When flight attendant Minttu Virtanen moved in with F1 star Kimi Räikkönen she had to adapt herself to the huge house and get used to the fact that in this cohabitation the moments together are rare and it requires a lot of planning. “I’m not leaving my job. It would feel weird to be totally dependent on someone.”
When flight attendant and a fitness model Minttu Virtanen, 27, was introduced to Kimi Räikkönen, 34, with a help of mutual friend last summer, the crush was immediate. It has been a fast-paced relationship; in November Minttu moved in with Kimi in Kaskisaari, Helsinki. The change of home was overwhelming and massive; Minttu lived in a 34m2 house before and in Kaskisaari there is +500m2. “In the beginning I was nervous about being alone in a big house. When I came home from work I checked every room that there is nobody there. I never thought that I would be the type of person who admires the scenery but I’ve noticed that how relaxing it’s just to sit and look at the sea”.
She has brought some new fresh little details to the decoration of the house but nothing massive. “The house was so beautifully decorated already and I’m not that keen on having a really decorated house. It doesn’t matter where I am as long as I have my loved ones close to me. With Kimi in this relationship I feel like I’m in the right place.”
The loneliness strikes when spending the night alone.
She had to get used to the big house as well as to the fact that the year is spent following the F1 calendar. Minttu gives credit to her employer FlyBe as they are really flexible what comes to his new life situation. “We follow and live with the F1 calendar and I try to arrange my timetables in a way that I could support Kimi as much as I can. At least for now the holiday requests have been taken with ease by my employer.”
With both of them going round the world all the time the long-distance relationship has become familiar quickly. The fact is that being together daily is not possible. They connect with each other a lot in the internet and with mobile phones. “In a long-distance relationship reciprocal understanding and trust are the most important things.” “When I’m working it’s easier to cope with it [not being with Kimi] when you have something else to think. But when I’m spending the nights alone at home the loneliness strikes and that makes me sad. At those moments I have to think about the future and comfort myself on the fact that this doesn’t continue like this forever. This is how it is now but one day it will change.”
Minttu admits that in less than a year a lot has happened but the routine life has stayed the same. “My life hasn’t turned upside down although there is some new and fun stuff. My life, job and friends are still here in Finland. I’m not going to give up my job or my independence just because of Kimi and his career taking him around the world. It would feel weird to be totally dependant on somebody, for me it’s important to do my own things.”
LIFE AND LIFE-LONG BAN FOR CANDY
“Own things” really are what Minttu is spending her time in. She has one career as a flight attendant but she also has another occupation, as a fitness model for Bealive. Sports are her passion and there could be a lot of opportunities for her in that category. Minttu has just started a personal training education and she’ll be a qualified personal trainer next fall. “I don’t know whether it could be my number one job but at least it would be something that I could do and go around the world. I also get some depth and education to my own training from it and I am going to design a training programme for Kimi too. He has already said that it’s OK.”
Minttu admits that his attitude towards racing drivers has changed through Kimi. “I understand them who say that driving a car around a track isn’t sport. I couldn’t belive that it’s so physically demanding before I saw the speed and the racing close-by. They need a great bodycontrol and fitness just to stay on the seat in those speeds let alone the blistering heat of some races. My understanding of the sport has changed totally and the I now have a huge respect towards the drivers.”
Minttu mostly enjoys the vigorous focus in her training. It’s something he often experience on the running track or in the gym where she follows a custom-made training programme. “I’ve never been on a diet or exercised just to look skinnier. I think it’s more healthier and eye-pleasing to have a muscular body.”
Kimi’s home in Switzerland has it’s own gym but in Helsinki the couple trains in a private gym close by the Kaskisaari home. “Exercising is self-evident and a intergral part of my life. It’s also essential for mental health. There are only a few things that give feeling like after training. If I don’t have the time to do sports it affects everything, I’m more tired, angry and I can’t eat that well.
What comes to the eating, Minttu has one weakness.
“We can’t have candy at home. I have no self-control over those!”
As a hostess in the home alone Minttu prepares quick meals like salads, chicken and vegetables. On those days when Kimi is at home, he cooks or they go out to eat sushi or a good-old stakes. “I like to keep the home organised and clean but I’m not a cook.”
LOVE FOR KIMI
They fell in love in summer 2013. Minttu has been seen on the paddock but otherwise the couple has lived off the headlines. “Kimi’s calmness made an impact on me. He has this wonderful habit of taking everybody in to account. His personality is full of beautiful characteristics.”
Being a superstar is something Minttu doesn’t noticed in Kimi’s presence. “The ordinariness of him is one of the things that made me fall in love with him. He is also funny as hell.”
In other news, our contributor Ville also reported that Finnish tabloid Seiska shamelessly spied on Kimi’s villa in Kaskisaari with a helicopter! All they noted was that there was a renovation going on on the patio and Kimi has a new car – a 200,000Euro Audi RS.
Hi everyone, here is a cool feature on Kimi Raikkonen’s personal helmet artist and designer Uffe Tagstrom from the latest April issue of F1Racing magazine. A nice insight into the helmet evolution of one of the most iconic racing drivers in the world.
MTV Sport’s F1 expert Toni Vilander [24 Hours of Le Mans winner and a close friend of Kimi's] explains the setup problems Ferrari is having with Kimi Raikkonen.
The car’s tendency to push has been causing problems for Raikkonen.
“They’re looking for better settings for the front end. They’re trying to improve the turning of the car and the issues with the locking up of the inside wheel. Kimi is having problems with braking and the fact that the car pushes quite heavily. The front end is weak and Kimi’s isn’t able to get a proper feel of it.”
Teammate Fernando Alonso’s setup is completely different.
“Kimi’s use of the steering wheel and the timing of the braking and the gear change are different. Kimi changes gear fairly late and he keeps a slight pressure on the brake all the way to the middle of a curve. This requires a responsive steering and an inside wheel that doesn’t lock up.”
“Fernando turns fast and rough. For him it’s ok that the car pushes and you’ll be able to force the car inside a curve”, Vilander compares the different driving styles.
(Source: mtv.fi, google-translated)
Melbourne GP: Kobayashi crashed into Raikkonen first
Fernando Alonso insists he is very happy to have a strong opponent in Kimi Raikkonen to fight against at Ferrari this year, and in fact relishes the prospect.
Some believe the Spaniard cannot possibly have supported the team’s decision to replace the subordinate Felipe Massa with the former Ferrari champion Kimi Raikkonen.
But Alonso insists Massa was no pushover.
