Kimi Raikkonen is keen to get racing this weekend, after early promise in Malaysia was wiped out on Sunday after a first lap coming together with Kevin Magnussen.
“In Malaysia, the car was more or less the same as in Australia, although clearly we learned more from doing a lot of running and of course, the circuit layout in Sepang is different,” the Finn told the media at his usual Thursday press meeting.
“Those factors make a difference and overall, we were much better in Malaysia, even if not quite where we want to be. Then my race was destroyed, which was not my fault, but that’s how it goes. There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have the right people and all the tools we need to fix those things. It will take time, but we will get there. As for this weekend, if we start well as we did in Malaysia, but then don’t have the problems we had in the race there, we can have a better weekend.”
As for how life was going with Fernando Alonso as a team-mate, the 2007 world champion explained he had more pressing matters on his mind. “I don’t know have any real opinion formed yet as I’ve been putting all my effort into sorting out my side of things,” he said. “If I can do that, then we can get the results we want which is our aim. I haven’t given much thought to Fernando, apart from seeing his lap times and data of course. There’s nothing there I would not have expected.”
Asked about whether or not he liked the current Formula 1 so far this season, Kimi was his usual pragmatic self. “It makes no difference if we like it or not, as we do not make the rules. We cannot change it and it is what it is. Sometimes you end up in areas that you would not choose, but you just have to make the best of it. I don’t see the point in talking about the sound of the cars or whether I like it or not.”
“Obviously they have been looking strong over the test and over the first two races, but I am sure we have some big gains that will come,” said Raikkonen.
“I am quite far away in the points, but that can all change with the new rules. And with only two races done, we try to do the best that we can.
“We try to improve but it is not easy to catch up with them. But we don’t give up. We know where we need to improve and I am sure we are going to get there.”
NEW PARTS ARRIVED FOR RAIKKONEN
Raikkonen has endured a tougher start to the season than team-mate Fernando Alonso because he has struggled to get comfortable with the front end of the car.
The team has focused on trying to improve the interaction of its energy harvesting, which has affected braking.
Revised suspension components will be tried out by Ferrari in Bahrain this weekend to help improve the front of the car further.
Despite the arrival of the new parts, Raikkonen is cautious about how quickly his problems will be fully solved, even though there were signs of progress in Malaysia.
“Overall we were much better but we were not where we wanted to be,” he explained.
“There are a lot of things to improve in all areas, but we have all the right people and all the tools to fix those things.
“But those things are not easy to fix and I am sure it will take time. But we know where we want to be and where we are aiming, and we are going to get there.
“Hopefully we’ll get some better results here now if we can start a similar way in the last race, but not having the issues we had in the race.”
Formula 1 according to Kimi Raikkonen is throttle, brake, wheel and track. Nothing else matters, including the 21 opponents with whom he finds himself on the track on Sunday. Some he admits to not even know.
The Finn, 34, is the oldest driver. “It’s true – he confirmed – I read it somewhere.” It is not an attempt of humor, it’s him naturally. He came to Ferrari in 2007, won the first World Championship post- Schumacher and left at the end of 2009. He came back this year to the team with Fernando Alonso. “I do not know if he is the strongest teammate I have had. I’ll try to beat him like I did with all the others. And I’ll be disappointed if I don’t succeed.”
The season start in Australia has gone bad, only a seventh place. In 2007 he began with pole position and win.
“2007 has nothing to do with the new rules. This year’s car doesn’t fit me, is not what I want. We’re working on it, but unfortunately we have not yet solved the problem.”
What do you need?
“It’s a matter of setup, I can’t have the car that I like. We have little problems here and there, but if we can put together the things we have learned two weeks ago in Melbourne we should be doing already a big step forward. We drove one race, we should not panic.”
The Mercedes flies, you are not worried?
“No. We want to do better, win races, but it was not a disaster in Melbourne. The disaster is when you don’t score points. With the people we have and which are working hard we can improve. “
In which areas the F14T is weaker?
“There are many little things that can make a big difference. There is not a single problem to be solved.”
In Malaysia in 2003 you won your first race: it feels like a special Grand Prix?
“It’s a race like any other.”
Alonso is the strongest teammate that you ever had?
“It’s hard to say. Every season is different, every car is different. Sometimes a car is more suited to the characteristics of one driver than of another. He is certainly very good but I don’t care to do a ranking. “
He puts pressure?
“No, in my career I have always tried to beat my team-mate, as it’s normal: I want to do well and I’m disappointed if I do not.”
Once he said that Massa is faster than you …
“I do not care what people say.”
If you would have to bet an euro on a driver for the world title, from what we have seen so far, who would you choose?
“Who has won in Australia ( Rosberg, ed) gained the most points and so is the driver to beat but the championship is long. The Mercedes seems strong, we will see in the next races.”
Vettel says that the noise of Formula 1 with the turbo became shit. Do you agree or not?
“It doesn’t seem to me that the noise has changed. It’s just a little lower.”
Speaking of Vettel: do you believe that he will return soon to winning?
“Like us he had problems in the first race but I am convinced that he has a good car and will be able to recover.”
What has changed for the better or for the worse in Maranello compared to your first experience?
“It’s changed little in the team. There are the rules that are different and this has had a big impact on the cars. “
The Ferrari team will be your last?
“I have already said several years ago (laughs). Yes, now that I’m back I’m sure it will be my last team also because I will not go on and on. Then I will start the second part of my life. Meanwhile, I try to do my best.”
Are you thinking about a new challenge after Formula 1?
“I’ll see at the day when I stop. I have not planned anything, I don’t think I will have many occasions to race. I’ll spend the free time like now.”
Is Formula 1 better than rally?
“If I was not happy I would not be here.”
Have you followed the story of Robert Kubica?
“I know how hard it is to drive off the circuits: you pay much more for errors than in Formula 1. If you try to push to the maximum in each curve like on the track, sooner or later something happens to you.”
What is the most enjoyable collateral effect of F1? Women, money, fame?
“The track has so far absorbed the majority of the time of my life. We are paid well, but it is not easy. And then in F1 there are so many things that are neither interesting nor pleasant.”
If you have seen the movie “Rush” you maybe miss that world: your hero is Hunt or Lauda?
“I saw the trailer. The sport has changed, in those days it was more exciting and fun, as well as dangerous.”
KIMI RAIKKONEN: “As for the others? I don’t fear them and even if anyone’s quicker than us we are only at the first race.”
“First of all I think we need to make sure we finish the races,” Raikkonen said. “And if we do that we’re already in a good position. We want to improve in all the areas, and we have to first see where we are.
“I don’t have any interest in guessing where we’re going to be or what’s going to happen. All we can do is see on Friday a little bit, and go from there. I hope that if we get everything running smoothly and do the best job we can then we should be up there.
“We didn’t have the best test in the last days, but I think we did most of the things that we were planning to do, and we have to see how we start, try to do our best, definitely try and be up there and try to finish the race, and hopefully be on the podium at least.”
Kimi was unperturbed by the prospect of rain this weekend.
“I mean rain or dry doesn’t make an awful lot of difference right now, there are much more unknown things that has to be answered. We will see how the weather is, it’s the same for everybody, so we’ll do the best whatever the situation is.”
Meanwhile regarding Fernando Alonso he said: “We have a normal team mate relationship, we both try to do our best, and help the team as well as we can.”
“It is difficult to say [if Ferrari can win],” he said. “It is the aim for sure, but there are so many unknowns coming this weekend.”
“This event is an excellent test bench for the new Formula 1 format because Albert Park is a very demanding circuit when it comes to fuel consumption. Due to the characteristics of the circuit, we have always used a lot of fuel here so to manage to be sparing with it will be a demanding challenge.”
For Kimi it’s the start of his second career at Ferrari: “Some faces have changed but even if the atmosphere seems a bit different to me it’s still the same great team and I believe it has worked very well on this year’s car.” About the race he added: “We’ve only had a few days of testing available. In an ideal world we would have arrived with many days on the track behind us, with more experience of the characteristics of the car and race strategies. That’s not how it is but it’s the same for everyone so all we can do is go on the track and try to get the best result possible.
“More than the result we know that we have a lot to come on the F14 T so we are not worried. The car seems to have a good potential but we will have work to do to get the most out of it.”
Shell event with the Ferrari drivers
Italian SkySports, interview with subtitles
| Source: ferrari.com |
There are now only a few days to go to the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season and this year, like never before, there is a great sense of anticipation to see the cars take to the track on Friday in Albert Park. For Kimi Raikkonen, there’s an extra reason why it will feel special, because he will be starting his second stint at Ferrari. Most recently, the Finn won this race in 2013, but he also did it back in 2007, when he made his Ferrari debut, thus joining a select band who triumphed first time out for the Prancing Horse, drivers of the calibre of Juan Manuel Fangio, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell. Only one other driver managed it after Kimi and that was his current team-mate, Fernando Alonso.
“I remember very well my first win with Ferrari,” Kimi said. “It couldn’t have been a better start to my seventh year in Formula 1, with a dominant win from pole. Winning always feels great for me. Nothing could be better. Last year, we also managed to win, which certainly surprised people because unlike 2007, at Lotus we weren’t favourites. So, if I had to compare the two Australian wins, somehow, winning it last year for the second time felt even a little bit nicer after such a difficult pre-season testing period.
“Australia is a great place to start the season, Melbourne is a wonderful city and, for us Europeans it always feels a bit special to be in this different part of the world. Only the weather is not always that nice,” added Raikkonen. “I can remember only one GP here where there was sunshine all the time. Of course, I’d prefer dry and hot weekends, especially this year with a completely new car and so many technical aspects still to be understood completely.”
Kimi ran the Albert Park track programme on the simulator today, to try and anticipate unusual situations that could arise because of the characteristics of the 2014 car. “The track is not that difficult and it’s a combination of a street circuit and a permanent race track and the event is very well organised. Sure, if your car is not well balanced then life can get difficult because you can lose a lot of time compared to those have got it right. If it rains, then the track is very, very slippery and the white lines can be really treacherous.”
