| 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.
Toni Vilander, long time friend of Kimi’s, met Stefano Domenicali in the Abu Dhabi paddock.
According to Domenicali, he never abandoned the thought of Räikkönen’s return to Ferrari.
– My philosophy is to never say never. Kimi has always behaved very professionally and positively towards us. I am very happy that his comeback is now possible. Ever since he came back to F1 he has proved to be in a tough stitch. He is a very special guy in this sense, Domenicali said.
Do you think that Kimi’s arrival to Ferrari will now be easier than it was the first time, now that you both know how you work?
– Absolutely. We know his strength and he knows our team. F1 needs experienced drivers. Kimi’s experience will definitely help us with the challenges that the new rules create. His input is in a very important position, Domenicali said.
Next year you have two drivers and two strong personalities both on- and off-track. How are you going to prepare your team and engineers for that situation and how will you make sure that they work well together and avoid unnecessary disputes?
– My only problem is to provide both drivers a competitive car. If we have a good car then there won’t be any problems. Both Kimi and Fernando Alonso are mature, adult persons and world champions so they know what it means to give their all to the team. You Toni, you know after being a member of our team for many years, that in Ferrari the team always comes first. The will to give all to the team and putting the team’s interests before your own interests is important, Domenicali said.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Lotus F1 Team Chairman Gerard Lopez sets the record straight on the issues concerning the team as it heads into the final three races of the 2013 season.
Q: WHAT’S THE OBJECTIVE FOR THE TEAM IN THE NEXT THREE RACES?
The objective is very clear; we want to get that second position in the Constructors’ Championship. As long as it’s mathematically possible that is the one and only objective we should have as a team. It makes a big difference to us, in terms of many things. We do have arguably the second best car out there, so there’s no reason why we cannot put up a good fight and try to get that second position.
Q: HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH KIMI?
Good. I speak with Kimi more than a lot of people probably realise and we rarely speak about Formula 1. Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship. It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.
Q: WHAT IS KIMI LIKE TO WORK WITH?
From my perspective, Kimi is often misunderstood. He’s actually a very talkative, very friendly guy. One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on. For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion. It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being. The whole Iceman thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver. In reality he’s a kind guy, he’s a very talkative guy and over the two years I’ve gained a friend in Formula 1 which is a difficult place to do so.
Q: DID KIMI’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT HE WAS GOING TO FERRARI CHANGE THE RELATIONSHIP?
For a long time we had the opportunity to keep him in our hands, but we weren’t able to operate to the timeframe – or make the offer – that Ferrari were able to do. For me this brought sadness, as it’s like prodigal son leaving us. When we signed him there was a lot of criticism and a lot of disbelief. There were some people who were saying that he still had it in him and that he was one of the best Formula 1 drivers out there, but at the same time there were many people who were saying that he couldn’t do it, that he was overweight, this, that and the other. But we believed in him and he delivered big time. The only reason we’re fighting for second in the World Championship is because of all the points that Kimi has scored. We’re doing everything we can to ensure Kimi and the team can continue to fight right up to the chequered flag in Brazil.
Q: WHAT HAS KIMI BROUGHT TO THE TEAM OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS?
He’s been a number of things to the team; some of which have been quite obvious to people, and others which are less obvious. The first thing that Kimi did was to remove any excuses from the team. We knew we had one of the best ever drivers in Formula 1 and as a result of that there was no escape from whether the cars were good enough. With Kimi we knew we had a benchmark. This gave people the belief that whatever we put on the car or put into development, was going to get maximised on the race track. That is very motivating for anyone working in the team and in the factory; the fact that you know you’re putting all this effort into making something which you can transform into performance on the track.
The second thing he did was match really well with who we are as a culture. We are at the pinnacle of motorsport and we are a very serious, hardworking team, but nobody in the team considers Formula 1 to be an elite club in which you cannot have fun, and we have a pretty relaxed attitude on a number of things; for sure not on performance, and for sure not on development. It’s not as clinical as other teams, and he fits right into that. For us essentially he was the perfect puzzle piece and for him I think it was a perfect fit. I still think it’s one of the best partnerships in Formula 1.
The third thing he did is helped Romain to develop as a driver in a way he perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise. Had Romain been next to a more junior driver, or a less capable driver, we probably would still not know how good Romain is. For Romain to be delivering the results he is doing so now, it’s really very much because he is driving next to probably one of the best Formula 1 drivers ever. Kimi has been a tremendous help in the development of Romain.
Q: WILL THE TEAM AND YOU MISS KIMI?
The fact is he will be missed and I really think that this is one of those partnerships in Formula 1 that is – and will be remembered as being – very, very special. It’s difficult to think about the fact he’s not going to be in our black and gold car next year. I think he feels the same way. There’s no such thing as regrets, but there is such a thing as sadness even if disguised sometimes… he will be missed, and from what I’ve discussed with him he will miss this team. It doesn’t take anything away from the relationship and it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that I certainly gained a friend and that will continue to exist.
Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE WILL HOLD FOR KIMI?
