Tag Archives: Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen: “For sure one day we’ll get there…”

Kimi Raikkonen says that the Spanish GP represented a step forward for him after a difficult start to this second Ferrari career.

However the Finn insisted that circumstances had conspired to make earlier weekends look worse than they should have.

“We’ve been pretty good in other races also,” he said. “But obviously had some problems in the race or in practice, and always messed up the complete big picture a bit. But obviously it was a bit better last time around. To be honest, if we finished where we finished, I think sixth and seventh, it’s not at all where we want to be as a team, so we still have an awful lot of work to do.

“We improve things little-by-little but the other teams are also going forward so it’s not a simple thing to fix and be in front suddenly. We know how it works and we know how much things have to improve but we keep working hard and for sure one day we will get there.”

Meanwhile the former Monaco winner has an open mind about prospects for this weekend.

“Obviously it’s been pretty OK many times for me, the race, but then it’s not always from your side that the things go wrong here. There’s so many things that can affect your result in the end. Previous years haven’t been the best again, but hopefully this year can be a bit better, and hopefully we get some good points. But obviously it’s too early to say how the car will be. Everything is different from last year, so we have to just go open-minded and try to do the best that we can.

“Obviously [we have] a bit less grip this year and maybe some cars are a bit more hard to handle, but we have to see how it goes on the first practice and see what it is. But I think we’ve improved a lot since the winter, and it should be OK.”

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Raikkonen eyes podium finish in Melbourne

Kimi Raikkonen was keen not to make any predictions about Ferrari’s 2014 form today, but the Finn did let slip that he sees a podium finish as a realistic target in Melbourne.

“First of all I think we need to make sure we finish the races,” he said. “And if we do that we’re already in a good position. We want to improve in all the areas, and we have to first see where we are.

“I don’t have any interest in guessing where we’re going to be or what’s going to happen. All we can do is see on Friday a little bit, and go from there. I hope that if we get everything running smoothly and do the best job we can then we should be up there.

“We didn’t have the best test in the last days, but I think we did most of the things that we were planning to do, and we have to see how we start, try to do our best, definitely try and be up there and try to finish the race, and hopefully be on the podium at least.”

Kimi was unperturbed by the prospect of rain this weekend.

“I mean rain or dry doesn’t make an awful lot of difference right now, there are much more unknown things that has to be answered. We will see how the weather is, it’s the same for everybody, so we’ll do the best whatever the situation is.”

Meanwhile regarding Fernando Alonso he said: “We have a normal team mate relationship, we both try to do our best, and help the team as well as we can.”

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Pat Fry: “It’s hard to say where we are…”

Ferrari director of engineering Pat Fry says that the Italian outfit still doesn’t know what the state of play is among the top teams as everyone comes to grips with the new technology.

Today Kimi Raikkonen lost track time with a telemetry issue, which led to a major re-set of the system.

“Today was a bit frustrating, because we were stopped for quite a time with a small but tricky problem,” said Fry. “We knew that sooner or later we would have to deal with some problems and that was what happened. These things happen with a new car; some things that seem difficult turn out to be easy and others that appear simple get more complicated and we are still learning.

“We will try to do our utmost to acquire the mass of data we want. Ideally, we don’t want to change our operational plan for next week’s test.”

Regarding the form book he said: “It’s hard to say where we are. We knew we’d be facing a very complicated winter with a lot of unknown factors. That was the case, but in Maranello we have done a lot of work and I can see that it’s difficult for everyone to move forward on the development front with so many new systems and so little time to test them.”

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Stefano Domenicali: “The interest of the team always comes before all else…”

Stefano Domenicali says that Ferrari’s interest have priority as the Italian outfit tries to balance the ambitions of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

“It was a rational choice, based on the need to have an expert driver pairing,” said Domenicali. “With the one aim of it doing well for Ferrari. I hope the track will show that it was the right choice. How will we manage them? Decisions are always carefully considered, but they always have the same aim, which is that the sporting decisions are taken to reach the team’s goals, as the interest of the team always comes before all else. Decisions we have taken in the past have always been reached in this spirit.”

Domenicali says that Raikkonen has changed, and suggests that the Finn knows he has to raise his game in order to take on Alonso.

