Currently occupying third place in the Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship – with an impressive six podium finishes along the way – Kimi has certainly silenced the critics during his comeback season in Formula 1. With solid foundations now in place, the Finn is looking for more with the team in 2013…
Q: What have you learnt from your return to Formula 1?
KR: This season has shown me that I still love racing as much as I ever did. Obviously, I would have not come back to the sport if I did not feel like this. Driving a Formula 1 car still gives me the same inspiration and I feel the same passion for it.
Q: Lotus F1 Team is your fourth team in Formula 1: how have things gelled?
KR: I have been very happy with the team; how they work, how they approach the races and how they invest in developing the car. I think with the progress behind the scenes at Enstone we could be fighting for the podium even more often next year and also be able to make a stronger challenge for the Championship.
Q: We, and around 500,000 other people, recently saw you signing an enforced contract on YouTube. How civilized was the process with Lotus F1 Team in comparison?
KR: Well the team did not need to tie me up and blackmail me with a photo album, unlike certain other contracts you may have seen me sign recently. That was not necessary on this occasion.
Q: How strong is your motivation heading into the last races of this year and looking ahead to 2013?
KR: My motivation is as strong as it’s always been. I’m keen to race on.
Q: How can you build on your experience from 2012 next season?
KR: We have proven as team that we can build and develop a strong and reliable car. This year has been a good platform to put down strong foundations for what will hopefully be an even better season next time around. We know what we need to do to improve in some important areas, which should help us get even better results next year. All in all I’m looking forward carrying on working with the team to achieve more good things in 2013.
Q: What have you learnt from this year?
KR: I think there were a few people who had doubts about how I would perform after being away for a while. Personally, I didn’t feel I stopped racing at all. I may have been doing something different with rallying, but after coming back to Formula 1 I immediately felt fit enough – and fast enough – to start racing again. My hunger for winning is exactly the same as always and I think I’ve shown that I’m capable of fighting for victories. Obviously there have been none so far this year, but we have come close a few times and for sure we’ll keep on trying for as long as it takes to start winning again.
Q: What’s the main focus for you in 2013?
KR: Of course, the main thing is to do my very best every time, every weekend, every race. I think to be able to perform better in the races I have to find more from myself and from the car in qualifying. This season has shown that you have to be on first two rows to be able to win every time. It’s important to improve our grid positions for 2013. That’s one of main targets for me.
Kimi Raikkonen will be a much stronger driver in 2013 than he was during his comeback season for Lotus, reckons his team boss.
Lotus announced on Monday that Raikkonen had signed a fresh deal with the team that will keep him at Enstone until at least the end of next year.
Team boss Eric Boullier acknowledged to AUTOSPORT that Raikkonen had taken some time to get up to full speed this year, but he added that by next season the Finn will be back to his very best.
“I am more than happy that he is staying because that is always a bit of a gamble when someone comes back to F1,” said Boullier in an exclusive interview.
“If it looked like it took him a while from the outside we don’t believe it took him that long. And we believe next year will be much more rewarding in terms of points, because we have been through this learning stage this season.
“We gave him the car and the opportunity to develop, and we are delighted that he wants to stay with us.
“I think he was pretty quickly on the pace, and definitely he never lost his talent nor speed.
“But it was just a question for him of understanding the format of the race weekend, and all the requirements of driving.”
Boullier believes that Raikkonen’s biggest strength is his race craft, which has been proven by the fact that the Finn is the only driver who has completed every single racing lap this season.
“His race craft is quite amazing,” said Boullier. “The way he knows where he is on the track is incredible. (more…)
Kimi Raikkonen has re-signed for Lotus, the team confirmed in a special promotional video on Monday morning.
The 2007 Formula 1 world champion, who returned to the sport at the beginning of this year after two seasons competing in the World Rally Championship, currently lies third in the 2012 drivers’ standings.
The 33-year-old had long been expected to remain with Lotus for a second season. The team had an option for 2013 based upon certain performance criteria being met, which it has achieved comfortably.
Despite not winning a race on his return, Raikkonen has impressed with six podium finishes and has attained remarkable consistency, scoring points in every race except the Chinese Grand Prix and completing every racing lap in 2012 so far.
Better the Devil You Know – Kimi Räikkönen Confirmed for 2013
Lotus F1 Team is pleased to announce that Kimi Räikkönen will continue to drive for the team in 2013.
Kimi, who currently stands in third position in the FIA Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship, returned to the sport in 2012 after two seasons away and immediately showcased his pace, stepping on the podium six times so far this season – in Bahrain, twice in Spain (Barcelona and Valencia), Germany, Hungary and Belgium.
Kimi has already started giving his input on next year’s car, the E21, and will play an active role in the whole design process.
Kimi Räikkönen: “I think my return to Formula 1 has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far. To be honest, I didn’t expect to be fighting for the Drivers’ Championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011, so it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis. I feel very comfortable with Lotus F1 Team and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me and I’m looking forward to making another step forward together next year.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Kimi has made an exceptional comeback to Formula 1. From the first time he sat in the car this year it was clear he had lost none of his pace or technical feedback and we have been rewarded by a focused and motivated driver all season. For Lotus F1 Team to be fighting for such strong championship positions this year is in no small part attributed to Kimi’s talent and experience of racing. It was a natural conclusion for us to confirm that we will be harnessing his abilities for next season.”