Thursday in Austin with Kimi


Kimi Raikkonen met the media at the Circuit of Americas this morning as usual on Thursdays and said he was looking forward to the next few days.

“Hopefully we can have a nice clean weekend, starting with getting everything sorted in practice and then be as strong as possible,” said the Ferrari man. Looking much further ahead, the Finn was asked what he expected from next year’s car. “I have a hundred percent trust in the people who run the team and build the cars,” he began. “I am sure we can have a good package: will it be good enough? Only time will tell. We have a lot of work to do and we have learned a lot from this year. We don’t expect to suddenly jump to the front and be winning the races, but we can make a big leap and be up there fighting. Until we put it on track and do those first laps at the first test we won’t know. We know where the issues are and our people are smart enough to fix them. According to the rules, there are limits to what we can do but we will improve.”

There is no hiding the fact this has been a tough year for Raikkonen, but it has not dented his confidence. “For sure I made a hundred percent the right decision to return to Ferrari,” he maintained. “The results have not been the ones I wanted or the team wanted, but that’s how it goes. We have made progress from where we started, but it’s not easy to get things exactly as you want. But I am happy to be here. I’d rather be with Ferrari than with any other team. So I’m sure I made the right decision coming here.” Asked to elaborate on the problems he has encountered in 2014, Kimi did not want to go into too many details: “I’ve been suffering with lots of small things, but the front end has not been as good as I wanted and that’s not easy to fix. It’s better, but it’s taken a bit too long.”

The final question concerned the Finn’s views on the double points on offer at the final round and, as usual, Kimi’s view was very straightforward. “That’s how the rules are now and if we like it or not, it makes no difference as we drivers do not decide the rules,” concluded the Finn. “Obviously, whoever has the most points at the end of the year, whether he has won ten races or one race wil won and I’m sure whoever it is will deserve it.”

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Raikkonen has no regrets

Kimi Raikkonen says he has no regrets about his return to Ferrari despite his frustrating 2014 campaign so far.

Raikkonen’s switch to Maranello from Lotus this year was highly anticipated, but the rivalry between the Finn and team-mate Fernando Alonso has been lopsided. Raikkonen has beaten Alonso on track just once in races they have both finished but the Finn says he is happy with his choice.

“I’m sure I made 100% the right decision,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously the results haven’t been what I want or what the team wants but that’s how it goes. We have improved from where we started and there’s been some better moments [recently] but it’s not easy to fix some issues and get things exactly as you want.

“Then you end up having a small thing here, a small thing there, and paying a big price for it. I’m happy to be here. If I’m finishing out of first place I would rather be in a Ferrari than any other team so I’m pretty sure I made the right decision.”

Recent press reports in Austria quoted Gerhard Berger as saying Ferrari should keep Alonso – who is set to leave the team – and fire Raikkonen again, a reference to the 2009 split which led to his sabbatical from the sport.

When asked about the reports, Raikkonen said: “We will see if he’s right or wrong!”

Part of Raikkonen’s problem has been his struggle to match his driving style with the Ferrari F14 T, as he prefers a responsive front end in his car. Though he thinks this should have taken longer to resolve than it has Raikkonen does not want to dwell on the negatives of 2014.

“I think I’ve been suffering from many small things but the front end hasn’t been as good as I want thing. It’s not easy to fix those things. Things are getting a bit better but it’s too late, it shouldn’t take this long but this time it has. It’s just the small things, putting them together. I have no interest in telling what is good, what is not, it’s just been certain things.”

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Kimi: I must be crazy then!

Felipe Massa reckons Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles compared to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso this season are more psychological than anything to do with the set-up of the Finn’s Formula 1 car.

Williams racer Massa, whom Raikkonen replaced at Ferrari this season, reckons the 2007 world champion’s ongoing difficulties have more to do with the mental challenge of being Alonso’s team-mate.

“It is not easy to be his [Alonso’s] team-mate, and for sure the problem Kimi is having [this year] is in his head,” Massa said.

“It’s very difficult [to be his team-mate], because first of all he [Alonso] is an amazing driver; his talent is really complete.

“He’s one of the quickest drivers, but also one of the most consistent drivers, one of the more aggressive – he has everything. He is a top driver.”

Kimi responded to Finnish broadcaster MTV3: “Ah! I guess I’m losing my mind and going crazy!”

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Ferrari drivers go eco

Hardly surprising that Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, were given an enthusiastic welcome by the young students that Shell invited along to a service station on Ben White Boulevard, a few miles from the Circuit of Americas, which hosts this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

The meeting took place as part of the Shell Eco Marathon project, whose main objective is to seek out alternative and renewable energy sources that can be used to reduce fuel consumption. In addition, the project is a useful training tool for the students who have to build a concept car that makes the most of aerodynamics and materials, so as to reduce the impact on the environment.

Both Ferrari drivers took a turn at the wheel of two concept cars on a track laid out around the service station. Before getting in the cars, Fernando and Kimi spoke with the youngsters to learn more about these special cars and took tips relating to the best driving style to adopt to get the highest level of efficiency out of them, in terms of fuel consumption.

After driving the cars, the two drivers met some Shell guests and the technical staff that follow the cars on the Eco Marathon. It was a day the talented American youngsters will no doubt remember for a long time.

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