I think Kimi will do a good job at Ferrari. We’ve seen what he is capable of so we know what a formidable force he can be.
| Source: ts.fi | translation courtesy of racingnerds
Steve Robertson sighed deeply on the phone even on Tuesday. You could hear his sigh from Dubai to Turku when he was asked how he felt about Alan Permane’s public cursing in the team radio when drivers battled for positions in the overtaking situation.
“I have never heard any person from any team management shout at Kimi like that,” Robertson wonders.
“Grosjean squeezed Kimi the same way three weeks earlier in Korea. Of course his tyres were now worn out, but Kimi always tries to fight for as long as his machinery allows him to do that,” Robertson said.
Some reporter colleagues asked me after India if Räikkönen only drives for himself without listening to anyone.
I asked his manager the same question.
“Just like all top drivers Kimi drives firstly and mostly for himself – otherwise none of them would win championships. But of course Kimi can play for the team. If his teammate drives for the championship when he is out of it already, then he doesn’t make his WDC battle difficult.”
“Grosjean is not driving for the WDC, so in that situation he was just like any other competitor to Kimi who threathens his position,” Robertson told TS.
| Source: autosport.com |
Lotus boss Eric Boullier has apologised for the radio exchange between Kimi Raikkonen and Alan Permane during the Indian Grand Prix. (Listen here.)
The team’s trackside operations director Permane told Raikkonen to “move out of the ****ing way” as the Finn struggled for pace with worn tyres while team-mate Romain Grosjean was right behind him.
In his first passing attempt, Grosjean had to go off track to avoid contact.
Raikkonen responded on the radio with another profanity before Grosjean, under pressure from Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, passed him on his way to third place.
Lotus said after the race that it would discuss Raikkonen’s defiance.
On Monday, Boullier said the radio exchange had been inappropriate and that he will make sure it is not repeated.
“Romain was two seconds per lap faster than Kimi at that time, so it was not even a team order,” said Boullier.
“By asking Kimi to let Romain pass, we just made the obvious choice, as Massa could have stolen our podium.
“With hindsight, this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way.
“There was a lot of tension, a lot of potential technical problems, and some of the words that flew around were simply not appropriate.
“I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologise for that on behalf of the team. It won’t happen again.”
| Source: ferrari.com |
Q: “Why have you kept Massa up until now? After the accident in 2009, for me he was no longer the same and I’m happy Raikkonen is coming back.”
Domenicali: “”There are two reasons. From a medical point of view, there is no proof that the accident left any permanent damage, such as problems with his sight or reflexes. And then there’s the gentility which would demand that we give a driver who hasn’t had much luck, the chance to show he deserves to stay with us. If Felipe was unable to deliver the performance we hoped for, it was mainly down to a hyper-sensitivity to a car that was too nervous at the rear, but in 2008, he almost took the title and I consider him as a world champion. We took Raikkonen because we wanted more. When we replaced him with Alonso, he was not happy and so he returns with a great desire to do well.”
In the interview, which was conducted by fans who had been critical of the team and were invited to Maranello, Domenicali also addressed the issues of Alonso’s recent criticism of the team that earned a rebuke from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
Domenicali, who was asked why he did not also dress down Alonso in public, said: “If I have something to say to him, as would be the case with my engineers, I would do it behind closed doors and in a harsh manner.
“But externally, I will always defend the team. When he crossed the line, president Montezemolo intervened and in private. So did I.”
“In Formula One, now is the time to go back to victory, because I am a little pissed off to arrive second for four years,” di Montezemolo tells me in a hushed yet purposeful tone, stopping short of throwing his fist down on the sofa.
Memo to Alonso and Massa – it probably wouldn’t be sensible to surrender the current second place in the this year’s constructors’ championship. But regardless of what happens this year, di Montezemolo is clearly expecting great things following the news that Kimi Räikkönen will return to Ferrari in 2014.
The Ice Man cometh, and di Montezemolo will be greeting him with all the warmth of a long-lost friend. Kimi is – after all – the last driver to win the Formula One world championship for Ferrari.
“I’m pleased for Kimi – he is very motivated at a crucial point of his career.”
“The combination of Alonso and Kimi will be very strong. We can count on Kimi to take points off potential challengers.”
A parting swipe at the departing Felipe Massa or a just an indication of what di Montezemolo expects from Räikkönen? You decide. But whatever, it’s clear that the recent lack of success at Ferrari hits the good people of Maranello hard. In 2014, Ferrari will be driven not just by hope, but by huge expectation.
| Source: ts.fi | by Heikki Kulta | translation courtesy of racingnerds.com |
Kimi Räikkönen has millions of fans all over the world, but I doubt anyone can beat the emotionality of Moko, who’s persona the whole F1 paddock knows as just ‘Moko‘.
Moko was born in Senegal, he loves Marimekko’s colours and he became a die-hard Ferrari fan when Jody Scheckter, as the first African, won the WDC in 1979 with the red car.
After that Moko has experienced big emotions when following especially Räikkönen’s driving.
“I am happy now that Kimi returns back home nex year. I spoke with him some time ago and he told me: ‘Moko, I’m coming home’.”