“Sometimes he was even faster than Michael Schumacher when they were together,” he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. ”But my four years were fantastic with Felipe, so I expect nothing other than my coming years with Kimi to be fantastic too.”
Finn Raikkonen had a poor race return with Ferrari in Australia, but Alonso tipped him to get up to speed quickly.
“He’s very, very fast, perhaps the fastest of us all, or at least he is considered as such by some,” he said.
“Last year, he battled for the title with a Lotus, an achievement I rate highly because I do not think Lotus are so strong,” Alonso added.
“I have a very strong opponent in the team and I am very happy about that, whether you believe me or not.”
He said all the recent speculation about their relationship was “understandable”, given the new season and a “winter in which nothing much happens”.
“This has become a routine for me, especially since I’ve been with Ferrari, because it was also said it would be very difficult for me with Felipe,” said Alonso.
(Source: Welt am Sonntag Newspaper, via grandprix247.com)
Alonso complains of Raikkonen helmet privileges
Fernando Alonso has complained about Kimi’s use of Bell helmets, while Schuberth is the team’s official helmet provider.
The two-time world champion has asked the team why Raikkonen has such privileges.
Kimi Raikkonen does not know how long it will take to fix the issues he is having getting comfortable with the set-up of his new Ferrari Formula 1 car.
The Finn endured a troubled time at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as he struggled with the handling of the new F14 T, especially under braking and corner entry.
His problems were further exacerbated in the race by front tyre graining, which led to a number of lock-ups.
Ferrari and Raikkonen are working on fixes to the way the energy recovery systems impact on the car’s handling, but the 2007 world champion admits that things are unlikely to get better immediately.
“We know more or less what we want to do, but some things are not happening overnight,” said Raikkonen.
“It takes time to produce certain parts, or to have a certain way of putting the things on.
“We also cannot promise that it is going to fix the issues once we get something that we want.
“I have been in these situations before and sometimes it takes a while.
“Unfortunately it is not the easiest position right now, but looking at how difficult everything was, we got everything out of it.
“It is not what we want to achieve but it could have been even worse. I am sure we can only get better from there.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali reiterated that the team is doing everything it can to help Raikkonen, and he hopes progress can be made in time for the next grand prix in Malaysia.
“We need to help Kimi try to find the right balance in the car,” he said. “He deserves that.
“There was an improvement [this weekend], but we are still not where we want to be.
“As a team we have to make sure that everything will be done to help his driving style and I am sure for Malaysia it will be much better.”
Kimi clearly isn’t happy…
David Coulthard: “Some people see it as being just a question of time for when it goes wrong, but I see it differently because I don’t think that Kimi is a political animal,” Coulthard said. “I was team-mates with him at McLaren, he was just asleep and/or driving the car quickly. I believe he will continue to do the same thing at Ferrari.
“Across the season you have to expect Fernando to be able to get more out of the package just because of familiarity with the team, speaking the language. It’s been built around him over the last few years; even though it’s a big regulation change the basis of the car which you sit in has been developed around him. But we could be surprised, they’re both world champions.”
“Whether Kimi is the wrong side of the curve age-wise; more than age really it’s about the fact that you accumulate a certain amount of negativity and disappointment during your career and that baggage builds up. No career is full of success, success, success, and it’s just a case of whether you eventually get p****d off, fed up and want to go off to do something else.
“So it will be intriguing to watch the two, but I don’t see the fireworks – negative fireworks – I see positive fireworks driving each other on.”
Jacques Villeneuve (speaking to Italian media) via LorenzoDeLuca: “Kimi and Alonso don’t have to be friends! Looking at the mess that Alonso had done last year, Ferrari could not only bet on him. If Kimi will be faster, Fernando will not be happy. But also the opposite, because Kimi pretends to be the “Iceman” but he’s hot-blooded.”
“The new regulation that requires you to save fuel, favors Kimi, who knows how to manage the consumption better. Kimi is perfect for this F1, because he knows how to manage the car in the race as few people know. while Alonso needs to push from start.”
“[For] the first time I see Kimi so concentrated, he is perhaps preparing one of his best seasons.”
Rob Wilson was Kimi’s driving coach/mentor during his Formula Renault career and it’s safe to say he knows Kimi’s nature and driving style better than anybody in the motorsport world. Listen to Wilson talk with Peter Windsor about this year’s hottest and most anticipated pairing at Ferrari:
Rob Wilson – “Kimi can complete a single lap faster than anybody.”
The season preview issue of F1Racing magazine arrived yesterday and it’s a good read. Here’s a feature on the Raikkonen vs Alonso battle in Ferrari; predictions and opinion from former Ferrari F1 champion Jody Scheckter. Note – he is quite pro-Alonso on his judgement but all the more for Kimi to prove him and other critics wrong – and we love an underdog right!? Will 2014 echo the 2005 season perhaps?
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says that his team has started the new era of hybrid turbo technology “in the right way” and added that in new signing Kimi Raikonnen he has a driver who knows that for Ferrari, “finishing second is a tragedy.”
In an extensive interview with Gazzetta dello Sport today, the 48 year old team principal says that there he is pleased with the way his team has responded to falling short the last few years – he has a photo on his office wall of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix debacle which cost Fernando Alonso and Ferrari the world title; a reminder not to get complacent as things can change quickly in F1.
Ferrari’s new engine covered 444 laps of Jerez in the back of the works car, the Sauber and the Marussia, which made a late start and the works car seemed to be able to do the mileage without too many problems.
“In a very different kind of contest from previous years we needed to confirm certain fundamental parameters and we have done that,” said Domenicali. “It is a sign of the robustness of our project which gives us hope. But we must be careful; in terms of performance we haven’t seen anything yet from anyone. We will only know where everyone is after the second Bahrain test.” (22 February – 2 March)
“From a reliability point of view Mercedes has started well, also its customer teams have covered a lot of kilometres.”
As for Red Bull, Domenicali is cautious and refuses “to write off such a powerful adversary” after the team’s extensive reliability problems in the first test in Jerez. “If they have isolated the problem they can make up the lost kilometres,” he said.
On the main talking point around Ferrari this year, the driver pairing that all of Formula 1 is looking forward to seeing in action, Alonso and Raikkonen, the Ferrari boss says that the decision to put them together was “rational, not emotional” and adds that Raikkonen is “extremely motivated and has the experience to manage a difficult championship, such as this year’s will be. He knows how to handle the pressure of driving alongside Alonso and driving for Ferrari, which is always under the spotlight and for whom finishing second is a tragedy.”
