Ferrari has unveiled the new SF15-T 2015 Formula 1 car that it hopes will get it back in the hunt for victories with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen this season.
After a disappointing 2014 campaign that has prompted a major management and staffing overhaul, the team is determined that the changes it has made will help move it back up the grid.
The James Allison-designed car features a long protruding nose and an aggressive sidepod concept.
But key to Ferrari’s hopes will be what is underneath the skin, with the Italian team’s power unit having been one the weak points of its 2014 season.
The team has undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of its engine in the hope of closing the gap on the benchmark Mercedes.
As well as new management, Ferrari has a change on the driver front too with Vettel lining up alongside Raikkonen this year.
Vettel is due to give the car its first official run at Jerez in Spain on Sunday, when F1’s first pre-season test starts.
Interview with Kimi:
Sebastian Vettel thinks his relationship with Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari will be more “straightforward” than most Formula 1 team-mate partnerships.
Raikkonen said when Vettel was announced as his 2015 team-mate that he knew the German better than any of his other F1 rivals and expected it to be a “fun” partnership.
As Ferrari launched its new SF14-T on Friday, Vettel suggested the Finn would be particularly easy to work with by F1 standards.
“I don’t expect any problems,” said Vettel.
“He will be a difficult team-mate to beat on the track because he’s very quick and very talented, but off the track we get on well.
“Usually there are not being words being exchanged, but it’s very straightforward – which is something I appreciate in Kimi and it doesn’t happen that often in Formula 1.”
Team boss Mauricio Arrivabene underlined that he did not want driver dynamics to be hog the limelight this season.
Last year’s match-up between Fernando Alonso and Raikkonen was the subject of much pre-season speculation, while in previous years Felipe Massa’s number two status to Alonso had proved consistently topical.
“They have to work together as team-mates, they have to work with the team,” Arrivabene said of his 2015 drivers.
“I want to be talking about the overall team and not only about the driver.
“Everybody is pushing and working together in the same direction and I am expecting the drivers to do the same.”
Raikkonen agreed with Vettel that they should make a harmonious pairing.
“It’s the first time working with him but I’m sure we’ll have a good understanding of each other and to push the team forward,” said the 2007 champion.
“Obviously we’ll fight against each other, but in a good way, and we’ll push each other to do better things.”
Maurizio Arrivabene says that sights are set on at least ending its victory drought that extends back to the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.
“I am just realistic,” he said. “Nobody has the magic to change things, when things are unchangeable.
“We find the car, the car was ready December of [last] year, and we apply certain modifications that in our opinion, are quite interesting.
“I don’t want to say that we are going to win the world championship but for sure we are committed at least to win two races.”
Newly arrived Sebastian Vettel backed up his bosses’ claim that modest targets had to be the aim for 2015 – but the team would not complain if more success came.
“I think we would be happy with that,” he said about Arrivabene’s ambition. “But of course we would be happy if we win more.
“We have to be realistic. There is a lot of change that’s happened over the winter. So I think the most important thing is we start getting into the groove quickly in winter testing and then we start to make progress.
“If the situation is like last year, it will be very difficult to fight for victory. But that’s our goal, we’re not here to finish second.”
Although too early to predict exactly how competitive the new chassis and engine will be, Arrivabene does at least believe that the SF15-T has at least got off to a better start in the visual stakes than its predecessor.
“Ferrari said a long time ago that the best car is a winning car,” he said. “Last year was an ugly car and a non-winning on top of this.
“I like the car of this year in terms of aesthetics, I don’t know about performance, but it is really sexy.”
2014 has been a year of firsts for Kimi Raikkonen, and not all of them wanted – his return to Ferrari marked his first winless Formula One season since 2006, and his first without a podium since his maiden year in 2001.
As the Finn refocuses for 2015, determined to help the Scuderia become a front-running force once more, we asked him about some of the other firsts in his life – including why he never bothered with childhood heroes, how his first big crash came in one of his first F1 tests, and why he quickly established as a child that ice hockey wasn’t for him…
Who was your first hero when you were a child?
