test session in France I went back home, where I trained very hard – I feel good both mentally and physically. I’m ready for Monte Carlo.

We don’t see these pictures much; they were taken after Kimi won the Monaco GP in 2005, he was given an award courtesy of Steinmetz (McLaren sponsor):


Kimi’s Column – Post Spanish GP, News

Because it’s usually translated from Finnish, the english is quite bad. So I have made some grammar and structural changes lol:

img504/9761/27157623gl8.jpgNot living in the past.

I am not a guy who cares about the past. For sure, I am not going to start now. What happened on Sunday, just happened. This is motor racing and you are not able to change anything afterwards. The points were lost and we were not able to get them back. So let it be.

The race in Barcelona was not on target. Suddenly without any warning beforehand, I just lost the electronics of the car, and that was that. At the time, we were running third with a good strategy.

In qualifying, the first two sectors we had very good speed, but at the end of the lap there was less grip. There is something we must find in this set up to put this right.

It is very difficult to follow cars closely in F1. But I felt with my race strategy things would have worked out and we could have got past Hami
lton in the pit stops. Well, now we will never know.

I got permission from the team to leave the paddock quickly to go home before the record crowd of Spain would move around. So I managed to get back to Switzerland to see partly the ice hockey world championship final between Finland and Canada on my own television. Well, Canada won. It hurt. It really was not a good day for Finland.

After the game I went to Sauna, slept well and played some golf on Monday. After chilling out at home I am ready for two days of testing in Southern France.

At Le Castellet, we will try to improve the set up to suit my driving style and work through the programme to test some new parts.

Although I am very disappointed with the DNF result in Barcelona, that is the painful part of motor racing. It is still a long season and I am only 8 points behind the leader of this championship so we have everything to fight for.

There is no point denying I would rather be in the front than some points behind. But like I said, I cannot see any reason why to worry about it. How much the DNF would have hurt, we will find out when the season finishes in October.

Felipe drove a very good race and had a very strong weekend all together. After the start, he controlled the race from the front. I am happy for him and I am happy for the team, but as a team we did not the get the best possible results.

Next stop is Monaco. I enjoy street races and was very pleased to hear Formula One will have two more street races on the calendar next year.

I am very much looking forward to racing in Monaco, and of course, I would like a repeat of the result two years ago.


I’ve been reading a lot of interesting views on the latest criticism and bashing against Kimi regarding his performance and behaviour, notably after the Spanish GP. On the Ferrari forums, I’ve read so much and I feel awful. Though the comments against him have valid reasons and are fair, but I think we have blown this way out of proportion. I’ve been harsh on the guy myself, me, one of the biggest Kimi fans ever.

I just wanted to say sorry, Kimi. But please, think about it. You need to give 100% and some extra. Even if you think you don’t need to, you should. Because that’s what a good man and professionals do. Don’t let your name fade, you have so much more to give, I know this. This may be your ONLY chance to be world champion. Treat every single moment as if there was no second chance. Because there isn’t. So, if something goes wrong, don’t turn your back on it. Fix it, together with the team. Support, together with the team. You’re taking things for granted. Sure, you get your huge salary, and you only want to win. But you, more than anyone, should know it’s not that simple. Don’t show us that your time at McLaren was a complete waste. It wasn’t, it was supposed to make you stronger and smarter. How can you not care about the past? You certainly have to learn from it, and to learn you must want to care. I’m probably wasting my time saying this as if you’ll read it. But then again, why stop now, I’ve wasted 4 years supporting you. But only you can make that worthwhile. So, DO IT DAMMIT!!!!! Anyway…

Kimi is a genius driver. Too much emphasis is given on how technical a
driver should be; Alonso is supposed to be great in that area but he’s
still not performing at his potential (being beaten comfortably by
Hamilton). Whereas Kimi has had 1 victory and 3 podiums not even being
fully content with the car yet, so just imagine what he WILL do when it’ll
get better for him, and Ferrari know this. They knew what Kimi was
like, they had 5 years to see how he was coping at McLaren, they know
that Kimi’s job will be on the track and on the stop watch.


No one bothers with how Alonso is coping at McLaren just because of him
not showing ‘poor attitude’ like Kimi has. At the end of the day, Kimi
is right, his attitude and off track business had no influence on his
performance at McLaren, they simply couldn’t produce a reliable and
fast car at the same time. Kimi does push the cars harder than the rest, and you either love that or hate it. Who knows, maybe the reason McLaren ARE more reliable NOW is because they had Kimi pushing their cars to the maximum? So they built stronger cars from that? Ever thought about that?



