After two years of absence the Finn returns with a Lotus F1, the last to win the World Championship with Ferrari. But without nostalgia. “The Reds? Not feel anything… Do not end well.” I’m back because I was tired of racing against the clock: I wanted to race in front of real opponents. To think that someone has dubbed to see the Iceman thrown on a sofa while drinking latte in front of a tennis match makes you laugh. Certainly the Husky stare and the almost albino colors look promote misunderstanding, however, only takes a few seconds of conversation with Kimi Raikkonen to understand that the image of the boy coldly and without emotion is the result only of superficial considerations. Of emotions, passions and things to say, Kimi has in abundance. It’s only the way to express it what’s different, but in the end there is more truth in his answers than there are in the “strategic lies,” Alonso has said in a hundred press conferences. The truth about Ferrari, for example, with which he opens in his first interview since returning to the wheel of a Lotus Formula 1 car: “It will not make an impression to see the Ferraris, I feel nothing. It was a beautiful page of my career, but it’s over. And not so good. ”
And so no thrill when you see – or in front of your mirror – the profile of the machines of Alonso and Massa?
“No, nothing. Besides, I already saw the success of McLaren” from outside “.”
But in recent days how you felt when – after two years of absence “due to the rally” – you climbed aboard a F1?
“It was like coming home.”
What you missed in F1?
“The competition against a true, visible and present opponent. In Rally you race against the clock, you do not see any other throughout the race. Only the road. And the difference is huge.”
When did you decide to return?
“Last year. In the pauses of the rally season. I was able to do some ‘of experience in NASCAR. And there you have forty rivals per race … it was the first time that I found someone on the track since I left F1. As soon as the race started I felt within me the old appeal of the competition. I called my manager to ask around to see if there was something. We talked a lot with Williams but not if it has done nothing. When we got in touch with Lotus we had no doubt and we reached an agreement very quickly.
How did the first few laps of “rehabilitation” in the Lotus went? two years ago, when they did Schumacher in 2009 to prepare for the injured Massa was a tragedy …
“Well, it hurts my neck. But not any more than it hurt me when, a few years ago, started to drive after the winter break. I thought it will be worst.”
And from a technical standpoint?
“Even there I thought it will be worse. Of course I drove on exhibition tires and its performance is not those of next season tyres, but from that point of view, the new Pirelli will be a first for everyone.”
What goals have you given yourself for this season?
“Pushing as much as possible.”
You will have as team mate Romain Grosjean, previously you have “crossed” Heidfeld, Coulthard, Montoya and Massa. If you were to put them in order of skill?
“I have no reason to do so. They’re all good boys and good pilots. And so is Grosjean.”
Massa, who was your last team-mate at Ferrari, it’s having a tough time, and seems to suffer from Alonso’s arrival and it’s at his final year on the Reds (except for a miracle). They would have done better to keep you and let go of the Brazilian instead?
“Massa is a very fast driver. Bad periods happen to everyone.”
The next year, the grid will be full of world champions, besides you there will be Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Vettel. In your opinion who is the strongest?
“My opinion that is completely irrelevant. It will be good for F1. But in the end we will not change anything, we all start from scratch. Perhaps those who have a global bulletin board should handle a little ‘more pressure, a little’ more expectation from the fans, but for those used to drive an F1 car is nothing. In the end, I think that whoever has the fastest car, wins. ”
What do you think of “Vettel phenomenon”?
“It is very fast. But there are also three seasons that he has the best car.”
Have you ever thought to stop driving?
“Well, in those days, after the end of Ferrari I did. To completely change my life, perhaps to do motocross, or something else. But it did not last long. The time to hop on a car again.”
2. What do you expect from the next tests?
Difficult to say. We’ll see then what the new car is like. I don’t think that it’s terribly different. I don’t know about the tyres. They say that they have changed a bit.
3. What kind of season would you yourself be satisfied with?
I haven’t really thought anything concrete. I see in the tests what the car is like and how good it is. That decides. How it feels, that’s a thing you notice right from the first test. At least I have noticed it immediately earlier.
4. You are used to really big teams during your F1-career. Does it show in the operation of Lotus that it’s slightly smaller than McLaren and Ferrari?
No, it’s just the same. We have all the same equipment here and hence we also have a chance to make a good car. The same gang who earlier won championships is still here. And physically the team is located in the same place. Maybe it’s smaller in the sense that Lotus doesn’t have a car factory behind them like Mercedes or Ferrari had.
