Kimi Raikkonen cruised around Monte Carlo’s street circuit in the Ferrari California-T, for an interview by Davide Valsecchi :
FIA MONACO GP DRIVERS PRESS CONFERENCE
Coming to you Kimi, you’re another former winner of the Monaco Grand Prix. Is Monaco a race where Ferrari can hope to challenge Mercedes, given the nature of the circuit but particularly the tyres that are on offer this weekend?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: It’s hard to say, obviously. We have go into the weekend and see how it goes tomorrow and go from there. But I expect us to be as good as we’ve been this year at least and then obviously whatever happens over the weekends we will see. But I think it’s a pretty normal race weekend for us, even though it’s always a special place.
Tell us your assessment of Ferrari’s latest updates, why you made the decisions you did in Spain? Obviously you’ve spoken a bit about that already but having reflected on that since Spain, what do you expect here and going forward?
KR: Obviously we think that they are good parts; otherwise they would not be on the car at all. No, there were certain things we wanted to learn and I was prepared to take the chance and work for the long future for all of us. I think we learned things and I’m sure that we will get them working 100 per cent in the future. Maybe here I think they should be fine. You know, every circuit, every condition is different. It was a bit of a tricky weekend for us but I’m sure we’ll be better here and in upcoming races. Like I said, it wasn’t ideal for us but the aim is to improve. We have come still a long way from last year and we want to improve and improve and we have to keep working.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Vladimir Rogovets – Sb Belarus) I have two questions for all drivers. Last time we talk a lot about the future changes in Formula One. For example, the ban of radio communication between the drivers and the teams. First question: your opinion about this ban. Second question: do you like to be not modern in the race without radio communication?
Kimi why don’t you answer the first one first about the radio ban. Has it made any difference to you at all?
KR: No. For me not – but overall I think it’s not such a big deal to anybody but obviously taking the radio out completely would change a lot and probably in the beginning we wouldn’t finish races but, y’know, I don’t think that’s the way of making F1 more interesting.
And what about the idea that, if the technology’s there, why shouldn’t you be able to use it?
KR: Yeah, I mean obviously something has to change for the future to make it more interesting, to make it more challenging for us also. It would be nice to see the cars going faster and all those things.
Q: (Dan Knutson – AutoAction / Speed Sport magazines) All six of you, just yes or no, would you like to see refuelling return?
ME: I like it as it is now.
RG: Don’t care.
VB: I’ve never tried refuelling so maybe it would be nice to try.
All three gentleman in the front row did race with refuelling. Jenson?
JB: It’s not a question that has a yes or no answer is it? You obviously the safety aspect – the reason we went away from refuelling – and also the money, the cost. In terms of racing, I think it was great, back in the day when we had refuelling. If you had an issue on lap one, you could change your race around, you could do something different – whereas now it’s very difficult…
LH: He did say just a yes or no…
JB: Yeah, I know – but it’s rubbish as a yes or no question!
LH: I’m going to say yes.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboSport.com) We can expand this question. In general the packaging the Strategy Group is planning for Formula One 2016, 2017. In general, do you agree with wider cars, wider tyres, more horsepower and – mainly – one team supplying the car for another team?
Kimi, did you like what you heard from last week – the suggestions?
KR: I don’t really know. More or less. I think it would be nice. Would be good for everybody, and it would look much nicer. It would I think be more like it used to be and I think it’s the right way to go. Hopefully it happens – but we have to wait and see.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Kimi, I’m sure you’re probably aware that your fellow Finn behind you has been linked with your seat for next year, should you or Ferrari opt not to exercise the extension in your contract. Would Valtteri be a good fit for Ferrari, knowing him as you do and knowing Ferrari as you do and if so, why?
KR: Who knows? Even though we are both Finns, we don’t know each other so well. You will have to ask Ferrari what they’re going to do but very certain what will happen and obviously it seems to be every year or every team I am in, it seems I’m being kicked out or a new contract or whatever. I’m not worried about it at all so time will tell, for sure.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, qualifying being so crucial here, how much more pressure does that put on you when you’re qualifying has not been that great this year?
KR: Not any more. Obviously it’s not been ideal. If you think it’s not going to be ideal, it’s probably going to be better than expected. It’s always the important race, but every race is simple in qualifying. This might be a bit more but these days it’s not the easiest thing to overtake. The cars… we do our best, try and get things right all weekend long and be up there.
(Conducted by Sir Jackie Stewart)
Well, congratulations on a fantastic race, you must be very happy and it’s a hell of a season you’re having. Well done. Kimi – terrific. Happy?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Obviously you’re never happy when you finish second but I think after a difficult start to the year I’m a bit pleased to get some result – a bit better result. Obviously we came through in the end very quickly but we run out of the laps but I think we have to be happy after where we qualified, after we finished, but obviously we’re looking for a bit better results still.
