Tag Archives: Raikkonen

Raikkonen move “a bit too much,” says Bottas

Valtteri Bottas insists that he didn’t expect that Kimi Raikkonen would try a last lap passing move in Sochi, given how far behind the Ferrari driver was.

After the pair made contact Bottas slid into the barrier and lost his third place, and a penalty for Raikkonen that dropped him from fifth to eighth provided little compensation to the frustrated Williams man.

“I’d just got past Perez and I was approaching Turn 4 and suddenly when I turned into the apex someone hit me from the back,” said Bottas. “That’s it really. It’s disappointing, it ruined my day. I can say that I can happily look in the mirror and say it was not my fault.

“I was not expecting a move like this from him, but now it’s done, zero points, and it’s very disappointing. I was approaching the corner in a normal way, and I saw in Turn 3 he was quite far away, so no way he could pass me there if I do my standard line. I think this was a bit too much. It’s a fine line, but it was a bit too much.

“I don’t know what the thinking was behind it really, doing it there and the last lap, and that far away. It was not too bad a race until then, running third on the last lap. It’s just a shame it ended that way.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

Kimi Raikkonen: “I’m sure we can do much better…”

Kimi Raikkonen remains confident that his 2014 season will take a turn for the better once things finally start falling into place for him.

The Finn has not been comfortable with the F14 T thus far, and has struggled to match Fernando Alonso.

“I’m sure we can improve,” he said. “It’s been a very difficult start so far, but I mean we know most of the reasons, and now it’s just a question to get things the right way and fix them. It’s as simple as that. It sounds very easy, but sometimes it’s difficult to make it. I’m sure we can do much better than we’ve done.”

Raikkonen said a combination of factors led to his frustrating race in China, where he finished eighth, five places behind his team mate.

“I think there was a lot of small things that obviously influenced a lot what happened in the end. I think we could have understood the things much better if we had done the first practice, but then obviously it was wet and it just got difficult because of that. It’s an excuse but that’s how it went, it didn’t work out very well. We got a few points, but not a very good result still.

“I think we know what happened. We would not like to have those weekends, but unfortunately it hasn’t been very straightforward this year. Hopefully we can turn it around and be where we should be. I have no doubt that will will get there, and hopefully soon.”

Asked about the prospects of catching Mercedes he said: “I don’t know. Obviously we try to do the best that we can to improve the car. Every race we improve things, even if it’s a small thing it can make a big difference on handling and stuff like that. The fact is that when you are behind it’s hard to catch up because the others will not stop working, they keep pushing, and they will improve. Certain things that we know we have to improve, it’s not easy to change. We will keep working and try to improve and hopefully at certain points, certain races, we will be able to challenge them.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

Boullier has “had enough” of rookie drivers

Lotus boss Eric Boullier says that 2014 is not the time to be bringing on a rookie – and has made it clear that the team does not intend to hire an inexperienced driver any time soon.

He admitted that there’s little chance of reserve driver Davide Valsecchi being promoted.

“Davide is on the list but to bring to the grid next year a driver with no experience is a huge step for them,” said Boullier. “I’ve done it twice with them, first with Petrov and then with a semi-rookie Grosjean, and I think I’ve had enough to be honest with you. Davide is on the list because we consider him as a good driver, as a GP2 champion, but it’s true that if you favour a scenario for next year it will be a driver with experience.

“If we cannot find any driver with experience, fitting the strategy of the team, obviously we will go for a rookie driver and then Davide is obviously on the top of the list. It looks harsh, I’m sorry but it’s true.”

Meanwhile regarding Romain Grosjean’s prospects of staying on he said: “Romain has a contract signed anyway for next year. It’s just, say, a matter of confirmation. We are being prudent after last obviously. But I think it’s on its way to be confirmed soon.

“We are definitely pleased with his performance, since Germany actually. Clearly, something switched on and he is working better. I mean the same tyre story as well, the latest spec of tyres suit a little bit more his driving style than Kimi’s one. But yes, we are pleased that he is stepping up. We don’t have a policy of driver number one and number two but we needed him obviously to step up.”