And to prove that Kimi’s attitude means nothing, so far in 2007 Kimi was actually the most consistant out of him and
Alonso until his DNF at Spain, something which was not his fault, heck
Alonso wouldn’t have got a podium at his home race had Kimi not
retired, yet for some reason the main story off track is Kimi’s
attitude and not Alonso’s poor attempt of making a move at Massa. Is
that how bad the racing is nowadays? Forget what happens on track, lets
talk about Kimi leaving the circuit! OMG! Lol.



Point is, we don’t even know what even happened after Kimi retired in
Spain, we saw him in the garage have quite an enthusiastic chat to his
mechanics, and then half an hour later, he left the circuit. Big deal.
Perhaps there was nothing more he could do. And he’s a big hockey fan,
maybe Ferrari should get the sports dish in the motorhome for Kimi.



And then we have these people having their little say about it, who
might not have even heard the full story, and later it gets fed through
the media as if the guy knew exactly what happened. It happens all the
time, and quite frankly it’s good that Kimi doesn’t care. If he did,
we’ll be complaining of how pathetic and easily demotivated he can get. And, as
Ted Kravitz importantly pointed out, Michael still hanging about and distracting the team (yes, distracting the mechanics and teams focus from Kimi) and these car problems is NOT what Kimi signed up for.


News: Kimi Raikkonen Space has a new sister space at KimiRaikkonenRacing where most things such as wallpapers and avatars will be archived. This is because it makes it easier for visitors to move around and access them. As you probably have figured out, Windows Spaces is pretty limited however all it takes is some creativity to please you guys!


Kimi’s own boat, ready for Monaco next weekend?


Kimi’s Official Column: Spanish Preview, News

img291/1156/l2445026xm5.jpgkimiraikkonen.com

Maximum attack.


I am always looking forward to the next race. This time I can hardly wait. We have had a long break and a very promising test last week. Now we go to Barcelona better prepared, and with a better feeling than we did to the previous races. Finally we can attack flat out. With the Maximum Attack like my friend Markku Alen used to say.

We have improved a lot. The new parts is working well and the car is more suited to my driving style. So, I am more optimistic about the race.

Of course you never know how competitive you are compared to the other teams until Sunday afternoon. But looking at the testing times, Ferrari will be competitive.

As I said before, we need to improve the qualifying pace. It has been a problem for me to be able to get the most of the car out on one lap, because I never got the car 100% to my liking. But now I am happy with the improvements we have made in the last test.

It is very difficult to pass other cars on the track, so starting at the front makes things much easier to win. To qualify on the front row and to win the race, you need very good aerodynamics and a well balanced car. The whole package has to work well. After the tests, I felt that the team has done a brilliant job on all areas.

I won the Spanish Grand Prix in 2005, but that does not make any difference for this year. It was a nice experience, but this time you have to meet the new challenges. The new chicane makes the circuit a bit slower, but it is still the same for everybody. If the car was good on the old circuit layout, then it will still be good with the new chicane. Barcelona is still a demanding circuit with high requirements from the car and the driver.

We had a good test in Barcelona earlier this year in February, but now with the new parts on the car everything worked much better. The car responds in the way I want it to. Now, setting up the car gives me a better feeling, while it reacts responsively and I feel very confident to start the weekend.

Simply said, it is better to drive.

The whole team is working highly motivated and the feeling inside is great. But like always in racing, you can never promise success beforehand. During testing, nobody knows exactly what the other teams are doing, we have to wait until Saturday to find out our speed compared to the competitors. After the race, we will know if it was enough.

Of course we go to win in Spain. We will do our very best. The championship is very tight this year so it is very important to always score good points.

Now the best time of the year is about to begin. The summer is coming and we race back into Europe. Also, the most important games of ice hockey are played right now. As you probably know, I am a big fan of ice hockey.

I have been watching the ice hockey world championshp tournament in Moscow as well as the games of my friend Teemu Selanne of The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Stanley Cup playoffs in the NHL. Both have been winning. That gives me an even better feeling.

During the break, I have been chilling out with my friends and family, trained some ice hockey and prepared for the coming golf season also. The swing is getting there.


Maximum Attack like this? lol
 

GP.com: How can Ferrari pull away from the opposition?



Ferrari dominated last week’s Barcelona testing during which Felipe
Massa was quoted, saying that the developement of the F2007 was "at
least half a second faster than before". This is bad news for the
opposition and there have been suggestions that when practice begins in
Spain later this week we may see Ferrari as much as a second ahead of
everyone. And this has been achieved even with Ferrari having
redesigned the floor of its cars to withstand the FIA’s flexibility
tests.


