Archive for February 8, 2012

Kimi reunites with old engineer Mark Slade

Source: mtv3.f1 | Translation courtesy of OSX

Kimi is happy to have managed to get Mark Slade as his race engineer at Lotus. Raikkonen and Slade already worked together at McLaren.

“I wanted him. There was of course many things that had to be sorted out so that could happen. I’m glad he managed to get away. I have a good race engineer now as well but I wanted Mark because I know him and he knows what I want.”

Slade also knows the Lotus team after having worked in the team formerly known as Renault during the 2010 season.

“He has worked here before so it will probably to be easier to start with him in a new team since he already has knowledge about it.”

Previous report:

Kimi receives a familiar race engineer

Kimi Raikkonen’s new race engineer will be Mark Slade.

Slade worked for Raikkonen at McLaren for five years. British Slade is otherwise accustomed to working with the Finns, for he also served as Mika Häkkinen and Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren race engineer.

Slade moves to Lotus from the Mercedes garage, where he worked last year with Michael Schumacher.


Raikkonen happy with early test findings

Source: |

Kimi Raikkonen says he has the answers he was looking for from his first experience of the new Lotus E20 after completing 180 laps during two days’ testing at Jerez.

The Finn did not match his pace from the opening day of the test, where he hit the headlines by going quickest of all. But Raikkonen declared himself satisfied by what he learned from the car and Pirelli’s tyres.

He now hands over to team-mate Romain Grosjean for the final two days of the test.

“I think the main thing was to get a lot of mileage right now,” said the 2007 world champion when asked by AUTOSPORT for his summary of the test. “The car feels pretty OK straightaway, and I think we improved it today, but today the conditions were a bit more tricky than yesterday.

“I’m happy with what we did over the two days.”

Raikkonen added that the starting point for the E20 appeared to be positive when he could get the Pirelli tyres in a good operating window, as he continued his education process with the Italian rubber.

“Some compounds worked better than others,” he said. “When they are new they are always good but once they get used… and it was quite cold so some of them were slightly better than others.

“But when they worked the car feels quite good so… I have no idea what the others are doing but I was quite happy about how things went.”

“If the conditions are good for that compound and they get heat in them it seems to be fine but then some of them don’t like it when it’s cold and the tyre just doesn’t work,” he continued. “But when they work normally it’s not too bad, at least here, but it can be a really different story in Barcelona.”

Raikkonen had a couple of off-track moments during his second day in the car and was delayed in the morning when he ran over a kerb and damaged the plank under the chassis – which then needed to be replaced.

“I ran wide under braking for Turn 6, and just driving back in the gravel the edge of the kerb on the circuit was very high and it hit the front of the floor and we damaged that,” he explained. “So it took a while to fix it. Unfortunate.”

Despite completing over 500 km in the cockpit today, and the numerous requests for photographs and interviews, Kimi was full of energy at the end of the day.

“Physically, I felt fine after 117 laps. Conditions were quite windy on track but despite this I got a better feeling from the car so it’s positive progress.”

Schumacher closes day 2 at Jerez on top


Michael Schumacher set the pace on the second day’s testing at Jerez as Mark Webber led the way for Red Bull in F1’s 2012-spec cars.

Schumacher, driving last year’s Mercedes W02 in full trim so that the team could gain as much information about Pirelli’s 2012 tyres from a stable platform, set a 1m18.561s lap during the morning that no one came close to beating for the rest of the day.

Webber’s time also came in the morning as much of the paddock chose to focus on longer runs in the afternoon.

The Australian’s 1m19.184s would remain the fastest time anyone has set in one of the new cars brought to Spain this week.

Daniel Ricciardo impressed in the Toro Rosso, going third fastest in the STR7, having completed 100 laps of fairly trouble-free running. He set his best time around the same period as his compatriot when the track conditions appeared to be at their best.

Jules Bianchi began his Force India career with a fine fourth fastest in the VJM05 before handing over to Paul di Resta for the afternoon and the Scot would complete 69 laps in that time to set the sixth fastest lap behind yesterday’s fastest man Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn had a couple of offs today in the Lotus. The first came early in the morning when he ran wide at Dry Sack and required a new plank. He then had another excursion very late in the day as he found the limits of this generation of cars.

He still managed 117 laps, and also got to try out a different steering rack after he found yesterday’s one not to his liking.

Ferrari was again far from the top of the timesheet, and late in the day was employing flow-vis to study the effects of aero over Fellipe Massa’s rear wing. The Brazilian’s time of 1m20.454s was 1.893s off the top time.

Jenson Button was eighth quickest in the McLaren, and like Ferrari, was not seeking any headline performance as it worked on improving the MP4-27.

Sauber’s Sergio Perez was tenth in the Sauber ahead of Pastor Maldonado, who spent the day working on reliability with the Williams FW34.

Heikki Kovalainen was slowest of the drivers equipped with 2012 machinery but completed a whopping 139 laps for Caterham as he gathered plenty of information.

Pedro de la Rosa completed HRT’s running by setting a 1m22.128s, just 0.618s off the pace of Kovalainen.

Today's times Pos--Driver--------------Team-----------Time--------------Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher   Mercedes       1m18.561s           132
 2.  Mark Webber          Red Bull       1m19.184s  + 0.623   97
 3.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso     1m19.587s  + 1.026  100
 4.  Jules Bianchi        Force India    1m20.221s  + 1.660   46
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus          1m20.239s  + 1.678  117
 6.  Paul di Resta        Force India    1m20.272s  + 1.711   69
 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari        1m20.454s  + 1.893   95
 8.  Jenson Button        McLaren        1m20.688s  + 2.127   85
 9.  Sergio Perez         Sauber         1m20.711s  + 2.150   68
10.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams       1m21.197s  + 2.636   97
11.  Heikki Kovalainen    Caterham       1m21.518s  + 2.957  139
12.  Pedro de la Rosa     HRT            1m22.128s  + 3.567   64

Live commentary notes:

10:07 Kankshit Bharos has asked @eddstrawf1 one of his least favourite questions, based upon judging performance from testing times. Fortunately, he gets away with it by starting off with a disclaimer. “First test day times are almost irrelevant,” says Kankshit. “But the pace Kimi Raikkonen set yesterday hasn’t been touched yet. Is this a sign for the season that Lotus and Force India will be the dark horses in 2012?”

Edd says… “The headline times are pretty irrelevant but it’s fair to conclude that Lotus and Force India have proved they have a decent package upon which to build. Lotus’s programme was distorted by the fact the team wanted to send Raikkonen out an push on as he re-acclimatised to F1 and the important thing is that he resembles the old Kimi in terms of on-track commitment.

10:31 As we’ve mentioned, yesterday’s pacesetter Raikkonen has spent most of the morning in the pits after an early visit to the gravel did some damage to the Lotus. And here’s that picture of the incident we just got so excited over.

14:18 Schumacher looks to the inside of Raikkonen at the exit of the last corner.

14:18 And then Schumacher overtakes into Turn 1. Wonder if the pair will be getting this close once the season starts?

14:19 This test is the first time they have shared a track since the end of 2006, when Schumacher retired for the first time and Raikkonen stepped into his Ferrari, By the time Schumacher returned in 2010, Raikkonen was off to rallying.

14:19 Raikkonen is presumably running heavier than Schumacher right now, with 15 more laps to go in the Lotus’s stint.

14:32 There is a Ferrari guy stood on the pit wall just next to Lotus, obviously keeping a watching brief on Raikkonen’s progress.

14:33 Wonder if he looks like he’s more enthusiastic in a black suit than he was in a scarlet one?

14:34 The Ferrari guy might be following AUTOSPORT Live, for as soon as we typed that, he walked off…

14:50 Brad Larsen asks: “How do you see yourself gaining from having Kimi, a former world champion, on board as your team-mate? Have you been able to make him laugh or smile yet?”

Romain Grosjean: “Haha. We did, we did – with Kimi he is a very nice guy, and it’s good to have him alongside me. It’s also good for the team to have him, and hopefully we can develop the car together and have a good season.

“I think we have to work together: two drivers are always stronger than one driver, so if we work together it will be better for the team. Hopefully we can also improve ourselves at the same time.”

14:57 Raikkonen ought to be pretty pleased with his running this week – good times and good reliability from Lotus.


Raikkonen: DRS detracts art of overtaking


Kimi Raikkonen has revealed he is no fan of Formula 1′s DRS (Drag Reduction System concept.

The former world champion was busy in the world rally series last year when formula one introduced the moveable rear wing system, designed to boost overtaking.

Having skipped the 2010 season entirely on television, Raikkonen began to watch some grands prix last year when his thirst for circuit racing returned.

“The way the DRS wings work is for me a little ridiculous,” he admitted to Auto Motor und Sport. “Overtaking is not really a great art anymore.

“You just put the wing down and go past easily,” said the 32-year-old. “The guy in front can’t really do anything.

“But I agree that at least it makes the show better,” added Raikkonen.

He admitted that his brief stint in American Nascar racing last year rekindled his love for wheel-to-wheel.

“I realised how much I was missing it,” said the former McLaren and Ferrari driver. “That doesn’t mean I am sick of rallying; actually I’d like to do both but that’s not possible.

“But if you want to race and you have the choice, first you look at formula one,” he added.

Raikkonen was the fastest of all when 2012 testing kicked off at Jerez on Tuesday, insisting he is not fazed at the prospect of returning after two years away.

“For me it’s easier to get used to the (Pirelli) tyres than it was for the others a year ago. For me it’s more like a new beginning.”

As for the refuelling ban, which came in last year, Raikkonen insists: “That’s no big deal — the pitstop is just a little shorter.

“Driving with the heavier car is not like day and night; it’s still the same sport. There’s just a few more buttons to push on the steering wheel.”