Source: repubblica.it | Translation courtesy of Whatever (Official KR Forum)
After two years of absence the Finn returns with Lotus F1, the last driver to win the World Championship with Ferrari. But without nostalgia… “The Reds? Do not feel anything… Do not end well. I’m back because I was tired of racing against the clock: I wanted to race in front of real opponents.” To think that someone has dubbed to see the Iceman thrown on a sofa while drinking latte in front of a tennis match makes you laugh. Certainly the Husky stare and the almost albino colour promote misunderstanding, however, it only takes a few seconds of conversation with Kimi Raikkonen to understand that the image of the boy coldly and without emotion is the result only of superficial considerations. Of emotions, passions and things to say, Kimi has in abundance. It’s only the way he expresses it that is different, but in the end there is more truth in his answers than there are in the “strategic lies,” Alonso has said in a hundred press conferences. The truth about Ferrari, for example, with which he opens in his first interview since returning to the wheel of a Lotus Formula 1 car: “It will not make an impression to see the Ferraris, I feel nothing. It was a beautiful page of my career, but it’s over. And not so good. “
Q: Were you expecting something different?
KR: “Well, yes. But those things happen in life, things do not go as you wish. It happened to me on that occasion.”
Q: And so no thrill when you see – or in front of your mirror – the profile of the machines of Alonso and Massa?
KR: “No, nothing. Besides, I already saw the success of McLaren” from outside .”
Q: But in recent days how you felt when – after two years of absence “due to the rally” – you climbed aboard a F1?
KR: “It was like coming home.”
Q: What you missed in F1?
KR: “The competition against a true, visible and present opponent. In Rally you race against the clock, you do not see any other throughout the race. Only the road. And the difference is huge.”
Q: When did you decide to return?
KR: “Last year. In the pauses of the rally season. I was able to do some ‘of experience in NASCAR. And there you have forty rivals per race … it was the first time that I found someone on the track since I left F1. As soon as the race started I felt within me the old appeal of the competition. I called my manager to ask around to see if there was something. We talked a lot with Williams but not if it has done nothing. When we got in touch with Lotus we had no doubt and we reached an agreement very quickly.
Q: How did the first few laps of “rehabilitation” in the Lotus went? two years ago, when they did Schumacher in 2009 to prepare for the injured Massa was a tragedy …
KR: “Well, it hurts my neck. But not any more than it hurt me when, a few years ago, started to drive after the winter break. I thought it will be worst.”
Q: And from a technical standpoint?
KR: “Even there I thought it will be worse. Of course I drove on exibition tires and its performance is not those of next season tyres, but from that point of view, the new Pirelli will be a first for everyone.”
Q: What goals have you given yourself for this season?
KR: “Pushing as much as possible.”
Q: You will have as team mate Romain Grosjean, previously you have “crossed” Heidfeld, Coulthard, Montoya and Massa. If you were to put them in order of skill?
KR: “I have no reason to do so. They’re all good boys and good pilots. And so is Grosjean.”
Q: Massa, who was your last team-mate at Ferrari, it’s having a tough time, and seems to suffer from Alonso’s arrival and it’s at his final year on the Reds (except for a miracle). They would have done better to keep you and let go of the Brazilian instead?
KR: “Massa is a very fast driver. Bad periods happen to everyone.”
Q: The next year, the grid will be full of world champions, besides you there will be Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Vettel. In your opinion who is the strongest?
KR: “My opinion Is that it is completely irrelevant. It will be good for F1. But in the end we will not change anything, we all start from scratch. Perhaps those who have a global bulletin board should handle a little ‘more pressure, a little’ more expectation from the fans, but for those used to drive an F1 car is nothing. In the end, I think that whoever has the fastest car, wins. “
Q: What do you think of “Vettel phenomenon”?
KR: “It is very fast. But there are also three seasons that he has the best car.”
Q: Have you ever thought to stop driving?
KR: “Well, in those days, after the end of Ferrari I did. To completely change my life, perhaps to do motocross, or something else. But it did not last long. The time to hop on a car again.”
Lotus Renault GP had their drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean at base for seat fitting preparations for their 2012 F1 challenger who’s name the team have confirmed as the “E20”.
(Read more below and don’t miss the video teaser of the E20)
Photos: Kimi looks relaxed and excited as he talks with engineer Simon Rennie
Video: Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that this year’s Formula 1 challenger will be named the E20, with a new nomenclature commencing to commemorate the twentieth chassis designed at the team’s base in Enstone, Oxfordshire.