(Compared to the last time he was at Ferrari in 2009, Raikkonen “is more mature, more expert, closer to the team. He’s already been to Maranello a lot; he comes he almost every week. He knows what he is capable of. He knows that this is an important challenge for him. He knows what he has to do with a champion like Alonso, with whim he has to work in an integrated way.”
There are a couple of other interesting notes from the interview; responding to Bernie Ecclestone’s comment that the new hybrid formula is “a farce”, Domenicali is cautious on making pronouncements too soon, but interestingly notes that, “we need to be prepared to intervene if the new F1 is losing something in terms of emotional appeal.”
On the controversial new rule to double the points for the final race in Abu Dhabi, Domenicali says that “rules must be respected,” but adds, “If we want to say that this is too artificial, this is true.”
| Source: autosport.com |
Working as a driver manager with his son Steve, Robertson proved to be astute in both finding young talent and sealing deals that got them quickly in to F1.
Having helped push Button up the junior ranks to secure his debut with Williams in 2000, Robertson was even more impressive a year later in convincing Sauber – and the FIA – to allow Raikkonen to race in F1 despite only having competed in Formula Renault previously.
Although Button would eventually move on to different management, Robertson continued to look after Raikkonen’s career.
As well as managing drivers, Robertson, along with Raikkonen, also helped set up the successful Formula 3 team Double R Racing,
Button himself expressed his sadness at the passing of Robertson, who had been ill for some time.
“Very sad to hear that David Robertson who helped me reach my dream of racing in Formula 1 has passed away,” wrote Button on Twitter. “My thoughts are with his family.”
The KRS community are very saddened to hear this news and we would like to give our sincere condolences to Steve and his family, and of course Kimi. David, not just a manager for Kimi’s early career, was a father-like figure in Kimi’s life and he will be sorely missed. We’ve always been very grateful for David and Steve recognising Kimi’s talent early on, supporting him away from Finland in the UK races and then bringing him into Formula One. Below are a few features we would like to share to remember David. R.I.P.
Video: David Robertson speaking after Kimi wins the 2007 F1 driver’s championship at Brazil (@ 3:04mins)
How to manage a champion – exclusive with David Robertson
Q: David, you’ve come a long way with Kimi. How does it feel for the both of you to have finally won the title and trophy?
David Robertson: Well, the words that I have to describe this feeling seem, to Steve and I, to be really inadequate. Sheer ecstasy is the feeling and we are still smiling now. When you think that despite two mechanical failures he still did it – winning the most races and scoring the most fastest laps. It was so close in 2003, when he would have been the youngest driver ever and then in 2005, after more failures than I care to remember, he was to be thwarted again. It began to make you think that it was never meant to be, so to finally do it, in such a dramatic fashion against all the odds, was just unbelievable. As everyone knows, with reliability, he would already be three times a world champion!
Q: Kimi has said that nothing will change – that he will always stay the same. Nevertheless, it must be different now that he is champion and he doesn’t have to prove he is of title-winning material…
DR: I am sure that he feels like he says because that is the way that he is. What he says to you is what he means – there are no sides to the lad. But if it were a normal person I’d agree with you that they would feel like they have had a huge monkey taken off of their back.
Q: How did you and Kimi meet? What was it that convinced you that he had what it would take to become a great?
DR: We met when he was brought to our attention through that well known petrol head Peter Collins. Peter told us all about this kid who was in an inferior kart to the rest but was always there in the frame and that in the wet he was amazing. Steve and I then brought him over to test and he was awesome to say the least – he literally looked like he could make the car talk. I know that it sounds corny, but that is the truth. To Steve, he reminded him of the drivers that he had driven against like Schumacher and Hakkinen and he had the best car control that he had ever seen. From the moment that I first met him we took to him completely, hook, line and sinker. As a person, we trusted him and, if you like, he became one of the family, as we literally love him. To me he was like another son and to Steve like a brother. When we address cards to him, we tell him that it is from his English family and you know I like to feel that that is the way that he thinks of us. That’s not to say that his real parents were not 100 percent behind him, because without them he would not be here. They are amazing people too. With them too, what you see is what you get, there are no sides to them – they are the salt of the earth. They sacrificed a lot to enable their son to do what he always wanted to do.
Q: Kimi hasn’t made a wrong move in his career to date – every team he has joined has moved him on. How much does he get involved in these decisions? Or does he trust you completely to make them?
DR: He has a lot of respect for what we think and we make the decisions together. Of course it goes without saying that it was the right thing to do to go to Ferrari, after all, that is the team that all the drivers on the grid want to go to at some point in their career.
Q: But with several key people leaving after Michael Schumacher’s retirement, joining Ferrari was a bit of a gamble. You must have believed that even with those uncertainties, Kimi would enjoy a better 2007 with the Italian team than if he had stayed at McLaren or headed to Renault…
DR: Yes, contrary to what other people thought, we thought that the team had more strength in depth than that. The one person that we thought was critical to the move was the man himself – Jean Todt. I have never known anyone that works as hard as he does. If he was not going to be there, then it would have been a different story. Like any great leader, though, I have found that his work ethic has been contagious and that all of the people that are there are the same and they follow their leader. The passion there is second to none. Trust me, there is no other single reason why Ferrari are the team that they are, than the passion that lies in their very core and spreads to every man that works in their factories. Italy is a very proud nation and they are behind their team and their drivers.
Q: A driver dubbed the ‘Iceman’ and a team that is known for its big emotions – how could that combination possibly work?
DR: You are right, Kimi is not one for wearing his heart on his sleeve and this was one of the things that attracted Ferrari to him. They thought that Kimi was different. After all, he was Kimi and not Michael. That, though, has not made any difference and the team are already very fond of him because he never moans, never makes excuses and just gets on with the job. He sometimes makes mistakes himself and therefore never sees fit to blame anyone in the team for their mistakes either. I once remember Ron (Dennis) said to Kimi, ‘hey, we are moving this guy from the race team as he is the one that caused the finger problem’. Kimi immediately said to him that he was not to touch any of his team, as they never did it deliberately and that everyone makes mistakes so please leave them alone. That is Kimi and that is why so many still love him at McLaren – and why they do now at Ferrari.
Q: Kimi is world champion and Ferrari the constructors’ champion, so everybody must be on cloud nine. Leaving the celebrations to one side, how was the year as a whole? When Kimi joined, some argued that with the team so focused on Schumacher, any successor would have a hard time…
DR: I think that as far as the press are concerned they run away with their own views and they are normally a long way from the truth. The fact is that of course Michael was important to Ferrari but so were so many other people, if you like they were the unsung heroes. Schumacher was a great driver, but Ferrari are a great team. Some people got carried away with the importance of a few individuals and forgot that it was the team, not that jack built, but that Jean Todt built and that Michael was a part of that team and not the sole reason as to why it did well. The team were unbelievable with Kimi when he started. They made every effort to make him feel at home and helped him through the difficulties that he had with the new tyres and his new crew.