Kimi Raikkonen: I never had any heroes. That’s not for me.
What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?
KR: I don’t know the year, but it was in the times when Keke Rosberg was driving – and then when [Mika] Hakkinen was racing. Of course you are interested when you see that some of your compatriots are racing.
How old were you when you first decided you wanted to be an F1 driver?
KR: I wanted to do many things when I was a kid. And making it into Formula One – I didn’t really believe it was possible until I was 17 and had won some races.
When was your first big accident in a race car?
KR: It was with Sauber at a test. One of my first outings in a Formula One Car!
What colour was your first helmet?
KR: White – and off the shelf.
When did you win your first trophy in racing and what did it look like?
KR: No idea, but for sure it was small. And if I dug deep enough in my house I would probably find it.
What was the first road car you drove?
KR: It was a Lada – the family car.
Where was the first house you lived in?
KR: Of course, the family house in Espoo.
How nervous were you on your first day of school?
KR: I cannot remember. But for sure I have been nervous many times – also at school.
What was the first meal you ever cooked?
KR: I guess some pasta. For sure nothing complicated. (laughs)
What was the first thing you did this morning?
KR: Wake up!
What was the first thing you did after getting your first F1 seat?
KR: I was happy about it. I had done a test beforehand and was not sure if I had the seat – so I was just happy.
What was the first record you bought?
KR: It was a Guns N’ Roses cassette.
What was the first sport you participated in as a kid?
KR: Very likely ice hockey. I think all boys in Finland play hockey at one point in their childhood. I stopped because I had to wake up so early in the morning for the training – that was not for me.
When was your first romantic kiss?
KR: Hah! I don’t know. It must have been in school. That is way over 20 years ago…
When was the first time you were asked to sign an autograph for a fan?
KR: Maybe it was in Formula Renault.
When did you first taste champagne?
KR: When I raced in Europe and won – whatever race.
Which would you eat first – a piece of fruit or a piece of chocolate?
KR: I am not into chocolate so much so very likely fruit. Candy would be a different matter… (laughs)
What was the first word you said as a baby?
KR: My parents have told me, but I don’t remember. I am no good at remembering.
[ Source: formula1.com ]
J: 17 october 1979: the man in front of me was born. 35 years of what?
K: Just life. Of course races have taken most of the part since i was a kid, but since 2001 F1 has become my job and it’s what i want to do. But at first, it was some kind of hobby, but it’s still a big part of my life.
J: You come from Espoo, a town near to Helsinki. What kind of city is Espoo?
K: It was a nice place to live. We could do a lot of stuff, because it was not a big city. I liked and i still like to live there instead of Helsinki, which is a big city, chaotic.
J: Is it true that in you first house, the bathroom was placed outside the house?
K: Yes, yes it’s true. We had the bathroom outside the house, but now we have it inside. Since i started to race in F1 we could restructure the house, and now we have the toilette, the shower and also the Sauna inside, downstairs. But until 2000 the toilette was still outside.
J: How were those days? I mean, going outside to go to the toilette, in Finland??
K: For me it was normal, because it was what we were used to to do since ever. For other people was not normal in the winter, but was only 15 metres, short way to go, really. Do it in the winter, with so much snow, helped you to wake up (laugh). For me was not a problem, because it was normal for us.
J: I know your family was not wealthy, a lot of sacrifices from your father to make you racing. He also had to take 4 jobs at the same time.
K: My father spent a lot of nights not sleeping, he worked a lot and he managed to get a loan from the banks. For sure, there has been some critical moments for my family, it was hard for them. When you’re young you don’t really understand how things are going on, how to find the money to buy food, or try to make us racing. I am really grateful to my parents for this, and also the people that helped us when we were kids. Luckily everything was okay.
J. Are you happy to build your own family, too?
K: Yeah, I’ve always dreamt about this, like my brother. I’ve always wanted a son, but of course I’d like to stay at home as much as possible once he’s born. Because when you’re travelling and he’s so young, you don’t see him, you cannot spent some time with him. If you travel a lot in his first 10 years, i don’t think it’s the best thing for him. In my family, the one i have now, i hope everything is going to be okay, and of course the most important thing is that the child is well.