“What a duo it will be – Kimi and Fernando Alonso. Now they only have to get a good car, because if the car is bad then it destroys the legacy of these two top drivers.”
Moko, who has made his fortune in diamond-business, says he has followed Räikkönen’s career starting from Sauber.
“When we met I immediately noticed that this boy has a mind of his own and a killer instinct. I was immediately interested in his personality. When Kimi looks at you he sees and is a aware of everything. Kimi is a completely amazing guy once you learn to know him more deeply.”
He still has his lucky cross.
“It was a great day for me when Kimi decided to come to Ferrari for the first time. As usual I was in Australia following the opening race and it was under the trees in Albert Park when Kimi walked by with Todt. I shouted to him: “Hi, mister Raikkonen.” He stopped and walked back to me.”
“I told him that I wanted to welcome him to the house. I was worried over how he would do. I took one of the many crosses hanging around my neck and gave it to him. I told him that it would bring good things and that Kimi would win the race with the cross. Kimi just smiled, but he took it – and he won. Kimi told me some time ago that he still has the cross.”
“What I have experienced with Kimi is something that you don’t see in F1 – a genuine human being.”
“Kimi is a very special person and he always remembers where he is from. He still has the same buddies, he is very loyal to his friends and he always remembers everything. I am proud to have met his family. I met his Granny (Sirkka Pietilä) only once in Nürburgring, but we developed a very special relationship.”
Moko was naturally in Brazil when Räikkönen became WDC in 2007.
“Kimi came from the podium celebrations and he asked me to come with him. He gave me his soaked racing outfit, the one he used in that same race. Todt told me to take it since Kimi wanted to give it to me. I told him that I need to take it to the cleaners, but Kimi adviced me to keep it the way it was, because he had written a dedication to me on it.”
“That was my life’s highest moment,” Moko says with a deep feeling – and walks into Ferrari’s hospitality area like it was his home.
| Source: formula1.com |
It’s been an interesting few weeks for Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. Following eight podiums in the first half of the season, the E21 went off the boil at the low-downforce Spa and Monza rounds and soon after came news of Kimi Raikkonen’s 2014 Ferrari move. Raikkonen subsequently revealed that missing pay cheques had sealed his decision, prompting questions about Lotus’s financial health and some suggested an early exit from the ‘Iceman’ was imminent, especially when the Finn started complaining of back pain ahead of Singapore qualifying. But then, in true Kimi fashion, he drove like a demon to storm from 13th on the grid to third at the flag. So what does Boullier make of it all? We found out…
Q: Eric, Lotus gave Kimi the chance – and the car – to make what has been an impressive F1 comeback. A better chance comes along and he’s gone, yet you say ‘no hard feelings’. But what feelings are there? That surely cannot leave you untouched…
Eric Boullier: Disappointment. But we are not bitter. You have to deal with facts – and cannot live on expectations. We would have loved to keep Kimi and to carry on the nice story that we have built over the last two years, but you have to deal with reality. That’s it.
Q: Lotus never wanted to be drawn into a bidding war over his services. Was there a bidding war?
EB: No, there was no bidding war. Kimi wanted to have some reassurance. But let’s expand the story. The strategy behind the team was to build the team up and bring it back as a top team. Genii gives us the means to achieve that, but obviously to go to the next level you need more means and more resources and it is no secret that for quite a while Genii have been looking for partners to make sure that we can bring more money to the team and have access to a bigger sponsor portfolio. We need to secure sponsors, as this is the only way to step up. Formula One depends massively on the people – and to attract the best people to a team you need to have money, to be able to build something for the long term. Genii’s plan was to bring the team up within five years – which we are trying to do – but to move to the next step you need another five-year plan in place. And that is what we are working on.
Q: How much does it hurt right now that one cornerstone of your building up the team – Kimi Raikkonen – is walking out?
EB: It is hurting in terms of our image, because the combination of Kimi and Lotus F1 – on-track and off-track – as a brand was a perfect fit, right down to the black livery. Kimi is a personality, he’s a character, and he’s got charisma and he’s a fast driver who delivers on a Sunday. But then again we are not on a one-year plan – we have to look at the next five years and then Kimi’s departure probably becomes less crucial.
Q: What’s your take on his reasons for leaving? He always said that he loves the environment at Lotus. Ferrari is obviously tempting, but it also comes with a price tag that reads Alonso…
EB: Well, it is public knowledge by now that we’ve been late in paying him, and he got upset. To manage the cash flow – and I don’t mean the money itself or the budget we have, which is guaranteed by Genii (or at least most of it as we don’t have the revenue stream to allow us to live independently from Genii) – this cash-flow is an issue if you have fixed costs and want to keep up the development level. You have to decide where you want to spend your money. Our suppliers and key people who develop the car were our priority – maybe not Kimi. But Kimi was in a similar position last year and it was all settled by the end of the year. And Genii had the plan to do the same this year.
Q: You know Kimi pretty well. What was so tempting about going for red? They didn’t part on particularly great terms last time…
EB: You’d have to ask him. My guess is that he wanted some security, yes, but that there is also an element of revenge. He was shown the door and now they call him. But that’s just my assumption. (more…)
Gerard Lopez didn’t swallow his disappointment when losing Räikkönen to Ferrari. It became especially annoying for him when Räikkönen confirmed his departure by leaving a legacy of not getting his salaries paid.
“This is F1, when you say something like that it becomes a huge explosion,” Lopez complained in an interview with Turun Sanomat.
“Kimi is really a fantastic driver and a fantastic guy. I won’t change my opinion of him in any way,” he said.
How does Lopez react to Räikkönen’s departure?
“Kimi has his family here. Sometimes children leave their home and bash their parents. I am sorry, because the guy who leaves us is a guy who I like really much. We believed in him when nobody else did,” Lopez said.
How difficult is it to fill Räikkönen’s seat?
“I don’t know but we are sure that we won’t find a new Kimi. But then again Kimi wasn’t Robert Kubica, and Robert wasn’t Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.”
“There are good drivers out there. I’m sure that we are the best team to get a driver who is good, but not yet 100 %, and that we can lift him to a new level. If we find a driver who’s perfomance ability is now 80-85 %, then we can add the remaining 15-20 %.”
“We shouldn’t also forget that Kimi wasn’t driving around with any shopping cart from the supermarket, he was driving a really good race car. We can also give a good machinery.”
“We aren’t replacing Kimi with Kimi, but we are going to make sure that we replace him with a good driver,” Lopez assured.
The favorite is Nico Hülkenberg, who’s manager Werner Heinz is anchored in Lotus-team’s pit garage. Felipe Massa is knocking on the door with the support of Brazilian Globo-tv and Brazilia’s Santander, but Toto Wolff already expressed his interest in getting Massa into DTM if he is left without a F1-seat on Saturday evening.
According to information Turun Sanomat has Massa will probably find a seat in Force India.
“Raikkonen’s case is almost identical to Lauda,” Montezemolo says in Gazzetta dello Sport. “Also Niki at a certain point said ‘enough’ because he couldn’t do it any more. I’m speaking of the twin brother of Kimi, because the driver who we had racing for us wasn’t the one we hired. The break has done him good, he has returned to greatness, he’s won races, he’s finished lots of races. I wanted a driver who would make me look back on Massa with regret and I’ve got one. From Raikkonen I am demanding victories, consistency, podiums. Alonso will be the main beneficiary. Returning to Lauda, when he came back remember he beat Prost (his McLaren team mate) to the world championship..”
“I know both Fernando and Kimi on and off the track and I rate them as excellent drivers, but I’m afraid they will collide when sharing the team,” said Massa in an interview with Brazilian F1 broadcaster Galvao Bueno on TV Globo. “I told the bosses to breathe as much as possible while they still can because it will be hard for them to breathe next season. I’m sure Fernando likes me, he has to. We have a nice relationship, I’m sure he sees me as a personal friend as I see him. Kimi and myself are also good friends, much more than when we were team-mates.”
“I don’t see this duo as a match. Kimi doesn’t care who is in the other car, but Fernando won’t like the fact that it’s Kimi,” Whitmarsh replied to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat. “Drivers don’t have to love each other and these two drivers are very “slash and burn” top drivers. In some things they can be an incredibly strong team when thinking of their driving skills, but it will become a very challenging situation for the team itself. This setting doesn’t affect Kimi at all, but I predict that it affects Fernando very deeply.”
“For motor sport fans it will certainly be a blast, and make for a tough competition. It will be exciting to watch,” Michael Schumacher told Bild newspaper. “But Ferrari with Fernando and Kimi – it sounds like an explosive mixture,”
Andrea Stella (Kimi’s ex-Ferrari engineer):
“There is a very positive atmosphere in Maranello after the Kimi-news. As a matter of fact the team was very sorry four years ago when we learned Kimi was leaving Ferrari,” Andrea Stella tells Turun Sanomat. “Kimi left a really strong picture of his driving in endseason 2009. He gave us a long chain of podiums, even one victory although we knew how limited the resources of that year’s car offered him. Kimi is very much welcomed back to the team.”
“Speaking as a fan I would say it is good to have two number ones together,” Alain Prost told a French television broadcast. “I think it’s a choice born from a certain tension between Fernando and the Scuderia that has been clearly evident during the year. Now he will no longer be the undisputed number 1, at least not initially, and I’m not sure that Stefano Domenicali has the ability of a Jean Todt or a Ross Brawn to handle a situation like this. In Italy the press applies a lot of pressure, so I presume that sooner or later there will be trouble,”
“I think Kimi’s driving style is such a perfect to those turbocars. Alonso is pushing too hard, so I think Kimi will beat him,” Häkkinen wrote in his column. “Everyone knows that Ferrari has a huge resources to developing car during the season. The development wont stop even if some good engineers leaves. And Kimi has not to be worried about the finance, Ferrari has it. At next year there are coming such a huge changes of rules, so its better to have a seat in a good team. And Kimi knows it.”