Q: Looking back at that crucial race in Brazil, how was Kimi emotionally in those days. Did you speak to him about it?
DR: There is no doubt that, as you would expect, he was over the moon he had managed to pull it off. We were so proud of him during the post-race interviews. You could not have written it any better than the way that he handled it, it was word perfect. The good news is that with Kimi, you knew that he meant every word of it. That is why the team were so happy, because they are now aware of him and understand that he never just pays lip service – it was absolutely straight from the heart.
Q: McLaren’s appeal of the Brazilian result left the championship open for almost four weeks. How did he cope during that period?
DR: Well when you know Kimi, you know that he has this very unique philosophy and that is that he never worries about anything that he can not change and that is another of his great strengths. I remember reading a book about how to stop worrying and start living and I thought after I had known him for a very short time that he could have written that book himself. It just comes naturally to him.
Q: Kimi – and his alias James Hunt – occasionally enjoy some wild times. How much do you try to control that? Do you trust that as a professional he knows the limits?
DR: Once again, thanks to the press, things get quoted wrongly and then a lifestyle emerges that is, to say the least, a little way from the truth. The fact is, he is a young man and does like a party. But never, and I mean never, has he let it interfere with the job that he does. He, like the pro that he is, always makes sure that he is in good condition to deliver at testing and during race weekends. I have never had to go to him – we trust him totally. When he competed in that race over the winter on the snowmobiles, he used the alias of James Hunt to get rid of the press, but I’m sure that if he does that this year he will get mobbed.
| Source: grandprix247.com |
One of the most intriguing sideshows of the 2014 season will be whether or not Alonso and new teammate Kimi Raikkonen will gel within the most famous team in the sport.
The Finn – popularly known as the Iceman – has returned to the Scuderia with whom he won the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship – the Maranello outfit’s last title triumph.
Alonso said of Raikkonen, “I think he’s very talented so that is a huge help and a huge motivation for myself first, and also for the team, because the team knows it has to deliver a good car because Kimi will deliver a good result.”
“I know I need to deliver my best, if not I cannot be in front of Kimi, so that is only good and positive news for Ferrari,” said the two time World Champion.
Asked if two F1 World Championship titles were enough to satisfy his ambitions, Alonso said, “If you ask me this question in 10 years’ time I will tell you less, because two Championships are more than I could dream.”
“If you ask me right now and I am in a middle of a competition, I am hungry for victories; hungry for success – I will tell you that two Championships are not enough,” he added.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is not so sure Fernando Alonso will have an easy time alongside new Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen in 2013.
Grosjean, however, may also be well placed to comment, given that he too has been paired in Formula 1 with both Alonso (2009) and more recently with Raikkonen at Lotus.
“Good luck to them!” he grinned to Brazil’s Totalrace. ”They are two very strong personalities. It will be interesting. Kimi is very much like Fernando in several respects. Both like to be number one, so we’ll see what happens.”
“If there is something I could learn from Kimi and Fernando it is that they never quit. Whenever they get into the car, they get 100 per cent from it, whether it is a good car, bad car, if it’s dry, wet.”
| Source: mtv3.fi |
“Kimi was my idol at a young age. I drove karts when he began his Formula One career. It would be great to drive against him in a race, a real honour.”
“I believe that all Scandinavians like Kimi; his style and his talent behind the wheel,” Ericsson told MTV3.
Ericsson does not feel he is like Räikkönen as a person.
“Kimi is Kimi and I’m myself.”
Ericsson said he’s been to Finland a few times but has no other connections to Finland, or actually… there’s one connection he’d like to mention: “Usually we beat Finland in ice hockey,” Ericcson bragged.
MB Partners are proud to announce they will be representing the commercial rights for 2007 Formula One world champion, Kimi Räikkönen in collaboration with his management and advisors, Blundell having been a long time friend and some time on-track competitor of Steve Robertson.
Räikkönen returns to Ferrari (where he won the championship) this year to join Fernando Alonso for the first of two seasons. He left the team and F1 in 2009 for a career in the World Rally Championship, before heading back to F1 with Lotus in 2012. Räikkönen achieved Lotus F1’s first race win at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and last year secured another victory and a further seven podiums, to finish fifth in the championship standings.
Former F1 driver himself, and now Founder and CEO of MB Partners, Mark Blundell is looking forward to the partnership; “I have known Kimi’s management and advisors for a very long time and as such, we are working closely together on behalf of Kimi. He is without a doubt one of the best F1 drivers on the grid and combined with Ferrari are a powerful commercial proposition.”
Video: Kimi training with Mark Blundell in 2005
| Source: ferrari.com |
A good start with Kimi Raikkonen and James Allison on the same wavelength at the end of the second of four days of testing at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.
“We have obtained some good baselines from which to continue the development of the F14 T,” said the Scuderia’s Technical Director, talking to ferrari.com. “We are working mainly on car reliability and so far, we can claim to be reasonably satisfied because, even though we are talking about a car that’s almost totally new, we haven’t encountered any particular problems. We are also happy with the data parameters we have seen in terms of cooling, as well as those relating to aerodynamic downforce: both of them have matched our expectations.”
Asked for an opinion on Kimi’s second debut in red, Allison had this to say. “He is still the same strong driver, with his usual phlegmatic approach,” added the Englishman with a smile. “It’s difficult for him to get over excited about something, but he gives the engineers the feedback they need to do their job. He might not say much, but he is incredibly accurate when it comes to explain what needs to be done to make the car quicker.”
Allison confessed to not having paid the slightest attention to what the other teams have been doing, therefore he is unable to give an opinion on how competitive the F14 T might be. “There’s too much to do to think about the others. We have to keep an eye on every detail, because it only takes the smallest thing to leave you stranded. Between now and Melbourne, we will have to organise every last detail to be ready for the first race.”
| Source: grandprix247.com |
Former F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen believes the style of driving required to maximise the new era V6 turbo will suit Kimi Raikkonen more than his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso.
In his column for Ilta-Sanomat, Finland’s first F1 world champion wrote, “I think Kimi’s driving style is really perfect for these turbo cars. Alonso pushes too hard, so I think Kimi will beat him.”
Hakkinen believes that Raikkonen’s return to a big team is ideal as the 2007 world champion will not have to worry about financial matters, and thus enable him to focus on driving to his best ability.