5. During the last months a few motorbikers have passed away due to an accident. Does a professional driver think more about the sport’s dangers and risks when hearing these kinds of news?
Those are never nice news no matter if you know them or not or if they even are from your own genre’s circle. Those just happen. Sadly it’s part of many other sports too. Of course anything can happen and happens. Sad things but part of life.
6. You have already won your WDC in Ferrari. From where do you get motivation to continue?
I have never had any problems with motivation, although everybody always colors things. I have always liked to race. Back in the time there were quite many factors why I started to rally. Now I got a reasonably good chance to drive in F1. I get to race against others again. I guess that’s the biggest reason.
7. You have always been an excellent track-racer, but your attitude towards the media has been a bit questionable. On the scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate these kinds of media-days?
I don’t hate them but they always ask the same questions. They won’t change to anything else. If I could decide I wouldn’t come here. It’s definitely not the first thing that comes to my mind when waking up or something that I would be excited over. But I think it’s the same for everyone else too. They probably would rather drive than do other things. If someone claims that they like these things, then I guess he is lying. Of course driving is always the number one thing. I don’t have anything against these. Maybe they have made the matter a bit too big.
8. Has Jenni already healed from her riding accident?
She is better now. She is still in pain but that’s normal. It wasn’t any serious matter.
9. You have probably without any cause been in the publicity because of alcohol. What is your relation to alcohol now?
It’s just the same as it was before. If I want to go out and have fun, I go. I don’t have any problem with it. Nobody forbids me and I don’t have to ask anyone for permission.
10. Do you think that you have changed during the years?
I’m sure every person changes, but I don’t think anything bigger has happened in me.
11. In public there is also the understanding that this Lotus-deal would only be a step to Red Bull in either 2013 or 2014. Is it correct?
I don’t have any plans. Lets see how this goes. In F1 everything can change reasonably fast. I hope that we can have fun with the team. At least I have had fun so far.
12. Do you have a two-year deal?
Yeah, in principle.
Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he doesn’t expect to be challenging the front-runners during the 2012 season.
Raikkonen makes his comeback this year having been absent for two seasons since leaving Ferrari. The 2007 world champion has had his motivation questioned, with some observers doubting how long he will remain with Lotus if not given a competitive car. However, Raikkonen said that his expectations for this season were not high, and that it was a situation he was familiar with. “I expect to have to fight in the middle group,” Raikkonen told the BBC. “But it will not be a drama. It’s no different to my last year at Ferrari.”
Raikkonen did admit that he aspires to win another title, but said it wasn’t the main reason for his return. “Of course the championship is the goal,” he is quoted by Turun Sanomat. “It’s fine to try it, but I am not obsessed about having another championship or not.” With pre-season testing yet to get underway, Raikkonen has only driven the 2010 Renault in a private test so far. He said that one he gets to drive the new car his initial impressions will give an indication of how competitive he can be this year.
“Generally, if the car feels good right from the start, you are usually competitive (for the season). The races I don’t think are so different (from 2009). Vettel was strong even then even though there is much more passing now, but that depends on the moving wing. I haven’t tried it (DRS) yet, or the KERS because it was the 2010 car (at Valencia). But it’s just one or two more buttons to push.”
According to Kimi Räikkönen it’s much more nicer in Lotus than it was in Ferrari and McLaren.
Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t miss his boss Ron Dennis from his McLaren-times or Ferrari’s boss Luca di Montezemolo. He is already sure that the working peace between the driver and the team will maintain better in Lotus. “This is a relaxed team. Much more homey and warmer than Ferrari or McLaren. So far I have had really fun with the crew from Lotus and I don’t think that the situation will change,” Räikkönen said yesterday.
Lotus is getting a new F1-simulator
“It’s going to be better than any other team has. I myself am not going to drive a lot in the simulator. Even if I would drive in the simulator all days I don’t believe it would give any advantage in the final games.” Räikkönen is still trying to get permission from Lotus to drive some rallies this year also. “One can get injured in normal life also but it’s understandable that the team is trying to protect their drivers from dangerous hobbies. Maybe we can still reach unanimousity about the rally-matter at some stage.” It is still possible that Räikkönen would drive in Finland’s WRC-rally in August.
