Never afraid of trying something new if there’s the potential for fun, Lotus F1 Team driver Kimi Raikkonen today lent an experienced hand to the GP3 Series by testing the next generation of car in sunny Barcelona.
The 2007 world champion did 58 laps in a GP3/13 car belonging to Koiranen GP. He set a best time of 1’34.780, eight seconds off his pace in an F1 car when he finished second in the Spanish Grand Prix at the track in May.
“I wanted to test the GP3/13 because my friend Afa Heikkinen has a team in this series and I have been closely following their progress and results since the beginning of the season,” said Raikkonen.
“I was curious to see how the car handled and it was actually fun to drive. There were a few issues regarding its behaviour, but we managed to solve most of them.
“The GP3/13 is a very good tool for young drivers, especially when you have to learn about tyre management like we have in F1.”
GP3 technical director Didier Perrin said Raikkonen’s input would help them develop the car: “His experience and feedback were invaluable and they gave us a better understanding of what needs to be done in order to make our car a better tool in overtaking opportunities for next season.”
“He has confirmed all our hypothesis, and together we could start working on two development directions for the end of season testing.”
| Source: espn.co.uk |
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen believes Mercedes will “surprise a few people” at the Australian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the fastest times on the final two days of testing at Barcelona.
Rosberg set the fastest time of the test on Sunday with Fernando Alonso the only other driver capable of beating Hamilton’s Saturday benchmark. Raikkonen, whose Lotus has been tipped as a front runner at the first few races, said he thinks he could have got close on a low-fuel run, but his final two days were limited by food poisoning on Saturday and a gearbox issue on Sunday.
“For sure at least we would have made it close, but it doesn’t really matter if we made the time here or not,” he said. “Hopefully we can be fast at the first races.
“Mercedes might surprise quite a few people, but we’ve seen before last winter they were strong here and then it was a bit of a surprise they were not strong in the races. We will have to see.”
After finishing third in last year’s drivers’ championship, Raikkonen said the key to a successful assault on the 2013 title would be adding race-winning pace to the consistency he showed in 2012.
“We have to have more overall speed than last year,” he said. “If we can keep the consistency and add a bit more speed and a better result at the beginning of the year it will hopefully give us a better chance.”
| Source: ts.fi | by Heikki Kulta | Translation courtesy of Nicole |
I have circulated the F1 paddock for a long time. On Sunday morning I met my all time youngest information source ever.
Kimi’s last testing day started with hardships. Lotus remained in the garage after only one test lap.
Since nothing happened I went there myself to find out why nothing happens.
I stepped inside Lotus team’s VIP premises where Kimi’s brother Rami Räikkönen sat in a table with his sons Justus and Tiitus. I met Kimi’s nephews for the first time on Saturday and we got along immediately.
I barely had time to say hello when the youngest Räikkönen – Tiitus, 6 years old, told this F1 reporter with his Lotus cap sideways that he can tell that the gearbox in Kimi’s car spit out all the oil on the ground and his driving stopped right there.
This is how you sometimes hear the news…
I rushed back to the media center and published the info before anyone else knew anything about it. Of course I stopped on the way to get a confirmation from a familiar Lotus engineer.
Kimi’s nephews got a lot of fans in the track area. For example the track officials were completely in awe when these small brothers walked with their dad around the track following the tests.
Tiitus took as many pictures he possibly could of the people on the paddock and the cars with the iPod he got from Uncle Kimi for Christmas. The brothers seemed to have fun and at the end of the day the whole gang took off with Kimi’s rental plane towards new adventures.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Having wrapped up the team’s pre-season schedule in the Spanish sun this afternoon, Kimi gives us his thoughts on an eventful winter programme, the importance of understanding Pirelli’s latest range of tyres and his expectations for the first race of the season…
Q: Pre-season has been a bit of a rollercoaster for you by all accounts; are you satisfied with progress over the past few weeks?
KR: For sure this winter could have run a bit smoother for us and there have been a few problems here and there, but this is pretty normal and whenever we’ve been out on track the car has felt good. The issues we’ve had have been pretty minor and we’ve found solutions to all of them, but unfortunately they took a bit of time to fix so in the end it’s cost us track time which is a shame. If you look back at last year the car was very reliable, so hopefully it will be the same again this season; I’m not worried about it.
Q: Tyres have been at the centre of controversy once again; what are your thoughts on the 2013 rubber?
KR: They have been graining pretty badly, but that was expected because of the cold and it’s the same for everyone. It’s difficult to say how they’ll behave until we get to the first race, but hopefully it will be quite different in the warmer conditions. If it’s the same as what we’ve seen here then they could be the main difference between the teams for sure… getting the most out of them will be important for everyone.
Q: Less than two weeks now until the first race of the season; where do you think the team stands heading to Melbourne?
KR: It’s hard to say as you never know what kind of programme the others are running. We’ve run through a lot of assessments over the past few weeks and the feeling in the team is that we have a strong basis to start the season, even if we haven’t shown that every day. I’m happy with the car and looking forward to going racing. Whether we’ll be up there from the start we won’t know until we get there, but we don’t have to wait very long to find out…