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.
Kimi, the first question has to be how are you feeling after your accident at Silverstone, any after-effects and what happened?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Well, I crashed, I guess you saw it. No, I had some pain but it’s all fine.
Just in your leg?
KR: No actually it was in my ribs the most, that’s why I didn’t do the test, but it’s all gone away now.
You’re 100 per cent now?
Many things have not gone the way you expected them to this season in your rejoining Ferrari, but can you tell us what has gone the way you’ve expected it and what positives you’ve drawn so far?
KR: We’ve been in every race at least. That’s what you expect at least. It’s been a difficult year, hopefully it will turn around at some point – it must, it cannot go much longer like this, it’s not fun. But this kind of thing has happened to me before and we always managed to turn it around, so I have a strong belief it will turn around. We have to just fix issues and get things as I want and I’m sure we can be back where we should be.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi there has been a lot of criticism around you in the past few months. Do you feel that your position in Ferrari could be threatened next year or do you feel confident that you will sort your problems and that everything is going to be OK for the future?
KR: Like I said, I’m sure we can fix them. How fast? I hope quickly but it depends on many things. I have a contract so I’m not worried about that for the future.
Kimi, your thoughts on the FRIC suspension?
KR: Yeah, I mean it’s the rule and obviously that decides if we can use it or not. It’s not in our car, I don’t expect it’s going to be a completely different world but until we run it, the cars, and see what the other teams do, it’s hard to say. I guess we’ll know a bit more after this weekend.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, do you remember having any heavier shunt than you had in Silverstone?
KR: Yeah, probably I have had. Hopefully not too many more but it’s just part of the thing. It hurt a little bit but quite often you can have a quite slow accident and get badly hurt, so it’s not about that really, it was just an unfortunate thing. Nothing serious happened. It’s part of the sport.
Watch the full conference in video below.
Q: Kimi, another Monaco winner, do you consider a win here to be more important than other races? What did you feel when you ticked that Monaco win off your bucket list?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: Obviously it’s been pretty OK many times for me the race but then it’s not always from your side that the things go wrong here. There’s so many things that can affect your result in the end. Previous years haven’t been the most best again but hopefully this year can be a bit better and hopefully we get some good points but obviously it’s too early to say how the car will be. Everything is different from last year so we have to just go open-minded and try to do the best that we can.
Q: Was Spain something of a turning point for you in terms of being able to extract closer to the maximum potential from the Ferrari? What made the difference there for you? And also, can you say anything about your analysis of the strategy in that race afterwards?
KR: We’ve been pretty good in other races also but obviously had some problems in the race or in practice and always messed up the complete big picture a bit. But obviously it was a bit better last time around. To be honest, if we finished where we finished, I think sixth and seventh, it’s not at all where we want to be as a team, so we still have an awful lot of work to do. We improve things little-by-little but the other teams are also going forward so it’s not a simple thing to fix and be in front suddenly. We know how it works and we know how much things have to improve but we keep working hard and for sure one day we will get there.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Aron Day – FormulaSpy.com) Kimi, you’ve driven the V10s, the V8s around Monaco. Do you think the new cars will be more difficult to drive?
KR: It’s difficult to say before we drive. I think if your car is normally good, it doesn’t really matter where you go. You know how it behaves and it will be OK. Obviously a bit less grip this year and maybe some cars are a bit more hard to handle but we have to see how it goes on the first practice and see what it is. But I think we’ve improved a lot since the winter and it should be OK.
Q: (Vladamir Rogovets – SB Belarus Segodnya) To all of you: what is your favourite braking zone in Monaco?
JB: Well, I think after the tunnel, that’s good, I like that.
J-EV: Last corner, there is nearly no braking. I don’t know.
VB: Yeah, I think the tunnel as well, because that’s one of the places it could be possible to overtake, so let’s say that. Yeah.
RG: Casino. It goes quickly up hill and when you get to the top you just have to brake. It’s quite a nice feeling.
NR: Same, up the hill, it’s very very difficult because it’s a very very fast corner and you’re trying to carry the speed in and if you get it wrong and you’re going too fast, it’s very easy to lose the line.
KR: No, I don’t really have one favourite one. Any of them. You can chose.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, are you going to carry on with the James Hunt-style design of your helmet here?
Q: (Vincent Marre – Sports Zeitung) To all six of you: if there is one day race that we have now in this calendar that you would like to change into a night race, assuming there is no technical issue, which one would it be? There must be one.
VB: This one would be cool, I think. It would look nice.
J-EV: Yeah, I think this one as well under lights.
JB: Same, same thing. It would be really nice to race in Monaco at night.
RG: I don’t know; why not Melbourne?
NR: Japan, so there’s no jetlag.
KR: I cannot hear the question. I understood by their answers but I’m happy how they are, we can always dream about things but we don’t make the rules, so there’s no point.
Q: (Ben Edwards – BBC) Nico and Kimi; we lost a legend of Formula One, Sir Jack Brabham, this last week. Obviously his exploits were before you guys were born but can I just ask if you had any contact with Sir Jack Brabham, if you have any thoughts about his career and also if you’d been born in a different era, would you have ever considered going down that kind of route that he did, of building his own car? Kimi, you’ve set up teams; Nico you have an interest in engineering. If you’d been born in that era, could you have seen yourselves go down that route?
KR: Obviously I read and I was so sad to hear that he had passed away. Obviously these days are different than the days that they used to race and they could do different categories, different races. It would be very nice if they would be able to do different things at the same time and different races and try different things more. But the problem is everything gets so much more expensive these days and obviously people are more scared that you get hurt that they try to limit everything that you do. It’s a shame because I think it would be more fun for everybody and all sports would also benefit from it, and F1. It would be nice to do stuff like they did.
NR: It’s an amazing achievement that he did at the time, to win in another team but also in his own team, in his own car that he built. It’s extremely unlikely to ever happen again but you never know, but it’s a record that is definitely going to last a long time.