“I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team. He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers. He knows his worth and he knows what team he has returned to and what challenges he will face, having a world champion like Alonso alongside him for whom he has respect and he will have to adapt to working with him.

“Fernando is extremely intelligent and has managed to stay ahead in whatever car he has driven. He has an ability to interpret the race and to read it in an amazing way and I think he will make the most of the new regulations, which will require some stages of the race to be managed in a different way. We feel close to him partly because it was such a long time ago that we decided to invest in him.”

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Teams not paying drivers is “incomprehensible,” says Wolff

Mercedes motor sport boss Toto Wolff says that it’s “incomprehensible” that drivers have gone unpaid by F1 teams.

The Kimi Raikkonen situation has created headlines, although others have been in a similar situation.

“Of course it’s not a good sign, drivers not being paid, or employees and suppliers not being paid,” said Wolff. “It’s not what we want to see. It’s a matter of how you manage your business, and for me it just seems strange. I’ve never had any similar situation in all my life, I’ve never seen any similar situation, and I just wonder why the hell people are not paying their staff. Is it true or is it not true, I don’t know. If it is true for me it’s just incomprehensible.”

On the specifics of a top team like Lotus struggling, he said: “Of course it’s not nice to hear that a frontrunning team isn’t able to pay the bills. But for me it’s a matter of how you manage your company. Without wanting to be too hard, because I have no knowledge about how the team is being run, you operate on the budgets you have available, and this is how any other normal company functions.

“I think speaking too much about is F1 in bad shape or not, yes the whole world is in bad shape, the whole environment is in bad shape, and we have to all look about how we finance our operations. The same applies to us, you can’t overspend. It’s damaging for F1 to hear those stories, and it’s not good.”

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Kimi Raikkonen: “You have to put the line somewhere…”

Kimi Raikkonen said today he only came to the Abu Dhabi GP because he believes that he’s come to an “understanding” with the Lotus team on his unpaid salary – but the Finn also made it clear that he could yet not complete the season.

Not for the first time Raikkonen failed to show up at the track on Thursday, leaving his arrival until the last minute amid speculation that he would boycott the race. Raikkonen endured a similar saga last year, but was eventually paid.

“I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on certain issues we’ve been having,” the Finn explained. “Hopefully it’s been fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can.”

Asked whether he would consider not racing if the issues weren’t resolved he said: “Yeah, for sure. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving. But a big part of it is business, and when that’s not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation. I mean you have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that, it’s not really my fault any more.

“Everybody has their own view, their own ideas of everything. Sometimes it’s not very nice when you hear that you are, not really a team player, but you don’t have the interests of the team [at heart], and you’ve been paid zero euros the whole year. It doesn’t put you in the most best place. But that’s how it goes. Hopefully as I said we’ve found an understanding on both sides on how we should deal with the situation right now and fix the issues, and try to finish as well as we can.

“Like I said we all want to enjoy it and do well, and unfortunately a big part of it is business, and sometimes when it’s not fixed it can be painful, but that’s how it is.”

Raikkonen also played down the controversial four letter ‘get out of the way’ instruction he received at the Indian GP.

“It’s a small part of it. Those things shouldn’t happen, but unfortunately it happened. That’s not really the issue. It’s the other stuff, and obviously all the things come together in the end.”

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Gerard Lopez on Raikkonen: “Kimi is often misunderstood…”

The relationship between Kimi Raikkonen and the Lotus team has been in the spotlight of late, not least because of the controversial radio message in India, when the Finn was told to get out of Romain Grosjean’s way. Meanwhile the ongoing saga of the team’s failure to pay its star driver has put a firm focus on the financial situation. Today Lotus responded by issuing an interesting Q&A with co-owner Gerard Lopez – featured here are the questions that relate to Raikkonen.

Q: How is the relationship with Kimi?

Good. I speak with Kimi more than a lot of people probably realise and we rarely speak about Formula 1. Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship. It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.”

Q: What is Kimi like to work with?

From my perspective, Kimi is often misunderstood. He’s actually a very talkative, very friendly guy. One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on. For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion. It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being. The whole Iceman thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver. In reality he’s a kind guy, he’s a very talkative guy and over the two years I’ve gained a friend in Formula 1, which is a difficult place to do so.”