1 Comment

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

Martin Whitmarsh Q&A: Button/Alonso a “manageable” line-up

An otherwise low-key Friday in Singapore was enlivened by excitement over the apparent possibility of Fernando Alonso returning to McLaren, the team he left at the end of the turbulent 2007 season.

Martin Whitmarsh insists that there has been no contact with the Spaniard and his camp, but the team boss is happy to confirm that he would love to have him back, and that the door is open. Mischievously he suggests that the Alonso/Raikkonen partnership at Ferrari will not last long, and there is more than a hint that, even if Fernando is not available for 2014, he just might be in 2015, when Honda joins the party.

Quite what the end game is remains to be seen, but apart from creating waves at Ferrari what this little saga does is tell the world that McLaren is as yet unconvinced by Sergio Perez, hired amid much fanfare last year. It also potentially creates a vacancy for another driver who might not be as committed elsewhere as Alonso. I asked Whitmarsh for his thoughts…

Q: Can you clarify the team’s position on Fernando Alonso?

“I was asked yesterday if we would like to sign him, and the answer is I’d love to have that challenge, and I’d love to have that opportunity. We’ll see what happens. At the moment I’m sure he’s under contract with Ferrari, and we’ll see what happens in the longer term, whether he wants to come back or doesn’t. At the moment I’m sure he’s focussed on doing the best job he can for his team. I think it’s one of those stories that has built today. Perhaps there is not much else happening here! I think any team principal if you asked them, ‘Would you like Fernando Alonso in your team?,’ the answer has got to be ‘Yes,’ if they’re sane. I don’t think he’s available right now, but if he ever becomes available, then we’ll see.”

Q: In the last few races you’ve always said we’ve got two great drivers and we’re going to keep them. All of a sudden there seems to be some doubt about Sergio…

“Our two drivers have done a great job in a very difficult year, and I expect we’ll have the same driver line-up next year, that’s my expectation. But we haven’t announced it yet, it’s not all done, and we’ll see what happens.”

Q: Why have you not announced it?

“I think we’ll see, there are other things going on at the moment… We’ll see what happens.”

Q: You said today that he hasn’t beaten Jenson as often as you wanted. That’s the first time we’ve heard any criticism from you.

“It’s an observation. He’s a young driver who wants to make his mark in F1. Jenson is a great benchmark. It’s not easy to beat him, but that’s what you’ve got to set out to try and do. I think he’s disappointed, I’ve had that conversation with him. But we’ll see. Maybe this weekend he can show that he can really do a good job.”

Q: You say there are a lot of other things going on – a cynical view would be that Mexican sponsorship might be related to the delay over his deal.

“No, it’s not a commercial issue at all. I think we want to make sure we’ve got the best driver line-up and everything’s straightforward. There’s no great urgency either. The most likely outcome is no change. But we’ll see.”

Q: You’ve said that you want to respect Ferrari’s position, but in this business it’s every man for himself, and you’ve taken drivers from other teams before.

“I’ve taken drivers in the past if there was a chink, but as far as I know, there’s not one yet!”

Q: Is 2015 slightly more realistic?

“I’ll turn that around. Kimi and Alonso is a dream team at its birth. But does it stay that way for long? I don’t know. You make that judgement yourself, but I think that’s quite an interesting one.”

Q: You could equally say Jenson and Fernando, two World Champions… What makes you think that is more manageable?

“I think it is. I think Jenson is an extraordinary team player.”

Q: It’s as simple as that?

“I think so. Both those drivers, I know them, I’ve seen them in a team, and I also know Jenson, so I do believe that’s a manageable one. But again I don’t have to speculate upon it at the moment. We expect to have the same driver line-up in all probability that we’ve got this year. I’m happy with that, but I’m not rushing into it right now.”

Q: You’ve made it clear that with Honda you’ve got more financial clout in the market. How much of a push from them is there to get two superstars?

“I think they want the two best drivers they can possibly get in the world. We do have more horsepower with them in that sense…”


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News, Uncategorized

Raikkonen the best on the market, says Alonso

Fernando Alonso insisted today that he was totally happy with the Ferrari’s decision to re-hire Kimi Raikkonen, and had agreed that the Finn was the best driver available heading into 2014.