The Espoo man won’t be drawn into what could be the possible outcome of the race: “Making predictions has never been my habit and this year there is even more reason not to. We are heading Down Under with brand new cars and I reckon it is wide open and anything can happen. In Maranello, we have worked hard and the F14 T seems to be a good car, but the track will tell who is quickest. When we start running to see where we are, we will at least have some data to give us a starting point.”
“I’ve seen much worse winters [of testing] than this one so I’m not worried about it, we would like to keep putting more mileage on the car,” he said. “We’ve learnt again today and we will see where we are on the last day. There were small changes we had to make but they all take time. There’s been no major issues, from team to team it has been difficult to get a good feeling on certain things with set up but we are getting there little by little. We need to do a little more laps of course but that’s how it is. I think we need to do a race distance on the last day, and then see how we are.”
“The feeling is ok but lap times will decide where we are and we will see in the first race where we sit. I don’t know [who are favourites]. We will see in Australia who is the best. My target is to try to win but right now I don’t know where we are. It’s going to be a long season with the new rules for everyone. It gets exciting when we get to racing again. There’s lots of things we are still trying to learn and they will get better. It’s all new stuff and hopefully we can do a good final day.”
“I think there’s been a lot [of improvement] in driveability but there is always places to improve and that’s what we are looking for really. It’s more to get the car how I like it to be but it’s difficult to know or find the right levels. The car looks reliable, we have some small issues but everyone has. I think we improve all the time, finding new things and learning more. It’s hard to say from day to day, things change always. I’m sure we learned today again.”
“We will try to do the race distance, for sure,” said Raikkonen when asked what the focus will be for his final day in the car. “
“I haven’t even tried to do it yet. I think Fernando did it so that’s something that we are hopefully going to do and just see where we are really. [Beyond that], just normal things, trying things, learning again and hopefully we will be ready for the first race of the year.”
“I am sure they [new parts] were better otherwise we wouldn’t have brought them,” said Raikkonen.
“But there are still things to improve and things to try to put things together in the final moments [of testing]. We will see where we are in the first race.”
“I’m sure if we wanted to do 100 laps today, we could do,” said Raikkonen.
“We had to do other things and try different things and try to see which way which changes go and learn a little bit because when it comes to race weekends there is not so much time to change stuff. At least I will have some idea of which way to go. I’m not too worried.”
RACE SIMULATION PLANNED
“Before I leave Sakhir, it’s planned that I should do a race distance and that’s the only thing I’m missing.”
Raikkonen seemed very relaxed about the topic of fuel consumption and how it could influence the races, when asked about it by journalists.
“It’s been years now that we haven’t been able to drive flat out from start to finish,” he replied. “First you had to look after the engines, then it was the tyres. You are never pushing 100% on every lap because there is always something you have to keep an eye on. We will also get used to the 2014 situation, but we have to start racing before worrying about it.”
As for what he thought the others were up to, Kimi gave his characteristically succinct response. “We have been on different programmes and I don’t think you can judge a car’s potential from how many laps it does in testing. We have a lot of things to test and we want to make the most of these days to check everythting, because the race weekend doesn’t last long and the hours on Friday fly by, while on the other days you are only looking for performance.”
Tomorrow, the second day of this final test, Fernando Alonso will be in the F14 T. Kimi will be back in the car on Saturday.
Autosport.com – Kimi Raikkonen: “For sure everybody wants to see more laps and we want to do more laps, but it is pretty normal with such a big change. It will take a little bit of time before we can run 100 per cent all the time and not have issues.
I think we have started pretty okay. I think the biggest challenge is getting all the new stuff working as we want, and working together. It is much trickier than what we are used to, but from the driving side I don’t think it is an awful lot different.
It is just the first day with all new stuff so it takes time to get things up to speed. One day to go, a lot of work to do, we know that. But we expected these first test days to learn things, so I really don’t feel like it is such a big difference to this year or any previous one.”
Ferrari.com: “We had a lot of new things to learn today. Even if we would have liked to do more laps, I think that for a first day it was alright. Towards the end, when the track was damp, we chose not to take any risks. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us, but all in all, we are pleased with our first day.”
Sky Sports: “It’s just the first day, there is still a long way to go,” he told reporters. “Lap times don’t mean anything, I was just learning about the car. We have started ok.. As I’ve said before, I’ve been here before and I know most of the people. It’s just a different team from last year, it’s not a new team.”
@f1zone Kimi on whether it was emotional to drive out of the garage in a Ferrari again: “No, not really” @adamcooperf1 Kimi Raikkonen on his new car and new rules: “In an ideal world I think there would probably be less buttons to push…”
Sky Sports interview with Kimi
Ferrari requested fans to send in their questions to Kimi via social media and email with the hashtag #AskKimi, here’s what the top 10 got out of the ever-excited and chatty Iceman… ha.
| Source: autosport.com |
Kimi Raikkonen says there is no way of telling yet how his relationship with 2014 Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Fernando Alonso will bear up to the heat of competition.
Although both drivers are excited about what their partnership should deliver, there are concerns that it could produce some tense moments if they end up battling wheel-to-wheel.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo admitted before Christmas that the line-up had its dangers, but equally he was sure both men would do what was best for the team.