Well, it’s a terrific success for Ferrari to come back as strongly as this. You must be pleased about that?
KR: Yeah, I’m very happy how the team is working and obviously after last year where we are now is a big step and everyone is working very well together. The atmosphere is good now and we have a good direction to keep pushing. It seems to be working well and things are improving, so I’m sure as a team we’ll get there and to be able to be all the time fighting for wins, but it will take a little more time.
Q: Kimi, fourth on the grid, second at the finish, first podium since Korea 2013. Alternative strategy for you. Obviously the middle stint was the key to your grand prix. Tell us about that and the pace that you were able to maintain against everybody else on the softer tyre. But also, you questioned at the end the decision to go onto the soft tyre – how did that work out, was it the right thing to do in the end?
KR: I think we had a few different plans. How to run the race and obviously this one was one of them. It all really depended where we are after a few laps. But I think we did a very good job out of it and the medium tyres worked very well for me in the second stint and I could pretty much… quite easily keep up with them, even catch them. They were working fine so obviously I was wondering if it’s the right choice to go on the soft at the end – but obviously it was the correct choice, they were much faster still. So, I was able to catch Nico and got past him. We did more or less the maximum that we could do today and obviously if you think that we were ahead of Nico earlier, he got past me on lap two or three or something, so we lost some time but I think we had a pretty good race and hopefully we can have many more.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, after being fourth in Malaysia and China and being out of top three for 18 months, how much do you appreciate this comeback to the podium?
KR: Obviously it’s much nicer than being out of it but, you know, you come second and obviously we got quite close to the Mercedes today but it’s a bit disappointing after that always – but I’d rather take this one than something else. You cannot feel happy. We are happy to be second but it’s still disappointing. It’s not what we want to do. Big thanks to the team. I had a pretty hard time last year. This year in the beginning, just some bad luck in the races but, you know, the team has done a great job over the winter and everybody is pushing together, in the same direction and I’m sure we are only going to get stronger and better as a team and improve the car. So, it’s a great place to be.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) Kimi, do you think the only possibility to beat Mercedes is by trying a different strategy, trying to undercut them because beating them on track seems a bit difficult now?
KR: Well, I don’t think it’s the only way. Obviously on some circuits we can get closer, some not, but I think obviously the first step is to improve our package, that will happen in the future and hopefully get closer. One step is to qualify more higher up, make better starts and go from there. I think we had a pretty decent speed today but obviously if you’re behind any cars and you lose any seconds, you will pay a price for it in the end. I think we just have to keep working and improving the whole package and how we do things. I’m sure we will get there and we can fight for wins every weekend after that.
Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto, Motor und Sport) Kimi, you were flying in the second and third stints on both type of tyre but you struggled in the first stint. Have you any idea why?
KR: I wasn’t struggling really. I didn’t feel that it was much problem. I got passed by Nico, I passed him at the start and I got passed by him and obviously you lose quite a bit of time and Page ? of ? 3 4 then he passed Seb and we were pretty close to each other. I felt I was faster but obviously it’s pretty hard to pass. I think that we did the maximum, more or less. Yesterday we lost a place to Nico, but after that, once we got the mediums and the new set of softs at the end, the car was very good, so I could keep up good speed and everything was running smoothly, but already at that point we were a bit too far off first place.
Q: (Matt Youson – Racetech) Kimi, can you tell us how this year’s car is an improvement on last season’s. Everybody talks about the power unit but is it just that or is there a lot more?
KR: Obviously a big chunk of it is the engine itself. It’s a big improvement on horsepower plus reliability but you cannot just give all the credit to them. The car has improved a lot: much more downforce, the car is handling much better because of that, and obviously how the whole package has been done and put together. I think the big key is that all areas have improved quite a bit plus the people have been working more closely, as one team putting it together more nicely, so obviously the end result is what we have now and then as I said earlier, I’m very happy how things are going, very happy with the team and I think not many people expected after last year that we can be in this kind of position this early and now we are going in the right direction, so I’m sure we will get there but we want to start winning races more often and we just have to have some patience and do the work that we’ve done so far and we will get there.
Q: (Khodr Rawi – F1Zone.net) To all three of you: is the challenge of the championship against the rival teams more difficult than against your teammate, because you don’t know what others have or what others are planning in terms of strategy and that sort of thing?
