Archive for October 26, 2012

Friday in India: “we will keep trying”


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Another weekend, another new country and race track for the Iceman, who posted the fifth fastest time on day one on track at the Buddh International Circuit. Kimi talks us through his first impressions of the circuit.

Q: It’s been the first day’s running for you out on track; talk us through your day…

KR: I think it was okay and we didn’t have any issues. On the soft tyres the car felt very nice and we had good pace. On the hard tyres we felt good too, but I don’t think we got them working well enough to get as much pace from them as other people could.

Q: What are your thoughts of the circuit? It’s the first time you’ve been here, what are you initial impressions?

KR: The circuit is nice. I think it’s easier to learn than the Korean track; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like this – I’ve been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places, so it’s good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve our times on one lap but I think we are not too far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren as we were today, but you can never tell during practice sessions, as you may get one great lap, while another team has a mistake.

Q: Do you think the Coandă exhaust system is a step in the right direction?

KR: It is now the same on both cars, so we wouldn’t use it if we didn’t think it was better! We already have more developments to the system since Korea. You do lose some horsepower with it, and so we struggle a bit on the straights, but hopefully we can keep improving for the coming races and gain some more speed.

Q: How do you feel the development battle has gone this season?

KR: For sure the teams ahead are bigger than us and have more money to build things, more people to make the parts, and unfortunately money makes a big difference in this sport. But we haven’t done badly, that’s for sure, especially if you compare us with the bigger teams that we’re fighting against. It’s disappointing that we’re not there, but we have to be realistic as we’ve still done a pretty good job this year.

Q: Do you feel that all the improvements to this car have been made already and that the focus should shift to next year?

KR: No we will still try to improve this car, because everything we do now will help us for next year. It’s not wasting our time, and the developments we make now will perhaps go on the new car anyhow so we’ll all keep pushing and working hard. It’s not easy to find half a second and at this stage of the year it’s amazingly tricky to find a small amount of progress, but we’ll keep trying of course.


Kimi Raikkonen – too cool for school


There was once a dastardly, politically-motivated plot to kidnap an F1 world champion? True. Kimi Raikkonen was the man held captive? Err…not quite. F1 legend from the 1950s, five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped in 1957 during the Cuba Grand Prix at the behest of Fidel Castro. Castro and 82 supporters sailed to Cuba on the Granma with one aim – to start a revolution and overthrow the Batista government. The guerrillas captured Fangio at gunpoint on the day of the race with the intention of releasing him after the race, which they duly did.

Raikkonen’s ‘kidnapping’ was slightly different, maybe you’ve even seen it (the video has gone viral on YouTube). A refreshing change from sportsmen announcing contract deals through dull press releases, scripted conferences or bland advertisements. No, he didn’t ask you to join his pit crew as some F1 drivers have, nor has he offered your business logo space on his car as others have done. The best part is, he doesn’t need to!

The dotted line
As the scene opens you see a couple of street toughs driving a man, with a black bag over his head, to a dingy caravan site. They enter the caravan, gypsy music playing in the background. The black bag is removed, and the man who’s been kidnapped is… Raikkonen.

Sitting on a round table with a bunch of local heavies, the Finn is given a contract and a pen. None too pleased, Raikkonen lets his captors know how he feels about the situation, spitting on the contract. The heavies, though, have done their research and aren’t unduly taken aback by the initial refusal.

They then proceed to show Raikkonen an album of ‘personal’ photographs. And that’s that.

True to form
While it may have been an advertisement for a clothing label, it doesn’t seem that out of place to think that this is how Kimi signs his contracts.

On a paddock packed with trained, media-savvy drivers, Raikkonen’s insouciant ways are a throwback to the playboy days of1976 world champion James Hunt, who among other feats bedded 33 Britsh Airways stewardesses, fuelled by a steady supply of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine in the two weeks leading up to the title decider in Tokyo.

Hunt is something of a kindred spirit to Raikkonen, once the Finn even went power-boating under that alias to avoid pesky reporters and angry bosses at Maranello. Other times, he’s gone dressed as a gorilla. He’s loves zipping around in snowmobiles, he quit F1 at his peak to test his skills in the demanding World Rally Championship. Raikkonen loves speed…and we’re not even talking about amphetamines! (Though he does like the odd shot of vodka, pint of beer, cup of glögi…You get the picture).

Mockery without end
The Finn is famously, even comically, monosyllabic in what little interactions he has with the media, but from time to time he’s opened up, especially when Hunt is the topic of discussion, as he was during this year’s Monaco GP when he wore a replica Hunt. Racing was very interesting back then, said the driver, who at many times has appeared disinterested in the grind that is the life of a modern F1 driver.

You can see that in his antics over the years – at the 2006 Brazilian GP all drivers took time for a Kodak moment with Pele. Kimi was conspicuous by his absence. When anchorman Martin Brundle asked him what he was doing, his poker-faced reply was, “Yeah, I was having a s**t”; Or when he’s dealing with journalists, dismissing most questions even before they’ve been uttered with bizarre wit and mockery without end. “Your most boring part of an F1 weekend,” asked one journalist, “Now,” was Raikkonen’s curt reply.

Answers that may not win him many fans on the grid but ensure a cult following among fans looking to support the righteous outlaw! >

Indian Grand Prix – Friday Practice Results: 5th

Source: | | twitter

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The afternoon session here in India saw Kimi and Romain complete a number of race simulation runs as the pair pushed – and occasionally surpassed – the boundaries of the Buddh International Circuit to end the day in P5 / P9 respectively.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05

Position: P5
Fastest Lap: 1:27.030
Laps Completed: 40

Key Moments:
00mins: Straight out on news hard tyres for a first run
22mins: Second stint; used hard rubber this time around
40mins: First appearance for the softs; straight to the top of the time sheets
48mins: P1 at the halfway stage
55mins: Switch back to used hard tyres; long run analysis on the agenda
90mins: Session ends; P5 for the Finn


  • Both Kimi and Romain picked up the pace at with relative ease on their first visit to the Buddh International Circuit
  • A number of drivers struggled for grip on the dusty surface, particularly through the T5 / T6 / T7 sequence
  • Romain endured a couple of big moments as the Frenchman explored the limits of the track
  • Kimi suffered from mild turn-in understeer early in the session; corrected with setup tweaks as running progressed
  • Both the silver marked hard and yellow marked soft compound Pirelli tyres were used by each driver
Pos  Driver                Team                  Time               Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m26.221             35
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m26.339s  + 0.118   33
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m26.820s  + 0.599   34
 4.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m27.022s  + 0.801   38
 5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m27.030s  + 0.809   40
 6.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m27.131s  + 0.910   38
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m27.182s  + 0.961   24
 8.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m27.233s  + 1.012   37
 9.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m27.397s  + 1.176   36
10.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m27.738s  + 1.517   36
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m28.004s  + 1.783   32
12.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.178s  + 1.957   39
13.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m28.222s  + 2.001   37
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.239s  + 2.018   37
15.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m28.296s  + 2.075   23
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m28.455s  + 2.234   40
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m28.596s  + 2.375   38
18.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m29.167s  + 2.946   35
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m29.320s  + 3.099   43
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m29.606s  + 3.385   22
21.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m30.950s  + 4.729   37
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m31.113s  + 4.892   35
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m31.372s  + 5.151   20
24.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m31.493s  + 5.272   31

FP2 Report:

A slow start to the Indian Grand Prix weekend saw limited on-track action during the opening stages of Free Practice 1, with circuit conditions eventually improving as Kimi and Romain claimed P10 / P15 respectively on their first outing at the Buddh International Circuit.

Kimi Räikkönen, E20-05

Position: P10
Fastest Lap: 1:29.291
Laps Completed: 24

Key Moments:
00mins: Install lap on hard tyres
37mins: Opening run; quickly getting to grips with the new circuit
68mins: Second outing; assessment of new front wing design the priority
87mins: Last stint; brief foray on track with a pit stop simulation to end the morning
90mins: Chequered flag; P10 for the Finn


  • Kimi and Romain took to the Budd International Circuit for the very first time
  • A very green track limited running for all teams during the opening 30mins
  • Both E20s featured the team’s new Coandă exhaust system
  • Kimi trialled a new variation of front wing
  • Silver marked hard compound Pirelli tyres were used exclusively throughout running
  • Both drivers completed practice pit stops to end the session

FP1 Times:

Pos  Driver                Team                   Time                Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m27.619             22
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m27.929s  + 0.310   22
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m28.044s  + 0.425   24
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m28.046s  + 0.427   25
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m28.175s  + 0.556   22
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m28.447s  + 0.828   25
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m28.542s  + 0.923   24
 8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m28.993s  + 1.374   23
 9.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m29.204s  + 1.585   24
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m29.291s  + 1.672   24
11.  Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m29.691s  + 2.072   26
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m29.760s  + 2.141   23
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m29.802s  + 2.183   1$
14.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m29.850s  + 2.231   19
15.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m29.895s  + 2.276   19
16.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m30.041s  + 2.422   26
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m30.401s  + 2.782   23
18.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m30.630s  + 3.011   24
19.  Giedo Van der Garde   Caterham-Renault       1m30.896s  + 3.277   20
20.  Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m31.212s  + 3.593   29
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m31.903s  + 4.284   22
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1m32.125s  + 4.506   24
23.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m32.369s  + 4.750   19
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           1m32.859s  + 5.240   13

Lotus team quotes:

Kimi Räikkönen – FP1: 10th/FP2: 5th: “The circuit is nice. For me it was easier to learn than the Korean track ; it’s not as technical but it’s good. It’s always nice to come to a new place like this – I’ve been racing for many years, and you always end up going to the same places so it’s good when you get a new place and a new circuit. For sure we can still improve on one lap but I think we are not far away from our maximum speed. Of course I hope that we are faster than McLaren. Our car was working well, especially on soft tyres but with the hard tyres it was more difficult to find grip.”

Romain Grosjean – FP1: 15th/9th: “It’s been very hard to set-up the car as the track has been evolving a lot through the day ; from zero grip in the morning to much better in the afternoon. However, we’ve made good progress today and we’re working on improving further overnight. There are a few blind corners, and some quick places where you don’t want to make mistakes either. Hopefully we find the car we want for qualifying and get what we want tomorrow.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Both drivers got up to speed pretty quickly on a new track once more. We spent the morning session evaluating the new front wing and some new rear diffuser parts ; we need to investigate further the diffuser parts but the new front wing looks good so we’ll run it with both cars for the remainder of the weekend. We were able to conduct an uninterrupted FP2 programme, running both tyres reasonably early on, followed by a long run on the soft compound. We’re missing a little pace on the hard tyre so we’re investigating our tyre temperatures and pressures, however on the softer tyre our car looks very competitive on both low and high fuel loads. It would be nice to squeeze another two or three tenths out of the car in qualifying, but nevertheless we confident of the potential for a good show tomorrow.”