J: Do you know that the first one you impressed was Michael Schumacher at Mugello? He asked “Who’s that guy running in Mugello?” and they told him Kimi Raikkonen and he said “He will become someone important in F1”.
K: Was obviously a big thing doing a F1 test, and it was good there were some other cars, to have comparison of the time on the track. It was also good to see Schumacher on the track in that occasion.
J: You did only 23 official races before coming in F1. Did you feel ready?
K: We did quite a bit testing both with old and new car before the start of the season. So, i was not really worried, i was not thinking if i was ready or not, i did so many days of test, that i knew it wouldn’t be a problem. It was different from now, and it was really easier to test the cars in those days.
J: What did it mean for you winning the championship in 2007?
K: Drive the Ferrari and win the title in the first year was something special. We will remember this forever, and we know that we will be in history. I would have liked to win more championships in the past, or maybe in the future. It was something that i wanted to do, at least one always aiming. I was very close to win others against Schumacher and then Alonso, and finally got it was a great feeling. Was a difficult season, not easy at all but we suprised everyone and we did it.
J: Few year later you decide to leave F1. Were you really that bored? You’re a driver, you love racing. Was there something you didn’t like anymore at that time?
K: Obviously in 2009 there was something happened. I thought that i was driving worse than in the past. We got some results, but we didn’t have a good car in that season. Things that happened put me out from F1, but i didn’t wanna go to another team, in that moment was not the right thing to do, and i was also a bit tired of all the politics and all…don’t know how to say, but there are a lot of bullshits in F1, you know. It’s difficult to get some honesty from people, and this is something that i really don’t like. I wanted to do something else, i was happy to leave to try new experiences. I tried with rally and also with Nascar.
J: Do you think you can go for other seasons, or in you mind there is already something that says to you that you will retire soon?
K: I have a contract for next year, and an option for 2016, but this depends from a lot of circumstances. My aim is to try to fix things, and i am sure that next year we will back where we are supposed to stay and we will fight to win. Hopefully i can make other seasons, but if it’s not happening we will see. It’s not the end of my life, i’ve never thought that my life was only F1, there are a lot of more things in my life.
J: We had this interview with the 5 world Champions. We called the FIVE CLUB: Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and you. Who you think is the toughest of these guys?
K: If you look every year, there was a different one more or less. These drivers are always there, to fight, depends a lot from the car you have and a lot of more situations.
J: I know that you have a good relationship with Sebastian Vettel, something different from what it’s usual between drivers. Why is so easy, it’s something regarding his personality? You think good about him? Or you two get along….?
K: I don’t know, I met him when he was very young and when he arrived in F1. I talked with him in some occasions, and i thought he was a good and honest guy. Unfortunately honesty is something very difficult to find in F1, you know, and i’ve always get along with him, in the track, sometimes i gave him some lifts, at the beginning of his career, because we lived close to each other. He’s just a normal guy, we always find each other like this, easily, easy to talk, no stupid things, no not necessary things. There isn’t really any reason, it’s just that our relationship is easier compared to relationships with others.
J: Are you happy that he’s coming in Ferrari?
K: I mean, it will be fun, we will have a good relationship and try to do our best, to push the team forward, to put the team in the place where it should be.
J: It seems, from this interview, that one of the most important value for you is honesty, is it?
K: Unfortunately sometimes there are people that don’t say the truth, and you know they are lying and in your face say exactly the opposite. I don’t have respect for this kind of things. For sure everything can be more easy and more nice in F1, but of course it’s a part of the sport, because there are lot of money going around, and will always bring this kind of things into the place, so…
J: I give you the chance to ride on a time machine. The first question is: in which era you would like to live and who, if you have any idea?
K: Talking about the world race, I would like to be in the 70’s or about. There were real races, cars funny to drive, was more nice, less politics. Was a F1 more open, more relaxed, everybody were focused on pushing at 100%.
J: Only one more question: Kimi Raikkonen today is?
K: The same guy.
Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari for 2014 was meant to be his ticket back to the bigtime. It hasn’t quite panned out that way. Raikkonen has yet to see the podium, has been out-scored by his team mate three to one, and languishes a lowly 12th in the driver standings. Surely things can only get better for the Finnish former champion? We spoke to Raikkonen in Brazil to find out…
Q: Kimi, can you sum up your 2014 season with Ferrari, the team with whom you previously won the world title? Was it the homecoming you had hoped for?
Kimi Raikkonen: Obviously – and everybody can see this – it hasn’t been an all too good season for me – and not for the team either. As Ferrari you expect to be at the front – and it hasn’t been the case. It’s been hard – but that’s the way it sometimes goes.
Q: But at least you like the colour red?
KR: Ha, yes, I’ve made the right choice to come here if that is what you mean. Sometimes you have a difficult year, but I am sure that Ferrari can turn it around next season.
Q: Are you surprised that after so many years with Fernando Alonso at the team, you are still the last champion that Ferrari had. That was 2007…
KR: Obviously we did things right back then…
Q: But then things didn’t go right for many years…
KR: …I wasn’t here so you’d have to ask somebody who was here to get an answer as to why. I am here this year – and it didn’t go well – but for the future we do have the right people and a good team, so things will turn around.
Q: So is it still a good feeling having your name in the Ferrari history books as their last world champion?
KR: Yes, sure. It is better [to have] one here than five with another team. It is the right place to be and even if 2014 was not so good, it is still Ferrari!
Q: There has been a lot of talk about Felipe Massa’s quote that Fernando has ‘out-psyched’ you. Is it possible to out-psyche Kimi Raikkonen?
KR: Everybody has his opinion and Felipe can say what he wants. It’s just been a bad season. That’s it. No ‘psyching’ or whatever… just a bad season.
Q: Right now Ferrari reportedly have three drivers with valid contracts for 2015 – three heavyweight drivers. Does this mean Ferrari will be the first team to do car sharing?
KR: Ask Ferrari what is going to happen. I won’t say anything about the situation.
Q: Are you sure that you will be racing next season? One hundred percent sure?
KR: Yes, I am sure. And what is one hundred percent sure here? Nothing.
Q: The 2014 changes had quite an impact on the drivers. Everyone remembers your famous words of ‘leave me alone’ on the team radio at Lotus. Is such an approach still possible today when the pit wall is an integral part of the cockpit?
KR: Ah, in reality it is not so much different than before 2014. Yes, the cars are different and my guess is that it was pretty difficult for teams to build these new cars – and here things didn’t quite go as well as we had hoped. That is the main difference.
Q: But could you utter those words this season and still have a good race, given all the information you need from the pit wall?
KR: The tyres are pretty much the same issue they’ve always been, but yes, it’s been trickier this year. We’ve always talked on the radio, so there is not too much difference.
Q: So do you like the 2014 changes?
KR: It is different, yes – and whether you like them or not doesn’t make any difference. These are the rules and you have to swallow it. Racing hasn’t changed much – the sound is different.
Q: What do you Ferrari have up their sleeves in order to do better in 2015?
KR: They have hired new people. Maybe they made some mistakes when they started to design the 2014 car and maybe they haven’t got the best out of the rules, but we have plenty of good people who are able to turn things around. We will get there again. Unfortunately not in 2014.
Q: Believe all the media reports and you will be racing alongside Sebastian Vettel next season. The two of you get along pretty well…
KR: Until something is announced I am not interesting in talking about possible team mates. He is a good, straightforward guy.
Q: But it is fact that you and Sebastian get along very well – privately…
KR: He is the best out of any of the drivers. I know him the most. But as to what is happening in terms of driver line-up, you won’t get any answers from me.
Q: There are still two races to go. Can these races reconcile you with 2014?
KR: For sure not. It’s been a difficult year – but I will do my best in the last two races.
Q: What would make you happy on Sunday?
KR: A reasonably good race would be nice. If we get a podium it would be nice.
Q: So are you expecting your first podium of 2014 at one of the last two races?
KR: Not expecting, but it would be nice!
| Source: formula1.com |