“I want to start by saying how important Felipe [Massa] has been to the history of our team, but I can also say that Kimi’s return is good news,” Gene admitted, “Along with Fernando, they will make a very strong and experienced pairing, the only one on the grid made up of two world champions. The team knows Kimi well and he knows the team too: I am sure he will be able to do a very good job with us as from next year.”
“I think Fernando will see it as a positive thing,” Webber told AUTOSPORT during an appearance for Red Bull sponsor Geox in London. “The positives for me are that Fernando needs to be pushed more on Saturday afternoons; which he will live for. Kimi will lift him and help him to get a bit more out of himself on Saturday afternoons. On Sundays there is no question, we know Fernando is a brilliant racer, but on Saturdays Kimi will lift him to another level. Fernando will also see it as an opportunity to do well against Kimi. He will back himself in this situation. The team will have to be careful on the technical front,” explained the Australian. “Kimi we know is a phenomenal guy, but it will be interesting to see if Fernando feels it will be even in terms of the work rate going on. It is a big, big technical challenge next year. Both drivers have to put a lot into that and I don’t think Fernando will be too happy if it is all one sided. It is going to be a tasty finish to both their careers; both Fernando and Kimi. At the end of next year they are in the twilight, it will come around pretty quick, and brilliant for both F1 and also for Ferrari.
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
Q: Ferrari has announced this morning that Kimi will drive for them next year. What is your reaction?
EB: Of course this is a disappointment to all of us, and we’re sure you will agree that Kimi has been nothing but brilliant since he joined us. In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing him with two great cars and making his return to Formula 1 a success. It’s been a win-win situation right from the beginning.
Q: Are you bitter about Kimi’s decision?
EB: Not at all. Two years ago, when we decided to sign him, quite a few people thought we were crazy. And what happened in the end? We’ve been working with an amazing racer, who scored points for the team 27 times in a row, won two races, put motivation at a very high level at Enstone, and got on very well with his team-mate. Now, it’s time to think about the future. You know, we remain a medium-sized team and there are some areas in which we’re not in a position to fight against the other top teams just yet. We’ve had Schumacher, Alonso, Räikkönen. New champions will join the list here soon I’m sure.
Q: What is your best memory from the Kimi days?
EB: Hold on, Kimi has not left yet! We still have seven races together and our aim is to provide both him and Romain with the best machinery possible. There’s still a tough fight out there and we’re still pushing to improve on last season again with P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. If I had to pick one top moment, I would say that it has to be his first win with us in Abu Dhabi last year. After the long period of slowly building ourselves up and fighting at the top end of the grid, it was really a well deserved reward. To see Kimi on the top step of the podium for our team will be a memory that never leaves me.
Q: When will you be in a position to announce your line-up for next year?
EB: We are currently in discussion with a few people and will make a decision shortly. We are in the privileged position of being the most desirable team on the grid with a seat available, so we are therefore in no rush to announce anyone without establishing what will be the best for our team and the future.
| Source: autosport.com |
“We worked with Kimi for three years from 2007 to 2009 and we never had a problem,” Domenicali told the Ferrari website regarding doubts about Raikkonen’s character.
“Sure, everyone has their own ways and you can’t expect a Finn to start telling jokes in Italian or playing the clown.
“Honestly, I think the combination of Fernando’s expressive and passionate Latin character and the cool style, to call it that, of someone like Kimi, seems to appeal to many, including the youngsters. And our partners are also in agreement with this.
“As for the technical side of things, not only do we know full well how much Kimi can contribute at an important time like this, when the technical framework is changing so significantly, but we also have first hand information from James Allison, as to how much the Finn has also progressed in this area over the past two years.”
“I would only say that the combination of Fernando and Kimi is the best one could have today in Formula 1, in terms of talent, experience, competitive spirit and the ability to move car development forward,” he said.
“As for the “poultry” question, it brings to mind football fans who are scared of rival teams because they have so many strong forwards and so they hope they will fight each other for the ball.
“For anyone thinking that the choice of Kimi is somehow an anti-Alonso choice, I can put their minds at rest.
“At Ferrari, everyone knows the interests of the team come first and only then those of the individual.
“Fernando is a key asset for this team and he will be for a long time.
“I’m sure he is the first to be happy with a choice made to strengthen the group, because he is too intelligent not to realise that a stronger team can only be an advantage.”
Amid suggestions Red Bull is preparing a 2014 contract for Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen’s manager insists the Finn is still in the running.
“The facts, or what I can tell you, is that an agreement has not been reached at this time.
“Negotiations and discussions are still underway,” manager Steve Robertson, who reportedly had a meeting with Lotus’ Eric Boullier in Hungary on Friday, told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
He added: “I can’t tell you much about the details, but things are still open. I hope the situation will be resolved in the not very distant future.”
Asked, however, if the pendulum has swung away from Red Bull and towards a new Lotus deal for the 2007 world champion, Robertson insisted: “You put me in a difficult situation, because I can’t say any more than I have already.”
At the very least, he denied speculation Raikkonen could simply choose the option that compels him to do the least PR and media duties.
“It’s useless to deny that public relations work is not on Kimi’s list of his favourite things.
“But it’s never even been on the agenda in any of the negotiations,” Robertson told Turun Sanomat newspaper.