Q: Did Kimi’s announcement that he was going to Ferrari change the relationship?

For a long time we had the opportunity to keep him in our hands, but we weren’t able to operate to the timeframe – or make the offer – that Ferrari were able to do. For me this brought sadness, as it’s like prodigal son leaving us. When we signed him there was a lot of criticism and a lot of disbelief. There were some people who were saying that he still had it in him and that he was one of the best Formula 1 drivers out there, but at the same time there were many people who were saying that he couldn’t do it, that he was overweight, this, that and the other. But we believed in him and he delivered big time. The only reason we’re fighting for second in the World Championship is because of all the points that Kimi has scored. We’re doing everything we can to ensure Kimi and the team can continue to fight right up to the chequered flag in Brazil.”

Q: What has Kimi brought to the team over the past two years?

He’s been a number of things to the team; some of which have been quite obvious to people, and others which are less obvious. The first thing that Kimi did was to remove any excuses from the team. We knew we had one of the best ever drivers in Formula 1 and as a result of that there was no escape from whether the cars were good enough. With Kimi we knew we had a benchmark. This gave people the belief that whatever we put on the car or put into development, was going to get maximised on the race track. That is very motivating for anyone working in the team and in the factory; the fact that you know you’re putting all this effort into making something which you can transform into performance on the track. The second thing he did was match really well with who we are as a culture. We are at the pinnacle of motorsport and we are a very serious, hardworking team, but nobody in the team considers Formula 1 to be an elite club in which you cannot have fun, and we have a pretty relaxed attitude on a number of things; for sure not on performance, and for sure not on development. It’s not as clinical as other teams, and he fits right into that. For us essentially he was the perfect puzzle piece and for him I think it was a perfect fit. I still think it’s one of the best partnerships in Formula 1. The third thing he did is helped Romain to develop as a driver in a way he perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise. Had Romain been next to a more junior driver, or a less capable driver, we probably would still not know how good Romain is. For Romain to be delivering the results he is doing so now, it’s really very much because he is driving next to probably one of the best Formula 1 drivers ever. Kimi has been a tremendous help in the development of Romain.”

Q: Will the team and you miss Kimi?

The fact is he will be missed and I really think that this is one of those partnerships in Formula 1 that is – and will be remembered as being – very, very special. It’s difficult to think about the fact he’s not going to be in our black and gold car next year. I think he feels the same way. There’s no such thing as regrets, but there is such a thing as sadness even if disguised sometimes… he will be missed, and from what I’ve discussed with him he will miss this team. It doesn’t take anything away from the relationship and it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that I certainly gained a friend and that will continue to exist.”

Q: What do you think the future will hold for Kimi?

I think Kimi will do a good job at Ferrari. We’ve seen what he is capable of so we know what a formidable force he can be.”

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Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “Of course we’ll keep pushing”

His championship aspirations may be over, but after two charges to the podium in the past two races Kimi Raikkonen is at least hoping to end the season on a high. Here’s what he said in a Q&A provided by Lotus today.

Q: What do you think of the Buddh International Circuit?

It’s quite an interesting track; one of the better ones from the modern circuits. It’s quite similar to Korea; long straights, not terribly challenging corners and hard braking. It’s not as technical as Korea which was another new track for me last year, but it’s good. It’s always nice to go to a new place like India. It’s certainly a good track to go fast with a strong car in front of all the others!”

Q: How was your first – and only – race at the track so far?

It was okay but it could have been better. We struggled for grip over the weekend last year and we made life difficult with the change of set-up before qualifying. After that there was nothing really to do on Sunday. In the race itself we had enough speed to challenge for the top positions, but we got stuck behind slower cars and overtaking was impossible. I can remember spending a lot of the race trying to get past Felipe [Massa] so that wasn’t ideal.”

Q: Did you get to see much of India?

No, it was my first visit and I spent my time in the paddock and the hotel. We only come to race and India is a very big country! The thing I like is eating Indian food, which I really enjoy.”

Q: Japan was quite a straightforward race for you?

It was a pretty normal race I would say and it’s good that we got some points. I had a very poor start where I left the line with a lot of wheelspin and lost a few places. This wasn’t ideal and it meant I got stuck in traffic, but I managed to gain some places back later on.”