“I was always informed about the team movements,” said Alonso. “And it’s true that I think until the last moment the team didn’t make a decision. And then when they decided that it was better to change Felipe, they asked me what was my opinion, my opinion was he was the best out there in the market, and especially for a championship with many changes for next year, in terms of developing the car in January/February, a team mate that is many years in F1 was important. The team chose Kimi, so I’m happy.”

Alonso denied that having Raikkonen on board would make any difference to his current motivation.

“I think the motivation will be always similar, I think I will do my best all the time. Sometimes you deliver the results that people expect, sometimes not, but I don’t think anyone will push me more than what I push now.”

He didn’t see any drawbacks in having two World Champions in the same team: “I don’t think that makes any difference, it’s something that you keep writing these days and many people try to say, which is exactly the same as when I arrived here with Felipe – it will be a disaster, Felipe is in Ferrari many years already, it will be a very difficult relationship. And after four years he’s one of the best friends that I have here.

“Felipe, I consider him like a World Champion as well, it’s not that one title will change anything in the relationship or in the team in terms of pushing. Felipe was World Champion when he crossed the line in 2008, so it’s not that he’s a rookie driver.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News, Uncategorized

Massa confirms he’s leaving Ferrari

Felipe Massa has used Twitter to tell the world that he is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season – paving the way for a Kimi Raikkonen announcement.

The Brazilian was expected to have a meeting with Luca di Montezemolo at Maranello tomorrow, but he appears to have pre-empted that or been given permission by the team to do so.

He wrote: “From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari. I would like to thank the team for all the victories and incredible moments experienced together. Thank you also to my wife and all of my family, to my fans and all my Sponsors.

“From each one of you I have always received a great support! Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races. For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective!”

As noted earlier today, Massa could in effect do a swap with Raikkonen and end up at Lotus, perhaps helped by the presence of sponsor Richard Mille, a company close to his manager Nicolas Todt.


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News, Uncategorized

Analysis: Is Alonso still in the frame at RBR?

The consensus in the paddock at Spa was that Daniel Ricciardo had already got the nod for the second Red Bull seat, and Mark Webber added fuel to the fire by telling Australian TV that it was a done deal.

However Christian Horner continues to insist that the team has yet to decide who will get the drive.

Ricciardo is signed to Red Bull Racing anyway, and in effect the team could call on his services at any time up to the start of next season. Even if the Aussie doesn’t get the RBR job he will be in a Toro Rosso with an identical powertrain/gearbox package to the RB10, and thus potentially in a competitive seat.

There appears to be no logical reason why Red Bull would not have announced Ricciardo if he had already been guaranteed the drive. Indeed from a PR standpoint an early announcement would be a show of faith in the junior programme at a time when other options were available.

The bottom line is that Horner wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t continue to explore other interesting options, given that Ricciardo isn’t going anywhere. Two World Champions are currently without a 2014 contract – Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button – while sources continue to suggest that Fernando Alonso is still not 100% committed to Ferrari.

When this writer asked Bernie Ecclestone if he thought that Felipe Massa would be staying at Maranello, he replied: “They should be more worried about hanging on to Alonso…”

The value of having two experienced, proven winners on board for what will be a complicated season for all the teams is obvious, and at the same time if RBR takes a second top driver it will in turn damage a rival.

“There’s plenty of speculation about, but nothing has been signed yet,” said Horner at Spa. “So the situation is still as I said before the race, we’ve got time to contemplate who we’re going to put in the other seat, and there will be no announcement certainly before Monza.

“Mark obviously isn’t privy to all of the discussions with drivers. When there’s something to announce, we’ll certainly announce it. It will probably go on beyond Monza.”

Elaborating on Ricciardo’s situation, he said: “Both Toro Rosso drivers are on Red Bull Racing contracts. They’re on loan to Toro Rosso, so at any point they are available for us to call upon. So we don’t have to worry about those two, because they’re products of the Red Bull junior team, and the reason we’re taking the time is to look at what other options are about.