LH: It’s all hard. It’s difficult to say which one is harder. When you’re fighting the guy in your team with the same car you’ve got the data. Sure it’s more on the limit when you’re fighting another team. There’s pros and cons, there are advantages and disadvantages on each side. You just try to do your best job, that’s what motor racing is all about, to be fighting other teams, that’s what we’re here to do.
NR: It’s both different but both tough. It’s difficult to go into the details but it’s tough to battle Lewis last year and this year and it’s tough now to battle the Ferraris now that they’re in the mix.
KR: I think it doesn’t make a lot of difference. Obviously with your teammate you more or less know what he’s doing and in the race when he’s going to stop but you have to beat all of them so it’s really the same end result.
| Source: fia.com |
Kimi Raikkonen didn’t have much to say in the press conference that marked the official start of the weekend in Sepang, home to the second Grand Prix of the season. But what he did say was packed with confidence.
“We are in a much better position than we were, say even at the end of last season, so in that way it’s a nice place to be but obviously we still have to improve quite a bit,” said the Finn when asked to assess the situation after the opening race.
“We want to be in front and we still don’t have the speed exactly, at least in qualifying, to be there. However, in the race I think we are a bit stronger when compared to Mercedes. I think it will be a fun year, obviously not an ideal start of the year for me in Melbourne, after we got some damage from the start and had those issues in the pit stops, but these things can happen sometimes but at least we had pretty good speed. I’m sure we’re going to have strong races and good battles, but like I said we still have some work to do to be absolutely where we want to be but we have done a good job so far.”
Even if Kimi’s Melbourne race didn’t live up to expectations, the Finn felt very comfortable with the SF15-T and he explained this was down to a combination of two factors: the new car suits his driving style better and it is a big step forward in general compared to last year’s car. “It’s the whole package,” he maintained.
“We improved the engine a lot but we improved the chassis itself a lot as well. You cannot just point to one area that has been improved from last year. Everybody is working as one team and things are going in the right direction and people are pushing and doing a good job. Like I said, it’s still early days. We still have to work hard and improve things but, from where we started, so far we have done a good job.”
The FIA Drivers Press Conference – Full transcript
Q: Kimi, coming to you, obviously you had some problems in Australia towards the end of the race but the pace all weekend was good and you were close to your team-mate Vettel throughout, so it looks like it’s going to be a good in-house battle between the two of you. How do you see it?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously we are in a much better position than we were say even at the end of last year so in that way it’s a nice place to be but obviously we still have to improve quite a bit. We want to be in front and we still don’t have the speed exactly, at least in qualifying, to be there. In the race I think we are a bit stronger compared to Mercedes. But I think it will be a fun year, obviously not an ideal start of the year and we got some damage from the start and had those issues in the pit stops but you know it can happen sometimes but at least we had pretty good speed. I’m sure we’re going to have strong races and good battles but like I said we still have some work to do to be absolutely where we want to be but we have done a good job so far.
Q: Can you tell us what it is about the chassis and the way it handles in particular that makes it a better race car for you personally?
KR: I think it’s the whole package. It’s not just the engine we improved. Yes, we improved that a lot but we improved the chassis itself a lot as well. It’s the whole package, you cannot just point to one area that has been improved from last year, it’s the whole thing. I think how everybody works and it’s one team and things are going in the right direction and people are pushing and doing a good job. Like I said, it’s still early days. We still have to work hard and improve things but where we started, so far we have done a good job.
(Dan Knutson – Speed Sport) Accidents can happen to experienced drivers, so Nico, and Kimi, do you every worry about having accidents? Has there been a time in your F1 career where you maybe thought ‘I don’t want to go out?’
KR: I’ve had quite a few accidents in the past and last year one not so nice one. But it’s part of the game. If you make a mistake, you pay a price. It’s up to you. If you’re not prepared to take the risk or if you’re scared, I’m sure there’s plenty of guys that are willing to jump in a car and race. So, no, I think you… obviously it’s part of the thing but I think you have better chances to get hurt in normal traffic than on the race circuits.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, can you expect this circuit to give your car the same chance to have a good position, as you had at Melbourne?
KR: Well, I hope it’s better than Melbourne for me. Like I said, we had the speed and I think things are running smoothly, we just have to avoid mistakes. We had some bad luck at the start but the car’s been quick at every circuit we’ve been to so far so I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be here. I think it could be even better than it was at the last race. It’s a proper circuit and I think it will be good, fitting well at this circuit so we’ll just wait and see.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 26, 2015
It was a long press day for Kimi Raikkonen at two events and the FIA press conference. Quotes and videos below. Check out the photo gallery here.