No Red Bull -plans
According to Räikkönen Lotus isn’t a stepping stone to Red Bull. “I have no plans in Red Bull’s direction,” Kimi assured. Räikkönen doesn’t see Red Bull or Ferrari as any special challenge. “If one wants to do well then one has to win everyone. Ferrari hasn’t been in the top for a few years. For me it’s just a team among other teams.“
Kimi about his new team: There is a more homey atmosphere here
Kimi Räikkönen gave MTV3 an exclusive interview in Switzerland. Kimi Räikkönen is after the first tests assured of his new employer Lotus-team’s atmosphere and action. “There is a clearly different working atmosphere here than there has been in my earlier teams. Here there are no uptight people, the atmosphere here is much more homey,” Kimi Räikkönen said to MTV3. The man has raced in three teams earlier: Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari. “There are as many people here as there are in other teams also. Everybody is working for the same matter, everybody is trying to do their best. The next tests tell what the car is like,” Räikkönen said.
Kimi Raikkonen primed for Formula One comeback with Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen says he had no trouble re-adapting to a Formula 1 car in his first test this week after two years away from the sport. The Finn, world champion for Ferrari in 2007, completed two days of running with his new team Lotus in Valencia. “I was expecting it to feel faster than it was,” said the 32-year-old, who has spent the last two years in rallying. “OK, Valencia is not the fastest circuit, but it was still pretty normal.” Raikkonen, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with the BBC’s new F1 commentator Ben Edwards, said the car did not feel especially fast. “I was expecting it to feel fast when you really go with the throttle but I had the sensation maybe once,” he said. Nor, he said, did he suffer any neck pains, despite the high G-forces of an F1 car – which can reach 5G during braking and around the fastest corners. “I don’t feel in the neck any stiffness,” Raikkonen said. “I probably expected to have more problems in the neck but I didn’t really have any.” Raikkonen was driving a two-year-old car because F1’s testing restrictions forbid teams running current cars outside official tests. That meant the team was unable to establish definitively whether he was on the pace, although trackside operations director Alan Permane told BBC Sport that “from the first run he was pretty much there.”
Raikkonen will make his debut in the team’s 2012 car at the first pre-season test in Jerez on 7 February. He refused to set any targets and ambitions for his first season with his new team, who finished fifth in the constructors’ championship in 2011. “We try to do as well as we can of course in every race, but it’s very difficult to say,” he said. “We have to see how the car is in the testing and go from there. Hopefully we can have a good car to challenge in front and that would be nice, but if not we try to improve it and go to the front. The team has everything we need to produce a good car. We are not missing something that’s the reason we don’t have a good car.The people are very keen to have a good year. The atmosphere is great, it is a bit more family like than in other big teams, very nice people to work with and I’ve been enjoying it so far.” Raikkonen said the main reason for his return to F1 was that he was missing wheel-to-wheel competition. “Racing is the biggest thing, that’s why I’ve probably come back,” he said. “That’s really the main thing.”
Räikkönen bangs: Of course my goal is to win the WDC
Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t make his F1-comeback with the tail between his legs. The man who is known as a silent hero told on Thursday in Zürich that he returns to F1 only to win his career’s second WDC. “Of course the championship is my goal. You always go after it but another WDC is not any obsession for me,” Räikkönen said. They have predicted Räikkönen a difficult season in Lotus-team after his rallying adventures, but the Iceman refuses to take the role of someone who is cooling off. Räikkönen has often stated that as a racing driver he was only interested in the victories. That thought is still strong although Lotus isn’t one of the top teams based upon preliminary estimations. “I don’t drive just because it’s cool to drive. It’s abnormal if you aren’t reaching for victory. One can’t be terribly happy over 2nd or 3rd positions. But it isn’t possible to always win, one has to learn to relate to other things than just winning,” Räikkönen said.
Tests in Jerez tell a lot
Despite his tough goal Räikkönen is not starting the season bragging. He was away for 2 years and one can’t say much anything about the competitiveness of Lotus before they have tested the new car. “It’s possible that we are behind the lead. But the car wasn’t terribly good on my last season in Ferrari either. In Lotus they know approximately what went wrong last season. Let´s hope they have learned from their mistakes so we get a good package.” Räikkönen thinks he is wiser about his chances to succeed after the tests in Jerez. “Usually the first tests with the new car tell what the pace is compared to others. If the car feels good right from the beginning then it’s often also the most competitive car.”
