Kimi Raikkonen has vowed that Lotus will not get despondent if they don’t make a positive start to the season.
The Enstone squad made a big impact at the beginning of the 2011 campaign when they claimed two podium finishes, but they went through a major slump mid-season and eventually finished a distant fifth in the Constructors’ Championship. A lot is expected from Lotus this season after they recruited former World Champion Raikkonen as one of their drivers, and made a positive start to the Jerez test. However, their pre-season plans took a big blow at the second test in Barcelona last week when they were forced to pull out on day one after they discovered a problem with their chassis.
Raikkonen, though, says the team won’t get discourage if they things don’t go according to plan early in the season. “The last year I was with Ferrari we weren’t always at the front,” he told F1 Racing in an interview. “But they [Lotus] started well last year. We hope the new car will be strong but the rules are slightly different and you never know. “But let’s say we’re eighth or something; we won’t say ‘Oh fuck we’ll give up’. We’ll always try to improve and hopefully we’ll be as high up as we can be.”
Kimi Raikkonen will have a familiar race engineer for his return to Formula 1 this year. Finnish reports in Turun Sanomat and the television broadcaster MTV3 claim that the 2007 world champion will work with Mark Slade.
Slade, recently at Mercedes GP working alongside Michael Schumacher, was Raikkonen’s race engineer at McLaren years ago. Slade also previously worked as a race engineer to Mika Hakkinen and Heikki Kovalainen. Raikkonen will start working together with his engineer at Barcelona at the last test before Melbourne. “I wanted him and I am pleased that it worked out,” Raikkonen confirmed. In other news, Eric Boullier has denied rumours Raikkonen is a shareholder in the Lotus team. It was reported that the 2007 world champion’s retainer this year was subsidized by owner Genii granting the returning F1 driver a small slice of the Enstone based team. “He has no shareholding. It is complete nonsense,” Boullier is quoted by MTV3. “Raikkonen has a two-year contract as driver,” he added. “Genii Capital holds 100 per cent of the team.” Boullier also dismissed suggestions Raikkonen, whose teammate is the reigning GP2 champion Romain Grosjean, is Lotus’ obvious number one driver. “There is no such thing in the contract,” he said.
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 Raikkonen has returned to the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time since the end of 2009, driving a two-year-old Renault R30 at Valencia as he reacclimatises himself to the sport with Lotus.
Raikkonen arrived at the track at 0830 CET and took to the wheel of a two-year-old Renault R30 car – painted in Lotus’s contemporary black and gold livery and using Pirelli’s demonstration-spec rubber – for an installation lap just after 0900. The Finn is taking part in a two-day session designed to help him reacclimatise himself with grand prix machinery. His first test with the team’s 2012 car will take place at Jerez early next month. Under the terms of F1’s strict testing limitations, teams are not allowed to run contemporary F1 machinery apart from at designated tests. However, machinery that is two years old is free from such restrictions – which is why Lotus is able to run him in a 2010 Renault car that is fitted with demo rubber.
Raikkonen last raced in F1 in 2009, when he was dropped by Ferrari and chose to switch to the World Rally Championship for the following year. He competed there for two seasons. Keen to return to racing, however, Raikkonen briefly tried the NASCAR truck series last year before eventually agreeing a deal with Lotus to return to F1 in 2012. Raikkonen said last month that he believed the biggest hurdle he faced in returning to F1 was getting used to the tyres. He told the Lotus website: “I don’t think I’ve lost any speed. Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried.”
I guess it goes to show you have changed in recent times.
KR: Have I?
Six years of Formula 1 changes everyone.
KR: Not me. I continue to like the things that I liked six years ago: I enjoy myself with friends playing ice hockey. The difference now is that I don ’t have so much free time to do it anymore.
Looking at what certain newspapers write, maybe it ‘s better this way.
KR: Some papers are full of nonsense. Thank God I don ’t read much.
Have you ever thought of changing your attitude?
KR: I can’t change my life depending on what people like and what they don’t. Even more, on certain papers. I will continue to do what I love.
You talk as if your life is difficult.