Drivers – Marcus ERICSSON (Caterham), Pastor MALDONADO (Lotus), Sergio PÉREZ (Force India), Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari) Adrian SUTIL (Sauber), Jean-Eric VERGNE (Toro Rosso)
Q: First of all, a question to all of you about the ban on large amounts of radio traffic between the team and the driver. Kimi, you famously told the team “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.” Does that mean you welcome this change?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Well, obviously we don’t speak a lot on the radio in my case usually, when there are no issues – but obviously it might get quite complicated if there are some problems with the car and you have to change certain things to try to finish the race. I don’t know how the rule goes at those times. Obviously it makes it more complicated for us but it’s part of the game so it’s OK.
Q: Kimi, coming back to you, obviously this season hasn’t been quite what you expected it to be – but did you expect to have your problems sorted out by now? And what’s your focus for the remaining six races or so?
KR: Obviously to do as well as we can and have good results for the team and for myself. I expect it to be difficult. Probably the team didn’t expect to have such difficulties over all. We expected to be more stronger overall. It’s part of the game and we have to try to sort things out. I think we have done pretty good improvements – compared to where we started – as a team and obviously then I’m getting more happy with things but obviously still not where we want to be in the end. Still a lot of work to do.
QUESTION FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta –Turun Sanomat) Kimi, it’s two hours in very humid conditions; Nico Rosberg said that the last laps are always very painful here because it’s physically so demanding. How painful are they for you?
KR: I don’t know. Everybody has their own feelings so I can’t know how they feel like but in the past it hasn’t been a problem. It doesn’t feel as hot or humid in the last years unless the course has slowed in the race, so I don’t see why it should suddenly be a problem.
Raikkonen plays with Shell V Power Lego Collection
Kimi Räikkönen is a man who loves his beauty sleep. Shortly after admitting that the F1 Night Race gets in the way of his tuck-in time, the Finnish racer fails to suppress a yawn while answering a question.
In that moment, his seemingly smug saunter and aloof mannerisms just became the quirks of a simply tired man.
When asked if the hot and humid weather in Singapore would affect his performance, Räikkönen curtly answered, “No. We practice whether it’s hot or cold.”
Well, isn’t he a hard-hitter! That’s F1 World Champion material right there.
And while he expresses appreciation towards the folks at Shell and Ferrari for helping him improve his performance, he is quick to lay down the cold facts. It’s his engine team who works with the machine, he says, so he doesn’t have much engagement with the technical end of things.
Personally, Räikkönen’s honesty is very refreshing.
What he does get hands-on with are the miniatures of Shell V-Power’s new Lego collection, which he takes for a race on the stage. That’s right – together with a lucky #readysetbuild contest winner, he raced the miniature against Shell’s Trackside and Logistics Manager Ian Albiston.
And of course, Räikkönen emerged on top.
Interestingly, he’s got some stringent standards on who should be playing Lego. He explained that he did play with building blocks when he was younger, “but not anymore,” he remarks with a cynical glint in his eyes.
“And it is only for those who are not too young,” he asserts, putting an age limit on the fun of Lego.
Kimi Wishes Hublot in Singapore Happy 5th Birthday!
Celebrated driver makes an exclusive appearance at Hublot Boutique at Marina Bay Sands in conjunction with the adrenaline-charged 2014 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.
Hublot Boutique in Singapore had the privilege of having distinguished Scuderia Ferrari driver, Kimi Räikkönen visit, commemorating the boutique’s fifth year at luxury destination Marina Bay Sands. A milestone to remember, there was no better way than to honour this special moment.
An exclusive private event to some of Hublot’s top VIP guests, it not only celebrates Hublot’s anniversary but also underlines Hublot’s strong partnership with Ferrari. A watch enthusiast and friend of Hublot, Kimi Räikkönen showcased his skills by assembling Hublot’s Manufacture UNICO movement a caliber engineered in all Big Bang Ferrari.
Hublot is the « Official Watch » and “Official Timekeeper” of Ferrari worldwide since 2011. A comprehensive collaboration covering all the activities of Ferrari with Hublot, both in terms of communication, motorsport and commercial activities with also an Hublot presence on the Scuderia Ferrari cars and drivers’ gloves. The outcome is the creation of an exclusive range of bold timepieces that uniquely addresses the respective DNA of Hublot and Ferrari: innovation, performance, technology and exclusivity.
A comprehensive range of limited edition Ferrari timepieces were displayed in the boutique, showcasing the proliferating strength of Hublot and Ferrari’s partnership. ”I am happy to be representing Scuderia Ferrari to commemorate Hublot’s anniversary as a mark of respect of both brand’s illustrious affiliation. Here’s wishing Hublot greater success in the future!” says Kimi Räikkönen.