Speaking to media after the launch of the new F14 T on Saturday, Raikkonen said the relationship between him and Alonso was good now – but admitted that things could be different when they are fighting on track.
“I don’t think there is any way of telling things right now,” said the Finn, who is now fully recovered from the back issues that he suffered last year.
“Every situation is different, but we know what we have to do.
“We have said before, we are going to race against each other like every year – it doesn’t matter who is your team-mate.
“We have a respect against each other and we try to come out on top, but we know what the team expects from us and time will tell what happens.
“There is a lot of talk from outside of all the problems and all those kinds of things, but inside the team we have a good feeling.
“We have to wait and see how it goes, and hopefully we can bring both titles back to the team.”
Alonso underlined that he expected both of them to do what was best for the team – even if it meant personal ambitions had to be sacrificed.
“We will follow whatever the team priority is, and we try to do our best to win both championships and bring back to Ferrari some of the success Ferrari had in the past,” he said.
“The best way to achieve that is to race at 100 per cent level every race, and try to always bring back the points to the team and ourselves.
“To do that we need to work in perfect harmony and follow what the team priority is, and what the team will tell us.”
Video: Press conference with the Ferrari drivers
| Source: ferrari.com | full transcript below |
The first three “official” days of Kimi Raikkonen’s second stint with the Prancing Horse proved useful for him to familiarise himself with the technical aspects that go to make up part of a driver’s job wherever he is. In addition, it was also a chance for him to re-immerse himself in the special atmosphere only to be found at Ferrari. Below are five videos where Kimi talks about the fans, the team, F1, Maranello and the FF.
Kimi’s world – Raikkonen and the fans
Kimi’s world – Raikkonen and the team
Kimi’s world – Raikkonen and the Formula 1
Kimi’s world – Raikkonen and Maranello
Kimi’s world – Raikkonen and the FF
“My feeling is that it’s not going to be as different as people think. But I might be wrong.”
Q: How does it feel to be back at Maranello?
KR: It’s nice to come back here [Maranello], obviously it is nice to be back and seeing the people that were here when I was at Ferrari. Also some new people, but it has been so far very good. There are a lot of good people in the team, with a lot of knowledge. We have to the best and see where we end up, but there is the chance that we can do very well.
Q: What’s the target for the future?
KR: There’s only thing we try to do and that is to win championships. Hopefully as a team we can do that. It’s going to be difficult, especially with the new rules. It’s very hard to say who is where and how its going to be. Thats the only thing we try to do and that is to win championships. Hopefully as a team we can do that. It’s going to be difficult, especially with the new rules. It’s very hard to say who is where and how its going to be.
Q: Your return has made Ferrari fans very happy…
KR: As always nice to have fans and the fact that they are happy I came back to Ferrari is obviously a bonus. And hopefully we can get the results and make them even happier.
Q: How different will it be with new regulations and the all new Formula V6 turbo cars?
KR: My feeling is that driving the new cars will not be as difficult as people think. Hopefully we find out it is pretty simple. For sure it will be difficult for the technical people, all those who have to make a new engine, new gearboxes and all this. But it is not affecting so much the driver, I think. Sure we have new buttons and things to follow, let’s wait and see. It will be much easier to say after the first test.
Q: How do you feel about double points to be awarded at the final race of the season?
KR: This is the same for everybody It might help somebody or might be against somebody, and obviously people who it helps will like it. For me it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s the rule, so like it or not it isn’t going to change.
Q: What’s your favourite track?
KR: Spa is very nice track because it is sort of old fashioned, there ae some nice new circuitts too where they have done a good job. The United States track and India [were] quite nice. I quite liked it.
Q: You were in the Ferrari simulator?
KR: We did some work on the simulator and we will do more later, but mainly to check some of the buttons and see how things work.
Q: What are your thoughts on your new race engineer Antonio Spagnolo?
KR: We worked with him together before for two years, he was the data engineer for me. I know him from that time already, so basically it wasn’t too difficult and it was nice to see him. I saw him at some races and we spoke quickly when we passed each other in the paddock. For him it is a new challenge, but he knows the systems and has a lot of experience, so I thinbk it should be fine. Obviously we have to start from somewhere and then build things together. I don’t see any problems, or wy it shouldn’t be good. So it’s only exciting.
Raikkonen will be in action in a Ferrari, for the first time since 2009, during the first day of testing at Jerez on 28 January at the wheel of the team’s 2014 turbo powered car.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Kimi heads to Austin looking for a longer race than last time out, and expecting to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned American hospitality.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS?
KR: It’s a nice circuit. The layout is quite interesting and the racing last year was good. The sectors of the track are fairly different, so there’s a challenge there. Last year the days started out pretty cold so it was very slippery, but hopefully now it’s been used a bit more the track surface won’t be as shiny, so it should be easier to get the car as we want it.
Q: YOU’LL BE USING THE SHORTER WHEELBASE CAR AGAIN; WHY IS THIS?
KR: It has a better feeling for me and seems to make it easier for me to get more of what I want from the car. We’ve been trying to get rid of understeer to get the car more as I want it and the shorter car helps with this.