KR: Well, it’s not all fun walking out of your house and seeing loads of people looking for sensational stories. But, I cannot call myself unlucky, obviously.
Do you see racing as a way to escape from that?
KR: It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always wanted to be a driver. When you go in the car and drive, stop and talk with the engineers, the rest of the world stays outside. The only thing that counts is going fast.
But, at McLaren Ron Dennis was watching things closely and kept things tight.
KR: Yes, but it’s normal for a boss to ask how things go exactly and where people that are working for him go. I have never felt surpressed. I just pushed my day forward, fighting in the way I liked. Of course, I could not be seen as a classic McLaren driver because of that. But when you let your head down you’re in trouble with Ron.
Have you ever feared that you could lose this independence going to Ferrari?
KR: It hasn’t happened. On the contrary, at Ferrari I’ve immediately understood that I have my freedom. The team has welcomed me very well, I feel well, everyone helps me in a constructive way and the atmosphere is how I like it: very friendly. Believe me, I haven’t found any difficulties in becoming part of the team.
You haven’t impressed in the way the fans expected you to.
KR: I am the first to be dissapointed. But there are logical explanations, I haven’t simply unlearned how to drive during winter. All the problems are technically related: learning how to drive the Bridgestone tyres, the way the tyres influenced the regulations. And then some driver mistakes of course.
What is so difficult using the tyres?
KR: That you can’t find the limit, you don’t understand it, as long as you don’t push to the limit and stay on track. It’s a matter of getting used to it, but I will.
Do you need more time?
KR: At the moment I feel very well within the team. Also now the team had to reorganize with new people in new roles. But we’ve only made mistakes in a couple of races. It’s enough to have two races spot on to be back in the game.
So you think you can still win the championship?
KR: I will try it. I can’t imagine McLaren reaching the end of the year without a technical problem.
Is it a big advantage to have your teammate in front of you?
KR: I wouldn’t say so. Massa and I work well together.
If you remained with McLaren you might have led the championship now.
KR: I don’t think about that a lot. I am with Ferrari and don’t regret that. I wanted to change myself, I ’m happy to have done so. I knew very well that the two teams were at the same level. And that every once in two years McLaren is able to build a very fast car. I didn’t expect anything else than what has happened. Apart from a few results from my part.
And still, at McLaren there are people that say you would be faster than Senna, at Ferrari there are people that say you would be faster than Schumacher.
KR: I’m honored. But it’s not so unlikely to be the fastest and still lose. Success depends on a number of factors, the start of the season for instance.
The season has started better for Hamilton than for anyone else. Don’t you think it’s incredible a rookie does so well?
KR: He’s good. He started in an ideal situation, in an ideal year. Had he made his debut in 2006, he would have suffered. He has been testing a lot on the tyres we use now and hardly did any testing with the Michelins. It doesn’t happen normally with rookies but McLaren is a first class team and their car is very strong. No, it’s not incredible.
Have you ever heard someone in the team say: ‘Michael would have done it like this, Michael behaved in a different way’?
KR: No. The past is the past. I have my staff and I discuss the car and the races with the engineers that belong to me. Schumacher talks more with Felipe than with me. But it’s not a factor that has influence on my race results. From my part, I don’t even tell that I did ‘this and did that’ at McLaren.
Is it true that whenever friends come to visit you at your house in Switzerland, you can never resist to challenge them for whatever, be it swimming, karting, cycling?
KR: It’s true. The visit is a lot more fun this way.
Have you ever thought about having children?
KR: Certainly, even more than one. I love children. But it’s not the right moment for it. I want to be a serious father and as long as I fly from one capital of the world to another, that is not possible.
Will you learn Italian one day?
KR: I really hope so, but I am not rushing it. It’s a beautiful language but very difficult. I’ve always played hockey, you know. Being behind books for hours, it’s horrible.
What if you lose the championship? What about next year then?
KR: Next year will be a completely different story. New rules, no traction control. A different story.
Better or worse?
KR: More fun I suppose. And perhaps better for the drivers as there is a greater chance to make the difference. In case you have a good car obviously.
Once you’ve taken part in a race and won on snowmobiles under the name of James Hunt. Why was that?
