Kimi – I feel great
“I feel great, I’m really happy to be with Ferrari for one more year, it’s a great team to be with, there’s a great team effort and a great atmosphere and I’m sure we can do great things for the future. Compared to last year Ferrari made a better car, we are improving all the time and the results are showing that. The feeling in the team and the way people are working together are the best I’ve ever found. In the second part of the current season we’ll have to do better, trying to minimize mistakes and problems, aiming for the front all the time. Next year I’m sure we can have a good car, because we have all the people and the tools to do better. On Sunday it will be the 900th Grand Prix for Ferrari, I have had great moments with the team, it’s great to be part of a team with so much history, and we’ve achieved a lot together. Spa is a very nice place to come, it’s a great circuit for the drivers and the spectators. Things here are never easy, everything can suddenly change and the race can be quite exciting for everybody. We’ll try to have a good weekend and see where we end up.” [via ferrarif1.com]
Kimi, we have to start with you. Obviously Spa has been very good to you over the years – four wins – but your drive for 2016 confirmed yesterday. What do you hope to achieve given the way the team is developing at the moment and your own performance level at this stage of your career?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: Well, obviously it the same as every year – we want to do as well as we can and hopefully challenge for championships for next year and I’m sure we can produce even a quite bit better car than this year next year. Obviously the team is all working well together and we all feel very good and obviously I’m happy to stay there but we have to try to do a good second part of the year and maximise what we have and then prepare for next year.
You will have seen that after he won Sebastian gave you a lot of support with his words in Hungary before the break. What did that support mean to you?
KR: I know him well and we have a very good relationship and it’s nice… I don’t know exactly what you mean, I mean I haven’t read so much things lately, but he tells me and I tell him if he does well and I do well, we have a very good feeling of respect in the team. It’s always nice to hear from him also. We try to beat each other in the races but we still can be friends as before, so I think that is also very good for us as a team that we can work very closely.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, fighting for your fifth victory here, does it help you that all the pressure of the new contract is now put behind and you don’t have to prove yourself that much any more?
KR: It doesn’t change anything. I mean we still try to do the same as every other race. So, that contract thing, it’s not going to change our approach for the weekend or the end result. Hopefully the end result will be good but no, we will do the same things as in all the other races. So, hopefully we can have a good weekend, no problems and see where we end up.
Q: (Flavio Vanetti – Corriere della Serra) Kimi, you are approaching your sixth season with the red car. You have won a title, some races, you’ve got some podiums. What are you still missing in your experience with Ferrari?
KR: Obviously we want more wins, me and the team, but I’ve had good years, difficult years, some up and downs but I always enjoy it, always enjoy it more when things are going more nicely when you get results but as a team, I’ve had a great time there and I’m very pleased that we can be working together next year again. As a team, as they are now, I really feel that we are going in the right direction and we can do great things in the future. No, if I miss something… like I said, people more happy, we are more happy when we can do better results. Obviously you write less negative things after that. We keep working and believe in what we’re doing so I’m sure we will get there and we will have many happy days in front of us and a lot of good results.
Q: (Angelique Belokopytov – Autodigest) Lots of drivers just love Spa for its legendary corners, for opportunities to overtake and so on so my question is for all drivers: what do you dislike in Spa, what would you optimise or improve? So let’s start with Kimi as he has the record for the most wins of any driver here?
KR: What would I change? I think I would go back to how the last chicane was, coming into the chicane and I guess it was called the Bus Stop at that time, it was nicer than how it is now. It was just better, kind of more like it should be. Now one part is a bit different to the others, the new one doesn’t feel like it fits exactly there. I think it was a nicer corner, there was a bit more speed, over the kerbs more. I guess that not much else has changed really, a little bit the first corner.
“I think he’s a very good driver. Other than that, I think it’s good for the team,” said Vettel on Thursday at Spa.
“I got the same question in Hungary but now it’s a bit different, but it doesn’t change anything to the answer.
“I have a good relationship with him and it’s good to keep stability. The best thing is that we work together, working for the team, doing our best, and for sure everybody wants to race them himself, but I don’t think either him nor myself have egos that stand in the way of the team.”
He added: “It’s not my decision, but for sure I was asked for my opinion and I said I’d love to keep working with Kimi.
“The half season that I’ve had so far, I think the results are not fair because Kimi had a rougher season than I had. That’s how it goes sometimes.
“But in terms of performance I think it has been very, very close. And most importantly I get along with him. Nothing has changed since we became teammates, so I think that’s positive for the team.”