Lotus won’t let Kimi on rally paths
In rally Kimi Räikkönen went to ditches but also flashed his speed. He didn’t achieve the sharpest top which wasn’t any big surprise. Mikko Hirvonen for example stated when Räikkönen’s rally-career began that Kimi can’t get in the top-speed just by snapping fingers, because he lacked the required experience of the roads and driving to notes. People took Räikkönen’s adventure in WRC a little bit too seriously. Of course Räikkönen drove at times with a goal, however rally became a hobby for him. Still a part of those following Räikkönen also expected podium positions from him in rally too. “I never wanted to try rally as anything else than just a hobby. I didn’t have many expectations. At times I drove in the forest and the ditch but I’m still satisfied with my achievements in rally. I paid myself for my hobby. Hence I could decide myself if I would go to some rally or not. I didn’t want to take it too seriously,” Räikkönen said. Despite his F1-comeback Räikkönen is still a passionate rally man. “If I could continue driving rally at the same time as racing in F1, then I would do so. However now I have to wait for a while until driving rally again.” Lotus has bad experiences of their driver’s rallying hobby, hence Räikkönen has to control his passion. Robert Kubica’s accident is fresh in the memory. “The team is now quite on guard with these things. But the same seems to happen in other teams also,” Räikkönen thought.
Räikkönen revealed his favorite for President
F1-star Kimi Räikkönen can’t say if Finland would get a better president of Sauli Niinistö or Pekka Haavisto. “I guess I would wish that Niinistö becomes president. But this matter isn’t really on the top of my mind,” Räikkönen said in Zürich about the second round of the president election.
“In F1 everything can change damn quickly”
They have speculated with Kimi Räikkönen’s comeback to F1 ever since he left the series in 2009. Yet part of the audience was astonished when the comeback with Lotus was finally confirmed. They pondered why a WDC makes a contract with a team that according to preliminary estimations has no chance of fighting for victories. However the decision to come back was very Räikköish. He is used to making his own decisions without caring what others think. And now Räikkönen felt like going back to F1. “Now was a good chance to drive in F1 again,” he said on Thursday. “The coolest thing about the comeback is when getting to race against the others.” Räikkönen assures that his motivation is top class. “I have never had any problems with motivation. Still many seem to color that matter.” It has been speculated that the Lotus-seat would only be a temporary seat for Räikkönen on his way up to the top teams. Räikkönen doesn’t admit or deny this. According to him the Lotus-deal is “in principle 2-years”. “I don’t have any long-term plans. Let´s see how it goes with Lotus. But in F1 everything can change damn quickly,” he said.
From: www.mtv3.fi – Translation: Nicole and miezicat
Kimi leaves the anger on the track – Jenni Dahlman has been following from close Kimi’s painful seasons in McLaren.
“Of course the DNFs bug Kimi terribly. He has never been angry at me even though his nerves have sometimes been on trial and the reporters have had to leave without any comments,” Jenni assures. “The worst of all was France GP when he was so close to winning. Kimi was swearing for a week about it and it was still burdening him in the next race in Germany. I have tried to support Kimi telling him not to care about the DNFs and it helps because they aren’t his own fault. It goes without saying that it always bugs Kimi when something breaks down but the nickname Iceman is right. Others would have lost their nerves completely,” Jenni said.
From: Turun Sanomat 12.10.2002
During his first season in McLaren in 2002 Kimi had to retire in 11 races. Half of the retirements were due to a DNF. Last season Kimi only had to retire in 3 races. When he now has already two retirements it’s easy to guess that he has no business to last season’s level. Jenni shares Kimi’s disappointments and she has also found new features in Kimi. “Kimi doesn’t anymore express his disappointment and anger when he has a DNF by throwing things around. Two years ago he got really fed up when the race didn’t go as it should have. After last season’s good results he knows what he is capable of and that’s why he can take bad luck better,” Jenni described.
From: Turun Sanomat 22.3.2004
“It would be fun to sometimes listen what Kimi’s first words inside of his helmet are when something happens. I bet a few swear words are flying,” Jenni says. “When something has gone wrong Kimi always goes straight to his own place in McLaren’s garage. If he is really fed up he might kick a door on his way. He never throws a tantrum at me, only to bad luck,” Jenni told Turun Sanomat. “When we leave for home he might say in the car, helicopter or airplane with one sentence that ‘it didn’t go well once again’. And that’s that.” Jenni admits that Kimi is especially irritated when he has to explain over and over again the same thing to different people.