KR: Maybe because I’m born in the wrong century. Had I been a driver many years ago, I wouldn’t be in the spotlights, my life would have been a lot easier.
How much fun does a world champion have in the midfield of F1?
You always have to fight more in every race when you don’t have such a strong car. And especially this year were we all are closer than before. That makes it exciting. But we all have more fun when we fight for the win.
Your last win is more than a year ago…
Of course it would be nicer if it wasn’t that long ago. But I’m sure we will win again this year. But it’s not easy to catch someone when you are behind.
How can you help as a driver in this situation?
I tell my engineers what I need. But they are still the same engineers who have built winning cars before so they know also without me. Everybody knows what he has to do.
No Italian chaos?
There is a lot of talk. The atmosphere is good. Sure, it would be better, if we win. That’s normal. But differently than some say are we working hard. And there is no conflict inside the team.
Also not in Barcelona, where you couldn’t get into second qualifying?
I thought I would come through. A silly mistake.
In Monaco the qualifying is very important because you can’t overtake…
Actually Monaco isn’t a good place to work. There isn’t much space. But the atmosphere is great for the fans. And also for us drivers it is a nice challenge to get the perfect lap. If you manage that, it’s a great feeling.
What is the most difficult spot?
The whole track is tricky. And this year we have to take care to not touch anywhere with the big front wings.
Do you have your yacht again in the harbor?
Probably not. And I have never slept on it but in the hotel. The yacht was for the guests. And it was mostly rented.
Would you prefer to race in the wild 70s?
Definitely! (laughs) That would have been much easier! There it was more about racing. That I would have liked. Driving is the relaxing part of the race weekend for me.
What bothers you the most in current F1?
If I could only drive, nothing! That is what I love the most. I’m here to drive races.
For how long? Fernando Alonso should replace you 2010…
Yes, I now that rumor. I have a contract for next year. So I will definitely be here. What happens then, I don’t know. I have options to continue. But nobody knows what happens with F1.
Your buddy Sebastian Vettel is also under discussion for Ferrari. Would he suit the Scuderia?
He gets along with everybody. Sure he also wouldn’t have any problems at Ferrari.
Does he have a real chance for the championship?
Sure! I mean, he has a good car. And until now the Red Bull drove without double diffuser. I’m sure he will be quicker in Monaco when he has one. So Sebastian has every chance for the title. Because I think he will fight for the win in most races.
You beat him all the time in Badminton. Doesn’t he want to play something else?
We have already some other games…(laughs)
Is it true that you move nearby him?
I move, but not to be close to him. But now we are just 10 minutes away. Before it was 25. Now I can beat him more often in Badminton.
Another hobby of yours is rally…
In the beginning of this year I drove a rally in Finland. When you do a job for years and then can do something where you learn anything every day, is that always more interesting. Rally is totally different to F1. You can’t compare it.
Does it appeal you to drive with 200 through snowy forests?
Probably rally is more dangerous than F1. There is no safety road. But the risk is not the point why I love rally. It is simply something different than F1.
Is that your biggest passion now?
There are a lot of things I like. But that doesn’t need to know the whole world. How boring life would be if you wouldn’t have any passions? I enjoy my life in any case.
Iceman is a nickname given him by Ron Dennis, patron of the McLaren. Well suited to Kimi Räikkönen, a such cold, icy, essential driver that when he ran for the English team he used to answer to the questions of his engineers moving the head, to agree or say not, while he was passing at the 300km/h in front of the box. No surprise.
The Iceman arrived in F1 from the Finnish birches forests where he played slalom between the trees and on the creaking ice. He was 8 years old and he was a tiny but decided fair haired young man. On a very small car he skidded, he hit trees, he straightened and he started again. When he grew he made the same thing with a Lada, an old and in bad conditions Soviet car, bought with little money. It had a red body that he black painted. In the slalom between the trees it was much damaged. But it was the engine that betrayed him, not the blows. His father Matti put it in order. However his childhood and adolescence were serene lived near Espoo, in an old house builted by his grandparents. Sure, he didn’t have a rich family, but his parents gave him everything also to cost of strange “sacrifices”. His dad asphalted roads with the road roller. Mother Paula worked at the post office. Rami, his brother, who now runs in rally, was the adversary to beat. The house where they lived had an external bathroom and the family was saving money in order to built one inside. But the guys were so passionate for racing that parents thought the toilet could wait for and they bought two karts.
