Shortly after his team-mate Sebastian Vettel had taken part in the inaugural FIA press conference, Kimi Raikkonen also met the media, at the back of the Scuderia Ferrari garage in Melbourne’s Albert Park paddock.
“It’s a new season, a new year and we start from zero,” was the Finn’s opening remark. “We will see how it goes. Over the winter the team has done a very good job to improve the package. The new car is better in all areas. As a team, everyone is working well together and it’s been a good winter. We feel better overall and I’m sure we are much better prepared for this year. But will we always get what we want? Only time will tell. We still have a lot of work to do to be where we really want to be, but we have to be happy with where we are after testing, compared to where we finished last year.”
Kimi would not be drawn on just how competitive he might be this year. “We must wait and see on Sunday,” he insisted. “I have no interest in starting guessing and in a couple of days we will at least get an idea where we are here. Then we can wait and see how we go in different races at different circuits.”
As for this first weekend, Kimi stressed that Albert Park is not representative of the majority of tracks. “It’s not like a normal, traditional circuit, it’s the first race of the season, so usually quite a lot happens in the race. The weather can also be a bit funny here, but hopefully everything will go smoothly for us and we can do our maximum in the race and then see where we end up. Tomorrow, we will see what the car feels like and then we can go from there. I hope we have a similar feeling here to what we had in testing and have no issues. That way we should get an okay result, but exactly where we will be is hard to say.”
Finally, he was asked for a thought on the fact that his former team-mate, Fernando Alonso, is having to miss this race, after his testing accident. “It’s not ideal for him and you never like to see anyone get hurt and I hope he will be back soon,” concluded Kimi. “But that’s part of the game; you can get hurt or have problems and miss a race.”
“We feel better overall as a team and I’m sure we are much more ready for this year,” said Raikkonen, who finished a career-worst 12th in the drivers’ standings last season. We are in a much stronger position. We still have work to do to get to where we want to – but that’s part of the game. I think we have to be happy with where we are in testing and comparing where we finished last year. We have done a good job, but we have to wait and see if it is good enough or how far away we are.” [autosport.com]
A journalist asked if Seb’s relationship with Kimi might suffer now they are team-mates. “I have known Kimi for a while now and we respect each other,” he responded. “He is very straightforward and honest. We will be trying to beat one another on the track, which is normal and if there are ever some issues we will be able to sort them out.”
There was a truly exceptional setting for this morning’s special event, put on by Shell for the first Grand Prix of the season and featuring special guests, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Kimi and Sebastian took on the unaccustomed role of assistant chefs at a well known Melbourne restaurant. There, they helped chef Guy Grossi create a special dish, intended to reflect similarities with the ingredients used in the Shell V-Power fuel.
View the full gallery here.
— KimiRäikkönenSpace (@EvenstarSaima) March 12, 2015
Ferrari Formula 1 boss Maurizio Arrivabene believes Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are the “perfect combination” for the Scuderia this season.
Four-time world champion Vettel and 2007 title winner Raikkonen have become team-mates for the first time in their respective F1 careers in 2015, following Vettel’s switch from Red Bull.
Arrivabene reckons the two have contrasting personalities, but that the combination is the right one to aid Ferrari’s competitive recovery.
“They are two different characters,” said Arrivabene, who described Vettel as a “Ferrari enthusiast”.
“Kimi the kind of person who doesn’t like to talk about stupid things; he likes to talk serious.
“Either you find after a couple of minutes he stops talking and gives you the hand, or after a couple of hours he’s hugging you!
“The guys said this is strange. Drivers are strange. But he’s a very good guy and a good driver.
“Seb is different – super professional. He reminds me of another German guy… [Michael Schumacher].
“I was impressed with the concentration and how he works on detail on the car. He’s taking notes and talking about these notes at the briefings. It’s great.
“We have two different drivers but they are both really committed.
“Sebastian is fully integrated into the team, he’s 120 per cent part of the family.
“He’s also a funny guy. He’s a super person with his feet on the ground; very simple but I’m not surprised he won four world titles.
“After Michael, Kimi was the only world champion for Ferrari.
“We have the perfect combination.” [ Source: autosport.com ]
RECENT STORIES ON KIMI
Domenicalli: “I never regretted to have brought back Raikkonen in Maranello. It was the right thing to do, and I’ll do it again. 2014 was an horrible year, but Kimi is always Kimi,and I think he’ll give many satisfactions to Ferrari tifosi thi year.” [translation via LorenzoDL83]
Maurizio Arrivabene: “I love Raikkonen and Vettel, they’re fantastic, they are my drivers. And they are at the service of Ferrari. That’s why there will never be a difference in treatment between Kimi and Seb” [translation via LorenzoDL83]
Mika Salo: “Ferrari dare not say that Alonso focused completely on himself. He made [Alonso] himself look good while giving Kimi a really bad time with his dirty tricks. Anyone can read between the lines that Alonso did not want to leave Ferrari; he was removed from there. [translation via FansofKR]
— Gianlu D’Alessandro (@Gianlu_DAle) March 6, 2015
The 35-year-old endured the worst season of his F1 career in 2014 with a solitary fourth place in Belgium his best result.