At the same time, pushing hard to stay at Lotus next year is Raikkonen’s current teammate, Frenchman Romain Grosjean.
“We have a common desire,” Grosjean told RMC Sport, “to succeed together in the future.
“I know, and the team knows, that if the performance is right, there is no reason to change.”
Asked if he wouldn’t mind if Raikkonen moved to Red Bull and he became Lotus’ new ‘number 1′ driver, Romain answered: “We all want to be the number 1.
“But with us (at Lotus), there’s never really been an order between Kimi and I anyway.”
| Source: Iltalehti 12.7.2013 (paper edition) | By Riku Korkki | Translation courtesy of Nicole |
Matti Kyllönen says that life has educated Kimi.
The commentator legend remembers very well what kind of a baby-face sat behind Sauber’s steering wheel in 2001.
“Kimi was immensely talented, but he was still searching for himself. He has walked a really long path.”
Kyllönen says that now Räikkönen seems to be completely okay with himself. The Iceman doesn’t stress, not even over bigger things like possibly switching over to Red Bull.
“His whole body language speaks of maturity. Kimi seems to possess a very strong self-esteem. He knows exactly what he wants.”
Even Kimi’s F1 team choices have gone into a more and more easy-going direction. Peter Sauber and Ron Dennis were uptight perfectionists. In Ferrari Kimi had more liberties, but the pressure around the F1-giant was huge.
In Lotus the Iceman has been allowed to completely be himself. The team has turned Räikkönen’s persona into their resource, which has lifted up the Finn’s popularity in new heights. At the same time the team has got a raft of publicity.
Kyllönen believes that the understanding from Lotus has also helped Kimi to grow.
“They probably agreed upon the game rules before driving one kilometer. Now it has produced a huge crop to the team as well..”
Räikkönen is also known for his straightforward attitude. Honesty is appreciated in the F1-world, where rumours and plotting are common.
“Kimi has always been honest and even open in a specific way. He never talks bad about people behind their backs,” Kyllönen tells.
And even if Räikkönen often is silent on the paddock, he definitely talks loud on the track.
“A completely different person sits behind the steering wheel. In the team radio Kimi can even go down on the team management if needed. He is an aggressive fighter,” Kyllönen says.
| Source: Iltalehti 12.7.2012 | Translation courtesy of Nicole |
Lotus team’s branding manager Stephane Samson told Iltalehti that the team hasn’t planned any marketing strategy around Räikkönen. Everything just fell in place.
According to Samson Lotus wants to be as transparent, open and friendly as possible. The team has applied the same philosophy with Räikkönen also.
Samson says that Kimi is already a big boy who knows how the F1 circus operates.
“We have never asked him to smile or to give longer replies to the media. We have only asked him to be himself.”
“Maybe this is why he feels safe and why he has started to show more of his personality. But I emphasize that this has not been any deliberate action. Kimi is Kimi. Period.”
Samson tells that Räikkönen is much more multidimensional than the tv-footage reveals.
“He is honest, straight, loyal, easy-going, brave, caring and also very funny.”
Samson confirms that Räikkönen demands a lot from his team.
“Working with Kimi is like sky diving. If you fail once, you don’t get a new chance.”
“But this suits us well. He only demands as much from others as he demands from himself. There is no room for mistakes.”
According to Samson Kimi has to be given his own space when he needs it.,
“You can see from him when it’s a good time to talk, joke or just walk in another direction.”
Motivates the whole team
Samson says that during GP-weekends Kimi’s attitude is probably tougher than any other driver’s attitude is
“But when the race is over, Kimi turns into a whole different person. He becomes one of the most relaxed guys on our planet.”
Samson also praises that Räikkönen knows how to take victories. This motivates the team’s 500 employees in the factory.
“His ability to manage the car is completely amazing.”
And Räikkönen never resorts to politics.
“He just does his job. It makes the team’s life so much easier.”
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez feels he has to prove to Kimi Raikkonen the team is perfect for him as a racer and not just as a human being. Raikkonen’s future has become a hot topic of conversation in Formula One, with the Finn seemingly involved in a tug of war between Lotus and Red Bull.
The Milton Keynes-based marque are currently mulling over who should replace Mark Webber when he retires from the sport at the end of the season. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and team principal Christian Horner have both made it clear Raikkonen is on their radar, with Toro Rosso duo Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne also in the running.
The smart money is on Raikkonen, with three-times champion Sebastian Vettel yesterday stating after his victory in the German Grand Prix he would be excited by the prospect of working with the 33-year-old, who finished just a second adrift at the Nurburgring.
Whilst Raikkonen is happy with his working environment at Lotus, as the team has gone out of its way to ensure promotional and media activity is kept to a bare minimum given his dislike of that side of F1, providing a winning car is another matter.
“He knows he is being treated well here, as well as we would treat any other driver, and that’s a big difference, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” said Lopez.
“This team has a culture which is quite human and it works well, it does things right, and it’s a culture Kimi likes.
“If we imposed huge time constraints on him then he wouldn’t enjoy it, as he hasn’t at other teams before.
