Marco Mattiacci has hit back at suggestions Ferrari could or should plan its revival for the 2015 season without Kimi Raikkonen.
Lamenting the Maranello team’s slip behind Williams for third in the constructors’ chase, Fernando Alonso said at Hockenheim that Ferrari has “only been able to count on one car again and we have to improve on that”.
It might be concluded that Spaniard Alonso wants a more competitive teammate for 2015, but new Ferrari boss Mattiacci has moved swiftly to end those sorts of rumours.
When told by the Spanish sports daily Marca that the mid-season scorecard between Alonso and Raikkonen reads “10:0″, Mattiacci insisted: “This is not football.
“In F1 we don’t speak in those terms.
“Yes, I want better results, but Kimi is the driver that Ferrari needs for next year.”
And La Gazzetta dello Sport also quotes the Italian as saying: “We believe in him, he is a world champion, he is part of our present and our future.”
But that doesn’t mean Ferrari is not planning big changes for 2015, including significant improvements to the turbo V6 and the first car designed fully under the technical directorship of James Allison.
“He (Allison) is working very hard on the car for next year,” a team source told the Spanish sports daily AS.
“It will be his first car for us and we have very high hopes.”
[ Source: onestopstrategy.com ]
New team boss Marco Mattiacci insists he is not afraid of making changes to put Ferrari back on the path to victory.
His predecessor Stefano Domenicali has already gone, and the latest paddock rumour is that engine chief Luca Marmorini could be the next to pay the price for the fabled Italian marque’s poor start to the new V6 era.
“I will not name names,” Mattiacci was quoted by Autosprint at Silverstone, as he refused to rule out personnel changes.
He insisted, however, that the struggling Kimi Raikkonen is safe.
“Kimi is a great champion,” said Mattiacci, who already has the Finn under contract for 2015.
“It makes no sense to talk about a problem of the individual, it is a problem of the team as a whole. He will return to being a great,” he added.
In other areas, however, Mattiacci said Ferrari needs to “change the mentality” and “take more risks”.
Leading that charge, he said, will be technical boss James Allison, who made his name by producing innovative Lotus cars on a much smaller budget.
“He’s my right arm,” smiled Mattiacci. Siding so strongly with Allison appears to have marginalised Ferrari’s other technical chief, Pat Fry.
But he said Ferrari’s current problems date back to choices made in “past years” — including the once troubled wind tunnel, and not focusing strongly enough on computer simulation.
The biggest issue is the turbo V6.
“If Williams is so strong today,” said Mattiacci, “the predominant factor is the engine. And I do not think Red Bull is in a crisis.
“Give me time to work,” he insisted.
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci says he has no issues with Kimi Raikkonen, describing him as “a super-cool guy”.
Raikkonen has struggled relative to team-mate Fernando Alonso on the whole this season, while Ferrari has endured a disappointing start to the season with only one podium from the opening six races. Mattiacci was asked how he had found working with Raikkonen since taking over as team principal in April, and he said he enjoys working with the 2007 world champion due to his honesty.
“I have worked before in Finland for several months – I’m not going to tell you the project – but I know Finnish people quite well,” Mattiacci said. “Kimi is someone who is Finnish but grew up internationally because of the travel with Formula One.
“I think he’s a super-cool guy, I like him very much. We are always very open and frank in discussions, professionally, so it’s a great person to work with.
“We are all different, so sometimes we need to tune the level of communication or the way that we talk to people in order to be on the same frequency. So I don’t find any issue in dealing with Kimi; quite the opposite, I think he’s a fun person to work with and I have no problems.”
Raikkonen still not happy with car
“I’m still not happy with the car – the race was better than qualifying but we still have a long way to go to where we want to be,” Raikkonen said.
“We need to improve in many areas.”
The 2007 world champion added that Ferrari knows what it needs to do, and that it has already taken steps in the right direction.
“We’ve done a lot of things already, particularly with the engine, but we’re still lacking speed,” he said.
“We have to compare to Mercedes and they’re still quite a way ahead of us.
“We know what we have to do but those things will not be easy to fix. It just takes time.
“We’re going forward all the time but other teams are improving also.
“We know where the weaknesses are but if it would be easy everybody would have a fast car.”
Kimi Raikkonen is suffering the same issues with Ferrari’s 2014 Formula 1 car as team-mate Fernando Alonso, according to the team’s technical director James Allison.
Raikkonen has generally lagged behind Alonso this season, as he has battled to get comfortable with the F14 T.
The 2007 F1 world champion lies 19 points and eight places further back in the drivers’ championship after five races, though he finished right behind the Spaniard in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Allison said the various issues Raikkonen has experienced while driving this new generation of F1 car were not unique to him, and suggested Alonso had simply got to grips with the situation faster than his team-mate.