The Finn, who was Ferrari’s last world champion back in 2007, was well-beaten by team-mate Fernando Alonso, finishing 106 points and six places adrift in the drivers’ standings.
He struggled with the handling of the Ferrari, which did not suit his style of being heavy on the front tyres and gentle on the rear.
But Raikkonen seemed happier during 2015’s opening test at Jerez and has said that he is feeling more comfortable with the car.
And Arrivabene says he has noticed a change in Raikkonen’s typically uncommunicative persona, joking that the Finn must be feeling “sick” because he’s smiling so much.
“He had his problems [last year],” said Arrivabene. “Problems because he was not feeling the car, especially the front.
“It was not a car that was adapted to the style of Kimi.
“He is demonstrating that these days, he is feeling the car better and he is smiling.
“This is very, very strange. It is the real scoop of the weekend.”
Arrivabene added that Raikkonen’s behaviour in the garage has also been different to 2014 so far during testing.
“Kimi was also on the ground to move the car and try to adjust something,” he said.
“I asked him: ‘What are you doing?’ He said ‘I was a mechanic’.
“This is the atmosphere in the team, all the guys around him were surprised to look at him and to hear him talking and talking and talking.
“I thought he was sick but he is not. It is just enthusiasm and I am sure this year Kimi can demonstrate his level.
“Kimi is very motivated and he is getting very, very well with [new team-mate] Seb [Vettel] and this is great.”
[ Source: autosport.com ]
It’s well known that Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel enjoy a friendly relationship so, given today’s news that the German is joining Scuderia Ferrari next season, that was the first topic at Kimi’s usual press meeting this afternoon in the Yas Marina paddock. “I think it will be nice to be with him in the same team” commented Kimi. “Obviously the main objective is to get the Ferrari team in a position where we can be near the front of the field. Of course we will be trying to beat each other all the time but I think we can have fun and get things done in a good way.”
The always straightforward Finn didn’t foresee any difficulties dealing with a new team-mate. “I haven’t worked with him in the same team but I know him best of all the guys,” he continued. “Our relationship has always been very straightforward and I don’t expect any changes on that side. I expect to have a normal and good relationship and hopefully we can get the team back to where we should be. I am sure we can do that, but only time will tell. I trust the people that are designing the new car one hundred percent. We know it will be much better, but it depends what other people will do. Will it be good enough? We will find out next year.”
Two years ago, Raikkonen won here in Abu Dhabi in the season that marked his return to Formula 1. “It was a nice victory,” recalled the Ferrari man. “But it was in a different team in a different year and we must wait and see what we can do this weekend. I’m hoping to have a good race and a good feeling from the car: it all starts from there, so if we can achieve that, we can then get the maximum out of the car. We must make sure we have no issues and then we can have a strong last race.”
As someone who came from behind in the points standing to win the Driver’s Championship in 2007, he was asked which of the Mercedes drivers was in the best position this weekend. “I have been behind when I won the championship, so all you can do in that situation is win the race and hope that things fall into place for you,” replied Kimi. “Quite often in these last years, the championship has gone to the last race and that makes it more exciting, because as we have seen in the past, a lot of things can happen in one race.”
[ Source: ferrari.com ]
Raikkonen expects ‘fun’ with Vettel
Kimi Raikkonen believes his close relationship with new Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel will be a boost to Maranello’s efforts to return to the front of the grid.
Nearly two months after Vettel agreed to join Ferrari, the Italian F1 outfit finally announced on Thursday that the German would be replacing Fernando Alonso next year.
The move is one that Raikkonen is excited about, as he claimed that Vettel is the driver he knows the best in the paddock.
“Obviously I haven’t worked with him before in the same team but I know him best out of any of the guys,” said the Finn.
“Our relationship has been always been very straightforward and I don’t expect any changes.
“On that side, I expect it to be normal and good, and hopefully we can get the team where we should be.”
Raikkonen reckons he and Vettel can put their own competitive interests to one side, and actually have “fun” in their quest to help Ferrari.
“I think it is nice to be with him in the same team and obviously the main objective is to get the team, Ferrari, in the position where we should be in front,” he said.
“We try to beat each other all the time, but we can have fun and get things done in a good way.”
[ Source: autosport.com ]
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Sebastian, how do you see the co-operation with Kimi? Will it be easier for you than with anybody else?
SV: Yes. I think he would probably reply the same if you asked him. That’s what he told me, just before! I think, yes. Why? Because Kimi is probably the least complicated driver on the grid so in terms of performance on the track, when we talk about the skills Kimi has, I don’t think there is a single person in the paddock who doubts his skills, including myself, but from a personal point of view, on a personal level, very straightforward. I don’t expect any complications because I think we have a good relationship but more so, I think we have great respect for each other which I think is always very healthy to deal with in these sorts of situations coming up.