“Everyone knows that Ferrari has huge resources to develop self during the season. The development will not stop, even if good engineers leave. And Kimi does not have to be worried about the financial side, Ferrari has what it takes,” concluded Hakkinen.
In an exclusive column for AUTOSPORT, double world champion MIKA HAKKINEN gives his view on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari return and explains why he rates Valtteri Bottas so highly.
To see Kimi Raikkonen back in a Ferrari this year will be fantastic for the Finnish fans, but it will not be easy for him going up against Fernando Alonso.
When I was at McLaren many years ago and a new driver came in, I had an advantage because I knew all the mechanics and the car was tailor-made for me, so I wouldn’t give an easy time to a newcomer.
Alonso knows Ferrari very well and has been there for four years; Kimi knows the team from before, but that was many years ago so let’s wait and see.
When you have two top drivers in the same team, the pressure on each one to perform is three times higher. That pressure can sometimes be distracting for the driver, although it influences people differently.
When I was team-mate to Nigel Mansell at McLaren in 1995, and also Ayrton Senna in ’93, there was a lot of tension, which disturbed the whole team. It is not necessarily a positive boost.
Even if the drivers don’t cause problems with their actions, it can still make things difficult. I’m not saying they will not do a good job because they are both great drivers, but it could unsettle the team unless things are very well managed between them. It’s not so much about what happens on the track, but off it.
But remember, Kimi is not the only Finnish driver on the grid. It’s no secret that I’m working with Valtteri Bottas.
While the results don’t look so impressive, he has been doing a fantastic job and has succeeded very well in his first season in Formula 1. He’s consistent and his pace is good.
That consistency is so important in gathering data and the understanding of the development that’s needed to make the car go faster. He has done fantastic work establishing himself in F1, working very well with the team and getting respect from everyone at Williams.
When I was at Team Lotus in 1991 and ’92, my first two years in F1, I have to admit I had so much to learn about how F1 functioned and understanding the technical side of it.
Like Valtteri, I was learning when the car was not really up to speed and in my first season I scored just two points. But this is a time when you have to fight, really go for it even if you are fighting for 18th or 19th place. You have to keep your foot down all the time and focus on developing the car in a difficult situation.
When a driver is not winning or getting good results, there are a lot of doubts. People might ask why Valtteri is not winning, but it’s important to collect the facts and understand the reality.
When you look at the timesheet, it doesn’t always tell the truth to the fans and I have great confidence in what Valtteri has done so far.
It took me seven years to score my first grand prix win. That shows you must have a long-term view, have trust in people and believe in yourself. There are days when you cannot win and you must analyse every little detail of why that’s happening.
Just changing things all the time is not the path to success. It’s about building up and developing together with the team.
There were question marks over me at times, but all the time my teams had trust in me. McLaren told me, ‘Yes, you are the fastest driver, just wait and we will give you the car’.
I trusted them and then I won the world championship with them. Even though there were hard times along the way, I took the right decision and Valtteri is doing the same thing. He believes in himself, understands the reasons why the results don’t come.
The most amazing thing is how much better he was in his first year than I was, because there is so much data available.
When I started racing with Lotus, I was looking at Ayrton Senna’s data from when he was racing for Lotus [four years earlier]! But today you get so much data from the track and from simulators that helps you to understand.
Valtteri has done very well to learn from all that. When he was test driver, he studied how the team works, how the mechanics operate, how they build gearboxes, exhausts, suspension, aerodynamics to prepare for F1. That was a great training ground.
And he has always remained positive, motivating people, not showing too much emotion and complaining all the time.
That’s how Valtteri has approached the whole season and it means he will be prepared when he is driving a more competitive car.
Leo Turrini: “Kimi laughs like a child. Honestly, I have seen many drivers, but one in a state of ecstasy like him I have not seen. You see that Kimi is really happy and feels to be back home.”
So, where were we?
Ah, yes. I left the narration of my encounter with the Holy Drinker (*Kimi) pending… but the picture (taken, honor to his merit, by the ubiquitous Renato Bisignani, Ferrari’s P.R.) I took with him already said almost everything in the sense that in such circumstances (really random), it is not that we can leave a disquisition about the Maximum World Systems.
I came in to the Montana Restaurant (*a famous Restaurant near Maranello where you can often meet Ferrari’s staff) for a disastrous (*maybe for the enormous amount of food and drinks) convivial ceremony with Cola (aka Luca Colajanni, perfidious predecessor of Bisi). We settle in a small room, under a beautiful blow-up (*really big picture) of Alonso. While we were on the first dish paccheri (* a kind of good Italian pasta), a waiter came to us to offer the Lambrusco wine. Then we hear a voice (*it’s Kimi speaking): “And where is your friend Cat’s Eye (*Cat’s Eye, in Italian Occhi di Gatto, is a famous bloggara, a girl who reads Leo’s blog and knows Leo)?” I got a bit surprised and turned around to see Kimi instead of Alonso (*who was more probable to meet). I reply: “Truly, I should convey the greetings of Odin and Mazgiorg (*two bloggers who are Kimi supporters of course)”. I say: (*Leo is speaking to his bloggars now) “Hey! Now I want to see how they translate this post in Oulu and Turku languages, ehm ehm” (*Leo knows that his articles are translated in more than 12 countries and so he is curious about how they will translate these strange bloggers’ names!). “Nice guys”, he (*Kimi) says.
As the 2007 World Champion (in a t-shirt despite the cold, two mysterious tattoos at the biceps, a cap, which is really similar to U2′s The Edge one, Beautiful Day, One, With or Without You, Walk On, Magnificent) is surrounded by the entire squadron (race engineer A. Spagnolo, the motorists, the logistics officer Balocchi, Bisi and blah blah blah), the conversation moves on to really important things. That is: we talked about a match of ice hockey to play in Fanano, against the formation led by Cat’s Eye, excuse me, by Alonso. “But I suggest to keep the news secret, because every nonsense that I write on your behalf, they immediately translate it into Finnish…….so let’s defend your privacy”.
Kimi laughs like a child. Honestly I’ve seen pilots in fits of laughter but it was indeed rare that I happen to meet one in a state of ecstasy like that. You can easily note he is really happy… to be back at home. Or maybe, he did not understand what kind of missile (*rocket) a certain Adrian Newey is going to extract from the cellars…..