“I am not sure that it is entirely fair to say that he is struggling more than Fernando,” Allison said.
“They both have similar feedback on the car.
“There are aspects of this year’s rules that makes the cars across the pitlane not an easy prospect for the driver.
“There is a lot more torque from the engine, there is a lot less aerodynamic grip, the tyres are themselves deliberately less aggressive than they were last year.
“All of that means the cars are quite a handful to drive – not so easy for anyone, be that at the front of the grid or the back of the grid.
“The sort of problems Kimi has with the car in traction, under braking, [and] downshifting are pretty much the same as Fernando, and I would imagine similar to those experienced at other teams.
“He is going a little bit slower than Fernando at the moment but that gap is closing as the year progresses.”
Alonso has said several times that Ferrari has to improve multiple aspects of its car in order to close the gap to Red Bull and Mercedes, and Allison conceded Ferrari had not produced a chassis on a par with the frontrunners.
“We have been relatively strong when it is more a front-limited track than a rear-limited track, but I don’t think that we can claim to have produced a chassis that is at the moment the equal of Red Bull,” Allison added.
“We are not lagging hugely behind but there is nevertheless work for us to do before we can hold our hand up and say we were completely happy with the chassis performance.”
Kimi Räikkönen’s season has so far consisted as a struggle to produce a more responsive front end of his Ferrari and it has been much talk in the F1 paddock.
Turun Sanomat spoke to Mark Slade, Räikkönen’s race engineer at McLaren and Lotus, who now deals with Pastor Maldonado’s troubles.
Q: What kind of front end of Kimi ‘s driving style does he require?
MS: Kimi is clinically clean and has a very smooth driving style. He needs a car that works with him in the same way – not against him. The vast majority of those cars were the ones which I have been working with at McLaren and Lotus, with Kimi. Kimi has a very special style to take the car. Therefore, the car must act exactly as he wants it to happen with his driving style. I can understand that, if the team has done various jobs for a long time with the driver, and then Kimi will be in the garage, it will take time to get used to what Kimi needs.
Q: Did Räikkönen have then the same difficulties at the beginning with Lotus?
MS: Kimi was pretty happy with the car immediately. He did not like it’s steering though. He did not like how it reacts, and it took a while, then he was happier with that too. One of the reasons why Kimi was so fast immediately after returning from rally was that the Lotus car had already served for a time a sharp front end and it suited him well. It is something we did not have to change very much so Kimi was even faster then. With steering he was not fully satisfied, but at the end of the day it did not have a major impact on his results. But when it was better, Kimi went even faster. With balance, he was happy anyway.
Q: How surprised were you to see the problems experienced by Räikkönen’s Ferrari?
MS: It is a surprise, when I know Kimi is still a very fast driver. Therefore, the surprise has been to see that he is not able to push so hard, as I know what he could do. It is clear that they must be able to resolve the details of his car, so that Kimi will be able to drive back to their capabilities accordingly.
Q: Did McLaren have similar problems for Kimi like now driving a Ferrari?
MS: Not at all, but of course there were some specific events, when there was more trouble. Last year with the Lotus we had great trouble in order to obtain the tyre operating temperature, particularly in late season. When this year’s tyres are also very difficult to be used, so Kimi’s driving style may be one of the difficulties. However, I am very confident that as long as the Ferrari is able to make the changes Kimi wants, he is the same driver again who is really fast and competitive.
Q: How different are the current Ferrari pair of driving styles between Raikkonen and Alonso?
MS: Fernando prefers a more aggressive car than Kimi.
Q: Who benefits of these new rules?
MS: It may be hard to say, but the most probable explanation of this moment the situation is that this is the fifth year for Fernando at Ferrari, Kimi’s just arrived through the winter. I do not know about Massa’s driving style, but perhaps it is closer to Alonso. The car is certainly more towards Fernando needs, when Kimi may need different. Still, I’m sure that Kimi’s problems are solvable.
(Source: turunsanomat.fi – edited by Evenstar Saima KRS)
Rob Wilson applauds Kimi’s performance at the Spanish Grand Prix:
There is always the same man, svelte, mysterious, impeccably dressed, and never interviewed by the media, on the Grand Prix podiums, handing out the caps, watches, bottles and trophies to the drivers. Not many people know who he is. It turns out he is a Frenchman, Alexandre Molina, holder of a snappy-sounding title: “Master of Ceremonies”. We interview him over champagne.
Q: How does one end up as “Master of Ceremonies”?
AM: It wasn’t something I wanted or prepared for. I got into F1 in 1995, when I was 21. I was still a student, studying math and physics. F1 was a weekend adventure where I would lend a hand. Then I did a second Grand Prix as a stand-in. Then another. At the end of the season, I was offered a full year. So I dropped out of math and physics and enrolled in STAPS “Sciences et Techniques des Activités Physiques et Sportives” (“Science and Technology of Physical Activity and Sport”, Ed.) Then it dawned on me that more than a sport, it was a trade show. So I made another 90 degree turn and took a part-time two-year course in Sales. By then I was practically married to F1. In 2000, Gerald Bar (the former Master of Ceremonies, Ed.) resigned and Paddy McNally (his successor, Ed.) called me and suggested I come and work full-time.
Q: Have you become friends with some of the drivers?
AM: I try to keep my distance, it would bother me. Sometimes there are circumstances where you get on well with one or not so well with another. I’ve had drivers tell me they didn’t like to see too much of me on the track. I had a hard time with Michael Schumacher for example. He is someone very much a part, super professional, but he never made life simple. He would always be twice as demanding as the others. It’s understandable; he was certainly much more in demand than the rest. Today, the one who reminds me most of Michael is Alonso. I feel more or less the same pressure. It’s not easy to define. Some days, it all goes smoothly, other days less so. It’s all down to him. And then there is also the odd moment of bonding. I remember once I was playing tennis before the Grand Prix. On the next court, there was Räikkönen with a friend. They offered us a double. And that day, he won the race. As soon as I saw him, even before I could say a word, he said: “Tennis?” and laughed. Nobody had any idea of what was going on.
Q: What do you think of F1 as a show?
AM: I think we have been spoilt in the past five years, with exciting championships that really go all out. The last races are often the most dramatic in terms of tension: when Räikkönen triumphed despite being nine points behind, when Massa won the race and thought he had won the championship but Hamilton overtook Glock on the last bend of the last lap, last year in Valencia, when Alonso won and cried on the podium or in Abu Dhabi, a few years ago where five drivers were still able to be world champion. If you made a film of it, it would seem unreal. Even I have hairs that stand on end.
(Read the full interview at henry-thepodiumist.com)
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has vowed to give Fernando Alonso a stronger car and is confident his star driver will remain at the team in the future.
Ferrari has made a slow start to the season under the new regulations and team principal Stefano Domenicali resigned after just three races. Montezemolo is not happy with the team’s performances so far but says Alonso will eventually be rewarded with a car capable of winning championships.
“For me it is not a problem of the drivers, for me it is a problem of the team,” he said. “I’m not happy for the team, I’m not happy because we want to win, I’m not happy because we’ve lost an opportunity in recent years and this is why we have to push all together, starting with Fernando.
“I’m sure that when Ferrari is happy and has a competitive car, he will be super happy because he gives 100% or even something more to the team and I share his frustrations sometimes. I’m sorry because at least one of the two championships [in 2010 and 2012] were possible to win even for him. But for me the problem is to have a competitive team and not to follow the problems of the drivers, even if I totally agree with him that a driver like him needs a competitive car. This is our main goal, to give him a better car for him and for the team.”
Raikkonen returned to Ferrari over the winter but has struggled more than Alonso this year. However, Montezemolo has no doubt that the Finn will turn his fortunes around.
“Kimi I think has improved step-by-step until today and I hope he can do good tomorrow, although tomorrow I don’t expect a lot. I know Kimi very well, he is a fantastic driver who does not feel comfortable with the car but is improving. I spoke a lot with him today and he is more pleased with the car and I think he will be even more pleased in the near future. He’s strong and I like him very much.”
Kimi’s ex-driving coach Rob Wilson talks about the Finn’s car problems this year
Ferrari has tipped Kimi Raikkonen to rapidly get on top of his early season Formula 1 struggles.
The Finn has been unable to get fully comfortable with the handling of the F14 T, facing particular difficulties with how the car behaves under braking and corner entry.
Despite a big effort by the team to cure his problems, Raikkonen has not yet resolved all his issues – and the scale of his troubles was highlighted at the Chinese Grand Prix when he finished more than 50 seconds adrift of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Ferrari’s chassis technical director James Allison thinks it will not be long, however, before Raikkonen is back to his best.
“Kimi is working extremely well with the team, collaborating with his engineers, with the other car across the garage, helping us to drive this car forwards,” Allison told the official Ferrari website.
“[He is] helping to show us where it is weak and helping us to make it stronger.
“He has class written all over him and we know that within in a very short space of time, we will also be seeing the results on the track.”
Allison had nothing but praise, however, for the job that Alonso has done. The Spaniard lies third in the drivers’ standings despite a difficult start to the season for Ferrari.
“We are very fortunate here at Ferrari to have two such good drivers, two drivers with an impeccable pedigree,” Allison said.
“With Fernando we’ve seen as always an extraordinary level of performance, scavenging every possible point at every possible opportunity. And we have to say thank you to him for what he has managed to do with the car so far this year.”
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.