Kimi Raikkonen impresses Lotus in his first test since returning to Formula 1
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.”