It was not easy for Kimi to go on the top, fighting against more competitive chassis, more powerful engines. A fifth place was a success for him. Kimi also desired a lot playing sport, hockey on ice specially, a real passion, like that one of Michael Schumacher for soccer, but he was not in the mood for studying. When he was 16 years old, in fact, he stopped his course for mechanics at the professional school and as soon as he was 18 he decided to leave the family in order to try his luck in United Kingdom, with the Haywood Racing, that gave him a Ford car to drive. His dad, when he said goodbye, put in Kimi’s jacket pocket 500 dollars and told him in brief: “Nobody of us wants to hamper your career, go and live the life you like, but be careful and don’t get you into troubles. And remember: this money is for your eating.”
Matthew (at the registry office) Räikkönen, Kimi for all, played his cards. After some time, in a cold morning in 2001 he arrived at the Mugello circuit to drive a Sauber F1, with all the expert to look at him, like Schumacher or Piero Ferrari, and they said “oh!”, and they ask from where that splendid rookie came from. Today he is a big of the F1. He will be 28 aged on 17th October, he earns about 30 million euro per year, he has bought a new house with many bathrooms and three years ago he married Jenni Dahlman, ex Miss Scandinavia. There are things to which he couldn’t give up. For example, an evening with his best friends: “During my free time I do what I like”, he says. He likes to have a drop (but the reputation attributed to him born from metropolitan tales). Or going to his gymnasium to lift weights because he says that physical exercise relaxes him.
His style of communication is very original. It could be defined: “Not, I do not know, it does not interest to me”. So, in the age of the drivers who want to attract attention, he is the most nonconformist. And, in fact, he’s the only one who evades from the rules of the image-man driver and great communicative man. He wants to go fast and to remain himself. And if you ask opinions, comments, backstage about his arrival in Ferrari, his relationship with Schumacher, the acclimatization in Italy, he answers frankly, but he doesn’t go over ten words, conjunctions included. Then, it seems Kimi has one extraordinary gift: the awareness of himself. To such a degree that he has been able to erase, since the beginning, the insidious trap of the misunderstanding. Without haughtiness he simply said: “Schumi is incomparable, if we begin to draw parallels between who was and who is here, we don’t go anywhere”. As result, Ferrari and the supporters of the scuderia of Maranello will learn to know a driver who refuses any comparison with the master of Kerpen, one who says calmly: judge me for what I am and for what I am worth.
Q: Who wins the World-Championship?
KR: It’s early to say it. Obvious, I hope to win it.
Q: Are you sure?
KR: Yes, I am, but the things in F.1 can change very fast, even if this year with the same tyres a parameter that made difference has been erased.
Q: What do you think you need to win it: more the car or more luck?
KR: More the car.
Q: More quality/style or charism?
KR: The style is a part of you, the charism can be acquired.
Q: Who has charism?
KR: Who can express some moral qualities and, with these one, he is able to motivate people.
Q: McLaren and Ferrari: which differences?
KR: Technically it is difficult to make comparisons because many things are changed this year. From another point of view I can say that at Maranello there is “a more warm” atmosphere.
Q: How was your first meet with Ferrari?
KR: Very positive: people received me very well, trying to put me in the best conditions to express myself.
Q: Does a Ferrari style exist?
KR: Yes, sure, even if I am discovering day by day.
Q: From what can you recognize it?
KR: By the attention they put into the details, they put the person in the middle of the project.
Q: Someone says that you don’t respect the mechanics of the car, that you are hard and you break a lot. Is it true?
KR: No, it isn’t.
Q: What did your Ferrari engineer ask to you?
KR: Chris (Dyer) is an excellent technician and a nice guy: when we met for the first time he didn’t ask me anything in particular. In the winter test days we have spoken a lot, as it’s normal. We are going to know better, as we will spend much time together on the track.