Q: ANY THOUGHTS LOOKING BACK AT YOUR RACE IN ABU DHABI?
KR: It wasn’t the longest race I’ve been in; certainly not as good as my 2012 race there either. Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but that’s the way things go sometimes. We should have a much longer race in Austin.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE OF RACING IN THE US?
KR: I competed in seven Grands Prix at Indianapolis. Unfortunately the one time I felt I had a really strong car there it was 2005 when only six cars raced and I wasn’t one of them. I did get pole position in 2003, but none of the races there are ones I remember well. In 2011 I tried NASCAR. I did two races on the Charlotte oval and I really liked it a lot. That was probably the experience I needed to open my eyes for racing again. After that I really wanted to come back to Formula 1, while it was a tempting idea to do more NASCAR too.
Q: HOW ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING IN AUSTIN AGAIN?
KR: After going there for the first time last year – like everyone – I’m particularly looking forward to this one. I like the American atmosphere, it’s just a relaxed environment. They know how to have fun, and most of all they love racing.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF LAST YEAR’S RACE?
KR: It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with another car on the first lap so I had a lot of work to do. We were using quite hard tyres for the race so it was difficult to get the performance you wanted from them; especially when it got cooler because of the clouds that day. Hopefully it’ll be clear skies this year.
Q: DO YOU THINK A BETTER PERFORMANCE IS POSSIBLE THIS YEAR?
KR: The car has been feeling pretty good and we’ve seen some good races this year. We won’t know how good it is in Austin until we’re out on track, but we’re certainly pushing for a good result.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Disqualified from qualifying then eliminated on the opening lap; it’s not been an easy twenty-four hours for Kimi here at the Yas Marina. In typical style, the Iceman tells it how it is…
Q: AN ABRUPT END TO YOUR ABU DHABI WEEKEND; TALK US THROUGH IT
KR: There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse and i had to retire from the race.
Q: SOME WERE SUGGESTING A PIT LANE START MAY HAVE BEEN WISE; WOULD THIS HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE?
KR: It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.
Q: ANY THOUGHTS HEADING TO AUSTIN?
KR: It wasn’t the best weekend here in terms of results, but the car has been much more to my liking so hopefully it will be the same again at the next races. If we can keep it how I like it then we’ll be able to push for some better results, so we’ll see how it is in Austin.
Lotus’s long-term Formula 1 future received a major boost on Sunday night when investment group Quantum Motorsports said its deal to buy into the team was complete.
After a weekend when questions about Lotus’s financial state emerged following Kimi Raikkonen’s threat to not race because he had not been paid, major progress was made in the much heralded agreement.
Mansoor Ijaz, who is the head of the Quantum Motorsports consortium that includes Middle East investors, said that his company had now completed its side of the contract and just needed final approval from team owner Genii Capital.
“There is no question that the deal is definitely happening,” he said, when asked by AUTOSPORT about the latest situation.
“I will even go out as far as to say that it has now been completed from our side in terms of what has to be done.”
Quantum plans to buy a 35 per cent stake in the team through new shares issued by majority owner Genii.
There are also options for it to potentially take over the entire running of the team in the future, should Genii wish to scale down its involvement.
“We have options – I won’t go into the details of those options – but the options do allow us in a fixed amount of time to take control of the team later on,” Ijaz added. “We will do that in a way that is very co-ordinated with our partners at Genii.”
APOLOGY TO RAIKKONEN
Ijaz revealed that the major investment deal will allow Lotus to pay off its debts, pay off suppliers – and also settle its pay dispute with Raikkonen.
As AUTOSPORT revealed earlier, Raikkonen has now reached a deal with Lotus to sort out his issues and will now race in the final two grands prix of the 2013 season.
Ijaz said he was sorry for allowing the matter to get so out of hand after meeting with Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson on Saturday night.
“We have apologised to Kimi,” he said. “We intend to not only make sure that they are made whole, and then some, but we are intending also to compensate our employees and management team for having taken it on the chin from you guys [the media] in recent weeks.”
Lotus has not yet officially confirmed the completion of the Quantum deal, but team principal Eric Boullier said on Sunday that he hoped an announcement could be made in the next 48 hours.
“I will not comment on this yet,” he said. “I can’t say anything yet. I think by Tuesday. I certainly hope so.”
Enough is enough! Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t leave anyone in doubt over why he was about to skip the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
– I am here because I enjoy racing and I always want to do my best when going on the track. Sometimes something just happens, something that should not happen. This sport has both the professional and financial side. It’s not enough if one is in order and the business part isn’t, Räikkönen told the media.
– I have been put in a difficult situation. They haven’t paid me one single euro this year although they have spread all kinds of stories. It’s not true that I don’t care what happens to the team, but when you are accused of not being a good team player, or rather that you don’t think what’s best for the team, it definitely doesn’t help if you haven’t even been paid any salary so far.
Alan Permane cursed rudely to Räikkönen and he gave it back the same in India.
– But that doesn’t matter anymore at this point. Bygones are bygones. But the line has to be put somewhere and this is now it. If they don’t take care of things that I’m not satisfied with, then I have to react to it. The team should respect the promises they have given or else they find themselves from a situation where there is no racing anymore.