GALLERY / VIEW IN FULL
“So far, the season has not been ideal and we haven’t got the results we expected, but the most important thing now for me is to try and have good races. Compared to last year, it hasn’t been a disaster, we are in the fourth place in the Championship and second as a team and we have all the tools to do better.
After a bad race in Austria we hope to have a good weekend here: I like this place, there’s a lot of tradition in motor racing. Maybe I enjoyed more the original layout, it was more flowing, similar to Monza or Spa, but it is always a nice place to come to. Now it’s too early to say what will happen, so far we have been more or less the same in every track, so I don’t expect here to be anything less than that. Here it’s often quite windy and this can make it tricky for everybody. We have the speed and all the tools to avoid mistakes. If we got rid of all the small issues, we could have good results.” [via ferrarif1.com]
Q: Kimi, the GPDA fans’ survey revealed that you are the most popular Formula One driver it would seem, amongst those polled. What’s your reaction to that?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I think it’s a good thing. I would rather take the fans than not having them. Obviously, some people… maybe I was lucky that they were ones that answered the survey, but I’m happy to have fans and obviously that’s a good thing.
Q: What do you think it is about your character that appeals to them?
KR: You’d have to go and ask them who voted, so…
Q: There’s a few too many to do that I think. The team is telling us that retaining your seat for next season is in your hands, do you feel you are on the right track to meet their targets.
KR: I don’t know. Obviously they’ll make the decision. We try to do good races. Obviously the last race was a bit difficult but that’s part of the game, sometimes you have that. Who knows: I don’t know anything more than you guys, so I will know hopefully at some point what will happen. There are always speculations to start off the year and it’s always the same stories. It doesn’t really surprise me a lot so let’s see what happens.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, accident here last year, accident in last race in Austria, how difficult is it for you to come to this weekend?
KR: It’s a new race, different weekend. It doesn’t matter if you have an accident. It was obviously bad for our race but that’s part of the game. It doesn’t change this weekend at all. I’ve had accidents before and probably will in the future, you pay the price when things do wrong.
Q: (Mike Doodson – Grand Prix Plus) A question for Jenson and Kimi. Last weekend we had Formula E racing in London, there were a few good, old F1 names among the drivers. Did either of you see the race and would you seriously consider switching to electric racing after Formula One?
JB: To answer the second question: no. And did I watch the race? No. I have watched a race this year and the reason is, it’s not because of the cars themselves, it’s because of the drivers. There’s a lot of drivers that I’ve raced against over the years, I think there’s 13 ex-F1 drivers, and that’s what makes the category exciting: they’ve got some real talent there; they’ve done a good job of getting talented drivers in the cars. I think there’s a great place for electric racing – if that’s what you want to call it – but I think it’s great and there’s a good fight amongst the talented drivers that are there. But it’s not something that interests me. Motorsport is motorsport for me. Something that I love is the smell, the sound and the speed – and that’s what Formula One is all about.
KR: Yeah, actually I saw it. I saw the race and I’m not so interested in the future in some point to race them. It’s… I mean they’ve done well to go in the places that they race – I think it’s nice for people but, I mean, for me, unfortunately… we always talk here: it doesn’t go fast; it doesn’t look spectacular. They are… in my view they are pretty slow. The concept is probably nice in the future. Right now, yes, they get the good racing out of it but it doesn’t really… it’s something that doesn’t really excite me really – but obviously I’m happy for them to make such a good race series out of it.
Q: (Daan de Geus – NU.NL) Kimi, you let it be known earlier in the season that you were quite happy about the 2015 Ferrari and the way it handles and it fits your driving style. Ferrari have obviously been updating the car and made some changes to it. Do you still like the way it handles and the way it suits your way of driving?
KR: I don’t see why I wouldn’t suddenly like it; because I’ve had an accident doesn’t change anything. I’ve had accidents sometimes, like I said, it’s part of the game. We improved the car and it’s still a great car, obviously probably not fast enough to challenge Mercedes all the time but it’s a very good car and it’s a massive improvement from last year. Things go wrong sometimes but it doesn’t mean that you suddenly hate the car or you don’t like things. It’s just a part of the game. Like I said, it’s a good package and obviously we want to improve it and make it faster. Things could always be better. Even if you’re in a winning car you’re always wanting more out of it. Like I said, we’ve come such a long way from last year which people always forget. We’re still a work in progress to improve things.