From: Turun Sanomat 15.8.2004
Kimi Raikkonen is set for more intense running on the second day of his comeback Formula 1 test with Lotus on Tuesday.
The Finn completed just over 300km in a 2010-specification Renault R30 at Valencia on Monday using three sets of Pirelli’s very durable demonstration tyres. He has four sets of Pirellis available for Tuesday’s running and is scheduled to complete more laps than on the first day as the team is hoping to give him more long runs as part of a wider-ranging programme. “We’ll do some more high and low-fuel runs,” Lotus track operations director Alan Permane told AUTOSPORT on Monday. “And there will be a few more set-up changes as we did some basic ones today. “There will also be some procedural stuff like starts that will be subtly different to what he experienced at Ferrari, just to get him up to speed before he drives the new car.” Lotus has structured its running around Raikkonen’s needs, with re-acclimatising to F1 his priority ahead of the first pre-season test at Jerez, which starts on February 7.
As Raikkonen left F1 before refuelling was banned in 2010, giving him experience of varying fuel loads is also key. “It isn’t a traditional test, it’s more about doing what he wants and getting him up to speed,” said Permane. “We wrote a run-plan and pretty much stuck to it [on Monday]. But I said to Kimi in the morning that the test is really for you and that if you want to do something different, that’s fine, let us know. “But he just got on with it. We did a few little set-up changes and ran the car on a very high fuel load because that’s something he didn’t do as he left F1 before the refuelling ban came in. “So it gave him a feel of the car on 150kg [fuel levels] when there’s a difference of four or five seconds a lap. The plan is for more of the same on Tuesday.” Raikkonen is looking forward to the extra mileage on what is his first experience of an F1 car since November 2009. “Obviously you get more into the zone with the more laps you complete as you discover more about the car and the tyres,” he said.
Official Video from Lotus about Day 1 of the Test:
Kimi Raikkonen thinks it will still take him some time to fully return to his best in Formula 1, despite quickly settling back into the cockpit of a grand prix car at Valencia on Monday.
The former world champion has begun a two-day test in a 2010-spec Renault R30 in a bid to reacclimatise himself with F1 machinery prior to his first run in the team’s 2012 machine at Jerez next month. Although the age of the car, plus the fact it is running on Pirelli demonstration rubber, means that lap times are meaningless, initial feedback from the team suggested that Raikkonen was showing well already. Raikkonen said he had little problem learning to drive an F1 car again – but said that understanding how to get the best out of the team and tyres was not going to be the work of the moment.
“It was nice to get back in the car,” explained Raikkonen. “It was quite a few years since I have driven last time, [and] of course it takes a little while to get used to it. But the main driving, braking, turning, that doesn’t take many laps. But of course to start learning about the car and team and tyres, that will take time.” Raikkonen also suggested that he never took it for granted that he would make a return to F1 after he had embarked on a career in the World Rally Championship. When asked if he had expected to be back in F1, he said: “Not really. I didn’t have any plans for the future. “There were different choices to do this year and I really wanted to do racing. We did some NASCAR stuff last year and I enjoyed it a lot, racing against other people. “That is where I decided to do racing, and [if you are] doing racing, F1 is the highest level and probably where most people want to be. I found a good chance to come back and do racing with Lotus.”
See Kimi´s full Interview here:
Here I have several Videos from Kimi´s first run in a F1 car after over 800 days! The Videos are not my capture!
Kimi on the track:
Driving out of the pits for a lap:
Kimi in the garage:
Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane said Kimi Raikkonen proved on his first day back in a Formula 1 cockpit that his return to grand prix racing can be a success.
Raikkonen is spending two days testing a 2010 Renault at Valencia this week as he settles back into F1 after two seasons in the World Rally Championship. No times were released from today’s test, and Raikkonen’s pace would not be representative as he is using demonstration tyres and an older car, but Permane said his quality had shown through. “From the first run he was pretty much there,” Permane told BBC Sport. “It’s very difficult to know where he should be but he was pretty much on the pace on the first run. He didn’t find a whole lot of pace during the day. “I don’t see any reason why he won’t be on the pace – you can tell he’s a very, very experienced driver.
“It was very clear we were working with a former world champion. It was a good day.” Permane added that he could not understand why Raikkonen had a reputation for being uncommunicative, as he had got on well with the Lotus team so far. “He must have two faces – one for [the media],” Permane said. “He’s perfectly normal. “He was very happy to sit and talk about the car for as long as it takes. He’s very open.”