Andrea Stella – Kimi’s New Race Engineer & Winning Equation

From Corriere della Sera | Translation courtesy of TaniaS at Ghiaccio Invisibile

Kimi Raikkonen and Andrea Stella at the Catalunya tests this month

When two years ago Kimi Raikkonen went to the track in Melbourne to
make his first race with the Ferrari (and he won), before the triumph,
his box has experienced moments of genuine panic, under banner of “What
the hell is he saying?”.

Understanding the whispers of Raikkonen in the
headset is still a difficult exercise, more at that time because nobody
was accustomed to. In addition, the radio wasn’t working properly, the
pilot could speak to the box, but the box could not talk to the pilot.
At one point, a young engineer, who was Kimi’s performance engineer,
raised his hand: “Excuse me, I think he is saying he wants the blue
flags for the lapped drivers.” Savior of the fatherland.

Since then he
has the most experienced “Kimi-translator” living. He understands him
not only when he speaks, but seems to have free access on the
mysterious Raikkonen’s planet. It’s not a coincidence that this young
man – called Andrea Stella, 37 years old, a degree in Aeronautical
Engineering, born in Orvieto, married to Michela and father of Edoardo
and Federico – is today the engineer on track of the Finnish pilot, the
connecting point between him and the rest of the team. He replaced
Chris Dyer, promoted to the role of coordinator of the engineers.

not just about a linguistic matter or interpretative capacity," says
Andrea. "When you’re at your computer it’s like if you were in the car
with the driver, you are always contextualised and then you images of
what you’re talking about him.” Now Stella is just a little more in
front-line, though in these years he didn’t have a defiladed role: “I
was already the interface between the pilot and data concerning him.
The performance engineer, or vehicle engineer, watches the telemetry
and his task is to improve the performance of every aspect of the car:
he has to analyze a curve and tell the pilot how to make it better, so
for the tyres or the engine brake. Now my role is a little bit less
analytical, but it concerns more over the management of the group.”

Stella is the end point of the work of the whole box of Kimi: “I have
to coordinate the others: managing people, managing time (i.e during
the tests to schedule the program of the day), choosing priorities,
studying the regulations. And then, in the race, managing the driver.
The aim is to create the conditions for driving in a natural way.”

Andrea and Kimi working together during last season

here we go back to Kimi. The mysterious object of F1 has no secrets for
him. “Kimi loves the essence of the information. And more the visual
communication than the oral one. With him doing three hours of meetings
doesn’t pay. Better to put in front of him a sheet with a diagram and a
clear message, maybe highlighted with a beautiful color.” He’s not
Schumacher, who while was testing the car was also able to have long
technical disquisitions: “Michael loved to set the choices on deductive
logic criteria. Kimi has a more intuitive approach, based on his
beliefs or perceptions. This from a communicative point of view is
something of less effective.

Stella is a quiet guy, he doesn’t like losing his control. “I don’t
like the quarrels.” He speaks calmly and clearly, like an engineer who
wants to make oneself understood. After listening Kimi through
headphones, he always replies him in a reassuring way: “OK, I have
understood. Thanks.”

However the hollow face under his curly hair
betrays some tension. Do you feel the responsibility of having to
redeem a year gone wrong? “How can I say that I can’t feel it?" his
answer is sincere. "There is the environment, there are many changes
that will remember it to you. But you just need to focus on your work,
I don’t need to think bigger now. I just have to try to put Kimi in the
best conditions.”

And maybe in the last race he will say him “by one
point,” like Dyer did in 2007. “For me, it would be enough to tell him
that we have done an excellent job.”

2 thoughts on “Andrea Stella – Kimi’s New Race Engineer & Winning Equation

  1. Only positive vibes from Stella, I like him… he understands Kimi very well, that´s wonderful!KEEP FLYING KIMI!!!


  2. "Kimi-translator", it’s so funny, haha…..Both Chris Dyer and Andrea Stella do great job, they help Kimi understand the car. Maybe the car doesn’t suit Kimi’s driving style. Anyway,I know they tried all they can do. Now I just look forward to the new season, and hope no mistakes anymore . Kimi GO!!! I love you. > * __ * <


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