“So it’s the right team for him as a human being. All we have to do is prove it’s the right team for him as a racer.
“He has to decide, and I think he will stay.
“We’ve not done all we can yet. We will do more, and let’s see.”
Asked to rate his chances of keeping Raikkonen, Lopez said: “I would say high because we know him well.”
Horner has previously stated he would like to resolve the matter by the end of F1′s summer break next month.
Lopez, however, knows Raikkonen won’t be pushed, adding: “If I know Kimi He will want to leave it as long as possible.
“Right now Kimi hasn’t made a decision yet. He’s waiting to get all the information to make the right decision.
“You can’t rush Kimi into anything, not if you are us, not anybody.”
“We know him well, we know he likes it here,” explained Lopez.
“It is up to us to prove that he can get the package that he wants as a driver, and I think he will stay.”
Lopez also dismissed suggestions that Lotus cannot keep up in the F1 development race, and that the team is held back by a lack of funding.
“We developed the car to the point last year that the delta between us and Red Bull was the same in the second race as it was in the last two races,” he said. “So I don’t think that is much of an issue.
“People also keep talking about budgets. Although we have a lower budget than some other teams we do quite well with that budget.”
“The safety car did not help on this. We had to rebuild the strategy a little bit after the safety car. Also remember after the first pitstop, when Kimi was struck behind [Lewis] Hamilton, we lost three or four seconds and that cost us a lot.”
Boullier said that the team’s afternoon was further compounded by radio communication problems with Raikkonen. The Finn could hear what the team was saying but his feedback was not being picked up by his team in certain areas of the track. This left the team unsure about the exact state of Raikkonen’s tyres, and whether or not it was risking a repeat of the 2012 Chinese GP when the Finn slumped down the order in the closing stages.
“We lost radio with Kimi at the beginning of the race,” Boullier said. “It didn’t put us in a comfortable position [near the end], and we all remember very well Shanghai in 2012.
“We could see his pace was dropping a little bit and we had the space to stop, so we did it. Both cars were then on different tyres and we could see easily that Kimi was picking up the pace, although not as much as we expected on the tyres. We could see the new option was working better than the scrubbed, and it seems it was the right decision to allow to Kimi to try to catch up with Sebastian.”
Grosjean ordered three times to let Kimi through
(translation courtesy of Nicole)
Lotus: “Kimi is coming behind you very fast on soft tires. Don’t hold him up.”
RG: “I don’t understand anything.”
Lotus: “Okay Romain. Kimi is behind you on soft tires and he is very fast. Don’t hold him up.”
RG didn’t react.
Lap 55 the same order was repeated for the 3rd time
Lotus: “Kimi is behind you on soft tires and he is very fast. Don’t hold him up.”
RG: “can you confirm to me if Kimi is faster?”
Lotus: “Yes, confirmed, yes.”
After this RG let Kimi past.
| Source: adamcooperf1.com |
Eric Boullier: “Our strategy was great until the last safety car. We should have called Kimi in to save at least one position and make the podium. Unfortunately, we made the wrong call for which we apologised to Kimi and to the team. This sometimes happens and it isn’t easy to manage when you have so many safety car periods. In Germany we’re confident we will be competitive and aiming to make amends.
“We’re all grown -ups and we’re all pretty frank with each other. It was pretty obvious with hindsight that we made the wrong call. No team can say that they make the correct call on every occasion; whether in race strategy, car design philosophy or any other aspect of the sport.
“Kimi was pretty frustrated when he got out of the car which is understandable – we wouldn’t want a driver who wasn’t frustrated after what happened – but there’s no point sitting in the corner sulking; we’re focused on getting a good result in Germany.”
“Kimi’s an intelligent guy and he won’t let a single pit stop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014. One of his psychological strengths is that he clearly lets you know when he’s upset about something, then he refocuses and gets on with the next challenge very quickly. He seems to like being with Lotus F1 Team and we’re doing everything we can to show him this is the place to be for next season and beyond.”
| Source: grandprix247.com |
Lotus are pushing Kimi Raikkonen to make a quick decision over his future, as they intend to plan for the future with or without him.
The 2007 world champion has admitted “small talks” with Red Bull have already taken place, but both Raikkonen and his potential 2014 boss Christian Horner are saying they are in no rush to finalise a deal.
A different message is now emerging from Lotus.
“He (Raikkonen) knows that we need to plan ahead for 2014,” team boss Eric Boullier told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“We assume that before the summer break he will decide whether he is staying or not,” the Frenchman added.
Far from issuing a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum, however, Boullier is arguing strongly that Lotus – with a new 35 per cent co-owner and therefore solid financial backing – is the right place for introvert Raikkonen, who despises most non-racing aspects of Formula 1.
“We are fighting hard to keep Kimi,” he said. “We’ll do everything in our power. Personally, I’m absolutely convinced that he’ll be in our car next year.”
Bild correspondents Nicola Pohl and Helmut Uhl said Red Bull can surely offer the Finn more money and probably a faster car, but for the reticent and wealthy Raikkonen, that might not be everything.
