Seven years ago Kimi Räikkönen told Turun Sanomat that he will end his F1-career in Ferrari. His first contract with Ferrari had just been announced.
Now we talk about the same matter on Singapore paddock.
Q: Do you go back to Ferrari to end your career there?
KR: Probably yes – although nobody ever knows about these things. I don’t think that I will make a new contract no matter what happens in the future. I start to be of that age.
Q: Four years ago Ferrari paid Räikkönen out. If you would had raced in 2010, would that had been your last F1-season?
KR: It’s difficult to say, but 2009 could as well had been my last season. A couple years ago I wanted to put myself in a direction where I can fight for the WDC for real. That was the main reason for the 2-year contract with Lotus. Back then many didn’t believe that we would make it at all. I am grateful to Lotus for getting the opportunity to come back with them. I wanted to drive for the WDC with them too. Last year and this season we got close, but it just didn’t happen when a few bad races ruined my chances. Ferrari has big resources and the ability to build good cars and good engnes. Since it’s impossible to say who makes it best with next year’s new regulations, it’s best to be in a place with best budgets.
Q: Will it help you when James Allison and Dirk de Beer also moved to Ferrari from Lotus?
KR: I’m sure it will also benefit me, but the biggest advantage comes from them being really good people who can definitely build good cars. I would see it as a huge thing for the whole team.
Ferrari’s wish decided the switch
Q: Once the big move has now been made, how relieved are you?
KR: It doesn’t change my feelings one way or another. It was an easy decision. I know the team and I know the people.
Steve Robertson said yesterday to TS that Räikkönen had deemed Ferrari as a good place after meeting their representatives.
KR: I can’t deny that it gave me a good feeling. They showed that they really want me. I know what I get from there and how the team works. Those are the most important factors in this decision. I also know that they are happy to have me back. The last time we raced together in 2009 we didn’t have the strongest car, but we still got results with it. That made me happy.
Q: Then what about having Fernando Alonso as your teammate?
KR: It doesn’t change anything in racing itself. Now we both have exactly same cars for the first time. We both strive for the same big thing, but I don’t believe that it will cause any problems. I think both of us are old enough to work through conflicts, should they appear at some point. Others seem to be most concerned about it. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but most stories are made up by someone who has never worked in the team, he says something and others cling on to it. We both have to do our job as well as possible. After that we see who is ahead. The biggest challenge for the team is to build a strong car, which both of us start to make more competitive together.
Q: You have raced with Alonso ever since karting. Is there any grudge between the two of you?
KR: I can’t remember that there would ever had been anything. And if there has been then we have talked it through immediately.
Q: Alonso is your most fierce teammate since Juan Pablo Montoya. Which one is tougher?
KR: They can’t be compared. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t have the energy to speculate over those kind of things since it leads nowhere.
Q: Is your contract giving you the same conditions as Alonso?
KR: From what I understand, yes.
Q: Then what about Alonso’s political side?
KR: I don’t know if he is political or not. I don’t care about politics myself and I don’t know how it’s done. We win together as a team. That’s what is most important for everyone.
Q: Your opinion about Alonso
KR: He is a double WDC, a very good driver. I only know him from the track, but I believe that we both benefit when we push each other and develop the car together.