Interview in Zürich with MTV3
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.