“Obviously they are very big shoes to fill next year. We want to field the strongest possible team that we can, so therefore it’s absolutely prudent to look at all the options that are available. It’s actually surprised us the options that are available that perhaps we didn’t think were.”

It’s widely assumed that it would be impossible for Sebastian Vettel to operate alongside a proven superstar, but Horner says that’s not an issue.

“To be honest with you Sebastian has no input or veto or requirement for any blessing over that second seat. He wants obviously to have a competitive team mate, because he wants to be pushed, as Mark has pushed him. He hasn’t voiced any opinions, strongly or otherwise, in any way. He sees it very much as a team position, and that’s very much the way it is.”

While many observers struggle to understand why Alonso might want to leave Ferrari, it may well be that he simply has fears about the competitiveness of the 2014 powertrain package.

It remains unclear in what circumstances Alonso might be able to walk away from what appears to be a solid Ferrari contract, unless it contains a generous performance clause that works in his favour – for example something that relates to driver and team having failed to win a World Championship over their four years together.

Of course as ever there are some potentially some games in the background, and it’s easy to suggest that Alonso is simply finding ways to motivate his current team, while Horner is destabilising the likes of Ferrari and Lotus by keeping the driver debate open.

However, it’s worth remembering that it’s dangerous to second guess what Alonso might do. Not many people expected him to leave his home at Renault for McLaren, or indeed walk away from an ultra competitive McLaren at the end of 2007 – even allowing for the rather awkward way that season unfolded, and the breakdown of his relationship with the team management.

As someone close to Fernando said at Spa, “At McLaren he finished a point behind the champion, and he still quit…”


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays…”

Kimi Raikkonen calls Spa his favourite circuit, and the Finn has a great record in the Belgian GP. In order to get his title challenge back on track he really needs to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel when action resumes. Can he do it? Here’s a Q&A provide by Lotus today.

You were second in Budapest before the summer break; how good would it be to go one step better at Spa?

“Usually I’ve achieved a good result at the Belgian Grand Prix, but what has happened there before doesn’t help me right now. Of course, it doesn’t cause any harm either and it would be great to win at Spa for a fifth time. Extra points are always good and if you win the race no-one scores more points than you.”

How has your history been at the circuit?

“For me there have only been good memories from Spa and it’s great to go racing there. You can’t get the same kind of a feeling anywhere else. It’s great to race with a modern racing car at a proper circuit which has such a great tradition.”

What are the challenges of the track and should it suit the strengths of the E21?

“Spa offers very challenging high-speed corners and you need to get the right set-up for the car. As we’ve seen so many times this year, a good grid position is extremely important. It will be very decisive at Spa too, even though it is may be easier to overtake there than at some other tracks. It’s crucial to have a good car aerodynamically to tackle the fast corners and it’s a long lap, so to get the right time you really need to maintain the best rhythm. So much depends on the qualifying result, so we need to find a decent set-up on Friday and Saturday and have a solid qualifying session on Saturday afternoon. I don’t know how it will suit our car this year. Last year we were not very strong there. I think we know the reasons and for sure our car is better this year, but is it good enough to be fighting for a win? We will see on Sunday.”

Why has Spa been so good to you in the past?

“Sometimes there are certain circuits where everything seems to run smoothly, and then there are other circuits where I have no luck at all. Of course, we will do our very best to win this race. I have been on the top step of the podium a few times at Spa and I want to be there again.”

Does this make Spa one of your favourite tracks?

“I bet every driver likes Spa. For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favourite place. I have liked the place since my first ever visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.”

How are you feeling about your championship position?

“I am now back in second which was a good way to enter the summer break. I finished ahead of Seb in Hungary so obviously scored more points than him there. To beat him, we need to be winning races and if we keep finishing second like we’ve done many times this year it’s probably not going to be enough for the championship, but you never know what might happen.”

Where can improvements be found?

“Well, obviously I keep making my life difficult on Saturdays in qualifying so then we pay a price, but we still have a good car in the race. Now we have tyres that are a little bit different we have to understand exactly how to use them. We made progress in Budapest so it should be easier in Spa, but that will be the same for everyone. To win, it’s always better to be starting near the front.”

