With significant upgrades on trial here in Korea this weekend, even a man of Kimi’s talents would be forgiven for taking time to get up to speed. Of course, normal rules don’t apply to the Iceman who – straight talking as always – tells us exactly what he makes of the time sheets in Friday practice…
Q: Kimi; how was your first experience of the Korea International Circuit today?
KR: The circuit is okay; it’s surprisingly bumpy in some parts and the layout is quite different from other places we race. There’s a mix of corners here so finding the right compromise on setup is tricky. Most of the turns are medium to high speed so it’s important to have a good balance through them but you need good speed through the whole lap and that’s quite hard to find.
Q :You ran the new Coandă exhaust today; how did it feel from behind the wheel?
KR: The car can feel completely different from place to place even if you don’t change anything at all, so I can’t really say if it felt so different or not as we’ve only used if for one day at one track. We have to look at the data to see how it’s working before deciding if we’re going to keep using it or not. The good thing is that there were no problems with it. We spent a bit of time in the garage in the first session but there was nothing stopping us running; just normal checks and things you have to try out with new parts which takes a bit of time.
Q: Both cars were hovering around the mid-pack on the time sheets today; how much do you read into that?
KR: We were about a second off the leaders today and there’s definitely room for improvement, but there’s no point reading into anything on a Friday. We’re usually around this sort of position on the first day and we always improve so let’s hope it’s the same tomorrow. To be honest, I don’t care about the lap times as long as we get a good understanding of the car so we can try to put everything together tomorrow; that’s what matters. If we can get it completely right then maybe we can be in the top five in qualifying. Let’s wait and see.
2 thoughts on “Friday in Korea: “let’s wait and see””
An interview from Spanish media, kindly translated by Martín Periotti:
Question: In 2007 it was more or less at this stage of the championship when he started to win everything, how do you plan to do this year?
Kimi Raikkonen: Nothing, we’ll try as best we can. Hopefully, I have promised that what they have brought here to work and help us to be ahead again. If that works I think we have a much better chance to fight, and if not, I hope the same rate we’ve had in the last few races, so I probably would not have many options to fight for the championship. Conversely, if the car is fast I think we have a good chance.
Q: You were a revelation in the 2001 season and it is again in 2012. Is it good for your self esteem?
K. Raikkonen: I would not be in Formula 1 if not enjoy racing. That’s why I’m back, so I do not mind too much. Of course you would spend better when you do it right, but I do not care about other things.
Q: Is not that like a second youth?
K. Raikkonen: No … is that it is not! I have been many years ago, I did other things between one age and another. It is simply a path, been good this year and, as I said, had not returned if it were not so.
“The team has promised me that what they have brought here will work”
Q: Talk about fun in F1, and a few days ago said openly that the simulator test. Is it part of its strategy to avoid boredom in F1?
K. Raikkonen: No … first of all, our simulator is now at the level that gives you the opportunity to taste like you’re on track. I tried a lot, and is approaching that point, but it is too new to reach these levels, at least if you compare it to other computers that I tested the simulator long. It gives me more if you really feel like the car so of course you can do certain things, but the simulator has to be absolutely calibrated to be able to trust these things, because otherwise it makes things more difficult.
Q: Should I ask this. Some think it was too aggressive in the Grand Prix of Japan. What did you think and then?
K. Raikkonen: Bah, could not do otherwise. He was running like everyone, with the pedal fully down the stretch, in my line, and unfortunately had nowhere to go, so I really could not do anything. I’m not here to turn back because it is a Ferrari or Alonso, would have done with anyone. I tried to move to the left, but could not go anywhere. In an accident, there are always two people, unless collision with the wall. Also, I think it would have been penalized if he had done something wrong.
“Our simulator is the level that gives you the opportunity
to test like you’re on track ”
Q: I thought his foot off the accelerator.
