The King of Spa talks about his favourite circuit

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Belgian Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

The Formula One World Championship resumes after the summer break with one of its most historic rounds at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The Belgian race will actually mark Scuderia Ferrari’s 900th Grand Prix participation.

Kimi Raikkonen, the king of Spa, with four wins to his name there is really looking forward to the weekend. “I love racing on this track, it’s very nice and it has all the appeal of the circuits of days gone by. Usually, it’s a very exciting race, with a lot of overtaking, but much depends on the weather and what tyre compounds are available. My best win? Definitely the one in 2009, because we didn’t have a particularly quick car, but thanks to a good start we managed to get a great result”.

“The fact we won in Hungary doesn’t change our approach to the next race,” adds Alberto Antonini, head of communications for Scuderia Ferrari. “We didn’t think we were going through a crisis after Silverstone and we don’t believe we are brilliant now. We are keeping our feet on the ground, as we know we are up against some very strong opposition, but we will give it our best shot as always.” [via]

Video Interview with Kimi on Spa-Francorchamps:

Kimi: F1 not like it used to be


kimi-raikkonen-sweat-2015-krs1Kimi Raikkonen is a man under pressure, but not that you’d notice talking to him. Speaking in the privacy of Shell’s trackside laboratory at the Austrian Grand Prix, ESPN sat down briefly with the 2007 world champion to discuss both F1’s future and his own.

Kimi, you’ve driven V10 F1 cars, V8s and now these V6 turbos. Which of those was the most fun and why did it appeal to you?

Obviously the cars are a bit slower now and as a driver you always want to go faster and obviously in the past the cars were faster, the tyres were better, softer … they were different, but they were faster. Obviously we changed tyres [when Pirelli arrived in 2011], but I think the old tyres were more fun to drive because you could push all the time, but now you have to save fuel, save tyres, save this, save that. It feels much more strict now, it’s still on the edge at times, but it’s not pure pushing on the limits. So it’s not like it used to be, the grip is less, you cannot attack certain corners, so I prefer the cars from the early 2000s to late 2000s. They were probably the nicest cars. The whole package and the rules dictate a lot what happens, so the rule changes have been the biggest hit that has been taken.

But does F1 need to make more rule changes to get back to where it was in the 2000s?

The rules themselves have changed a lot [since the 2000s] and they have tried to make it more of a show and more entertaining, but let’s be honest, we also got a lot of overtaking done in those years without any devices. It was more of a show in some respects, because there were more faster cars and obviously the rules have changed, but they need to do something to bring it back to what is really F1. It’s supposed to be the fastest thing on a race circuit and when you ask people now they probably don’t think it.

Is it not also a problem for the spectacle that one team is running away with it all the time?

But that happens – not always, but often. When I started it was Ferrari all the time, then it was the Red Bulls and now it is Mercedes. One team gets things perfectly fine then obviously the gap is much bigger and then when they keep making rule changes there is always a bigger chance that one team gets it right and other teams have to start to catch up. If you keep the rules for many years then at some point it will close up. You will never avoid a dominant team with the rules, one team will always win. People complain when it’s not them, but then in one year or two years it might have changed.

Ferrari has made progress towards closing the gap to Mercedes this year, how confident are you that you will be part of that progress going forward into next year?

You have to ask the team, it’s not really in my hands. Obviously they want more all the time and it hasn’t been an ideal start to the year, but we make progress all the time. As a team we have made a big, big step from where we were last year to where we are now. I’m sure we have made a bigger step than all the other teams, but obviously it is still not enough to be where we want to be, but it’s not easy and we need time. We keep going in the right direction and the people in the team are obviously still not enjoying to finish third and second, we want to be consistently able to win races at every race. But as long as we continue to do the same thing and go in the same direction, I’m sure we will get there. But we cannot make miracles in the next few months.

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene says all he needs is “good performances” from you in order to be persuaded to keep you next year, so what do you need to do to meet his expectations?

I’ll do my best and if it’s not enough then it’s not enough. We are not far away from where we can be maximum happy with where we finish, but obviously that is still not enough for us. We want to win races, but unfortunately we are not exactly in that position even if we have a straightforward race. Obviously we will just keep working. I’m not worried about next year too much, if it happens it happens and if not then you can say that I’m happy and the team is going the right way and everybody is enjoying much more. But still there is a lot of work to be done to be 100% happy as a team and for me as well. Time will tell.

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Video: Jean Alesi interviews Kimi


You just can’t help but smile and laugh along with them…

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Raikkonen calls for F1 to be more exciting

Kimi Raikkonen says that he thinks something needs to be done to make Formula 1 more exciting. Raikkonen is one of the stalwarts on the grid, and is the eldest driver. Himself, Jenson Button & Fernando Alonso all joined Formula 1 at the start of the millennium – an era where the cars used 3 litre V10s, grooved tyres and saw the re-introduction of launch & traction control after a decade without.

Raikkonen says he thinks Formula 1 is not the thrill it once was: “When I came into Formula, it was more exciting for everybody. It really was the top.”

Speaking in an interview with Canal+’s Jean Alesi, Raikkonen explained to his former opponent:

“It was a long time ago, so you would expect the cars now to be faster, more exciting. But obviously with the rule changes, they tried to make them slower. I’m sure something has to be done to make it more exciting for people to watch, and really for them to see the speed…make it a bit more dangerous…that’s all part of the game.”

“Obviously you don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but that would make it more exciting.”

His long-time rival and 2014 Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso made the point at the Monaco Grand Prix that he felt Formula 1 cars were no longer as challenging as they were at the start of his career in 2001:

“The last time I felt challenged mentally and physically in a car was 2005, the cars were 8 seconds or so faster. The winner of this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix would have been lapped 6 times by the winner of the Malaysian GP in 2006, so when you have 6 or 7 minutes over a race, 7-8 seconds a lap quicker, that is very demanding physically and mentally. Everything was pushed to the limit 10 years ago.”

Asked by Alesi how he felt things were going at Ferrari during his “second career” after returning to the sport in 2012, Kimi said that his head isn’t being turned by other teams at the moment:

“There are many good teams in F1, but Ferrari is different. It was very nice to win first time, first year with Ferrari. Obviously, lots of things have happened since then but I’m back with Ferrari now. Im happy, the team this year is the best they’ve been since I joined, probably the best team I’ve ever been with. The way it works, the atmosphere…

Ferrari is Ferrari…you’ll always choose that if you can.” [via]

Video: Interview with Kimi by Toni Vilander


kimi-mongp-2015-krs2Over the Monaco Grand Prix week, Kimi was filmed for an interview by long-time friend/racing driver/compatriot/MTV3 presenter Toni Vilander. Kimi talks about racing and the different times past. The video was restricted but now it’s finally viewable from outside Finland thanks to @CokeFin for his hard work capturing and uploading for us. Kiitos!