The opposition has been working on a variety of new aerodynamic
devices, notably Honda’s "Dumbo" nose wings and McLaren’s new
"bi-plane" front wing. These may make a difference but no-one seems
very confident that they can keep up with Ferrari.


The question being asked is how Ferrari has managed to pull off
such an improvement, which is huge in modern F1 terms. The answer,
however, seems to be that the team started the year with a package that
was deliberately not as efficient as it could be – because the team
wanted to see how the new tyres behaved.


When the F2007 was launched Ferrari was very careful to make sure
that there were few photographs of the rear of the car. This may have
been because the team did not want expert eyes to figure out that the
rear end was not really changed from last year. The only remarks made
were that the rear suspension was similar to that of the 248 and that
there was still development ongoing.


"This year the tyres were not known to us until very late in the
process as Bridgestone had a new specification of tyre to supply the
whole field and did not want to give any team an advantage by letting
them know the specification any earlier," said chief designer Nick
Tombazis at the time. "We had to leave a bit more margin in some areas
of the F2007′s adjustability in order to be able to adapt to that."


After three races the tyres are now much better understood and with
the evolution in the rear suspension the designers have been able to
alter the rear of the car with a reshaped engine cover, a revision of
the cooling system and therefore smaller sidepods.


Thus, it may be that Ferrari’s impressive leap forward is because
the team was not starting from where its rivals thought it was.


Kimi’s Column: Post – Bahrain GP

www.kimiraikkonen.com


"Something still missing.


The hottest races of this season are behind us. It feels great to be back at home, but I would not mind going testing right away, there is work to be done, I know.

We are in a good shape with the points. But it could have been better, also. We have not been able to get the car exactly the way we would have liked it to be. We just have to work hard and it should help. But now we have to wait until the next test session to be able to see, how it goes with all the new components in the car.

For a while, it is good to take it easy. There is now two weeks’ break. I have not been planning anything special to do. Just normal routine in training and just being at home. Right now I am not thinking of the next race. It is just a long season and now there is time enough to prepare ourselves better.

The Bahrain weekend was again a tough one. While the car was as such as I would not like it to be, we were not able to do everything in a way we have used to do it. The qualifying is our problem, I cannot deny that. In the race speed wise there is nothing wrong. We could challenge anyone, its as simple as that. But if we are not able to catch them straight away, it is goodbye for chasing the victory.

At the start we lost one place. Then we were not quick enough to challenge properly. While you are stuck behind someone, you are not the challenger anymore. In Sahkir, we were stuck behind Alonso. We could not overtake him in any other way than with the pitstops. You cannot ever be too confident with what happens in the pits. But we had a good timing, a good decision in that point and the team did an excellent job as the boys from Ferrari only can.

But the leaders were somewhere in the horizon and there was nothing that could be done anymore. We just took the car safely back home. There was no reason to try to attack, while we have to use this engine also for the next race in Barcelona.

22 points from 3 races is a good catch, although I always wish we could have all the berries in our basket. For sure, we could go faster, while we get the car as we want it to be. Hopefully the next test is successful with the new parts in the car. I feel confident that we will finally have the right set-up we have been looking for.

It feels nice to race in Europe again. It is not a long way to any place.

Unfortunatly, I cannot promise that it will be a new ballgame starting in Barcelona. We have to wait and see what happens with the new car. It is certain that the race will be tight and tough. We are all so close to each other that no one can escape anywhere.

While two teams have two similar cars, and all four drivers are at the same level, probably there will be a rush-hour again in the front. We will get new parts, but so will the others also. That means there is no reason not to expect any big difference between the cars.

For the fans, this must be very very exciting. Now we need all the cheering and support as much as ever. Let it burn!"

Right on Kimi, you keep flying baby. Best of luck in the tests. You have our full support and faith! – Evenstar Saima


Kimi’s Column: Post – Malaysian GP

KimiRaikkonen.com



Fresh oxygen and back to flight.


The Malaysian heat was as torturing as always before. That is why it feels so nice to be able to spend a few days back at home. On Sunday evening after the race we flew with Jenni, Mark and Toni, from Kuala Lumpur via Amsterdamn to Switzerland. After such a sauna-lke heat and enormous sweating in Malaysia, nothing feels better than to go bicycling up there in the fresh mountain air.