Räikkönen didn’t confirm on Friday that he would race the remaining races, although his manager Steve Robertson and his lawyers have reached some kind of an understanding with Gerard Lopez.
– In this profession, nothing is ever 100% certain until the matters have been taken care of as agreed upon. If that doesn’t happen then it’s all the same for me if I continue to race or not. It wouldn’t change my life in one way or another, Räikkönen snapped.
On Thursday Robertson presented Kimi different options and he made his own decision based upon them.
– I have been in this business for a long time. One needs to have a certain kind of trust in people. When you repeat the same thing over and over again and nothing happens, it surely doesn’t help the situation. I do try my best, but right now this is not the most pleasant moment in my career. But it’s certain that if I would not try to win here then I would not even have shown up, Räikkönen said.
Then why did the emotions run so high between Permane and Räikkönen when Romain Grosjean overtook Kimi?
– I don’t know. For me it was the same situation like in any other race. I defend my position like this towards everyone and some see different situation in a different way. But what he said doesn’t matter much anymore. It was unfortunate that it happened.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
After making the call to revert on the team’s longer wheelbase E21 configuration this weekend, our Iceman was satisfied with initial progress as his quest for a repeat Yas Marina masterclass began earlier today…
Q: HOW WAS YOUR DAY?
KR: The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit the car feels better so far.
Q: HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING QUALIFYING TOMORROW?
KR: As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so hopefully we can get it as we want it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen will switch back to Lotus’s short-wheelbase configuration for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team felt its long-wheelbase upgrade had been a key part of its return to form in recent races. But team boss Eric Boullier said Raikkonen felt more comfortable with the previous specification.
“He is trying because the last two races he was not 100 per cent happy with his balance and he is just trying something different,” said Boullier.”
“The first thing is to know where you are so you obviously go back to back what you were doing.”
Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said that Raikkonen would stick with the short-wheelbase car for qualifying and the race as the change had paid off in practice.
“He wanted to try the short wheelbase car again as he felt its characteristics would suit this circuit,” said Permane.
“So far it all looks good and this configuration will be kept on his car for the remainder of the weekend.
“His long-run pace looks very encouraging on both [compounds of] tyres.”
Raikkonen was sixth quickest in Friday practice.
The Finn is the centre of attention in Abu Dhabi this weekend, having admitted that he had considered skipping the race due to his ongoing pay dispute with Lotus and could yet walk away from the final races of the 2013 Formula 1 season if the issue continued.
Speaking for the first time about the matter in Abu Dhabi on Friday, Raikkonen confirmed that he did come close to not racing this weekend, and has not ruled out skipping either of the final races in the United States or Brazil.
“I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on the certain issues we have been having,” said Raikkonen.
“Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can.”
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he would contemplate not taking part in the final races if the outstanding matters are not resolved, Raikkonen said: “For sure. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving – but a big part of it is business.
“Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation.
“You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that… it is not really my fault any more.”
RADIO EXCHANGE NOT MAIN ISSUE
Raikkonen’s relations with the team were strained by the radio exchange in India, when he was ordered to move aside for Romain Grosjean, but his main frustration is relating to outstanding wages – which are believed to be in excess of $15 million.
Speaking about the radio discussion with trackside operations director Alan Permane, Raikkonen said: “It is a part of it. It is true those things should not happen but they have happened. That is not really the issue.
“It is all the other stuff, and all the things come together in the end. Like I said, it is easy to say that is the reason but it is not that.”
The 2007 world champion also expressed frustration at the fact that his loyalty to the team has been questioned at a time when he has not been paid.
“Sometimes it is not very nice when you hear that you are not really a team player, and you don’t have the interests of the team [at heart] – but you have been paid zero Euro the whole year,” said Raikkonen.
“It doesn’t put you in the best place, but that is how it goes and hopefully, like I said, we found an understanding on both sides on how we should deal with the situation right now and fix the issues, and try to finish as well as we can.”
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was confident a deal could be reached with Raikkonen to ensure he races in Austin and Brazil, Boullier said: “Part of it I cannot answer you.
“There is discussion between Gerard and Kimi and it obviously involves our shareholders and parent companies.”
Although the Raikkonen situation has come just as Lotus is knuckling down for a tough fight for second in the constructors’ championship, Boullier said he was hopeful the matter would not affect its chances on track.
“We have an exceptional group of people in Enstone and they produce a car, with the last aero package based on the long wheelbase, that is delivering,” he said.
“We just do our best to be delivering on track. There is obviously some issues which we know already for a long time and we are waiting, as Gerard said, for the new investment company to close the deal with.
“And if that does not happen we will have to think about other scenarios.”
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
A tough afternoon for our Iceman saw him stuck in traffic, battling brake issues and foiled at the last by a strategy call falling just short of success. A sterling effort from the Finn to take P7; here’s his view of events…
Q: HOW WAS YOUR RACE?
KR: We ran maybe the first twenty laps with no brakes as they had overheated, so every time I got close to somebody I lost braking. At the end of the race I ran out of tyre performance too so it’s been a pretty disappointing day.