Q: Have you spoken with Michael Schumacher?
KR: Sure, sometimes.
Q: Has he given you some advices?
KR: No, why should he do?
Q: Press says that the men of the scuderia compare you to Niki Lauda for your character instead of Michael Schumacher…
KR: I had not ever heard it. However I think it’s early to say to who I look like.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from some special driver?
KR: Nobody in particular.
Q: Is it true that your love for the Ferrari comes from far away? That you had a Ferrari in your garage?
KR: Yes, I had and I still have an Enzo, a very beautiful car.
Q: Every kind of motorbikes: for water, ice, cross, road. A passion that cannot be given up?
KR: Absolutely: I like the speed, on every type of surface.
Q: What have you got in your garage? Have you got also some great motorbikes which cost 100.000 euro?
KR: I have a lot of motorbikes and cars, but the most expensive, the most precious is the Enzo.
Q: You live in Switzerland but you are still very affectionate to your home in Porkkala. Is Finland important for you?
KR: Yes, it is my country and I go back as often as I can.
Q: When you come back what do you do?
KR: It will seem boring, but I’m a simple person. I do exactly what boys of my age like to do: to go around with my friends, to listen to music, nothing of “sensational” that can attract the attention of the paparazzi.
Q: When did you feel that your life would have been to be a driver?
KR: It’s what I have always desired to do.
Q: With wine, beer or pineapple juice?
Q: A dinner with Flavio Briatore or Ron Dennis? With Jean Todt or Frank Williams?
KR: Sure with Jean.
Q: Have you more pleasure when you beat Felipe Massa or Fernando Alonso?
KR: I don’t run against someone, I only try to win.
Q: Have you a book in your suitcase or on your bedside table?
KR: I don’t read very much.
Q: Your favourite song?
KR: I don’t have one in particular, but I often love to listen to music, above all the Finnish POP.
Q: London or Helsinki?
Q: Is it true that you are searching a house in Milan?
KR: No, it isn’t.
Q: Your greatest passion?
KR: To be a driver: could I be luckier? I already have this job.
Q: Do you like family?
KR: A lot: I love my family, my parents.
Q: Do you desire to have some children?
KR: Yes, but not now.
Q: The most romantic thing you have made?
KR: I don’t like to speak about these things very much: it’s a part of my private life.
Q: Is it easier to please or to displease all?
KR: Sure to displease: it’s difficult to find something on which everybody agrees.
Q: What don’t you like about what press says about you?
KR: When press writes false things, and unfortunately, it often happens.
Q: Everybody has a dark side. Have you already discovered it?
KR: Honestly I haven’t ever thought about it.
Q: Are you superstitious?
KR: I’m not superstitious.
Q: What do you think before a race?
KR: I try to relax me and to think in a positive way.
Q: And the night before the race what do you do?
KR: I sleep!
Q: How is an engine made?
KR: I know well how an engine is made! Since when I was young I did like to work on my cars, and I still do it when I go in motoslitta; for example in F.1 I prefer to give this work to the technicians and the mechanics, but because there is little time: I like to know the details of what they do on the car.
Q: A surprising gift you have received?
KR: All the gifts made by my wife and my family: they are given with the heart and I feel it.
Q: Travelling around the world, what are you collecting?
Q: Which watch do you prefer?
KR: The Tag-Heuer.
Q: Your clothing?
KR: Casual: jacket, jeans and t-shirt is my uniform.
Q: Your favourite brands?
KR: No brand in particular.
Q: The first time have you wear a smoking?
KR: When I was 14 or 15 years old and I was invited to a prize-giving of a kart championship in Finland.
Q: If a driver overtakes you on road in a wrong way?
KR: I know well that the road is not a race-track where I can run or overtake at the limit, so I think the others should make the same with me but if it happens I certainly don’t react.
Q: Driving style of men and women: Which do you prefer?
KR: For me there is no difference, because when I’m in car I always want to drive.
Q: SUV or wagon?
KR: With two dogs, I prefer the SUV.
Q: The most beautiful moment?
KR: The day of my wedding.