Leave a comment

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News, Uncategorized

Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “Monaco is just a distant memory”

He may have been feeling a little punchy after the Monaco GP, but Kimi Raikkonen has now put his disappointment behind him, so in theory there won’t be any confrontation with Sergio Perez in the Montreal paddock. Instead Kimi is now looking forward to Canada, a race he has won in the past. He’s also experienced disappointment, none greater than when he was hit by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 while waiting at the end of the pitlane. Here’s a Q&A supplied by the Lotus team.

Q: What are your feelings after Monaco?

“We had a bad result on Sunday in Monaco; that was clear for anyone to see. It could have been even worse, but it could have been much better as well. We came out with one point so at least we got something back after losing the solid fifth place, but that’s not much consolation. The car felt good for qualifying and the race which is a positive as it was another circuit – and a difficult circuit – where we’ve been able to have the car pretty much as we wanted. We still lack just a little bit of speed in qualifying sometimes, but our race pace was good again; not that you can show that when you’re stuck behind slower cars like we saw in Monaco. We don’t know how the car will be in Montréal –we will have the answer to that question soon – but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive again.”

Q: It was quite some fight back you made at the end of the race…

“Well, that was a bit different as I had fresh tyres and we should never have been in that position in the first place, but it was good to at least get a point at the end. In a way, it almost makes it more frustrating as when we had the clean air after the pit stop it was probably the first time you saw how quick our car really was.”

Q: You were pretty frustrated after the race?

“No-one wants to lose so many points thanks to the actions of another driver, but that race is over; Monaco is just a distant memory and I’m all ready for Canada.”

Q: What’s your opinion of Canada?

“I have won there which was pretty good, but I have experienced some setbacks there as well. Many times the race has been quite a lottery as there seem to be different things which affect it. The weather can change a lot, sometimes the tyres or the track aren’t working very well, sometimes there are a lot of safety cars, or sometimes another driver runs into the back of you when you’re waiting at a red light. As for the place itself, I’ve always liked Montréal. It is one of the nicest cities we visit all year.”

Q: What do you need for a good result in Canada?

“A good car. Like at every circuit you need to get the set-up exactly right. You need a well-balanced chassis in the medium downforce configuration and you don’t want to be too hard on brakes as there’s a lot of aggressive braking there. It’s something I quite enjoy, the stop and go style of the circuit.

Q: Is Montréal another circuit where qualifying is crucial?

“Qualifying is important at every circuit, but not as essential as it was in Monaco to get a good result. It’s not easy to get past, but there are one or two places to overtake.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the Championship after losing ground to Sebastian Vettel?

“For sure we lost ground on the lead in Monaco, but it’s not over yet. It’s still early in the season and twenty-one points behind is not too much to catch up; especially if Sebastian has a bad weekend too at some point. The most important thing is that we return to our race level before Monaco to get things going our way as soon as possible.”


Filed under Uncategorized

Santa Kimi arrives at Enstone!

Boullier and Lopez with their early Xmas present!

Kimi Raikkonen made his first visit to the LRGP factory today and stayed on for the (somewhat premature) Christmas party, which provided him with an easy way of getting to know fellow team members.

“It is my first time in Enstone,” said Kimi on the team website. “So it is very nice to see the factory – it feels good. It is a very warm feeling and I’m very relaxed. I haven’t really read the newspapers about all the excitement but it is quite normal, isn’t it? It doesn’t put any more pressure on me. I always try to do my best, so I don’t put myself under pressure. It will be exciting, yes, but no pressure really and we will see how it goes.”

“I think we decided that we had to look forward in terms of performance and the key way to see how good a car is, is to have a good driver,” said Genii boss Gerard Lopez. “Kimi has proven in the past that he is among the fastest and in terms of age he’s still in his prime. In terms of motivation from what I have seen and spoken to him, he is probably as motivated as ever.

“And the more people question the better it is, because it is going to increase his motivation even more to prove that they are wrong. I’m excited that he is here because I think it’s one of the very important steps in getting the team to where we want it to be – which is one of the top teams in Formula 1…”


Filed under Uncategorized