Thursday in Spain: “We should be fine”
Kimi Raikkonen thinks Lotus has enough strength in depth to shrug off the loss of technical director James Allison. Raikkonen said only time would tell if the highly-rated Allison’s exit would harm Lotus, but that he suspected the team was well prepared.
“For me it doesn’t really make a difference. I cannot tell if it will make a difference in one week or in one year, or if it won’t make a difference at all.
“It’s not like it suddenly happened one day. People have discussed it and the team will have known it was coming for a while.
“So it’s not like we woke up it’s different to what it was when we went to sleep.
“I think there are a lot of strong people and we should be fine.”
He added that the Allison announcement had no bearing on his 2014 plans, as he was not spending any time considering whether to stay with Lotus or move on at present.
“My decision will be purely on what I think is best for me overall,” Raikkonen said.
“I have no idea what will happen and right now I’m not even putting much thought into it because we have only done four races and we have a long season to go.
“It’s a long time until next year. Everybody always talks about it, but I’m not in any hurry.”
“Not really,” he said when asked if he was worried. “We don’t know if it’s going to change anything, or what it’s going to change. Obviously there are people who will replace him already. We’ll see if it has any effect on what the future brings. I don’t really have any idea.”
Meanwhile Kimi refused to be drawn on what his plans for 2014 might be.
“My decision will be purely on what I think is the best overall for me, and we’ll see what happens in the future. I have no idea what will happen and right now I don’t put much thought into it because we only have done four races. There’s a long season to go and there’s a long time until next year. So now we put effort for this race and this season.”
Asked if he had a time frame he said: “I have to know before next year… You keep asking me the same question, I have nothing to tell, I don’t know. I purely put my effort for this race and this year, and when things happen, people will know. There’s nothing to tell and I don’t really put much thought about it. Everyone always talks about it, but I’m not in a hurry.”
He also refused to be drawn on whether the change to Pirelli’s hard tyre might affect Lotus.
“We’ll see on Sunday, I cannot predict anything. There’s no point to try to guess what will happen. We’ll get some idea tomorrow and we’ll see if it’s good or not good.”
Whenever he is asked a question, the infamously reticent Raikkonen looks rather put out, as if you have just trespassed on his spiritual retreat, so his response to the speculation is hardly a surprise. “You keep asking me the same question but I have nothing to tell. I don’t know,” he says with a shrug. “Right now I’m purely putting my effort into this race and this year and when things happen, people will know. I have no idea what will happen and right now I’m not putting much thought into it because we have only had four races.
“There’s a long season to go and there’s a long time until next year. I have no contract for next year. There is talk about this and that. In the end I will make the decision at the right time. Things change quickly in Formula One. There might be a few options. I want to get the things right for me and get the things right for myself. I’ve been long enough in Formula One to know how important it is to get things as I want.
“I never make a plan. When you are in Formula One there is a point in your life when you want to do other stuff. There is not much time to do anything else. Just normal life, normal things.”
This looks very much like the longest speech ever made by Raikkonen; in fact it is a sort of montage, a splicing together of his responses when inevitably asked questions about his future here this weekend.
The Finn, to put it mildly, does not like being interviewed. And it was largely understood to be the demands of media and sponsors that led him to leave F1 under something of a cloud in 2009. He appeared to have lost his hunger for the sport two years after his world championship success with Ferrari. However, he has another explanation. “I thought I drove very well in the Ferrari in 2009. The car was pretty shit. It was just a bad car, a bad year for making a really good result and fighting for the championship.”
But in a sport well known for its lack of connection between stars and supporters does he still dislike media work and indulging sponsors? “I’m doing an interview right now,” he says. “I’ve always said that I enjoy racing. That’s the only reason I’m here. Nothing has changed in me. But I know how it comes. It comes with other things.
“That’s the way it has always been in Formula One. You will never get the perfect thing without some other stuff coming with it. If you get what you want you always have to pay some price for it.”
Journalist: “Did you watch the last race?” Kimi Raikkonen: “I was in it…”