Come on! I explain some bizarre theories of a certain “Nelson66,” our blog’s technician (*Nelson is a blog reader who is an engineer and often he writes about technical aspects of the GP…). “Nice guy”, repeats the blond. So I tell him the story about that time at Interlagos (*2007) and about the cuddly (*the crying) I took a few days later, due to the unexpected surprise of victory. He laughs and says: “Are you ready for the next one?” I do not know if he was referring to the cuddly or at the world title in 2014. With this outstanding mystery narrated, I wish a good weekend to all.
Kimi Raikkonen is no more a fan of Formula One simulators than Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo but the Finn can expect to be spending a lot of time in one now he is back at Maranello.
The start of a new year marks both a new phase and a return for the ‘Iceman’, the 2007 world champion who is back in the red overalls of the Italian team he left in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso.
The 34-year-old has moved from Lotus to team up with Spaniard Alonso in the sport’s only current line-up of champions and has plenty of work to do with the first pre-season test in Jerez now only weeks away.
“Kimi will be extremely busy since the beginning of January to work in this strange machine that I don’t like at all, the simulator,” Montezemolo told reporters over a pre-Christmas lunch in Italy last month.
“It’s a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in this terrible, artificial, machine instead of being allowed to test here (at Fiorano) and at Mugello.”
Montezemolo has long pushed for a return to in-season track testing, something which has been heavily limited as part of cost-saving measures, rather than relying on virtual technology.
Four two-day post-race tests in Europe are allowed this year but they replace an annual three-day young driver test and each team’s current allowance of eight days promotional track time.
Teams, who have had to reduce significantly the amount of wind tunnel testing they do before a cost cap is introduced next year, are working flat out on their new cars with the sport going through a rule change revolution.
The old 2.4-litre V8 engines have been ditched, with a new and less thirsty 1.6 liter V6 turbocharged power unit with energy recovery systems introduced in its place.
All drivers will have to come to terms with the new technology, and different ways of racing, and have already been putting in the laps around familiar circuits in their team simulators to get a taste of how the cars will handle.
Raikkonen, who underwent back surgery in November and missed the last two races of the 2013 season, is not big on them. This time last year, the Finn was widely quoted as saying he felt he could learn nothing in such a machine.
In 2012, ahead of his first Indian Grand Prix in his comeback season, he told reporters: “I’m not like other drivers, so I haven’t driven the simulator to learn it.”
Raikkonen is expected to be first to try out the new car at Jerez, with last year’s runner-up Alonso joining the test later, and their partnership will be closely watched for signs of strain between the two.
Montezemolo, who once warned against having “two roosters in the same henhouse”, said he wanted two team players and assured reporters he was not worried.
“Putting together Alonso and Raikkonen could be dangerous. But in Formula One…everything is potential danger,” he said.
“I think that Fernando knows that he drives not for himself but for Ferrari. And Raikkonen knows that he is in the second half of his career, two very important years for him, with experience and responsibilities.”
Describing Raikkonen as a “very correct guy” who was fully motivated and concentrated, the Italian said the Finn’s talents would mean Alonso was no longer fighting a lone battle up front against his rivals and would have someone pushing him hard.
“(Team principal Stefano) Domenicali has spoken very clearly to both of them,” added Montezemolo.
“They have the honor and the responsibility to drive for Ferrari and every driver knows that he has to drive not for himself but for the team.
“If a driver wants to drive for himself, there are many possibilities. They can do their own team, they can go in a different team but in Ferrari these are the rules.”
Raikkonen remains Ferrari’s most recent world champion, with the sport’s most successful outfit finishing third overall last season behind champions Red Bull and runners-up Mercedes.
Alonso, champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, has been runner-up to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel in three of the last four years.
| Source: autosport.com |
“There is a lot of misinformation about my new team-mate. You read things I said that I didn’t actually say. I think he can be an important asset to the team next year,” Alonso told reporters during a Santander event in Madrid.
“Between Kimi and I, with 12 years of experience [each], that can help us develop the car in certain aspects that are new.
“I can’t give an opinion about Kimi because I don’t know him. There are others who can give opinions about others without knowing them, but I can’t.
“And having not shared a team with him, or having never spent more than 10 minutes with him, I can’t say what he’s like or who he is.
“With Felipe I shared four years and he was a good person, and we worked for Ferrari together in an efficient and professional way. I think Kimi will be the same, but it’s hard to give an opinion now.
“It’s important that we work together and that a red car, whichever it is, crosses the finish line first.”
Although Ferrari endured a difficult 2013 and was no match for the dominant Red Bull, Alonso thinks there is reason to be confident for next year.
“This year we had a sad or disastrous year, according to some people,” he said. “I think the reason to be more optimistic next year is that I’m at Ferrari, which is a top team which can do great things.”
Di Montezemolo has been impressed with Raikkonen’s attitude and expects the Finn will deliver a big boost to Fernando Alonso too.
“Kimi has been better than what I expected,” said di Montezemolo during a lunch with media at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track.
“He has been welcomed by the fans all over the world, he is far more popular with the fans, and that is important inside the team.”
Di Montezemolo has no concerns that the partnership will create any political tensions – and thinks that ultimately Alonso stands to benefit from Raikkonen’s support.
“What about [the comments that] putting them together – Alonso and Raikkonen – could be dangerous?” said di Montezemolo.
“In F1 I accept the attitude to equalise everything, sometimes too much, but everything provides potential dangers.
“I think Fernando knows that he drives not for himself but for Ferrari, and Raikkonen knows that he is in the second half of his career, and [there are] two very important years for him in front. Experience, responsibilities.”
The president expects Raikkonen to make a bigger difference to Ferrari’s title prospects than predecessor Felipe Massa was able to in recent years.
“I think that the main reason why I am positive is because Kimi in particular in the races is very strong, so will be in condition to get points off even some of Fernando’s competitors to get points for the team.
“And he is a very correct guy. Since he has been with us we have not got even one moment of problems.
“They are responsible and I think the presence of Kimi will be extremely important and useful to not leave Fernando alone at the front of the grid to fight from the first lap to the end.
“[Stefano] Domenicali has spoken very clear to both of them, and they have the honour and the responsibility to drive for Ferrari.
“Every driver while I have been here knows that he has to drive not for himself but for the team.
“If some driver wants to drive for himself there are many possibilities, they can do their own team, they can go in a different team, but in Ferrari these are the rules – and that is very clear.”
| Source: Leo Turrini’s Blog | grandprix247.com |
Kimi Raikkonen will be hearing a new voice over the team radio next season after Ferrari announced that Italian Antonio Spagnolo would be race engineer to the returning 2007 World Champion. How much assistance he will need remains to be seen.
The taciturn Finn is well known for doing things his own way, famously telling his race engineer at Lotus in 2012 to “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” while on his way to victory in Abu Dhabi.
The quote has gone down in Formula 1 legend, emblazoned on thousands of T-shirts.
Raikkonen won his title with Ferrari, before making way for Fernando Alonso at the end of the 2009 season and moving to rallying for two years prior to a comeback with Lotus.
The Finn’s race engineer from his last Ferrari period, Italian Andrea Stella, is still with the Italian team but has since forged a close working relationship with Alonso.
Ferrari’s announcement means change for Britain’s Rob Smedley, a familiar voice to television viewers worldwide as race engineer to Raikkonen’s long-suffering Ferrari predecessor Felipe Massa.
Massa has moved to Williams and Smedley could join him there in a new technical role, although he has also been linked with McLaren.
Raikkonen missed the last two races of this year after having back surgery, but Ferrari’s website said that he had visited the Maranello factory on Tuesday to catch up with old friends and discuss the 2014 car.
After the FIA kicked off the selection process, telling drivers they should name their top three picks between 2-99, it has already emerged that Force India’s Sergio Perez has plumped for number 11.
Finland’s Ilta-Sanomat newspaper said that Kimi Raikkonen has picked the number 7 to wear on his helmet and Ferrari next year.
It is believed Fernando Alonso considers 14 to be his lucky number, Jean-Eric Vergne wants the iconic 27, and Nico Rosberg has asked to carry number 6, which was raced to the 1982 title by his father Keke.
Now, adding the hashtag ‘Bo77as’, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has told his 49,000 followers on Twitter that he has put down 77 as his first choice.
Felipe Massa has nominated the number 19, but others – like new Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo – aren’t saying.
“For now I’ll keep mine quiet,” he said. “[But] it’s a beautiful thing [that] Formula 1 drivers will have freedom to choose what number they want to race from next year.”
His replacement at Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat, admitted: “I have been thinking all night long about my number.”
And Lotus’ Romain Grosjean added: “My 3 favourites sent to the FIA, but will keep it secret for now.”
Ferrari is likely to miss Williams-bound Felipe Massa, according to Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian’s teammate of the last four seasons. The Spaniard is wary of his new teammate, famously a man of few words, Kimi Raikkonen.
For 2014, after a period in which Alonso was regarded as the clear number 1 at Maranello, the Italian team has signed up its previous World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, to replace Massa.
Alonso, who said that he counts Massa among his few friends on the Formula 1 grid, pushed to keep the 32-year-old on board, but ultimately must now face the prospect of working alongside the famously cool and odd Finn.
“Definitely Felipe was a hard worker,” Alonso told Brazil’s Totalrace. ”He works day and night for the team to improve the car’s performance.”
“I don’t know Kimi, but the reports say that he speaks very little and is a bit more isolated. So I think that Ferrari could miss [Massa],” said Alonso.
However, Alonso played down the prospect that a bad working relationship between himself and Raikkonen – like the one between former Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and the retiring Mark Webber – will hurt Ferrari.
“What we have to do now is focus on making a good car in the winter,” he insisted.
“If it’s good, like the Red Bull, it doesn’t matter if there’s ‘Multi-21′, ‘Multi-35′ or anything like that, because the atmosphere in the team will be great,” Alonso added.
James Allison’s first term as technical director of Ferrari is coming to a close. However, unlike school, there are no report cards to be awaited with trepidation, although it’s still a good opportunity to have a quick chat with Allison and get his first impressions at the start of what is his second stint at Ferrari, coming at a time that is particularly challenging for all Formula 1 engineers.
“I definitely haven’t spent time going into the details of the design of the new car, as it wouldn’t make any sense at this stage,” Allison declared.
“Rather, I concentrated on trying to direct adequate resources and on putting the best people in the right places to optimise attention to detail. Actually, when you tackle a regulation change like this one, it’s not something you only start thinking about six months beforehand. When I arrived in Maranello, work on the project had been on going for two years.”
“I tried to immerse myself in its philosophy and adapt to the team as quickly as possible. Having said that, what you could call my active role in the design of the car involves working identifying the areas on which maybe we should push harder and concentrate more effort.”
As from 2014, the engine will once again play an important role in establishing a hierarchy among the teams, as was the case up until 2006.
“It’s true that the influence of the power unit on overall performance of the car will be much greater than in the recent past,” continued the engineer from Lincolnshire.
“From when, in 2007, the freeze on engine development took hold and performance levels converged, it’s clear that its influence on the pecking order got ever smaller, while aerodynamics grew in importance.”
“In the years leading up to that point, that wasn’t the case: I can well remember how important the engine was in terms of Ferrari’s successes in the first half of the Noughties. Now we will witness a re-balancing, although aerodynamics will still be a key factor.”
In fact on this front, Ferrari has invested heavily in terms of manpower and technical resources, as Allison recognises.
“Aerodynamics remains the lifeblood of a modern Formula 1 car,” he explains. “It’s impossible to be competitive without having the right tools and adequate resources: now we can say we have moved on from being maybe the fourth or fifth team in terms of the tools we have, to once again being at the cutting edge and everything is in place to open up a new Ferrari era.”
| Source: grandprix.com |
Fernando Alonso’s frustration in 2013 triggered Ferrari’s push for Kimi Raikkonen.
That is the view of the Italian team’s former driver Mario Andretti.
“In my opinion, Alonso became frustrated this season, and what he said offended Ferrari,” the 1978 world champion told the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
Andretti is referring to the arguably disparaging comments made by the Spanish driver, after which Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo revealed he “tweaked” Alonso’s ear.
“Otherwise,” Andretti added, “they never would have hired someone who could challenge him and even beat him.”
After four years alongside the often underperforming Felipe Massa, Alonso’s new teammate for 2014 is the former team champion Kimi Raikkonen.
“You have to know how to behave,” Andretti, still referring to Alonso’s attitude of 2013, continued.
“He always had a proper behaviour, but that 1 per cent … we saw what was Montezemolo’s reaction.
“It will be interesting to see what happens next,” he added, “because Kimi is not arriving to help; he is going to try to win.
“It will be a great battle that will be fun to watch.”
| Source: grandprix247.com |
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has expressed disappointment with Fernando Alonso’s performance at Ferrari and suggested that the Spaniard was looking to change teams earlier in the year.
“I’ve been a little bit disappointed in Fernando because I’m a big supporter of him and of Ferrari,” Ecclestone, 83, wrote in a foreword to the official Formula 1 season review.
“I thought he gave up a little bit which is proof that he was looking for another team.
“I don’t know whether the team is not competitive because of him or because the people who are running the team aren’t getting the job done,” added Ecclestone.