“Kimi is not for sale,” Boullier insisted. “He doesn’t need more money, so Red Bull can’t just buy him.
“I know what goes on in his head and money does not play the most important role. We’ve built our team around him, and what he needs.
“He likes the people here, the engineers, the management. Kimi loves his freedom more than anything else, and unlike any other team he gets that here in combination with a good car.”
Boullier therefore questioned whether Red Bull is the right place for Raikkonen.
“First, Red Bull is built completely around Sebastian Vettel. Kimi will have to slot in behind the guy who has given them three world championships. (GMM)
“The other thing is that he has to do a lot less PR days with us, compared to at least 20 or 30 at Red Bull. That’s why he’s happy here,” the Frenchman added.
“Kimi wants to beat Vettel, but not at any price,” Boullier said. “All I can do is put the arguments in favour of Lotus on the table for him.”
| Source: ts.fi | Translation courtesy of Nicole | inautonews.com |
Steve Robertson has guided Kimi’s driving career since the small formula series as his manager. He has mastered Kimi to McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and now he is also negotiating with a championship-winning team – Red Bull.
A few months ago Robertson praised how Kimi Räikkönen had rocketed as the F1 driver market’s hottest name. On Friday in the Silverstone Grand Prix paddock, Robertson confirmed that if possible, Kimi has become an even hotter driver with the interest he has awakened.
“When you look at Kimi to this year he has made absolutely spectatular results. He opened the season with a victory and has after that always been consistently even, although also unlucky in the last two races.”
“The general reception on the paddock is very outstanding for a guy who delivers that kind of results. Kimi’s level is so unbelieavable – 24 races in a row with points – so the top teams always look first at a driver like Kimi who can pull off a think like that.”
“Kimi is really hot stuff on the driver market. There’s no point in denying that,” Robertson assures Turun Sanomat.
Open doors in every direction
Robertson took the ‘back seat’ in Kimi’s background forces after he had arranged Kimi a seat as Lotus team’s driver. At this stage the manager is however needed more.
“Kimi trusts in me with these matters and of course we do our everything to get him the best seat possible so he can drive for victories and the championships for as long as he wants to continue here,” says Robertson.
Räikkönen didn’t even care to hide that he was negotiating in different directions.
“Those negotiations are my job. We are open in every direction. Kimi doesn’t have a contract after this season, so of course I’m talking to different teams to see what they have to offer for next year.”
“But at this stage that’s all I can tell, because nothing has been done with anyone. There is a lot of interest, there is a lot of talking, but that’s all for now,” Robertson explained.
They have no schedule when to finalize the contract negotiations.
“We continue negotiating and I can’t say if it takes two or three weeks or more. It can take a long time when finaziling the contract.”
F1 career continues with certainity
Is it absolutely sure that Räikkönen will drive F1 in 2014?
“To put it frankly I think it’s pretty much sure that Kimi will be in F1 next year also. I think that is the most important information for outsiders at the moment. When you drive like Kimi there is a demand and since Kimi enjoys driving at the moment and wants to continue in F1, demand and supply meet.”
“The break from F1 did really good to Kimi. He came back refreshed and filled with energy. He enjoys F1 totally flatout,” Robertson praises.
Räikkönen’s passion is winning. How big is this factor when having the chance to drive in next season’s best car?
“Of course an opportunity like that is always a big factor. We all know that in order to win races you need a seat in certain teams. Kimi has won races with Lotus and this team is one option. They want to continue with Kimi really much,” said Robertson.
Change of regulations is under control
We are in for one of the biggest change of regulations in F1-history. What does it mean for Räikkönen?
“When you think back at Kimi’s comeback after being away for two years, they suspected that it was a big risk to take him since tires and cars have changed so much during that time. Then right in the first test after 20-30 laps Kimi assured me that everything felt immediately quite normal. Kimi has a natural talent to quickly adapt to everything related to the car.”
Romain Grosjean has benefitted from the setup-improvements thanks to Räikkönen’s feelings, and I’m sure that this talent won’t at least hinder Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull.
“Kimi is one of the most experienced drivers in the serie. All engineers from teams where Kimi has raced in have praised the accuracy of his feedback. Nobody is perfect, but I believe that it won’t take long for Kimi to adjust to next year’s novelties,” Robertson thinks.
| Source: mtv3.fi | By Dimitris Papadopoulos |
Kimi Raikkonen’s first F1 race was the 2001 Australian GP in Melbourne. In his first qualifying session he managed to take 13th spot, with his teammate Nick Heidfeld starting only three places further up. It was a good start.
The pitlane was about to open for the race and teams had 15 mins to send the cars out to take their positions to the grid. Barely 5 mins before this, the team looked for Kimi who wasn’t to be found in the garage.
“It was 5 mins to go until the pitlane went green and Kimi wasn’t in the garage,” says Eeckelaert. “He was nowhere to be found! So we went looking for him in the motorhome and we found him sleeping. That was his way of relaxing, even in his first even F1 race! ‘What? Is it now already? I’m coming, I’m coming’, I remember were his words. He had everything completely under control.”
Read the whole article here.