I have been missing the most change of the climate as I have also missed the Finnish meat balls and mashed potatoes. It feels like a luxury to get them both after being more than four weeks away from home. I hope to also have a chance to watch the Finnish icehockey play-off finals and some NHL games on my TV in Wollerau, but time is getting short. Main thing is to relax, get some fresh oxygen and charge the batteries. On Wednesday I fly to Bahrain to race again.

I think, atleast, it will not harm me in any way to visit home between these two races. I heard that Alonso flew from Australia back to Europe and it did not seem to harm him either.

But going back to the Malaysian GP weekend?

It was not good for us, that is for sure. Already coming there we knew we were not in the best of positions to start that weekend. Because of the engine worries, we had to make compromise after compromise. That put us in a position where we did not want to be. All the time we had to play on the safe side with that engine and there were also some other technical issues that we were not able to fix as we usually wanted to do.

I always want to fight for the victory. That is why I felt a little bit disappointed and empty inside, where I had to race in a way to be able to just finish it. It is like playing a football game defending a goalless draw.

Well, we finished 3rd, so it was for sure, the best possible result for us in that race. I was quite pleased with the result, we got 6 points more and we know that the most important thing right now is getting points from every race.

Now, going to Bahrain?

I have always liked that circuit, its a challenging place. We have always gone there with good speed, but somehow we have not been able to get the whole weekend in the way we would have wanted to Sometimes it is like that. Some circuits give you a hard time as long as you hopefully get everything going exactly right in your way.

We will get a new fresh engine in Bahrain. That makes me very optimistic. As I have always said, I am here to race just to win. When we have our whle package working a 100 percent, we should be back to the same speed as we had in Melbourne.

Before the season, we had a good test in Sahkir circuit. For sure, McLaren have improved since that, but at least we should be able to challenge them better than in Sepang. You never know in the weekend before how it goes. F1 moves so amazingly quick and so many things can happen during the race, also.

I just expect that we are in a better shape than we were last Sunday. The team makes everything they can to make sure we’re back to the winning speed.

It will be tough and it will become even tougher. Everybody knows that. There is never an easy victory in this business. Never. I know.


Kimi’s Column, more Sepang News, Pedro defends Kimi

Kimi’s thoughts ahead of the Malaysian GP
kimiraikkonen.com


"Chilling out for the hot race!

After the greatest season opening race of my career, I tested two days in hot Malaysia. The last few days here I have spent on a little island by the coast with just my nearest and dearest.

Right now we have a heavy program ahead, while we go to back-to-back races at Malaysia and Bahrain.

Just to get ready for the job, I have been chilling out with my usual routine, although the word chilly does not really belong in this climate. Usually, the weather feels like a Finnish Sauna – 24 hours a day.

We have been playing tennis and trained at the gym. I feel good.

The first race is just a memory. I will never forget, how it felt to finish it while seeing so many red flags of Ferrari everywhere and the team celebrating cheerfully after the job well done.

Personally, I celebrated fairly quietly. It was, however, a great day to start my life for Ferrari.

Now I focus fully on next weekend. Many years ago I clinched my
first ever grand prix victory just in Malaysia. Since that, I have had some great wins in F1, but a driver never forgets his first victory. That is for sure.

Hopefully, also this weekend will be as good as we had in Australia. Last week we had a good test here. I worked for two days and we managed to collect all the information we were looking for.

Ferrari looks competitive on all types of the circuits. There is no plan to start taking it easy. The team is pushing hard all the time to improve the car. The fighting spirit is jus great.

We just started the season, but it is clear if we aim at fighting for the championship, we have to be able to score points everytime. To win championships you need to be a consistant points scorer throughout the whole season.

The circuit of Sepeng is demanding and rough. If one part of the package is not working, then you will not be competitive.

As I said, the Ferrari car feels good. But you never know what your competitors are doing until it comes to race weekend.

So I say once again, lets wait and see how it goes this time.

We have some worries with the engine in Melbourne. We found a minor water leak in the last part of the race, and while the radio was not working, the team advised me to slow down with the COOL-sign from the pit-board.

The engine has been checked down in the factory. There have been all kinds of simulations, and they have counted, how it should last.

We hope of course, that the engine will last and we do not have to change it before the qualifying. We want to call this card until the very finishing hour.

But if we have to change the engine, it is a different thing, then it will be much more difficult to score as much points as it would be possible without losing ten places on the grid.

In any case, we will fight. Wave the flags again all the fans!"

I certainly will!
DSC05580.jpg< Keep Flying Kimi!


Sepang Stuff

< Spectacular grandstands for shade from the searing sun and the best of Tilke’s circuits. It proposes a tough challenge for the F1 drivers.