Alonso finished the season as overall runner-up to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who clinched his fourth title in four years to become the youngest quadruple Champion.
McLaren made no secret earlier in the season that they would jump at a chance to sign Alonso, who had one turbulent year with them in 2007, should he become available.
Ferrari, third overall in the Constructors’ standings, have described their season as one to forget while praising Alonso for his results in a car that was not even second best.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo did, however, reprimand Alonso on the Spaniard’s birthday in July for unflattering comments he made about his car.
Ecclestone said that he had “always predicted” that Vettel would be ‘what he is’, with the German winning the last nine races of the year and 13 in total to equal seven-time champion Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record.
“You probably have to say he’s number one of the drivers I’ve known,” added the Briton whose involvement with the sport goes back to the 1950s.
He also singled out Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Champion who will be Alonso’s team mate at Ferrari next season after leaving Lotus.
“This year I suppose I have to call Kimi the star driver, with the equipment he has,” said Ecclestone of the Finn who left Lotus after complaining he had not received his wages. “I think he was motivated on hope that he was going to get paid.
“He’s a good guy to have in a team, good for us, good for the team. He’s super, he’s a racer.”
Pirelli, who caused many of the season’s headlines with exploding tyres at Silverstone and complaints about how quickly their rubber wore out, also received a glowing report from Ecclestone.
“Pirelli did a wonderful job for us,” he said. “I told them we don’t want tyres that last the race, we want tyres that nobody knows how they are going to last. We’ve got that too with the new engines next year.”
Formula 1 is switching from the V8 engines to a new V6 turbocharged unit with energy recovery systems.
Ecclestone has long been a critic of the new units, fearing that the different noise will alienate the paying public, and he returned to the fray in the review.
“I still think what we have now is good, I don’t think there was any need to change it,” he said.
| Source: espn.co.uk |
Luca di Montezmolo believes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be successful as a driver pairing because Raikkonen is “much loved” at Ferrari.
Raikkonen returns to the team with which he won his only world championship next season, joining Alonso in a pairing of two of the strongest drivers on the grid. While such a line-up is a break from Ferrari’s traditional approach of a clear number one driver, Montezemolo told RAI Uno that he expects the two drivers to work together to bring the team success.
“Whoever has the honour and responsibility of driving for Ferrari must think of the team first and foremost and not of himself,” Montezemolo said. “None of our drivers could ever hurt the other one. Alonso is maybe the strongest race driver I’ve ever met, even if it is always difficult to make comparisons with the past. We have taken Raikkonen back for his experience, for what he has done over the past two years and because he is much loved inside and outside the team. I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm that greeted the news of his return, again both internally and externally. I am sure they will help one another.”
On the subject of Sebastian Vettel, Montezemolo was willing to hint the door is open for him to join Ferrari in future.
“Better than [Ayrton] Senna? Ecclestone says what suits him but there is no doubt he is a great driver. He is a serious young man who has won a lot and therefore he deserves respect. I congratulate him and Red Bull. Vettel at Ferrari? Who knows what the future holds? But for now, drivers are definitely not a problem for us.”
Away from drivers, Montezemolo was also had some words for FIA president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone.
“Todt will be reconfirmed and I expect strong changes, because for too many years the Federation has always been the same and, as in everything, a change is required. Having said that, a strong sporting authority is always a priority for Ferrari. Ecclestone sees Horner as his successor? As the years go by, he more and more enjoys making jokes and I’m happy he still has the desire to do so…”
| Source: crash.net |
Joining former Lotus colleagues at Ferrari next season won’t make any difference to Kimi Raikkonen’s ability to settle in, according to technical director James Allison.
Kimi Raikkonen may be following a couple of former Lotus colleagues on the road to Maranello, but previous associations won’t necessarily help the Finn hit the ground running in his return to Ferrari.
That is the view of former Lotus technical director James Allison, who made the jump from Enstone earlier in the year. While the Briton’s presence in the Ferrari camp was reckoned to have played a part in Raikkonen’s decision to return – the Finn having also been linked to Red Bull – he plays down its significance.
“I don’t think it will make much difference to Kimi at all!” he laughed, “Beautiful though I am, I don’t think I have a massive impact on his life!
“Kimi’s relationship with the team is predominantly with the people that are at the track, racing the car, with him, with his race engineer and with the chief race engineer and the people that campaign round the world with him. My job is mainly a factory-based one and, while I would try to lead a factory team that is sensitive to what the drivers are saying about the car, and hopefully making the most of the feedback that they give us, my day-to-day interaction with the drivers is not overly extensive.”
Allison admits that he is looking forward to playing a part in returning Ferrari to prominence next season, and sees the introduction of a new technical rules package – and the preparation work already completed before his arrival – as perfect for the rebirth.
“I’ve been very fortunate to arrive at Ferrari at a point in their cycle when a lot of the changes necessary to return to the front rank – I mean right at the front rank, ie winning championships –have been put in place by Pat Fry,” he said, “I think I’m particularly lucky to have arrived and been able to benefit from those investments rather than having to start them from scratch. There is much more to be done but I’m a lucky chap to be picking up where I am.”
Of course, being handed the responsibility of returning the Prancing Horse to P1 comes with no small degree of pressure, but Allison is happy to accept that in order to hold one of the most revered non-driving positions in the sport.
“I think technical director at any F1 team is a very big job, it certainly doesn’t leave room for much else than the job in your life,” he explained, “Ferrari is an extremely prestigious F1 team, with a lot of resource and an extremely high level of expectation. There is really no result other than winning that is good enough at Ferrari.
“There is a lot of pressure to make sure I play my part in achieving that, but it is a wholly realistic ambition. It’s a team with the kit, with the resource, with the people and with the drivers to get the job done, and I’m so looking forward to being there when it happens.”
| Source: mtv3.fi |
Steve Robertson emphasizes that Räikkönen has done a whole lot for the Lotus-team although the team hasn’t paid him at all this season.
“Kimi is right. He is honest. We are trying to solve financial issues. This is not the best way to end a relationship,” Robertson told MTV Sport.
Robertson confirms that the cursing radio message also bothered Kimi.
“Kimi is also offended over the radio message. He was accused of not being a team player. But when you take into account the whole situation, unpaid salaries and everything else, I think he is the biggest team player in Formula One.”
Räikkönen’s camp have threatened that unless Lotus fulfill their promises the two last races can be skipped.
“They have given us some promises. If they hold on to them, then hopefully we will race the season to the end. If not, then there is a clear chance that he won’t drive the two last races,” Robertson says.