Räikkönen has full bust-up in training
F1-immigrant Kimi Räikkönen can once again train with full steam. On Sunday it was precisely 10 weeks before the opening GP in Australia 2012.
On Saturday again it was 4 weeks when the new Lotus-driver hurt his left wrist after falling with the snowmobile in a show in Austria. They protected the hand with a spatula until the new year. “Because of the hurting wrist we had to change plans a little, but in practice we have been able to keep a short training program of one and a half day all the time”, Räikkönen’s physio Mark Arnall explains. “All work on neck and legs have been fully taken care of – just as the endurance-side also. We have progressed in a very positive manner and Kimi is in a good stitch”, Arnall assures.
It doesn’t take long to get used to driving
Räikkönen was in Lotus-Renault factory in Enstone on Thursday for a seat-fitting. “First it was a bit weird to sit in a F1-car with the helmet on after a long time. However I got used to it quickly and it has felt the same before too when being in a seat-fitting for a new car”, Räikkönen confessed. The new car will be on the testing track on 7th of February in Jerez, but before that Räikkönen will get used to F1-driving by driving a Renault from year 2010 for two days during January 23-24th on Ricardo Tormo -track in Valencia. Räikkönen has often before started his winter testing after a few months winter vacation. Now he has had a break of two years and three months. “I think I will get used to driving itself after 10-15 laps but there’s more to learn about everything else”, Räikkönen thinks. Räikkönen gets to try this year’s new Pirelli-tyres only after the winter testing has begun – meaning he will be on the same line as all the other racing drivers.
Neck strong only by driving
Arnall has taken care of Räikkönen’s training programs and wellbeing for ten years already, which is a record-long period of time in today’s F1-racing. “We already know from before that we can do everything else except strengthen the neck muscles. They will strengthen to the level required only by driving a F1-car”, Arnall emphasizes. Räikkönen has had for a several years in his home in Switzerland a driving vehicle built by Technogym, a vehicle that is as close to F1-driving as possible. “There the driver gets in the right driving position and the muscles are strained the same way as if he would drive on the track. Only neck muscles can’t be strengthened as much as with a real F1-car because of the lacking G-forces”, Arnall said.
Räikkönen has eight days before Australia’s opening GP. After Valencia’s private testing he will drive the first two days with the new car in Jerez and then four days later in Barcelona, where they divide driving tasks with French team mate Romain Grosjean. If there are no technical problems then he can drive 3500-4000 kilometers in eight days. “Eight days isn’t much but that’s what everybody else also gets. It sort of helps Kimi in a way that the track in Albert Park isn’t one of the toughest one. This way he will get three more driving days to strengthen his neck for places that are physically more demanding”, Arnall thinks.