Q: WHAT WAS THE STRATEGY?
KR: We started the race knowing that a one stop strategy could be possible if you did a longer first stint on the soft tyres. Ours wasn’t so long, but when I got stuck behind [Nico] Hulkenberg later in the race we decided to try and make it a one stop. Unfortunately It didn’t work.
Q: HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO BATTLE WHEN YOUR TYRE PERFORMANCE WAS DROPPING AWAY?
KR: I knew the tyres would drop off quite quickly, but you still try to race. Once I had lost the places I could make an extra stop without losing any more which meant I finished where I would have done anyway, so it was worth the risk. We tried to get on the podium with a one stop strategy, but in the end it didn’t work.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
A day of setup improvement seeking for our Finn at the Buddh International Circuit resulted in a much more satisfied Iceman heading into tomorrow’s qualifying lottery; here’s his view on events…
Q: HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR DAY?
KR: It was a pretty normal Friday for us. We kept trying to find improvements in the car. We had some problems in the morning, and I flat spotted a hard tyre on my first run in the afternoon so I couldn’t really use it much as I couldn’t see when running in a straight line after that. Just normal Friday things really; we’ll look at everything and try to make the car better for tomorrow now.
Q: DID YOU FIND ANY IMPROVEMENTS TODAY?
KR: Yes, the car’s better than it started the day but it’s still not completely the way we want it and I have a few issues with the front end. We’d like to change a few things that you can’t now because of the latest rules for how you can use the tyres with camber and pressures, so we’re looking at different ways of changing the set-up to get what I want from the car. I’m not too worried about it today and I’m sure I could have gone faster; if I can’t get it as I want I’ll just try and live with it.
Q: THERE’S BEEN QUITE A BIT OF TALK ABOUT TYRE BLISTERING TODAY – ANY DRAMAS FOR YOU?
KR: We had some blistering on the soft tyres but we changed the set-up and it made things better.
Q: HOW WELL DO YOU THINK YOU CAN QUALIFY TOMORROW?
KR: I’m sure we can do better than in the last few races where I made a few mistakes; some of those because the car’s not easy to drive as it’s not exactly as I want it. Let’s see tomorrow.
| Source: fia.com |
Q: I’m going to start with a question for Nico, Mark and Kimi, as, with all due respect to our back row, I think you three gentlemen are best placed to challenge Sebastian Vettel for victory this weekend. He’s won the last five races, he’s won both Indian Grand Prix from pole position and he’s led every lap as well.
What about you Kimi? What have you got up your sleeve?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think I have to do a bit better in qualifying. That would help a lot. That would give ourselves a good chance then to try to beat them. It’s not just only them though, so we’ll see what happens here.
Q: Kimi, this is your second year coming to race in India. Do you notice the popularity that you have? Does it spur you on when you get to the track? Does it give you extra motivation?
KR: I think it’s very nice to have it but I mean I’ve only really seen the hotel this morning, from the airport to the hotel, and the circuit. So, especially today there were not many people when we came here – so I feel it less than at many other places but I’m happy that there are fans here. This circuit is nice and hopefully we can have a good weekend for all of them.
Q: When you come to what is still a relatively new venue, would you like to take more time out to see a bit of India?
KR: Yeah – but I think it’d be a little nicer if you come when it’s not a race weekend, so when you have proper time and not during the weekend. But for sure I’m sure there’s a lot of nice places to go and see.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Bharat Sharma – IndoAsian News Service) For the front row, if you talk about the track, most drivers have praised the track, they like the layout but as far as overtaking is concerned, there’s only the first sector which has a real chance of overtaking, so how do you see the track in terms of overtaking opportunities?
MW: That’s generally the case at a lot of circuits actually. There’s not any more than one or two chances these days. The second and third sector are quite quick, it’s not easy to get a move done there so yeah, most of the focus is on the first sector and the beginning of the sector. But that’s not against the circuit, that’s how a lot of tracks are and we like the rest of the rhythm and the layout because it’s quite challenging, it’s quite quick, a little bit of undulation so there’s a lot of good qualities inside this circuit. As you said, the racing maybe hasn’t been super exciting over the last few years, maybe it’s not going to be the same on Sunday but time will tell.
Q: Is that right, Kimi, there’s really only the first sector where you can get past?
KR: In a normal situation, yes, but on some of the circuits there’s not even one place. You might get a chance in some other places – it depends – but it’s a good race circuit. Last year I got stuck behind (another car) but that can happen anywhere.
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, in the last few races, Lotus seem to have been the second team after Red Bull. Do you think that you have the chance to try to grab second place in the Constructors’ championship in the last four races and that this could be a place to win?
KR: That’s the aim for us but it’s hard to say if it’s going to happen. It seems that the last races have been strong for our team but I have to qualify better, to put myself up there and maybe try to win some races but it will not be easy.
Q: (Vinayak Pande – AutoX) Kimi, given the way Lotus is performing towards the end of this season and how Fernando has been struggling recently, how do you feel about your decision going to Ferrari next year?
KR: Good, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the decision if I didn’t think it was right for myself. It’s so competitive… and the rules, nobody really knows how it’s going to work out next year.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Our Finn heads to India looking forward to the cuisine and hoping for a stronger qualifying position than of late.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BUDDH INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT?