Video – Press conference
— FansOfKimiRäikkönen (@FansOfKR) July 2, 2015
I asked Alonso once again on the situation in Austria. The distance from Kimi was now ten feet 😂 #mtvf1
— Oskari Saari (@OskariSaari) July 2, 2015
— AUTOSPORT (@autosport) July 2, 2015
GALLERY > VIEW IN FULL
Kimi Raikkonen cruised around Monte Carlo’s street circuit in the Ferrari California-T, for an interview by Davide Valsecchi :
FIA MONACO GP DRIVERS PRESS CONFERENCE
Coming to you Kimi, you’re another former winner of the Monaco Grand Prix. Is Monaco a race where Ferrari can hope to challenge Mercedes, given the nature of the circuit but particularly the tyres that are on offer this weekend?
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN: It’s hard to say, obviously. We have go into the weekend and see how it goes tomorrow and go from there. But I expect us to be as good as we’ve been this year at least and then obviously whatever happens over the weekends we will see. But I think it’s a pretty normal race weekend for us, even though it’s always a special place.
Tell us your assessment of Ferrari’s latest updates, why you made the decisions you did in Spain? Obviously you’ve spoken a bit about that already but having reflected on that since Spain, what do you expect here and going forward?
KR: Obviously we think that they are good parts; otherwise they would not be on the car at all. No, there were certain things we wanted to learn and I was prepared to take the chance and work for the long future for all of us. I think we learned things and I’m sure that we will get them working 100 per cent in the future. Maybe here I think they should be fine. You know, every circuit, every condition is different. It was a bit of a tricky weekend for us but I’m sure we’ll be better here and in upcoming races. Like I said, it wasn’t ideal for us but the aim is to improve. We have come still a long way from last year and we want to improve and improve and we have to keep working.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Vladimir Rogovets – Sb Belarus) I have two questions for all drivers. Last time we talk a lot about the future changes in Formula One. For example, the ban of radio communication between the drivers and the teams. First question: your opinion about this ban. Second question: do you like to be not modern in the race without radio communication?
Kimi why don’t you answer the first one first about the radio ban. Has it made any difference to you at all?
KR: No. For me not – but overall I think it’s not such a big deal to anybody but obviously taking the radio out completely would change a lot and probably in the beginning we wouldn’t finish races but, y’know, I don’t think that’s the way of making F1 more interesting.
And what about the idea that, if the technology’s there, why shouldn’t you be able to use it?
KR: Yeah, I mean obviously something has to change for the future to make it more interesting, to make it more challenging for us also. It would be nice to see the cars going faster and all those things.
Q: (Dan Knutson – AutoAction / Speed Sport magazines) All six of you, just yes or no, would you like to see refuelling return?
ME: I like it as it is now.
RG: Don’t care.
VB: I’ve never tried refuelling so maybe it would be nice to try.
All three gentleman in the front row did race with refuelling. Jenson?
JB: It’s not a question that has a yes or no answer is it? You obviously the safety aspect – the reason we went away from refuelling – and also the money, the cost. In terms of racing, I think it was great, back in the day when we had refuelling. If you had an issue on lap one, you could change your race around, you could do something different – whereas now it’s very difficult…
LH: He did say just a yes or no…
JB: Yeah, I know – but it’s rubbish as a yes or no question!
LH: I’m going to say yes.
Q: (Livio Oricchio – GloboSport.com) We can expand this question. In general the packaging the Strategy Group is planning for Formula One 2016, 2017. In general, do you agree with wider cars, wider tyres, more horsepower and – mainly – one team supplying the car for another team?
Kimi, did you like what you heard from last week – the suggestions?
KR: I don’t really know. More or less. I think it would be nice. Would be good for everybody, and it would look much nicer. It would I think be more like it used to be and I think it’s the right way to go. Hopefully it happens – but we have to wait and see.
Q: (Ian Parkes – Autosport) Kimi, I’m sure you’re probably aware that your fellow Finn behind you has been linked with your seat for next year, should you or Ferrari opt not to exercise the extension in your contract. Would Valtteri be a good fit for Ferrari, knowing him as you do and knowing Ferrari as you do and if so, why?
KR: Who knows? Even though we are both Finns, we don’t know each other so well. You will have to ask Ferrari what they’re going to do but very certain what will happen and obviously it seems to be every year or every team I am in, it seems I’m being kicked out or a new contract or whatever. I’m not worried about it at all so time will tell, for sure.
Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Kimi, qualifying being so crucial here, how much more pressure does that put on you when you’re qualifying has not been that great this year?
KR: Not any more. Obviously it’s not been ideal. If you think it’s not going to be ideal, it’s probably going to be better than expected. It’s always the important race, but every race is simple in qualifying. This might be a bit more but these days it’s not the easiest thing to overtake. The cars… we do our best, try and get things right all weekend long and be up there.