A purpose-built facility, Sepang’s 5.543km lap provides a blend of medium and high speed corners interspersed with several slow speed sections and blisteringly fast straights. Such a dynamic track poses a particular challenge for the drivers and their engineers as a quick lap depends on a car with a well balanced set-up for the complex mix of corners, plenty of power for the quick straights and sufficient cooling capabilities to counterbalance the extremes of temperature and powerful humidity.

With temperatures reaching 40°C in Kuala Lumpur, climatic conditions can play a significant role in the outcome of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Coupled with the high humidity levels and the constant threat of heavy downpours, the drivers and their cars
will be pushed to thermal limits. As temperatures soar so will the heat in the cockpit, and the driver’s physical and mental fitness levels will be severely tested as they lose over a litre of fluid per hour in the race.
Engines will also be strained as they are fired up for a second outing in Malaysia. Sepang is not regarded as a power circuit, with the time spent at full throttle relatively low, but containing oil temperatures in the extreme heat, while not compromising aerodynamic efficiency, will be imperative for their reliability.


We have had 5 different winners in the previous races here from 2002:
2006 G Fisichella – Renault
2005 F Alonso – Renault
2004 M Schumacher – Ferrari
2003 K Raikkonen – McLaren Mercedes
2002 R Schumacher – Williams BMW


Source GMM- Teams are bracing for a rain affected Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend. After the Sepang test was hit by rain last week, the south east Asian country’s Meteorological Department now predicts that more showers and thunderstorms will coincide with round two of the world championship near Kuala Lumpur.


Interestingly, the bad weather is tipped to strike Sepang on the afternoon of all three days of official F1 action, with the mornings expected to be fine. The worst weather is forecast for Saturday, but Sunday is likely to also be affected by rain. Michael Schumacher won a wet Malaysian GP in 2001.

"We have to see how the field adapts to wet conditions," said Sepang boss Datuk Azmi Murad.

"I’ve experienced some incredible downpours before in Sepang," BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld commented last week. “Here, the rain is far from normal. When the heavens open, everything disappears under water in no time."


Raikkonen remains cautious

Kimi Raikkonen is not getting carried away ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite his dominant victory in Australia and impressive testing results last week.

The Finn set the fastest time of the week on the second day of Sepang testing, as Ferrari proved that their F2007 is as quick on the fast flowing circuit as on the tight confines of Albert Park.

But speaking from Malaysia, where Raikkonen has been relaxing ahead of this weekend’s race, he made it clear that his focus at the moment is simply on ensuring Ferrari score points every time out.

"We have hardly started the championship but it’s already clear that if we want to win the title we have to try to drive always in the points," he said. "The Sepang race track is very difficult and demanding: if not all the components of the package are working perfectly, one cannot be competitive.

"The car is running very well, but as long as we are not on the race track, everybody under the same conditions, you can’t tell. As I always say: let’s wait and see how it will work out this time."

Raikkonen has admitted that he remains worried about his engine situation, amid fears that his power unit may need to be changed after small problems at the end of the race in Australia.

"There is some concern," admitted Raikkonen. "We had a slight leakage of water during the last part of the race and the team told me to slow down, writing ‘Cool’ on the sign next to the pitlane, as the radio didn’t work because of a problem with a plug.

"The engine has since been checked in the works and they also did some simulations. Now the technicians have the data. Obviously we hope that the engine will make it through the whole weekend and that we don’t have to change it before the qualifying, because we want to completely use our chance.

"In case we have to change it, obviously it would be a bit different for us: everything would be much more difficult as we had to start ten positions back regarding the result of the qualifying. Then the aim would be to reach a good result, the best one possible. But in any case we will give it all."


Pedro defends Kimi’s off track fun

Pedro de la Rosa has defended former McLaren colleague Kimi Raikkonen’s partying ways.


Referring to the Finn’s off-track reputation for occasionally enjoying
one too many alcoholic beverages, de la Rosa told a men’s magazine that
the media’s portrayal of 27-year-old Raikkonen has been "exaggerated".

"He likes to have a good time, perhaps even more than the rest
of us," said Spaniard de la Rosa, 36, who worked alongside Raikkonen as
a test driver at McLaren until the Finn switched to Ferrari for 2007.


He told FHM, "But what is written (about Raikkonen) is too much."

Alonso referring to Raikkonen, his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa
told a Brazilian newspaper earlier this year, "In a world like ours,
where there are famous people, the media can often exaggerate or even
make things up."

(Kimi Raikkonen Space)