| Source: fia.com |
Q: I’ll start with Kimi if I may. Congratulations on the move for next season. First time we’ve seen you since the announcement. If we’d have said to you at the start of the season that you’d be a confirmed Ferrari driver by September, what would have said then: no chance, no way or is it something you always thought might be possible?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I just have to say things change in Formula One a lot. I never had a bad feeling with them really. But I mean I still have a lot friends and good memories from there. I knew that my contract will end at the end of this year so obviously I had to make some kind of decision what to do for next year and now it’s been done.
Q: Was there anything that Lotus could have done to keep you with the team or was the attraction of a return to Ferrari just to strong for you?
KR: Yeah, there was a lot of things and for sure they know what it is. It’s hard to say which way it would have gone if that would have had happened but the deal’s done now and I’m very happy with the new deal.
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge for you then next season at Ferrari?
KR: I know the team and I know the people. Obviously there are some new people and some more have left since I was there but most are the same. I don’t think this will be too difficult to go there and do well. The car’s will be obviously different so I think that will be the most difficult thing, to get the cars right and get them running reliable and whoever makes the best car will probably make the best out of it.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, you said last year that when you left Ferrari you felt liberated. So what made you decide to go back and lose your – in brackets – freedom?
KR: I always had freedom there also. There are a lot of stories from my past, from different teams but it’s all from you guys and I don’t think that you guys work in the team so you don’t really know what’s happening and you write a lot of stuff which can sometimes be true and sometimes not. I had a good time, like I said, and I’m sure we will have a good time together again.
Q: (Jacob Polychronis – F1Plus.com) Kimi, some other drivers have been quite quick to already suggest that your partnership with Fernando Alonso may not work out, namely Jenson and Sebastian. Do you care to weigh in on the issue?
KR: I don’t see the reason why it wouldn’t work. We are all old enough to know what we are doing and for sure the team is working for the right things to make sure. If there is something, I’m sure we can talk it through. It’s not like we are 20-year old guys any more. I might be wrong, but time will tell, but I’m pretty sure everything will be good. For sure there will be hard fights on the race circuits but sometimes things go wrong… like I said, I’m pretty sure it will all be OK.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, Mr Montezemolo said in an interview in our newspaper that he expected victories and poles from you, but also that you can help Alonso to develop the car. Are you ready to spend more time in Maranello, like Fernando, to stay there even more than in the past?
KR: It’s a pretty similar answer to before. There are a lot of stories but I think we’ve done pretty well in this team when we started and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be able to produce a very good car for next year and keep improving it. Obviously there are new rules so it will be more challenging for all the teams but I have no worries about those things.
Q: (Luc Domenjoz – Le Matin) Kimi, it seems that Lotus owes you a lot of money, so the question is simple: why, if the team doesn’t fulfil its part of the contract, why do you respect yours and why don’t you simply stay at home?
KR: I like to race and then obviously that’s the only reason why I’m here; it doesn’t matter which team it is and obviously the reasons why they ask from the team but the reasons why I left from the team is purely on the money side, that they haven’t got my salary so it’s an unfortunate thing but like I said, I want to try and help the team as much as I can and I like to race.
Q: (Fulvio Solms – Corriere dello Sport) Kimi, referring to your next teammate, what do you think will be possible to learn from him next year and can he learn from you?
KR: For sure, you always learn from different teammates; everyone does different things. Maybe they do something better than you but often there are a lot of things that only suit one guy and it doesn’t work if you try to do the same thing for yourself, it’s not going to work. I know the team, I know the people. Like I said, I have no worries to go there and have something that wouldn’t work. I don’t really worry about it, I’ve never worked with Alonso. I obviously know him from racing but I’m sure it will be fine.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi, in your choice of Ferrari, is there also a technical reason? I’m thinking about the turbo era; do you think that Ferrari building both engine and chassis could be a better chance of being a competitive car than Red Bull or Lotus next year?
KR: Obviously I hope so. They built very good cars and engines in the past, they’ve won a lot of championships as a team and then you have to look on the other side at teams like Red Bull or Lotus with Renault who have done very well. It’s very hard to say which way it’s going to go with the new rules and who’s going to have the best package. There are a lot of stories about certain engines that will be much stronger than others but there are so many different things that you have to look at and go through and make sure that it works that I have no idea which team will be strongest and which team will come out on top. We have to wait and see, really, for the first few tests.
Other quotes from the paddock:
“Maybe they have fear because we are strong,” said Domenicali on Thursday. “It’s part of the psychological war that is part of this game. It’s not really interesting for me because I don’t listen. Everyone can say what they want, but that’s it.
“It is paddock life,” he said. “I am happy that two years ago we gambled on Kimi, and it was a nice honeymoon story for two years.
“Now he is moving up to Ferrari. That is life. The combination of Lotus F1 and Kimi worked well in terms of popularity and also sporting-wise, on track.
“It is in some ways disappointing but it is not a blow. Let’s turn the page and start a new story.”
“I don’t think anyone will push me more than what I push now. Two world champions, I don’t think it makes any difference,” said Alonso ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
“Kimi will give him a good run for his money, I’m sure,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News. “It will be an incredibly strong line-up. They talk about me and Nico being the strongest package, but I think they will now have it.
“We already know that this [an all-World Champion line-up] isn’t their normal way of running things, but Stefano [Domenicali, the Ferrari team boss] is a great guy and I’n sure he will manage them very well.”
Videos: Full press conference, BBC interview Kimi, Boullier disappointed to lose Kimi