K. Raikkonen: I lift the throttle in the corners, not in the middle of the line, because it is not my responsibility if I’m doing my career. Like I said, if I had done something wrong, I had probably the stewards penalized but was not the case, so ask them.
Q: Do you feel that leverages the full potential available to you? In certain qualifications seem to get it in certain sectors but not always translate into a perfect full circle.
K. Raikkonen: Definitely. If you look back, it’s easy to say I did better in one place than another, but I think we’ve learned from those moments. We must avoid repeating the mistakes and try to improve if it’s easy to put in place. Do not think I will ever go to achieve the perfect year. All the time things happen perfect while trying to minimize errors and score as much and as often as possible.
Q. And he meets his performance so far?
K. Raikkonen: Well, if you take a snapshot of where we are now, we’ve marked points, then I would be very happy. But once you do it right, expect to do better and better … so I always want more, because I would have better results. But before the season was not much in the way trust. So it’s nice, we have struggled to four wins, also fighting for the championship … but if they win, is a disappointment. That’s the point.
P: The dual DRS seems has been more of a drag on the team.
K. Raikkonen: Well, we tried to make it work, and keep trying. Unfortunately it does not work, so we expect strong improvements this weekend to help us. Until we put on the track and see what is good is very difficult to be sure that will help, but we’re pretty optimistic.
Q: You have not lost time with this invention?
K. Raikkonen: I do not think that has much to do, are two different things [overall aerodynamic development and DDRS] and does not affect the other. The truth is that when you put a piece in the car does not always work, and people from outside do not know what we do in other aspects. So we keep trying, it was the first time for us and Japan was not the last.
Q: In the past you have driven for teams that were at the top, as McLaren and Ferrari. Where is Lotus now? How far from the top teams, or very close, there are only small details?
K. Raikkonen: We are not a top team, they have good cars year after year, is his property. Of course there is some progress to become a bigger team. There is more money to spend, more people to work, but a team like ours is far from the level of McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull. If the money is found, the machine will wear out.
Q: Money is the only thing that sets them apart?
K. Raikkonen: It is the most important issue, at least. They can hire more people, the parts are produced faster. Every little detail costs thousands of euros. I think we’re at a very good level now, but still have to go a step further to win.
Q: When running rallies, NASCAR and wanted to come back, why he decided to resume his career in F1 with Lotus?
K. Raikkonen: There were a few possibilities we studied. No sense going to HRT … I have nothing against them, but I see no fun in riding in late position, so Williams and Lotus were only true. He was not clear where to go, because Williams has won championships, they know how to win, while Lotus is more or less the same team that was Renault and won a championship, so I valued both teams but I went for Lotus and have no regrets. I mean, either would be a good choice, but I understand very well with Lotus and I think that’s why I signed with them.
“If the season had started now I’m sure you would have done better in the first races”
Q: From the outside it seems that adapted immediately to F1 in 2012, was it?
K. Raikkonen: Of course it took a while to adapt. But since I did the first test with the car for two years before I knew I was going to be okay, because I knew how to handle the car and saw that it had not changed much since I was last in F1 in 2009. Of course you need a first contact to know that everything will go well. I noticed that in the first test. But then you need to find other small things, keep learning. And it was a new team, new people, things that keep you always in that learning. If the season had started now I’m sure you would have done better in the first few races, because now I know better what to do. But so is learning, you have to do it as quickly as possible, and not strike twice in the same error.
Q: Do you miss the rally?
K. Raikkonen: I love racing rallies. I do so now when I have some free time, but I can devote to it at this time. I like, I’m a fan and I want to race there in the future.
Q: In five days is announced something about his contract, why just the day of your birthday?
K. Raikkonen: I do not know, just so happened …-laughs.
Q: How would you describe Kimi Raikkonen?
K. Raikkonen: I do not know. I do what I like. I’m happy with what I do, that’s what matters. I’m not here to please anyone. I’ll just mine, because that’s what makes me happy.
Thank you Saima, thank you Martin!