KR: It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others!
Q: HOW WAS YOUR FIRST – AND ONLY – RACE AT THE TRACK SO FAR?
KR: It was okay but it could have been better. We struggled for grip over the weekend last year and we made life difficult with the change of setup before qualifying. After that there was nothing really to do on Sunday. In the race itself we had enough speed to challenge for the top positions, but we got stuck behind slower cars and overtaking was impossible. I can remember spending a lot of the race trying to get past Felipe [Massa] so that wasn’t ideal.
Q: DID YOU GET TO SEE MUCH OF INDIA?
KR: No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.
Q: JAPAN WAS QUITE A STRAIGHTFORWARD RACE FOR YOU?
KR: It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points. I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on.
Q: YOU SPOKE OVER THE WEEKEND OF THE CAR FEELING MORE TO YOUR LIKING, WHICH MUCH BE A POSITIVE LOOKING TO THE REMAINING RACES OF THE SEASON?
KR: The car felt pretty strong all weekend at Suzuka and we’ve made good progress with it recently. It’s still not exactly as I want it and we’re trying to get rid of some understeer which is something I don’t like. In Japan it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning of the race as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.
Q: WE SAW SOME MORE GREAT OVERTAKING MOVES FROM YOU…
KR: Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake at Suzuka and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.
Q: WHAT’S THE TARGET FOR INDIA?
KR: Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it!
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
With plenty of work to do after a tough Saturday – compounded by a tricky start to the race – our Iceman found himself fighting all the way to claim an impressive fifth place at Suzuka. Here’s his view on proceedings…
Q: HOW WAS YOUR RACE?
KR: I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on. It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR FEELING LIKE WITH THE CAR?
KR: It was ok – a big improvement from Friday for sure – but it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.
Q: YOU PULLED OFF SOME PRETTY IMPRESSIVE PASSES; PARTICULARLY ON THE SAUBER AT THE END THERE…
KR: Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake here and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
A good feeling with the car, but an early return to garage after an FP2 spin left the Iceman feeling philosophical but optimistic at Suzuka.
Q: HOW WAS YOUR DAY?
KR: The car felt pretty good. Of course, there are some areas we can improve but I’m quite satisfied with the progress we made. In FP2 I spun the car so we did miss some of the long run laps we would have got this afternoon. I was on a fast run when the wind changed and this can affect the car sometimes. At least we didn’t do any damage to the car so the crew won’t have any extra work. It’s not a big drama as we know the track pretty well. We have a few changes for tomorrow so let’s see what happens.
Q: WERE THERE ANY CONSEQUENCES FROM THE SPIN?
KR: There was no damage to the car so there’s no problem there. Maybe we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted but it’s not a big deal. I spun; it happens sometimes. It was quite windy today which didn’t help. It was a bit tricky at that part of the track all day and I just pushed a bit too much.
Q: YOU’VE LOOKED STRONG ON PACE ALL DAY…
KR: The car’s been more to my liking here – at least today – than it’s been for the last few races, especially over one lap which is a good thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and it might be a completely different story, so we’ll have to wait and see.
| Source: ts.fi | (translation courtesy of racingnerds.com)
When Kimi was asked if he would had let his teammate Romain Grosjean past him, had Lotus-management ordered so in Korean GP, he didn’t give a yes or no.
“What do you think?” Räikkönen snapped.
In end of season 2008 Räikkönen played on behalf of his teammate Felipe Massa in the last couple races, but other than that Kimi has done it in his own style listening less to orders.
Grosjean – 8th in the championship – pushed his luck and begged in the team radio the pitwall to give Räikkönen a team order to let him through as a faster driver.
He had to obey a couple of times himself to a team order on Räikkönen’s behalf when his WDC-situation required it.
By Thursday Grosjean was however okay with it.
“In Germany I was ordered to let Kimi past. However it was a completely different situation. We had different strategies. He wouldn’t had got past me, so it was best to give him way and that way we both got to drive according to our own strategies.”
Grosjean’s complaints in the team radio didn’t bother Räikkönen in any way.
“Everything went just as planned for me. He made a mistake and it cost him one position. It’s useless to cry afterwards,” said Räikkönen. “We don’t have any rules in the team that we couldn’t race each other. All we have to remember is not to crash or destroy each other’s races.”
Is Grosjean nowadays a tougher competitor than he was earlier?
“He has been fast all the time. But so are everyone else who drive in F1. You have to beat all of them and that’s what I always try to do. He squeezed me to the left in that situation, but by that time it was too late for him and I got ahead of him.”
Age doesn’t create fears to overtake
Räikkönen was praised for maintaining his former speed and ability to overtake even at an older age.
“I don’t think that I have changed somehow from earlier years. I have got more information and experience. I always try to overtake if there is a reasonable change and I don’t do any foolish things. Sometimes I end up in a bad position. I don’t know if some start to be afraid when they get older. I don’t feel that myself.”
Räikkönen doesn’t expect any team orders in the future either.
“The team doesn’t care which one is ahead as long as they get good positions.”