Friday in Abu Dhabi: “Car feels better”

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After making the call to revert on the team’s longer wheelbase E21 configuration this weekend, our Iceman was satisfied with initial progress as his quest for a repeat Yas Marina masterclass began earlier today…

KR: The car feels okay and we had a pretty normal Friday. The shorter chassis feels okay here, but I didn’t drive it back to back with the longer one so it’s difficult to say which is better. We’re still trying to get rid of some understeer, but on this circuit the car feels better so far.

KR: As always, there are some improvements we can make to the car so hopefully we can get it as we want it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

Raikkonen switches back to short-wheelbase car this weekend

Kimi Raikkonen will switch back to Lotus’s short-wheelbase configuration for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The team felt its long-wheelbase upgrade had been a key part of its return to form in recent races. But team boss Eric Boullier said Raikkonen felt more comfortable with the previous specification.

“He is trying because the last two races he was not 100 per cent happy with his balance and he is just trying something different,” said Boullier.”

“The first thing is to know where you are so you obviously go back to back what you were doing.”

Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane said that Raikkonen would stick with the short-wheelbase car for qualifying and the race as the change had paid off in practice.

“He wanted to try the short wheelbase car again as he felt its characteristics would suit this circuit,” said Permane.

“So far it all looks good and this configuration will be kept on his car for the remainder of the weekend.

“His long-run pace looks very encouraging on both [compounds of] tyres.”

Raikkonen was sixth quickest in Friday practice.

The Finn is the centre of attention in Abu Dhabi this weekend, having admitted that he had considered skipping the race due to his ongoing pay dispute with Lotus and could yet walk away from the final races of the 2013 Formula 1 season if the issue continued.

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