The Lotus F1 team has announced its 2012 challenger will be named the E20 to commemorate the 20th F1 chassis designed at the team’s base in Enstone.
Enstone has been the outfit’s base since 1992.
The team, previously known as Renault and racing under the Lotus name this year, will unveil the new car on February 5 on its website.
The new E20 will be driven by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
“Our naming of the chassis to recognise Enstone’s importance to the team’s evolution highlights our recognition of the contribution of the facility and the personnel who work tirelessly every year to produce the very best car possible,” said team boss Eric Boullier.
“We certainly hope that this is the case with the E20 and we are looking forward to revealing the car to the world and seeing it out on track for the first time.
“There are a number of technical changes from last year and we have an exciting new driver line-up to extract the maximum from the E20 through the twenty Grands Prix of the 2012 season, including the 500th race for this team through its different incarnations. We hope that the E20 proves to be a performing Enstone design.”
( source: autosport.com )
Image source: suomenkuvalehti.fi
Finland’s 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Räikkönen answers questions from Finnish magazine Iltalehti in Zurich, Switzerland on January 26, 2012.
Interview with Kimi – Wild and Free
Source: Iltalehti 27.1.2012 (paper edition)
By Janne Palomäki | Translation courtesy of Wolfie
Q: Kimi, what’s on your mind?
KR: Nothing. Ask something for God’s sake since you have come all the way here.
Q: What do you expect from the next tests?
KR: Difficult to say. We’ll see then what the new car is like. I don’t think that it’s terribly different. I don’t know about the tyres. They say that they have changed a bit.
Q: What kind of season would you yourself be satisfied with?
KR: I haven’t really thought anything concrete. I see in the tests what the car is like and how good it is. That decides. How it feels, that’s a thing you notice right from the first test. At least I have noticed it immediately earlier.
Q: You are used to really big teams during your F1-career. Does it show in the operation of Lotus that it’s slightly smaller than McLaren and Ferrari?
KR: No, it’s just the same. We have all the same equipment here and hence we also have a chance to make a good car. The same gang who earlier won championships is still here. And physically the team is located in the same place. Maybe it’s smaller in the sense that Lotus doesn’t have a car factory behind them like Mercedes or Ferrari had.
Q: During the last months a few motorbikers have passed away due to an accident. Does a professional driver think more about the sport’s dangers and risks when hearing these kinds of news?
KR: Those are never nice news no matter if you know them or not or if they even are from your own genre’s circle. Those just happen. Sadly it’s part of many other sports too. Of course anything can happen and happens. Sad things but part of life.
Q: You have already won your WDC in Ferrari. From where do you get motivation to continue?
KR: I have never had any problems with motivation, although everybody always colors things. I have always liked to race. Back in the time there were quite many factors why I started to rally. Now I got a reasonably good chance to drive in F1. I get to race against others again. I guess that’s the biggest reason.
Q: You have always been an excellent track-racer, but your attitude towards the media has been a bit questionable. On the scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate these kinds of media-days?
KR: I don’t hate them but they always ask the same questions. They won’t change to anything else. If I could decide I wouldn’t come here. It’s definitely not the first thing that comes to my mind when waking up or something that I would be excited over. But I think it’s the same for everyone else too. They probably would rather drive than do other things. If someone claims that they like these things, then I guess he is lying. Of course driving is always the number one thing. I don’t have anything against these. Maybe they have made the matter a bit too big.
Q: Has Jenni already healed from her horse riding accident?
KR: She is better now. She is still in pain but that’s normal. It wasn’t any serious matter.
Q: You have probably without any cause been in the publicity because of alcohol. What is your relation to alcohol now?
KR: It’s just the same as it was before. If I want to go out and have fun, I go. I don’t have any problem with it. Nobody forbids me and I don’t have to ask anyone for permission.
Q: Do you think that you have changed during the years?
KR: I’m sure every person changes, but I don’t think anything bigger has happened in me.
Q: In public there is also the understanding that this Lotus-deal would only be a step to Red Bull in either 2013 or 2014. Is it correct?
KR: I don’t have any plans. Lets see how this goes. In F1 everything can change reasonably fast. I hope that we can have fun with the team. At least I have had fun so far.
Q: Do you have a two-year deal?
KR: Yeah, in principle.