Q: You spoke over the weekend of the car feeling more to your liking, which much be a positive looking to the remaining races of the season?

The car felt pretty strong all weekend and we’ve made good progress with it recently. It’s still not exactly as I want it and we’re trying to get rid of some understeer which is something I don’t like. In Japan it was hard to show our real pace at the beginning of the race as I was stuck behind slower cars for quite a long time. After the final pit stop when I got a bit of free air the car was working much better. It ran well in the last half of the race and I was very happy with it.”

Q: We saw some more great overtaking moves from you…

Unfortunately when you don’t have an ideal qualifying it makes life a bit harder on Sunday. It’s not easy to overtake at Suzuka and we weren’t so fast in a straight line which made it more tricky, but I got past a few people which was important after the slow start. With Nico [Hulkenberg] I managed to get a good run on him leading up to the chicane which is what made the difference. We did what we could.”

Q: What’s the target for India?

Hopefully we finally get it right in qualifying as the last five qualifying sessions have not been that great for me. If we don’t, it’s going to be a difficult Sunday afternoon, although of course we’ll keep pushing. If we do get it right, then we can really go for it.”

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Kimi Raikkonen: “I just pushed a bit too much and spun…”

Kimi Raikkonen had an encouraging Friday in Suzuka – despite ending FP2 beached in a gravel trap after a high speed spin at Dunlop Curve.

Raikkonen, who crashed on Friday in Korea, had already set the time that secured him fourth place in the session, some 0.350s off pacesetter Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s been better, or more my liking here, at least today, than it’s been the last few races,” he said. “Especially in one lap, so that’s a good thing. Obviously tomorrow is a new day and it might be a completely different story. But not too bad.

“The harder tyres seem to be quite tricky anyhow, and it didn’t feel so nice, but the lap time wasn’t so bad on the first lap. I think we’ll be OK.”

Regarding his off he said: “I just spun, it happens sometimes. Obviously it was quite windy today, so it didn’t help. It’s been a bit tricky the whole day. I just pushed a bit too much and spun. There’s no damage or anything, so we just didn’t do as many laps as we wanted, so it’s not a big deal. We didn’t do the long runs, but I don’t think it’s going to change a lot.

“Usually we like to get the car as good as we can anyhow for one lap, and when we get there we run it like it is for the race anyhow. I think if we get the car running well tomorrow we should be OK.”

Asked by this writer if he felt he had a good package for the race he said: “We’ll see on Sunday. I’ve no real interest in starting to guess what will happen. We’ll have to try to do the best what we can and see where we end up.

“It’s a tricky circuit, and if the car’s not right, plus the overtaking for sure is more tricky here than some other places… It depends a lot on the weather and wind and all kinds of things.”

 

 

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Alonso/Raikkonen combo could work well, says Prost

Alain Prost sees no reason why the Fernando Alonso/Kimi Raikkonen combination won’t work for Ferrari next year.

Prost was involved in two of the most contentious team line-ups in history, with Ayrton Senna at McLaren and Nigel Mansell at Ferrari, but he says that having two star drivers can help a team.

“Only next year will tell us, because that can work very well, there’s no question,” he said in Singapore. “It has worked well in the past. Everybody thinks about Ayrton and myself, but it has also worked well, it has worked well also for the team, because we really put the team on the top. Obviously if you have a problem the management has to make it work. So it’s going to be more difficult, but it can work. I don’t know if it’s the right choice – we are going to see next year.”

He conceded that the fact that the drivers have such contrasting approaches could help: “It should be easier for sure, because Kimi has a different character.”

Meanwhile Prost agreed that modern drivers have different personalties compared to his day.

“They have changed, but it’s normal. Society has changed, and the way they start… Look at Sebastian, he’s going to be maybe four times World Champion this year, 26 years old. I won my first race at 26, so you cannot compare, it’s a different generation.

“They never lived with accidents, the risk, so it’s also a different mentality. The way they work now with the cars and teams, it is obviously very different, it’s much more electronic, it’s much more organised, that’s why you can’t compare. But the ability, the skill, the talent, is still there. And we have a good generation of drivers.”

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