Q: The unhappiest moment?
KR: There have been various bad moments, but I can’t say that there has been a situation worst of all in absolute.
Q: Are you sorry for the losers?
KR: For me winning is all.
Q: What are you afraid of?
KR: I’m afraid of something bad that could happen to my family.
Q: What do you desire to do in your life?
KR: I don’t like thinking too much about future, I try to enjoy the moment.
Q: Why do you desire people will remember you?
KR: Because I have been a winner.
Kimi, it has been three weeks since you were confirmed as a Lotus Renault GP driver for the 2012 season. How have you found the reaction to your F1 return?
KR: I have been surprised at how big the reaction has been so I guess people must have missed me!
What has been the best moment so far?
KR: Sebastian Vettel’s impersonation of me at the Autosport awards! No, seriously, my two visits to Enstone have been great. The first one, at the team’s Christmas party, made me realise how much support I have there. The second one, last week, allowed me to understand that this team has not been world champion by coincidence. I also saw all the investments they have made recently: new simulator building, CFD upgrade, 60% wind tunnel… It gives me a lot of confidence for the season ahead.
How difficult do you think you will find it coming back?
KR: Let’s put it this way: before my two years of rallying I had nine seasons, 157 races and 18 wins in Formula 1. I know the sport well. When I went to rallying and when I tried NASCAR, there were many new things to learn, but with Formula 1 I feel like I’m coming home. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
Do you think it will take you long to get back up to speed?
KR: I hope not! I am more motivated than ever and I don’t think I’ve lost any speed. Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried. Although the technical regulations don’t seem to change much, they apply to a lot of areas and quite a few elements will have to be re-designed. As a result, the cars will be significantly different next year. The order could be shaken up, which will make things very interesting.
What is your schedule in the build-up to testing?
KR: We don’t test the new car until February so it’s a long wait. However, I should be able to jump into a two-year-old F1 car in January. Of course, there will be the usual training, but I will also be working on getting to know the team better and making sure I fully understand all the changes since I have been away.
What are your targets for pre-season testing?
KR: Finding out if we have a fast car! For me, learning how the team works will be another important aspect. Learning Pirelli’s tyres will be the most important job, as it’s a different approach from what I experienced before.
What are your plans over the Christmas break? Have you got anything special arranged?
KR: I am doing a lot of training. The most important area for me is to get my neck strong enough again, especially as it will be put through its paces in testing. Of course, I will also be celebrating Christmas with my family.
Any more snowmobile races planned?
KR: I was surprised by how much attention there was over me falling off a snowmobile. You can watch what happened on YouTube and it was probably the smallest and slowest crash I’ve ever had. It is almost embarrassing! I won a snowmobile race right before the start of the 2007 season and that year didn’t go badly for me so who knows?
Kimi Raikkonen insists he won’t take long to get back in the F1 groove as it feels like he is “coming home”.
The Finn spent the past two years competing in the World Rally Championship, but he will return to Formula One in 2012 after signing a two-year contract with Lotus Renault. Many pundits believe Raikkonen will struggle on his return, but the 2007 World Champion doesn’t think he will take too long to come to grips with the new regulations.
“Let’s put it this way: before my two years of rallying I had nine seasons, 157 races and 18 wins in Formula 1. I know the sport well,” he told the official Lotus website. “When I went to rallying and when I tried NASCAR, there were many new things to learn, but with Formula 1 I feel like I’m coming home. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.” He added: “I am more motivated than ever and I don’t think I’ve lost any speed.
“Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried. “Although the technical regulations don’t seem to change much, they apply to a lot of areas and quite a few elements will have to be re-designed. As a result, the cars will be significantly different next year. The order could be shaken up, which will make things very interesting.” Raikkonen has already paid a couple of visits to the team’s base at Enstone and liked what he saw.
“The first one, at the team’s Christmas party, made me realise how much support I have there,” he said. “The second one, last week, allowed me to understand that this team has not been World Champion by coincidence. “I also saw all the investments they have made recently: new simulator building, CFD upgrade, 60% wind tunnel… It gives me a lot of confidence for the season ahead.”