Q: Kimi, like Lewis you’ve had plenty of success in Hungary. I think one more podium and you equal the record for the most about of podiums for a driver here. With the high temperatures, does that play into your hands a little bit on Sunday? If we go on the form of Germany, we assume it should do.
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: I think we’ve always been a bit more happy when it’s more warm. Now it’s a bit difficult to say with the new – or different – tyres than we raced at the beginning of the year but last year helped us and the tyres should be a mix of this year and last year so let’s hope that it works well for us.
Q: You didn’t go to Silverstone. Did you think twice that maybe you should?
KR: No. The decision was made with the team that there was not really so much… it was better for the team to put a young driver in it because we were not allowed to do any changes as a race driver, so with that sort of rules you don’t really learn much. We would only have had one set of tyres or so, and so it was overall better for the team to use our test drivers.
Q: Red Bull? Lotus? Maybe somewhere else? It’s silly season and you seem to be, you appear to be if the stories are true, very much a man in demand. When you look at next season and where you may or may not be driving, what are the factors that go through your mind in helping you make that decision?
KR: There’s not really one thing. I think there is going to be an overall package and whatever feels right for me. Whatever the decision will be it might feel stupid to somebody else but then it might feel right for me. I have no idea what will happen. We have to wait and see what will come but hopefully whatever it will be, it will be the right choice.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Gerhard Potochnik – Kleine Zeitung) We are talking about the future; a few days ago Red Bull and Bernie Ecclestone announced that there would be an Austrian Grand Prix next July. Can you tell us your thoughts about this?
KR: I was there maybe two years ago or something the last time. It looks slightly different. The circuit is exactly the same, I think. It’s a nice place to go, I think. It’s not a very difficult circuit because it hasn’t got many corners, but it usually produces very good racing because of the layout of the straights and the tight corners. I’m more than happy to go back there.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, if it’s really going to be 40 degrees for the race, is that really going to be too hot for you and your car? Is it a big risk for your record of finishing races?
KR: It’s the same for everybody, obviously. It will be a bit more tricky for cars and everything, brakes, everything for the drivers, but it’s not the first time that it will be hot when we are racing. If it’s going to be that hot we will see what happens. It was meant to be hot today and it was raining. Things change quickly.
Q: (Dan Knutson – Auto Action/National Speedsport News) Kimi, following on from the earlier question about Red Bull; you don’t like to do PR, Red Bull likes its drivers to do a lot of PR. How much PR work would you put up with if it means you have a winning car?
KR: Obviously you can’t have a guarantee what will happen next year with any team or any cars. There are a lot of rumours about PR days but we have ten and some other teams have a hundred. I’ve been in most of the top teams and I know exactly how it goes and if you count things that you do during the week and during a weekend and you put everything together, everybody has a different way of counting the days. I’m sure it’s not – at least in my knowledge – the difference between the teams is in days and it’s not a deciding factor.
Q: (Michael Noir Trawniczek – Rally and More) Kimi, when you are chosing the package and the right team, what sort of questions do you ask, how technical is it, do you visit the factory, things like that? How do you make your choice?
KR: I think it’s like I said earlier, it’s a combination of things and it has to be right on racing and outside of racing. Basically everything just has to feel right and I think in the end it comes down to whatever I think is the right choice and there will be no guarantee that the choice will be the good one in the long run but I’m fine with it, whatever the outcome will be; you live with the choices.
Q: Is any choice for next year complicated by the fact that the engine regulations, the rule regulations have changed quite drastically?
KR: Obviously it would be much easier for everybody to more or less get an idea what will happen next year without those big changes but that’s how it is. It really depends on whether one engine manufacturer gets it right and one wrong, then it might be a long season for some teams and an easier one for others but I don’t know. You hear rumours but that’s all I know about it.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Press Association) Gentlemen, you may have seen the story last week that Sauber are due to fast track a young Russian by the name of Sergey Sirotkin into Formula One. If he is on the grid at the start of next season, and he gains the necessary super licence, he will be 18-years old. Is 18 too young to be racing a Formula One car?
PM: It’s a difficult one because I don’t know the driver very well. It’s difficult to say. I think it’s more up to the team and not to us.
VB: Yeah, I don’t really know the background of this driver so it’s difficult to say.
PdiR: It’s unfair to say anything. I don’t think anybody knows too much about him because he’s not been in racing cars too long.
Q: But is 18 too young to be a Formula One driver, if you take away the individual concerned?
PdiR: You can never say never, can you? People surprise you with what they’re doing. If that’s a decision I’m sure there’s a reason behind it.
LH: I wasn’t ready at 18. I was pretty good at 18, so…
KR: I’m sure there will be and has also been an 18-year old, I guess. For sure they will take him if they feel it’s the right thing, so I don’t see that age will be the problem. It’s about experience and that. He might be ready, he might not. Time will tell.
Q: (Gergely Denes – F1-Live.hu) Kimi, last week there was some Twitter chat between Lewis and your team, a photo postcard of you and Roscoe, Lewis’s dog. Are you aware of that and what is your opinion of it?
KR: It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I don’t have a Twitter account, I don’t have any other things. I don’t really have a comment.
Q: You weren’t the man putting #where’sRoscoe on the side of the car?
KR: (Sighs and points to the team’s PR man)
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Lewis, if Kimi goes to Red Bull, would he be an even harder competitor for you than he is now?
LH: I think Kimi will always be one of the hardest competitors here. He’s a fantastic driver, he’s got great experience and he’s constantly proving his abilities and I think whatever car you put him in he’s going to be a fighting force in the field and of course he’s doing a great job at Lotus, they’ve done a great job this year and over the last couple of years. I think whatever he decides either way, he will have a strong car and I just hope that we’re competing with them.
Q: (Joo Gabor – Index) Kimi, we can divide your Formula One career into two; which one have you enjoyed most, the first one to 2009 or the second one now?
KR: I don’t really count it as two. I did something else that I wanted to do between them and then obviously I wanted to race again. It hasn’t really changed much. Obviously the team’s different but I’ve been in different teams in the past and every team has a good side and some things that you are probably finding not that much fun. Obviously when you have decent results you have more fun that if you have bad years. I would say that is very similar, more or less the same people, same stuff. I have no real difference between earlier teams and how it is now.
Video: Kimi in the press conference, everyone laughs
Talking about Raikkonen, Horner said: “Kimi’s qualities speak for themselves. He has a proven track record so you cannot question Kimi’s credentials. We want the two fastest and strongest drivers we can put in the car next year and both Daniel and Kimi would represent extremely good options.
“Both drivers get the same opportunity and then it is down to them on the track that decides who is the lead driver and the lead driver has the most points.
“Sebastian [Vettel] has no concerns about going up against any driver. He hasn’t voiced a preference any way. He knows them both, he knows they are quick and both would represent a challenge but he is not looking to influence the team in any way.”
“Of course, finances are always a factor but you can also contrast that with the difference between first and second or second and third or fourth is a significant amount in the constructors’ world championship so the financial element of it, if you don’t make the right decision, it’s going to impact you anyway if you are not scoring points,” he said.