Kimi Raikkonen attended the Race of Stars in Moscow today along with Caterham F1 driver Charles Pic. Below is the press conference interview of Kimi and Charles, discussing their visit to the Russian capital, racing on an ice surface at Central Moscow Hippodrome, and the upcoming season of Formula 1. I’ve edited the translation from Google therefore we have only Kimi’s answers for now…
Q: Mika, is it true that your first car was a Lada and he did not break?
Kimi Raikkonen: First – my name is Kimi, not Mika! (Laughs). Yes, my first car was a Lada, I got it from a friend and it worked very well. It was a good first car.
Q: How satisfied are you of the recent Formula 1 tests?
KR: They were good enough. We had some problems – not so much in terms of mechanical, but with the system of machines and other similar systems. It took time to fix them. We’ve made so many laps as they wanted, we must seek to improve, but overall things are going well.
Q: Have you had time to try out the car “Renault Duster”? How does the four-wheel drive on the icy road?
KR: It is a normal road car for this type of ice. Tires are also normal. Everything was normal.
Q: Kimi, you had the experience of racing in NASCAR, what was the most difficult part of this experience after Formula 1?
KR: NASCAR, or rally? NASCAR? Well, I spent a few races in the rally, some in NASCAR, I have the experience of racing in Formula 1. All these are different disciplines, I could not expect much in NASCAR, or rally. The rally is fun, but it is difficult. In NASCAR I enjoyed returning to the contact battle. On the part of the championship looks simple, but it is hard to go fast. And in any sport is difficult to get to a higher level. I had a good time, then I wanted to go back to the terminal struggle, and I decided to come back to Formula 1. Hopefully in the future I can go back there and try again, because I liked it, it’s a completely different experience.
Q: How difficult is it to adapt after a good asphalt Jerez and Barcelona to the ice cover here in Russia? Hard to get used to it so quickly?
KR: We’re here to have fun, and the tests we have serious work, so you can not compare two different things.
Q: Kimi, in the next month there will be the Australian Grand Prix. Do you think Lotus will fight for the victory?
KR: I do not know what others were doing, we only know about our work. So far so good. As I said, we would like to have done more laps, we had problems, but this is normal for testing. Hopefully we can fight for victory. I think we will be fighting in front, we should have a chance, and its up to us whether we can use it. Like last year, when we had a good car, it is necessary to squeeze the most of it, and then we’ll see.
Q: Kimi, can in a few words to describe the people working with you in Lotus?
KR: I know my engineer since McLaren. We worked together for five or six years, and we have a good working relationship. He knows how I work, and vice versa. For the past year, I know well the whole team, and it would be easier, because some things were quite new in the last season. Of course, if the job does not add up, then everything can go wrong, but I like the team and the relaxed atmosphere. They do a lot differently than other teams. We will try our best and try to win races.
Q: How do you find Moscow, any sight seeing?
KR: I have not seen so much between the airport and the highway. But I was in Moscow a few years ago. Then I was able to see the city a little bit, but now difficult to say, I was only at the airport here. It would be nice to come here to have more time to see the city.
Q: Kimi, you have a lot of support in Russia, someone drove 500km today to see your performance. What can you say to your fans?
KR: I’m glad for the fans, no matter what country they come from. Of course, Finland and Russia have a long history of relationships. It’s nice that I have fans here. I hope that, when the race will be in Russia, many will come, including those from Finland, which is close. Well, for now that the Russian fans can see our performance.
Q: You have tried Continental tyres on the ice road, what can you say about them?
KR: I prefer the Pirelli.
Q: Kimi, as I recall, after the crash of Robert Kubica’s position Eric Boullier was tough, he did not let the riders perform anywhere except Formula 1. As it is, you are here?
KR: It’s a sponsorship event for Renault and the team. This is not the same as performing at the event. What happened to Robert – a nuisance, always frustrating when someone takes damage, but that’s part of racing. This can happen in Formula 1, but even in real life. We go to great risk, chasing in Formula 1. I do not think other things are more dangerous.
Q: At a press conference you are given the standard questions and the same answers. Do you not get tired of the fact that you are frankly not able to answer the questions?
KR: No. I think all are free to decide how to handle the press conferences. But I do not say what you do not want, I don’t lie. Unfortunately, most questions are about Formula 1, and if you ask the same thing, then the answer is more or less the same. It’s simple.
Q: Kimi, who will win the grand final Race of Stars, Russian driver or pilot of Formula 1?
KR: I don’t know. We are here for fun, and no matter who wins.
Q: In an interview you said that the new technical regulations for the 2014 season, throws an interesting challenge. Does this mean that you are likely to stay? And your solution is dependent on the results of the 2013 season?
KR: No, everyone knows that the rules are changing, it does not affect what I decide to do. A new technical rules we know for years. I do not have a contract for next year and I have no interest in discussing it now – we have not even started the 2013 season. First, we must try to perform well this year, but we’ll see.
Videos of Race of Stars event: