Kimi Raikkonen: Marco Mattiacci good for Ferrari F1 team
Kimi Raikkonen is encouraged by new Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Marco Mattiacci’s approach to turning the Scuderia’s ailing fortunes around.
Mattiacci took over from outgoing team principal Stefano Domenicali in April, and insisted after the recent Austrian Grand Prix that Ferrari has a recovery plan in place to improve its disappointing form.
Finn Raikkonen, who is struggling with his own issues with the handling of Ferrari’s F14 T, reckons the work Mattiacci has done since he arrived is cause for optimism within the team.
"Everybody has their own way of doing things – it’s very early days for Marco, and when he started he didn’t have as much knowledge as Stefano of F1, but he’s a very nice guy and he wants to really make a difference and know the sport," Raikkonen said during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
"Those are good signs. He’s doing a lot of work that people don’t see and I think he’s doing a very good job.
"He’s a good guy to work with; he’s just a different person from Stefano.
"I had a pretty close relationship with Stefano but it’s just a change for all of us, and I think sometimes that’s a good thing.
"People come from outside of F1 with a different view of things and it can help.
"It’s been good so far and I’m expecting he can do a very good job."
Da SportWeek (La Gazzetta dello Sport) del 12/04/2014 (e riescono pure a far resuscitare i cani…)
Da La Stampa del 29/03/2014:
E le domande video:
Kimi Raikkonen says immediate fix to F1 Ferrari issues unlikely
Kimi Raikkonen does not know how long it will take to fix the issues he is having getting comfortable with the set-up of his new Ferrari Formula 1 car.
The Finn endured a troubled time at last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as he struggled with the handling of the new F14 T, especially under braking and corner entry.
His problems were further exacerbated in the race by front tyre graining, which led to a number of lock-ups.
Ferrari and Raikkonen are working on fixes to the way the energy recovery systems impact on the car’s handling, but the 2007 world champion admits that things are unlikely to get better immediately.
"We know more or less what we want to do, but some things are not happening overnight," said Raikkonen.
"It takes time to produce certain parts, or to have a certain way of putting the things on.
"We also cannot promise that it is going to fix the issues once we get something that we want.
"I have been in these situations before and sometimes it takes a while.
"Unfortunately it is not the easiest position right now, but looking at how difficult everything was, we got everything out of it.
"It is not what we want to achieve but it could have been even worse. I am sure we can only get better from there."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali reiterated that the team is doing everything it can to help Raikkonen, and he hopes progress can be made in time for the next grand prix in Malaysia.
"We need to help Kimi try to find the right balance in the car," he said. "He deserves that.
"There was an improvement [this weekend], but we are still not where we want to be.
"As a team we have to make sure that everything will be done to help his driving style and I am sure for Malaysia it will be much better."
Da Autosprint n.9 del 4/3/2014:
Dallo speciale Sky “Ferrari, una nuova era”:
Dalla Gazzetta dello Sport del 12/02/2014
Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen returns a more mature and open F1 driver
Kimi Raikkonen has returned to Ferrari a more mature driver and more willing to ‘integrate’, reckons team boss Stefano Domenicali.
Relations between Raikkonen and Ferrari declined towards the end of his first stint with the Formula 1 squad from 2007-09.
But he is rejoining for 2014 after a four-year absence spent first pursuing options outside F1 and then re-establishing himself as a grand prix force with Lotus.
Although Raikkonen has a reputation for remaining distant from his teams, Domenicali said a change was already evident.
"I’ve found him more mature, like all of us, more experienced, very close to the team," Domenicali told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He has come [to the factory] often already, and will come back to Maranello practically every week."
The Italian believes the challenge of joining a team where Fernando Alonso is already well-integrated is spurring Raikkonen to work harder.
"He is conscious of his capabilities," said Domenicali.
"Kimi knows what team he’s in, he knows this is a very important challenge for him, he knows he has to deal with an ace like Fernando, with whom he’ll have to work in an integrated way."
He added that Raikkonen’s mental strength was one of the elements that encouraged Ferrari to pursue him again.
"Our decisions are taken in a rational way, not emotionally," Domenicali said.
"We have considered the need to pair Fernando with a driver with extra strong motivation and an experience that allows him to manage such a difficult season as this year.
"A driver that knows how to manage the pressure of teaming up with Alonso and racing with Ferrari, which is always under the spotlight and if it ends up second it’s a tragedy.
"Not many drivers have these credentials. The track will tell us if we’ve made the right decision."
Pino Allievi: 2014, Ferrari al bivio
9 febbraio 2014 – L’analisi a tutto tondo di Pino Allievi sulla Ferrari che si appresta ad affrontare la stagione 2014, in cui è attesa per la prova d’orgoglio necessaria ad invertire anni di risultati non all’altezza del proprio prestigio.
Pino Allievi, a Maranello è ritornato Kimi Raikkonen: scelta imposta dalla Ferrari o quanto condivisa con Fernando Alonso?
“Se fosse dipeso da Alonso, la Ferrari avrebbe dovuto confermare Massa per il 2014. Invece a Maranello giustamente hanno pensato ai propri interessi, guardando a una Formula 1 che cambia, che ha bisogno di piloti di maggiore peso. La Ferrari ha pensato tardivamente che per Massa sarebbe stato meglio cambiare aria e se questa decisione l’evesse presa prima, avrebbe guadagnato punti in più e Felipe avrebbe recuperato un pezzo di carriera. La scelta di Raikkonen non c’è dubbio che dia fastidio ad Alonso, sebbene poter contare su un pilota costantemente veloce come Kimi, obbliga ad andare più forte e tutto questo risulterà positivo in termini di risultati complessivi.”
Kimi Raikkonen sarà un compagno scomodo per il compagno di squadra?
“L’arrivo di Kimi alla Scuderia del Cavallino Rampante è stato sicuramente un affronto per Fernando, proprio perchè Raikkonen è il pilota più veloce in circolazione, escludendo Vettel sul quale la Ferrari era riuscita a mettere le mani. Il tedesco della Red Bull è stato allontanato dall’area di Maranello per almeno un paio d’anni proprio ad opera di Alonso.”
Una bella rinvincita quella di Raikkonen, un campione del mondo prima allontanato e poi riabilitato alla corte di Alonso…
“Raikkonen è tornato a Maranello perchè è a caccia di rivincite, dimostrando, come prima cosa, che la Ferrari a suo tempo aveva sbagliato quando lo aveva sacrificato per ingaggiare al fianco di Massa lo spagnolo. In sintesi, sia Kimi che Fernando vogliono dimostrare che la Ferrari aveva sbagliato qualcosa a suo tempo. Raikkonen era stato cacciato dalla Ferrari. Non ricordo – escluso Arnoux per il quale la storia era molto diversa – un pilota appiedato dal team con l’ingaggio pagato per non partecipare alle gare della successiva stagione…”.
Ferrari dovrà gestire due campioni del mondo, due piloti molto consistenti e velocissimi, con l’elevato rischio di duelli in famiglia…
“Raikkonen è arrivato in Ferrari per stare davanti ad Alonso, su questo non c’è ombra di dubbio. Se in condizioni normali, ben preparato, senza distrazioni, il finlandese è un pilota che ad Alonso potrà dare parecchio fastidio, perchè impermeabile alla tensione della squadra, in più non parla italiano e non vuole impararlo, quindi si mette automaticamente al riparo da mille polemiche. Poi, a differenza di Alonso, Kimi non entra nella politica della squadra e quindi ha tutte le caratteristiche teoriche per disputare un grande campionato, purchè la Ferrari gli metta a disposizione la macchina per farlo.”
La Ferrari potrebbe privilegiare Raikkonen sacrificando Alonso – secondo una linea di pensiero cara ad Enzo Ferrari – dimostrando che è la squadra a comandare e la macchina è quella che vince?
“Fernando Alonso resta il pilota più completo presente nella Formula 1 di oggi. Questo è un valore indiscutibile che la Ferrari deve difendere ad ogni costo.”
Dopo quattro stagioni in cui Alonso è stato impegnato in prove continue di inseguimento senza il risultato tanto atteso, proprio i quattro anni in cui Vettel ha vinto quattro titoli iridati, il 2014 potrebbe essere la prova d’appello finale per lo spagnolo, anche se il contratto tra Maranello e Fernando scade nel 2016?
“La stagione 2014 rappresenta il bivio per la Ferrari: o vince, oppure la squadra si sfascia. Vincendo, Alonso potrebbe iniziare il ciclo positivo che auspicava da quattro anni. Se invece le cose dovessero andare ancora una volta male, a fine anno se ne andranno un po’ tutti da Maranello. Se ne andrà Fernando per approdare alla McLaren, dove gli stanno facendo ponti d’oro nell’attesa dell’arrivo del motore Honda. Se ne andrà probabilmente anche Stefano Domenicali e insieme a lui qualche altra figura chiave dello staff di vertice. A quel punto bisognerà riorganizzare il reparto dei tecnici, mentre sino ad oggi è stato solamente implementato con elementi di grande valore.”
E’ un po’ presto per tracciare pronostici, ma i primi segnali dei test a Jerez hanno offerto qualche indicazione, almeno nel confronto tra le forze in campo…
“Mi pare che questa volta ci siano tutte le premesse per ottenere risultati molto diversi rispetto alle ultime stagioni sportive…”.
I risultati in pista potrebbero influire anche sul cambio di vertice a Maranello?
“Il cambio al vertice dell’azienda è un gioco che esula dai risultati della pista, per quanto la pista aiuti. Gli anni d’oro della Ferrari con Michael Schumacher hanno dato visibilità e potere a tutti quelli che hanno fatto parte di quel ciclo vincente. Montezemolo è alla guida del Cavallino dal 1991, pertanto non penso che il suo futuro dipenda dai risultati in pista di Alonso e Raikkonen. Saranno gli equilibri all’interno del Gruppo FCA a determinare il cambio alla presidenza di Maranello.”
La nuova Ferrari F 14 T a Jerez ha impressionato favorevolmente, in particolare per alcune soluzioni decisamente innovative riguardanti l’impianto di raffreddamento funzionale al recupero di energia…
“La F14 T è una macchina che, come prima cosa importante, incuriosisce, finalmente, la concorrenza. Questa è una cosa che non si era verificata nelle altre stagioni. La soluzione delle masse radianti molto piccole, fa pensare che lo staff tecnico di Maranello abbia imboccato la strada giusta dal punto di vista delle idee innovative. Non sono in grado di stabilire se questo sarà un aspetto determinante, perché nessuno a Jerez ha girato a più del 70% delle potenziali prestazioni assolute, però la nuova Rossa ha scatenato la curiosità di Red Bull, Mercedes e McLaren proprio per le masse radianti di dimensioni incredibilmente molto contenute. E’ già una bella base di partenza…”.
La F14 T ha segnato sicuramente una svolta all’esordio delle Ferrari Formula 1?
“Nel cervello della concorrenza si è insinuato il dubbio che la Ferrari possa aver usato particolari scambiatori di calore al posto dei radiatori tradizionali. La F14 T a Jerez è andata bene, non ha avuto guai seri, ha percorso molti chilometri senza inconvenienti coprendo una distanza di undici volte superiore a quella della Red Bull… che in fondo è stata parecchio ferma. Mi pare che ce ne siano stati pochi di avvii di stagione per la Ferrari altrettanto incoraggianti nelle ultime dieci stagioni sportive…”.
Da Raisport, presentazione Ferrari F14-T con Pino Allievi:
Mentre l’esordio della Ferrari sembrerebbe migliore rispetto alle precedenti stagioni…
“La Ferrari che ha guidato Raikkonen nei primi due giorni, sembra muoversi decorosamente bene. Non sono stati riscontrati difetti strutturali congeniti alla nascita. La F14T accumula chilometri, segnando oggi il secondo tempo dell’intera sessione, ieri il migliore.
I miei amici di Maranello sono contenti senza entusiasmo. Mi spiego: manca qualsiasi parametro, è tutto nuovo per tutti.
Capire a quale livello ci si trova, quando una Red Bull non gira, è praticamente impossibile.
Ho l’impressione che la F14T sia sulla buona strada.
Da domani capiremo qualche cosa di più con l’arrivo di Alonso che, come ben sapete, ha un approccio diverso rispetto a quello di Kimi. E’ troppo presto per formulare qualsiasi giudizio”.
Il ritorno di Ron Dennis in McLaren si è fatto subito sentire…
“La McLaren ha ufficializzato l’ingaggio di Eric Boullier che andrà a fare il responsabile al muretto. Questa è una mossa voluta proprio da Ron Dennis che ha fatto fuori Martin Whitmarsh. Bouiller è stato l’artefice delle brillanti prestazioni Lotus negli ultimi due campionati. E’ vero che Lotus non aveva i soldi per pagare Kimi, ma è stata certamente la squadra rivelazione del campionato, per quanto non venisse considerata all’altezza delle migliori macchine.
Che Dennis si riappropri del team portandosi a casa un tecnico come Bouiller, è un segnale forte molto indicativo nel quadro della riorganizzazione della squadra aspettando il turbo Honda l’anno prossimo”.
Un altro rinforzo è il ritorno di Raikkonen in casa Ferrari…
“Sono un grande estimatore di Raikkonen e nel mio piccolissimo, mi sono anche dato da fare per riportarlo alla Ferrari.
Ho incontrato Kimi una decina di giorni fa a Maranello e devo dire che a livello psicologico è in uno stato di grazia straordinario.
Il sogno della sua carriera era quello di farsi riprendere dalla Ferrari, per chiudere il suo percorso di pilota con la squadra con cui ha vinto il suo titolo mondiale. Kimi è felicissimo, sembra in estasi.
Alla presentazione della F14T si coglieva negli occhi di quest’uomo la gioia per essere tornato a Maranello”.
Raikkonen risorsa per la squadra o per Alonso?
“Raikkonen darà un grande contributo alla Ferrari. Il pilota non si discute: è fortissimo. Il Cavallino Rampante ha perso due mondiali volendo correre con un’unica punta. Nel 2010 e del 2012 se al posto di Massa ci fosse stato un pilota più consistente, Alonso avrebbe vinto due mondiali.
Non so se Raikkonen andrà più forte di Alonso, ma il Raikkonen che abbiamo visto sulla Lotus negli ultimi due campionati, se fosse stato in Ferrari accanto ad Alonso, certamente sarebbe arrivato davanti agli avversari di Fernando e lo spagnolo oggi avrebbe due titoli iridati in più”.
Cambio di strategia a Maranello: da una sola “prima guida”, alle due punte…
“La Ferrari ha fatto benissimo a superare certe resistenze, le logiche di una squadra con una sola punta sulla quale concentrare tutte le energie.
Non dimentichiamo la McLaren di Senna e Prost. Sarà anche finita a schifio, come molti sostengono, ma nei due anni in cui Ayrton e Alain correvano insieme, alla fine il mondiale – piloti e costruttori – in tutte due le stagioni lo ha vinto sempre la McLaren.
In questa Formula 1 dove è indispensabile avere dei piloti consistenti, dove è fondamentale non sprecare neanche un’occasione, il fatto che la Ferrari abbia due campioni del mondo, mi riempie di fiducia, però anche se si ingaggia come pilota l’uomo ragno, bisogna dargli la macchina…”.
Gerard Lopez: "Kimi is Often Misunderstood"
Lotus F1 Team Chairman Gerard Lopez sets the record straight on the issues concerning the team as it heads into the final three races of the 2013 season
What’s the objective for the team in the next three races?
The objective is very clear; we want to get that second position in the Constructors’ Championship. As long as it’s mathematically possible that is the one and only objective we should have as a team. It makes a big difference to us, in terms of many things. We do have arguably the second best car out there, so there’s no reason why we cannot put up a good fight and try to get that second position.
How is the relationship with Kimi?
Good. I speak with Kimi more than a lot of people probably realise and we rarely speak about Formula 1. Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship. It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.
What is Kimi like to work with?
From my perspective, Kimi is often misunderstood. He’s actually a very talkative, very friendly guy. One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on. For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion. It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being. The whole Iceman thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver. In reality he’s a kind guy, he’s a very talkative guy and over the two years I’ve gained a friend in Formula 1 which is a difficult place to do so.
Did Kimi’s announcement that he was going to Ferrari change the relationship?
For a long time we had the opportunity to keep him in our hands, but we weren’t able to operate to the timeframe – or make the offer – that Ferrari were able to do. For me this brought sadness, as it’s like prodigal son leaving us. When we signed him there was a lot of criticism and a lot of disbelief. There were some people who were saying that he still had it in him and that he was one of the best Formula 1 drivers out there, but at the same time there were many people who were saying that he couldn’t do it, that he was overweight, this, that and the other. But we believed in him and he delivered big time. The only reason we’re fighting for second in the World Championship is because of all the points that Kimi has scored. We’re doing everything we can to ensure Kimi and the team can continue to fight right up to the chequered flag in Brazil.
What has Kimi brought to the team over the past two years?
He’s been a number of things to the team; some of which have been quite obvious to people, and others which are less obvious. The first thing that Kimi did was to remove any excuses from the team. We knew we had one of the best ever drivers in Formula 1 and as a result of that there was no escape from whether the cars were good enough. With Kimi we knew we had a benchmark. This gave people the belief that whatever we put on the car or put into development, was going to get maximised on the race track. That is very motivating for anyone working in the team and in the factory; the fact that you know you’re putting all this effort into making something which you can transform into performance on the track.
The second thing he did was match really well with who we are as a culture. We are at the pinnacle of motorsport and we are a very serious, hardworking team, but nobody in the team considers Formula 1 to be an elite club in which you cannot have fun, and we have a pretty relaxed attitude on a number of things; for sure not on performance, and for sure not on development. It’s not as clinical as other teams, and he fits right into that. For us essentially he was the perfect puzzle piece and for him I think it was a perfect fit. I still think it’s one of the best partnerships in Formula 1.
The third thing he did is helped Romain to develop as a driver in a way he perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise. Had Romain been next to a more junior driver, or a less capable driver, we probably would still not know how good Romain is. For Romain to be delivering the results he is doing so now, it’s really very much because he is driving next to probably one of the best Formula 1 drivers ever. Kimi has been a tremendous help in the development of Romain.
Will the team and you miss Kimi?
The fact is he will be missed and I really think that this is one of those partnerships in Formula 1 that is – and will be remembered as being – very, very special. It’s difficult to think about the fact he’s not going to be in our black and gold car next year. I think he feels the same way. There’s no such thing as regrets, but there is such a thing as sadness even if disguised sometimes… he will be missed, and from what I’ve discussed with him he will miss this team. It doesn’t take anything away from the relationship and it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that I certainly gained a friend and that will continue to exist.
What do you think the future will hold for Kimi?
I think Kimi will do a good job at Ferrari. We’ve seen what he is capable of so we know what a formidable force he can be.
Looking at the big picture with the team, how satisfying is it to be here near the end of a hard-fought season with one of the fastest cars and pushing to achieve second in both Championships?
It’s very satisfying when you have a team that everyone acknowledges to be smaller than the four or five top fighting not only ahead of those with comparable budgets, but also ahead of most of the bigger teams too. It appears there’s a sense of pride every weekend that cannot really be underestimated. It’s certainly a case of David and Goliath that repeats itself pretty much every season. We’ve had some challenges like taking an ambitious technical route with the forward facing exhausts in 2011 and we’ve had challenges such as the change of tyre specs, but every time this team has been able to get up and react and punch even higher and stronger. The one thing we need to be very proud of is that we never stop fighting.
The fact is we’ve scored more points from the last four or five races than anyone other than Red Bull, and that’s pretty much where we’ve been all year long – a couple of exceptions aside – with the end of the season now fast approaching. For anyone to look at Enstone now and say ‘these guys don’t know how to develop,’ I don’t think anyone would dare to say that. I think we’re very proud about the way we keep responding to the challenges we face.
Romain has upped his game and seems to be performing really well…
We claimed for a long time that Romain has what it takes to become one of the great Formula 1 drivers and we’re really seeing that now. He has natural speed, but he’s also skilled in the way very few drivers are.
We stuck with Romain because we knew about the talent that he had; we were convinced of it. Now everyone knows how good he is – so the fact that Romain’s performing at the level that he has now reached of course makes us extremely happy – but it’s no more than confirmation to us. Why wouldn’t we have kept Romain if it’s not what we’ve said all along? He has been gifted with speed that very few drivers have in Formula 1. We were speaking about Kimi before, and with the car we have and the drivers we have there’s no question that we probably have the best driver pairing in Formula 1 right now.
What’s the latest about the investment in the team?
We have preliminary agreements with the company we want to partner with, and we’re just waiting for this to be concluded. This is a very detailed process. The history is that we decided to offer a minority stake to an investor. We consider this approach as the best way forwards, just like any other Formula 1 Team. Deals like this do not move at the speed we’re used to in Formula 1 and we’re hopeful that we’ll conclude it in the near future. With our current performance on track and the fact that there are very few Formula 1 teams that can offer an investment opportunity like we do we are constantly being contacted by interested parties, but for now we are pursuing our preferred option.
How attractive an investment opportunity is Lotus F1 Team?
It’s a very attractive opportunity. The approach we’ve had to making strategic investments in the factory and ensuring we have a strong driver line-up has increased the value of the team, which makes the proposition even more interesting for people who may want to join us in this adventure. As far as we’re concerned, there’s an underlying strategy which has increased the financial value, but watching the team fight for podiums every weekend has also increased the emotional value too. It’s a fantastic journey every day.
Abu Dhabi GP: Kimi Raikkonen arrives as Lotus plays down tension
Kimi Raikkonen has arrived at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ready for practice, as Lotus chairman Gerard Lopez played down issues between the team and the 2007 world champion.
Raikkonen did not attend Thursday media activities at Yas Marina amid growing intra-team tension.
He will leave for Ferrari next year, and has made it clear that Lotus owes him payments.
The situation was escalated by a blunt radio exchange with Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane when Raikkonen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean was trying to pass him during last weekend’s Indian GP.
Lotus later issued an apology for the language used in the conversation.
On Friday morning the team published an interview with chairman Gerard Lopez on its website, in which Lopez offered fulsome praise for Raikkonen and played down recent incidents.
"Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship," said Lopez.
"It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen."
Lopez insisted that the situation between Lotus and Raikkonen was being overblown by the media.
"One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on," he said.
"For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion.
"It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being.
"The whole Iceman thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver.
"In reality he’s a kind guy, he’s a very talkative guy and over the two years I’ve gained a friend in Formula 1 which is a difficult place to do so."
Häkkinen doesn’t approve Permane’s behavior – Was Kimi ‘paid back’?
Mika Häkkinen believes that the knowledge of Kimi Räikkönen’s switch to Ferrari affected Alan Permane’s behavior in India.
Permane screamed and cursed to Kimi Räikkönen when Kimi didn’t immediately let Romain Grosjean past him in India.
- Alan Permane’s behavior was really not smart or correct. In those teams I have raced the team radio messages have always been understood without any cursing, Häkkinen writes in his column in Ilta-Sanomat.
- I understand that the emotions can come to play when a long and difficult race is about to end, but cursing and screaming only make the situation worse.
Later on Permane and Räikkönen continued their harsh discussion on the paddock.
- Sometimes people hold something against other people. Kimi has snapped all kinds of things to the team during the season, so maybe Permane thought that he will now pay him back.
- Maybe he could have controlled himself better if he didn’t know Kimi was changing teams.
Häkkinen has a clear opinion about Räikkönen’s driving – Did Kimi do the right thing?
- Lotus-team’s operation in India looked quite stupid. The situation where Romain Grosjean tried to overtake Kimi should have been handled better, Häkkinen writes.
Räikkönen didn’t let Grosjean immediately past since his tyres were pretty much worn out. After that there was a heated discussion containing swearing words between Räikkönen and Alan Permane.
- I understand Kimi. If he had made room for Grosjean in the fast corner then his tyres would had been in an even worse condition. Kimi would easily had lost 3-4 seconds before getting his pace back again.
- Kimi was thinking just like every experienced driver thinks. If he had let Grosjean past in the wrong place, then someone else could also had passed him – and Felipe Massa was very close.
- Why was the team’s language exceptionally harsh towards Kimi and why didn’t the team give him earlier information about how close Grosjean was? One could also aslk why Grosjean had to go so greedily for the overtake that tyres clashed, Häkkinen writes.
Manager dumbstruck over the way Räikkönen was treated
Steve Robertson sighed deeply on the phone even on Tuesday. You could hear his sigh from Dubai to Turku when he was asked how he felt about Alan Permane’s public cursing in the team radio when drivers battled for positions in the overtaking situation.
– I have never heard any person from any team management shout at Kimi like that, Robertson wonders.
– Grosjean squeezed Kimi the same way three weeks earlier in Korea. Of course his tyres were now worn out, but Kimi always tries to fight for as long as his machinery allows him to do that, Robertson said.
Some reporter colleagues asked me after India if Räikkönen only drives for himself without listening to anyone.
I asked his manager the same question.
– Just like all top drivers Kimi drives firstly and mostly for himself – otherwise none of them would win championships. But of course Kimi can play for the team. If his teammate drives for the championship when he is out of it already, then he doesn’t make his WDC-battle difficult.
– Grosjean is not driving for the WDC, so in that sistuation he was just like any other competitor to Kimi who threathens his position, Robertson told TS.
Bouillier’s apology and Mika Häkkinen’s words (already translated)
Da Autosprint n.42 del 22-10-2013
Raikkonen’s motivation still intact since signing Ferrari deal
Kimi Raikkonen insists his motivation has not waned since he signed a contract to move from Lotus to Ferrari next year.
Ferrari and Raikkonen announced the deal after the Italian Grand Prix and since then he has struggled for form in qualifying, starting no higher than ninth at the last three races. His performances on Sunday, however, have been in line with his form earlier in the season and he insists the Ferrari deal has made no difference to his approach.
"I think that never changes, it has been the same since the start of the year," he said. "The fact I’m changing teams for next year doesn’t change a thing for me, I still want to win races this year. I’m not interested in just driving around without pushing, I want to do always my best, so what happens next year doesn’t interest me for now."
He added that he would not turn up to races if his heart was not in it.
"I always said that if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t come to the next race. I’m happy to walk away when I feel like it and I have no reason to do something that I am not enjoying. For sure there are a lot of things I am not a big fan of but at least so far the racing makes up for it. I’m happy with the way things are going and hopefully in the future it will be even better."
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier believes Raikkonen’s perceived dip in form is also a result of team-mate Romain Grosjean upping his game.
"I don’t think [Raikkonen is lacking motivation]," he said. "I think it’s more that Romain has come back in the game. If you remember last year Romain was very much up to speed when he first started the season, then he obviously lost a little bit of ground, but this is just Romain being back."
Da “I Signori della F1” di Sky, parla Gerhard Berger:
Da Raisport del 13/10/2013: http://www.mediafire.com/?junl9w2p5822ers
Raikkonen perhaps highest paid driver in 2013 says Boullier
Team boss Eric Boullier says it is "likely" Kimi Raikkonen is departing Lotus as the highest paid driver in formula one.
When the Finn returned to the sport last year after a rally and Nascar sabbatical, his contract included a base retainer and big bonuses for points.
The deal caught Lotus by surprise.
"We knew he would be good, and we knew we would be good, but we didn’t know it would be that good!" team owner Gerard Lopez smiled recently.
Now, after Raikkonen said he is leaving for Ferrari next year only because his pay is late, the 33-year-old’s dream pairing with Lotus is ending somewhat sourly.
Asked by Speed Week to say what the 2007 world champion brought to the team, boss Boullier answered: "That is difficult to define.
"Without us, Kimi’s return to F1 would have been a different picture," he said.
"Can you imagine how it would have been if he had signed for Williams and not us? We built everything around Kimi.
"I think as a Lotus driver he became even more interesting to the fans. He gained in popularity," said the Frenchman.
"If he had retired after his rally phase, I think Kimi Raikkonen would be forgotten today," added Boullier.
"We gave him the right tools to get his self-confidence back."
Told of the rumour that Raikkonen is the highest paid driver in 2013, Boullier smiled before answering: "That is quite likely."
So now, with Raikkonen departing, Boullier confirmed that Romain Grosjean is staying at Lotus in 2014.
And with Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa the front-runners to replace Raikkonen, Boullier said he is looking for "Someone who is uncomfortable for Romain".
"I don’t want him to be in a cocoon of well-being."
Vettel deserves to rank among greats – Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen says Sebastian Vettel should be ranked as one of the Formula One greats regardless of what he achieves from now on in his career.
Vettel’s recent dominance of the sport led Lewis Hamilton to claim fans are getting bored of one car and driver winning all the time, although he later clarified his comments to call Vettel "a great champion".
Asked if he thinks Vettel ranks with Michael Schumacher and other great drivers, Raikkonen replied: "For sure he is.
"He doesn’t need to win any more races or championships and he’s achieved a hell of a lot in his career already. For sure he’s achieved a lot and he’s a very good guy and a good driver as well."
With team-mate Romain Grosjean having been more competitive than Raikkonen in both Singapore and Korea, Raikkonen was asked for his views on his team-mate being good enough to lead Lotus in the future.
"Time will tell. I have no interest to start guessing what will happen to any of us in the future. We will see at some point, but for sure he is a fast driver and he’s doing better than he has done before.
"Yes [he's a challenger]; he’s been fast but they all are in Formula One."
Korean GP: Kimi Raikkonen has no doubt he will be fit to race
Kimi Raikkonen says he would not have turned up to the Korean Grand Prix if he had any fear that his back issues would prevent him from racing.
A flare-up of back pain from an old injury interfered with Raikkonen’s Singapore GP a fortnight ago.
Although Raikkonen acknowledged that he could not properly assess his condition until he drove in Friday practice, he said he had arrived at Yeongam certain he would start the grand prix.
"I wouldn’t be here if I wouldn’t be racing," he said.
"It would be a bit pointless to come here if I didn’t think that I would race.
"Obviously tomorrow we’ll see. Right now it’s OK. It’s always difficult to say until you drive, but I think it should be fine.
"Once we try it tomorrow, I’ll know more. Like I said already at the last race, this wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time.
"It’s something that I’ve been dealing with for a long time."
Lotus prepared reserve driver Davide Valsecchi as a potential stand-in for Raikkonen when the issue became troublesome during the Singapore weekend, and the Finn was only able to qualify 13th.
He recovered for race day and charged to third place.
Raikkonen did not think the problem would require any special attention before he returns to Ferrari for the 2014 Formula 1 season.
"I’ve been OK every year I’ve been racing," he said.
"Sometimes I have to deal with the pain.
"Obviously every year you get older and your system has more issues but I’m sure you can deal with these things."
Back situation ‘looks promising’
Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen has every intention of racing in this weekend’s 2013 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix, despite the back issues that plagued him at the last round in Singapore. He also insists his motivation remains high, in spite of his imminent departure from the team and his now very slim title hopes…
Q: Kimi, how is the situation with your back? Are you going to race this weekend? Q: Are you getting any treatment? Q: How would you rate your drive in Singapore – and your result – given your back issues? Q: Have you done some training in between Singapore and Korea? Q: Does the back issue date back to your time with McLaren? Q: Sebastian (Vettel) gave an explanation for his and Red Bull’s success in Singapore, saying that while others are already in leisure mode, hanging at the pool, he and his guys are still working on the car. Can you give a comment on that? Q: But what it says is that probably other drivers and teams are a bit lazy… Q: With you leaving Lotus for 2014, it will mean that you are less involved in the development of the car. Is that bad news? Q: Do you like this track here?
Kimi Raikkonen: If I would not race I would not be here. It would be pointless to come here and be a tourist. Right now it looks promising, so let’s see how it goes tomorrow.
KR: As I said, let’s see how it goes tomorrow. It is not the first time that this occurs – and it will not be the last time. It is something that I’ve dealt with for quite some time and sometimes it gets bad, but most of the time not. I have been racing all these years and sometimes I have to deal with the pain – and the older you get the more you have to deal with such issues. But be assured, I can handle that.
KR: On Sunday it was largely fine – the real issue was on Saturday – so I would say that the race result was within our range of results when the tracks suit our car.
KR: It doesn’t matter. It is there and that’s it.
KR: Why should I give a comment?
KR: Well, everybody has his own view on things. That’s fine with me. Be sure that we work the same amount, but our car is not as fast as theirs so even with the same amount of work we do not achieve the same result.
Q: You had great speed in Singapore. Do you think you can beat Red Bull this weekend?
KR: We’ve beaten them before and hopefully there will be another chance to beat them later in the year. Sure, they’ve been pretty strong in the last couple of races, but be sure that we will not lessen in our efforts to beat them again.
Q: What’s your target for the remaining races of the season? Sounds like you are looking for wins…
KR: The target is the same as before: we try to do as good as we can and hopefully this will put us in the position to finish on the podium. Sure, I fight for wins.
KR: It does not change anything for this season, so will not change anything for me. It’s all made up by the media. If there are still new parts coming for this year’s car then I am sure the team will give us both the same treatment. There is no point for the team not to give us both the fastest car that is possible. It is all about getting the maximum for the team.
Q: But how is your motivation for these three sets of back-to-back races, in the light of your departure from Lotus?
KR: I always try my best and the championship is not decided yet, so before that I will not sit back and do nothing.
KR: Yes, even though it’s only my second try. But we’ve done well in the last race, so it hopefully also looks promising here.
Q: Kimi, how is the situation with your back? Are you going to race this weekend?
Q: Are you getting any treatment?
Q: How would you rate your drive in Singapore – and your result – given your back issues?
Q: Have you done some training in between Singapore and Korea?
Q: Does the back issue date back to your time with McLaren?
Q: Sebastian (Vettel) gave an explanation for his and Red Bull’s success in Singapore, saying that while others are already in leisure mode, hanging at the pool, he and his guys are still working on the car. Can you give a comment on that?
Q: But what it says is that probably other drivers and teams are a bit lazy…
Q: With you leaving Lotus for 2014, it will mean that you are less involved in the development of the car. Is that bad news?
Q: Do you like this track here?
Insider talk: Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari
NBC Sports broadcaster Leigh Diffey speaks to two of Kimi Raikkonen’s closest confidants in racing about the 2007 World Champion’s return to Ferrari – and his prospects alongside Scuderia incumbent Fernando Alonso.
We all know how hard it is to keep a secret in motorsport, right? “So, this is just between you, me and the gatepost…” (Yeah, sure it is.)
Well, if you need to tell someone something off the record, your information is safe with Mika Salo. The Finn, who competed in 109 Formula 1 grands prix, has won at Le Mans in a Ferrari and is now an F1 broadcaster, has known about Kimi Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari for months. The reason for this? My NBC Sports colleague Steve Matchett and I have a theory that this deal went down after Alonso’s blow-up with the team prior to the summer break in July.
Yet as Salo recalls, “When Kimi first told me, I didn’t believe him. Frankly, I thought he was BS-ing me. He does that kind of thing to me all the time; I never know whether it’s true or not.”
Now, if there’s someone who knows a thing or two about politics in the sport of Formula 1, it’s Salo. While substituting for the injured Michael Schumacher at the 1999 German Grand Prix, Mika was headed for his first F1 victory until he got a Massa/Alonso-type radio call and was forced to succumb to team orders and give the win to Ferrari teammate Eddie Irvine (RIGHT).
Salo has also been aware for a long time the frustration Raikkonen has felt regarding finances with current employer, Lotus. Paying for his own flights and other bits and pieces made it an easy decision for the 2007 World Champion to leave, says Salo. And once he believed Raikkonen’s move was for real, Salo became genuinely excited. “I thought, ‘This is great! It’s amazing to have two drivers of this caliber in the one team.’
But what of the question we’re all asking – how well is this “superteam” going to function?
“It will work fine,” says Salo, “and anything that has to be decided will be decided on the track. Kimi is not a politician, he’s a racer – he’s not interested in all that crap involved in going behind people’s backs, etc.
“It will be fascinating to see who cracks first! Neither driver is a particularly good qualifier, but they are both exceptionally good racers. They will push each other to the limit and, in Formula 1, someone always cracks.”
Salo (LEFT) has seen a significant change in his friend since his return to Formula 1 for the 2012 season, observing that Kimi v2.0 is grown up and more serious. “He’s definitely matured. He heads home after the majority of the races these days; he’s not hanging around and partying after every grand prix. I’m not saying he’s settled down entirely but he’s 100 percent into racing at the moment and it’s good to see.”
Personally and professionally, Salo has thoroughly enjoyed Raikkonen’s return to the F1 grid, and has some definite thoughts on his compatriot’s re-entry to grand prix racing following his two-year foray in rallying.
“He’s not returned a better driver because F1 is just so different these days. There’s more to it than just flat-out driving and raw speed. You have to be so good at managing your lap time to manage your tires and that’s what Kimi is a master at. His tire management is fantastic and that’s one of the reasons he was able to finish on the podium in Singapore after starting from 13th.”
One guy who shares Salo’s enthusiasm for the Alonso-Raikkonen combo at Ferrari is Rhys Edwards. Rhys worked in F1 at Renault (now Lotus F1) before being headhunted by Ferrari (he laid the path for Kimi to follow!). As PR officer, he thus handled Fernando Alonso at Renault and then Raikkonen at Ferrari.
“I’m thrilled at the prospect of seeing these two together, but intrigued as to how the balance will work," he related. "In my mind, the first one to have a problem with it won’t be Kimi. I’m thinking it’ll be more likely Fernando.”
As someone who worked incredibly diligently to gain Raikkonen’s trust and become a valued member of Kimi’s inner circle, Edwards sheds an interesting light on the Finn’s departure from the Scuderia at the end of 2009 to make way for Alonso.
“Everyone thinks it was bloodshed and ugly and in fact it was anything but. Kimi works in two ways: he’s either in your face with absolute honesty as to how he feels or he just switches off. So with that being said, he just went on his way.”
It seems the common thread here is that Raikkonen is slowly peeling away the James Hunt-style party-boy persona and is now solely focused on winning another World Championship.
“I agree with Mika in regards to Kimi’s maturity,” adds Edwards. “We are still very close and I texted him to say that I would be in Monza this year. I asked him to stick around after the race for the Alpinestars 50th anniversary party and he declined. He said he just wanted to be at home.”
Edwards’ professional role these days (and has been for many years) is with Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) in MotoGP. He was two-time World Champion Casey Stoner’s PR man and now handles the Super Kid, Marc Marquez.
“Kimi reminds me a lot of Casey and vice versa – they’re both speed freaks, they need to get their hit. Kimi’s time away was really important for him to clear his head and he came back better, in my opinion. Knowing him the way I do, there’s only one reason why he’s doing what he’s doing – he wants to be a multi-time World Champion. That’s how the guy ticks.”
The intriguing, insular “Iceman” has always been a headline maker, and it’s evident this trait will continue. And according to these two gentlemen who have a rare place in Kimi’s trust, his incredible ability in a racecar isn’t about to leave him anytime soon, either.
Räikkönen will end his career in Ferrari
Seven years ago Kimi Räikkönen told Turun Sanomat that he will end his F1-career in Ferrari. His first contract with Ferrari had just been announced.
Now we talk about the same matter on Singapore paddock.
Do you go back to Ferrari to end your career there?
– Probably yes – although nobody ever knows about these things. I don’t think that I will make a new contract no matter what happens in the future. I start to be of that age, Räikkönen.
Four years ago Ferrari paid Räikkönen out. If you would had raced in 2010, would that had been your last F1-season?
– It’s difficult to say, but 2009 could as well had been my last season.
– A couple years ago I wanted to put myself in a direction where I can fight for the WDC for real. That was the main reason for the 2-year contract with Lotus. Back then many didn’t believe that we would make it at all.
– I am grateful to Lotus for getting the opportunity to come back with them. I wanted to drive for the WDC with them too. Last year and this season we got close, but it just didn’t happen when a few bad races ruined my chances.
– Ferrari has big resources and the ability to build good cars and good engnes. Since it’s impossible to say who makes it best with next year’s new regulations, it’s best to be in a place with best budgets.
Will it help you when James Allison and Dirk de Beer also moved to Ferrari from Lotus?
– I’m sure it will also benefit me, but the biggest advantage comes from them being really good people who can definitely build good cars. I would see it as a huge thing for the whole team.
Ferrari’s wish decided the switch
Once the big move has now been made, how relieved are you?
– It doesn’t change my feelings one way or another. It was an easy decision. I know the team and I know the people.
Steve Robertson said yesterday to TS that Räikkönen had deemed Ferrari as a good place after meeting their representatives.
– I can’t deny that it gave me a good feeling. They showed that they really want me. I know what I get from there and how the team works. Those are the most important factors in this decision.
– I also know that they are happy to have me back. The last time we raced together in 2009 we didn’t have the strongest car, but we still got results with it. That made me happy.
Then what about having Fernando Alonso as your teammate?
– It doesn’t change anything in racing itself. Now we both have exactly same cars for the first time. We both strive for the same big thing, but I don’t believe that it will cause any problems. I think both of us are old enough to work through conflicts, should they appear at some point.
– Others seem to be most concerned about it. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but most stories are made up by someone who has never worked in the team, he says something and others cling on to it.
– We both have to do our job as well as possible. After that we see who is ahead. The biggest challenge for the team is to build a strong car, which both of us start to make more competitive together.
You have raced with Alonso ever since karting. Is there any grudge between the two of you?
– I can’t remember that there would ever had been anything. And if there has been then we have talked it through immediately.
Alonso is your most fierce teammate since Juan Pablo Montoya. Which one is tougher?
– They can’t be compared. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t have the energy to speculate over those kind of things since it leads nowhere.
Is your contract giving you the same conditions as Alonso?
– From what I understand, yes.
Then what about Alonso’s political side?
– I don’t know if he is political or not. I don’t care about politics myself and I don’t know how it’s done. We win together as a team. That’s what is most important for everyone.
Your opinion about Alonso
– He is a double WDC, a very good driver. I only know him from the track, but I believe that we both benefit when we push each other and develop the car together, Räikkönen said.
Turun Sanomat, Singapore
People in Maranello were happy to hear about Räikkönen coming back
– There is a very positive atmosphere in Maranello after the Kimi-news. As a matter of fact the team was very sorry four years ago when we learned Kimi was leaving Ferrari, Andrea Stella tells Turun Sanomat.
– Kimi left a really strong picture of his driving in endseason 2009. He gave us a long chain of podiums, even one victory although we knew how limited the resources of that year’s car offered him.
– Kimi is very much welcomed back to the team, Stella emphasizes.
Stella will most probably continue as Alonso’s race engineer, becasue Räikkönen’s plan is to bring his long-time trusted man Mark Slade to Ferrari.
Rob Smedley has negotiated with Williams.
Massa again is promised a wide sponsor-package which will help him fill the seat in Lotus. However the main candidate for the seat is Nico Hülkenberg.
Turun Sanomat, Singapore
Kimi Raikkonen interview
In the days before his Ferrari return was confirmed, Sky Sports Online sat down with the man-of-the-moment at Monza to talk 2014, his relationship with Luca di Montezemolo, his time at Lotus and his allure for ’70s-style F1
One question loomed large over the Monza paddock last weekend, before reaching critical mass earlier this week: will Kimi Raikkonen return to Ferrari next season? Now we have our answer.
"I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years," Raikkonen said on Wednesday. "I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the World Championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable."
Effusive stuff. Six days earlier came this slightly more muted response, when Sky Sports Online sat down with Raikkonen at the Italian Grand Prix.
"I don’t know. We’ll see, once I know what will happen. I’m not going to answer anything because you ask the same questions in ten different ways. You’ll not get anything."
Not that we were expecting anything from Raikkonen – particularly on this subject. Getting anything out of Kimi is hard enough at the best of times and yet reporters persist; not only because he’s a former World Champion and one of the pre-eminent drivers of the age but also because, every so often, he comes up with something special.
It might just be a few words, but it’s invariably something no other driver would say. And it’s often very funny. It also helps explain why he’s one of F1′s most popular drivers – if not the most popular. Raikkonen’s vexed radio messages as he sped to victory in last year’s Abu Dhabi GP, not to mention the discussion of his bowel movements with Martin Brundle on the grid at Interlagos in 2006, aren’t the half of it: YouTube tributes give testament to the appeal of that deadpan, dazed delivery.
Those are the pearls but in order to find them, you have to sift through an awful lot of grit. "I don’t know"; "It’s difficult to say"; "We’ll have to wait and see"; "It is what it is" – all stock phrases Raikkonen uses when deflecting questions, both pointed and prosaic. Sometimes there’s a flash of irritation; more usually questions he doesn’t care for are cut short by a weary croak of distress, a bit like a sheep that’s snagged itself on a barbed-wire fence.
We’ve been hearing it even more than usual this summer but Raikkonen was rather more genial when asked about the swirl of speculation that ‘silly season’ whips up, chuckling at the guessing game surrounding his future. "Obviously I see it if I read some newspapers, because every day is a different story. But it’s normal in Formula 1 – people try to guess and as long as they guess enough different choices then one of those will be the right one," he said.
"Every year at more or less the same time it’s the same thing. It’s just different drivers and different teams. I don’t why people make so much effort because, for sure, in the end when somebody knows what they’re doing, they will tell and it’s as simple as that."
That end has now been reached, with Raikkonen committing himself to a two-year contract as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate. The pair passed each other in Maranello’s revolving door four years ago, when the Scuderia paid off Raikkonen’s contract (at that time one of the most lucrative in sport) to make way for the Spanish double World Champion.
Of course, his return triggers all manner of expectation – not to mention the possibility of intrigue. This is Ferrari after all, although according to Raikkonen, rumours of a rift with the marque’s excitable President Luca di Montezemolo stretching back to 2009 are wide of the mark. "I’ve never had a problem with him. For sure I’ve had arguments with many people and not just with him but with some other team bosses also. There’s always a lot of rumours about different things I’ve done. But people write and they have no idea what’s going on inside the team."
It was Montezemolo who used the metaphor "two roosters in the same hen-house" to describe precisely the team dynamic Ferrari didn’t want; yet it’s one they now appear wilfully destined to have created – unless, that is, an older, wiser Alonso and the apolitical Raikkonen can co-exist without feathers flying.
Whether Maranello is big enough for the both of them remains to be seen but when the subject was broached with Raikkonen, the shutters slammed down again. "I don’t know. Go and ask them. I don’t do anything with them. I don’t decide; you’ll have to go and ask them. How can I answer some questions about some other team?"
Concerned we weren’t sure where to find Ferrari’s HQ in the Monza paddock, he pointed towards the throng camped outside it and added: "Go that way and ask."
Ferrari remain "some other team" for now as Raikkonen still has seven races left to run for Lotus. There’s no doubt the partnership has worked well since he returned to F1 at the start of 2012: two victories and 27 consecutive points finishes certainly constitutes a greater strike-rate than some had anticipated – if not the team themselves by the sounds of it.
"It’s so far been very nice, great people to work with and obviously we want to improve things. Since we’ve started working together, it’s been going well – probably what they expected for how the team has improved from the past years," Raikkonen said.
"But obviously it’s never enough and we want to do well. But they’ve been very good for me and hopefully I’ve been good for them."
Was that last sentence an indication that Raikkonen had already made his mind up? He was open about the financial straitjacket Lotus find themselves in – "Obviously you want your salary when you work" – and in delivering the line, "We’ve won races, two in two years" with an ironic laugh, he hinted that it isn’t enough. Such conjecture is now academic, although when it comes to making a decision, Kimi is an old enough hand to get his ducks in a row (as the Finns probably don’t say).
"I need to have things as I wish and I want. Otherwise there’s no real point to do some quick, silly decisions – that you’re not 100 per cent sure you want to do those things and get the things as you want," he said. "I’ve been long enough in the sport to know what I want and what should be right for me."
One thing he was quick to point out, however, is that a move anywhere represents a gamble – to Ferrari, or even to Red Bull, whom Raikkonen was linked with for most of the summer. "Nobody really knows with all the changes in the rules," he said. "You hear a lot of stories from different teams that they have so much more horsepower or they are so good with the new rules, but I don’t think we know it exactly until we get the new cars running and we get the first few tests done.
"You expect that the big teams will have more people and more money to do things. But we’ve seen in the past that big teams can get it wrong. I don’t know. I have no idea who will have the best car; I don’t think nobody does. Of course, you always expect your team to have the best car and it always looks the nicest car ever when they show it. But if it’s not fast then that’s another thing."
Further questions cover the Red Bull link – "I don’t know why people try to make a big story out of it because I think it was pretty obvious what would happen" – Sebastian Vettel – "He was good straightaway when he came into Formula 1. I think he did his first race at Sauber, or BMW, or whatever it was" – and Sergey Sirotkin, the 18-year-old Russian who Sauber are pushing towards a 2014 race seat.
Sirotkin’s presence in F1 is being questioned on account of his lack of experience and success to date but Raikkonen, who made his debut for Sauber in 2001 having previously contested just 23 car races, is open to the idea. "If you’re good enough then you’re not going to be any more dangerous than some other drivers out there," he said with a knowing smile. "Good for him if he gets the chance."
From F1′s future to its past and with the sport currently surfing a wave of nostalgia as the film ‘Rush’ gets its long-awaited release on Friday, there’s time to ask Raikkonen about that era. He’s hinted before at an affinity with how the sport was in the 1970s and practiced at Monaco last year wearing a replica of James Hunt’s crash helmet.
"For sure, Formula 1 was different. But if you look at any sport it was different because obviously there’s much more money involved in all the sports and the big companies behind it will always change the sport – sometimes in good ways and sometimes in not so good ways," he said.
"There was much more risk involved also in those days, so people probably lived in a different way – because they probably expected more things going wrong than happens these days. It just looked different. It looked more fun – not just for the drivers but I think for everybody. It was a bit more relaxed and a bit more open."
Raikkonen has not driven a car from that era but added: "It would be nice to try. Just to know how it feels – probably very nice. Just for interest, it would be nice to try.
"There were much more chances to get hurt badly or lose a friend or lose your life. But they took the chance and I’m sure even now if it would be similar – more dangerous like that – there would be people taking the chance.
"Everything has come forward in the sport, the safety. That’s how things always move."
As Raikkonen has shown, not everything – or rather everyone – moves forward all the time. How will his second stint at Ferrari work out alongside Alonso? We’ll have to wait and see.
Domenicali fra passato e futuro
Maranello, 11 settembre – Ore importanti quelle che stanno scorrendo oggi a Maranello. Ieri sera Felipe Massa ha twittato il suo addio alla Scuderia al termine di una storia lunga dodici anni, oggi a pranzo è stato ufficializzato il ritorno di un pilota, Kimi Raikkonen, che in Rosso ha scritto pagine indimenticabili nella storia della squadra più vincente della Formula 1. Abbiamo chiesto a Stefano Domenicali di spiegare in esclusiva per http://www.ferrari.com le ragioni di questa scelta.“Quando si cambia lo si fa sempre per cercare di migliorarsi ed è questo l’obiettivo che vogliamo raggiungere riportando a Maranello un pilota di grande esperienza, talento e determinazione come Kimi. Abbiamo iniziato da un paio d’anni un intenso programma di rinnovamento ad ogni livello – strutture, organizzazione, metodo di lavoro – e adesso abbiamo messo a posto un altro tassello, fondamentale, nel mosaico della Ferrari del futuro. Per la prima volta avremo una coppia di piloti formata da due campioni del mondo, già di per sé un segnale significativo, che sappiano puntare sempre alla vittoria e possano aiutarsi togliendo punti pesanti ai rivali diretti. Detto questo, sappiamo bene che, senza una vettura competitiva, nemmeno Superman può vincere: la nostra priorità quotidiana è sempre la stessa, mettere a disposizione dei nostri piloti una monoposto in grado di lottare sempre per il primato”.C’è chi dice che quello formato da Alonso e Raikkonen sia un Dream Team e chi, al contrario, afferma che due galli nello stesso pollaio non possono convivere. Cambierà qualcosa nella gestione della squadra e nel rapporto con il pilota spagnolo?“Non cambia assolutamente nulla nella gestione della squadra. Da che mondo è mondo i nostri piloti partono alla pari: è sempre stato così e sempre lo sarà. Poi, se durante la stagione si creano le condizioni perché un pilota aiuti l’altro in base alla classifica, è logico e giusto che ciò accada. E’ stato così in passato e lo sarà anche in futuro, come hanno dimostrato tutti i piloti che hanno guidato una Rossa. Lo era ai tempi di Fangio e Collins ed è stato così in tempi più recenti, come ad esempio fra Salo e Irvine, col finlandese che rinunciò all’unica possibile vittoria della sua carriera per aiutare il compagno di squadra, con lo stesso Raikkonen che fu aiutato da Felipe e poi ricambiò la cortesia, e proprio con Felipe e lo stesso Fernando. Quanto al Dream Team, non sono abituato a sognare ad occhi aperti, non fa parte del mio carattere. Dico soltanto che Fernando e Kimi insieme rappresentano il meglio che si possa avere oggi in Formula 1, in termini di talento, esperienza, competitività e capacità di indirizzare lo sviluppo della vettura. Quanto alla domanda avicola mi fa venire in mente quei tifosi di calcio che hanno paura della squadra avversaria perché ha tanti attaccanti forti e allora sperano che si litighino il pallone…. Si metta il cuore in pace chi spera in queste cose e chi crede che la scelta di Kimi sia stata fatta in funzione anti Alonso: alla Ferrari sanno tutti che viene sempre prima l’interesse della squadra e poi quello dei singoli. Fernando è un patrimonio fondamentale di questa squadra e lo sarà ancora a lungo: sono sicuro che lui è il primo ad essere felice di una scelta fatta nell’ottica di rafforzare il gruppo perché è talmente intelligente per non sapere che una squadra più forte può essere soltanto un vantaggio”.Altri luoghi comuni a proposito di Kimi riguardano le sue capacità di relazione in un mondo come quello della Formula 1 in cui la comunicazione è sempre più importante e le sue doti di indirizzo degli sviluppi tecnici di una vettura.“Ci sono dei cliché duri a morire! Abbiamo lavorato tre anni insieme a Kimi fra il 2007 e il 2009 e non abbiamo mai avuto un problema: certo, ognuno ha il suo modo di essere e non si può pretendere che un finlandese si metta a raccontare barzellette in italiano o faccia il saltimbanco! Onestamente penso che la combinazione fra una capacità espressiva latina e passionale come quella di Fernando e uno stile cool, come va di moda dire, che tanto sembra piacere anche ai più giovani come quello di Kimi sia molto forte e su questo sono d’accordo anche i nostri partner. Quanto al discorso più tecnico, non soltanto sappiamo bene il valore del contributo che ci può dare Kimi in un momento così importante come questo, con un quadro tecnico che cambia in maniera così rilevante, ma abbiamo anche avuto informazioni di prima mano da James Allison su quanto sia cresciuto anche su questo fronte il pilota finlandese negli ultimi due anni”.Si chiude un’era lunga dodici anni, quella di Felipe in Ferrari. Puoi raccontarci com’è andato il rapporto con lui in questi ultimi mesi?“All’inizio dell’estate c’eravamo incontrati per fare il punto e gli avevo ribadito che il suo rinnovo era una delle opzioni sul tavolo, forse anche la più concreta. Poi c’è stata una serie di gare difficili, per lui e per la squadra, e alla fine ci siamo resi conto che la scelta migliore, per entrambi, era cambiare. Credo che anche per Felipe sia giunto il momento di guardare fuori da quella che è stata la sua casa per dodici anni e che, in un certo senso, lo resterà sempre. Vedete, ho visto Felipe arrivare a Maranello che era ancora un ragazzino e lo vedrò andar via da uomo maturo. Insieme abbiamo vissuto dei momenti belli ed altri drammatici che hanno reso il rapporto personale fra noi speciale. Ovvio che il rammarico più grande è quello di non averlo visto diventare campione del mondo nel 2008: quel giorno ma anche quell’anno accaddero episodi incredibili che giocarono contro di lui. La lezione di dignità sportiva che seppe dare al mondo quel giorno sul podio di Interlagos ma anche la maturità con cui mi ha parlato ieri sera rimarranno sempre nel mio personale album dei ricordi. Sono orgoglioso di averlo avuto nella nostra squadra per tanti anni e sono sicuro che saprà togliersi delle belle soddisfazioni anche lontano da Maranello”.
11 settembre 2013 – Dalla Lotus alla Ferrari: Davide Valsecchi, già campione del mondo GP2, terza guida del Team Lotus Formula 1, racconta il compagno di squadra Kimi Raikkonen subito dopo l’annuncio dell’ingaggio del pilota finlandese alla Scuderia di Maranello per la stagione sportiva 2014.
Il team si aspettava la decisione di Raikkonen di lasciare la Lotus alla fine di questo campionato?
Lotus ha cercato in tutti i modi di trattenere Raikkonen anche per la prossima stagione e quindi penso che il team non sia particolarmente contento in questo momento nell’aver appreso la notizia dell’ingaggio con la Ferrari. Mi pare avessero tentato di offrirgli condizioni allettanti anche dal punto di vista economico, ma a quanto pare non c’è stato nulla da fare perchè la sensazione che Kimi avesse deciso di cambiare aria era apparsa abbastanza chiara.
Lotus perde con Kimi un punto di riferimento importante per la squadra…
E’ un gran peccato per la Lotus perchè Raikkonen ha dimostrato di essere uno dei migliori piloti in circolazione, quindi per noi è una perdita importante. Tutti sanno che è uno dei quattro migliori piloti del mondo. Però nelle corse può succedere di tutto, magari l’anno prossimo Gosjean farà una stagione formidabile e Raikkonen in Ferrari andrà in calo. Chissà…
Al Gran Premio d’Italia appena disputato, Raikkonen ha dimostrato ancora una volta le sue grandi doti di pilota…
A Monza dove avremmo dovuto soffrire, Raikkonen ha avuto un passo gara incredibile. Pur essendo attardato, trovandosi quasi ultimo, alla fine lo scarto da Vettel che ha vinto, è stato minimo, proprio perchè è sempre stato consistente giro dopo giro per tutta la corsa e così anche in tutto questo campionato. Kimi è bravissimo.
Chi potrebbe occupare nella prossima stagione Formula 1 il sedile lasciato vuoto da Raikkonen?
Io spero che il posto lasciato libero da Raikkonen venga occupato da un bravo pilota, con tanta voglia di emergere, di imporsi e di far valere le proprie qualità. Magari un italiano, un comasco, ex campione del mondo GP2…
Valsecchi: “Brava Ferrari, con Kimi hai fatto la scelta giusta”
La Ferrari ha sciolto le riserve. E’ Kimi Raikkonen l’uomo del domani per Maranello, il pilota che accompagnerà Fernando Alonso nell’operazione “rilancio” decisa dal presidente Montezemolo. Il Cavallino ne ha dato notizia poco fa con una nota sul proprio sito web. Il finlandese ha detto sì a un contratto di due anni. Nei prossimi giorni, verranno resi noti i dettagli del “patto di ferro” che punta a stravolgere gli equilibri fuori e dentro la pista della Formula 1 degli anni a venire. Hanno già salutato il suo ritorno in rosso Stefano Domenicali, il direttore della gestione sportiva della casa modenese, e Fernando Alonso, il suo nuovo compagno di squadra. E’ cominciata l’era del “dream team”, della lotta senza quartiere tra la Ferrari dei due campioni del mondo contro la Red Bull dell’extraterrestre Vettel e del suo nuovo alleato Daniel Ricciardo. Si cambia. Perché altro non si poteva fare.
Per Davide Valsecchi, terza guida della Lotus e campione del mondo Gp2 nel 2012, la Ferrari ha fatto la scelta giusta. Ha spiegato il pilota italiano a panorama.it: “Considerando che Kimi è stato l’ultimo pilota a vincere il mondiale con la Ferrari e che Massa sembrava ormai alla fine di un ciclo, sì, credo che sia stata la scelta migliore possibile. Per puntare forte al campionato del prossimo anno, per vincere subito. Con Kimi, partono sicuramente tra i favoriti per la conquista del titolo costruttori. Per la classifica piloti, invece, è un’altra storia”.
Perché è considerato uno dei migliori piloti di sempre della Formula 1? Cos’ha Kimi che gli altri non hanno?
“La sensazione che ho io guardandolo lavorare da vicino è che sia un uomo incredibilmente talentuoso. Per me, in fatto di talento, è il migliore della Formula 1 di oggi. Lui e Hamilton sopra tutti. Poi, ci sono anche Vettel e Alonso, certo”.
Cosa ci può dire del Raikkonen dietro le quinte? E’ davvero così intrattabile come sembra, oppure con i tecnici del suo team è capace di fare gruppo e di lavorare in sintonia?
“Soltanto chi non lo conosce dice che Kimi è intrattabile. La verità è che tutti i meccanici e gli ingegneri del team lo amano. I cuochi e la gente del marketing, invece, un po’ meno. Ma lui è così. E’ il suo modo di fare. Parla e si relaziona solo con chi gli interessa, con chi lo fa andare forte in pista. Di tutti gli altri se ne frega”.
Il vostro rapporto?
“Normalissimo. Ha un rapporto un po’ più difficile con Grosjean. Forse perché io non lo impensierisco più di tanto. Con i suoi compagni di squadra è vero, è un po’ particolare. Lui fa i cavoli suoi, il suo lavoro e degli altri se ne frega un po’. Sì, lui e Grosjean non hanno un grande rapporto, questa è la verità”.
A Maranello, Kimi dovrà convivere con Alonso. Per Briatore, che li conosce bene entrambi, i due piloti troveranno certo il modo di non pestarsi i piedi a vicenda. Lo crede anche lei?
“Quando si hanno due piloti forti nello stesso team, lo dice la storia della Formula 1, c’è sempre stato qualche problema. In pista, si è vista spesso una battaglia fuori dalla riga o uno sgarbo inatteso tra due compagni di squadra. Non sarà diverso in Ferrari tra Raikkonen e Alonso. Sono due piloti vincenti e sarà difficile sul finale di stagione convincere uno di lasciar passare l’altro e cose del genere. A mio giudizio, Raikkonen ritorna alla Ferrari perché a Maranello hanno intenzione di vincere il campionato. Poi, se lo vince uno o lo vince l’altro, amen, poco importa. L’importante è vincere. Per questo, i due piloti partiranno allo stesso livello. Chi arriverà secondo, si dovrà accontentare”.
Per otto anni, Felipe Massa è stato il pilota “bandiera” della Ferrari, sempre pronto a seguire le direttive della scuderia, sempre disponibile a fare il lavoro sporco quando era necessario. Quanto mancherà alla Ferrari un signor sì come lui?
“Difficile rispondere. Posso dire però che la coppia Alonso-Raikkonen è da sogno e che tutti i team vorrebbero essere ora al posto della Ferrari. Anche se non dovessero andare sempre d’accordo, sono sicuro che porteranno comunque a casa i punti necessari per rilanciare a Maranello nel mondiale costruttori. Ed è quello che alla fine conta più di tutto”.
Alonso anni 32, Raikkonen anni 34. Dica la verità, al prossimo giro spera di essere tra i piloti che saranno presi in considerazione dalla Ferrari per iniziare un nuovo ciclo.
(risata) “Un passo per volta. Alla Ferrari ci sono sempre andati i campioni ed è giusto che sia così. Ora devo pensare a guadagnarmi un posto da titolare in F1. Quando ce l’avrò fatta, farò del mio meglio per arrivare un giorno a giocarmi un posto a Maranello. Ho la fortuna di avere i risultati dalla mia, ma in questa F1 non è sufficiente”.
Via Raikkonen, la Lotus non le ha ancora proposto di diventare titolare al fianco di Grosjean?
“Magari fosse successo. No, non ne abbiamo ancora parlato. Lo spero, certo. E’ possibile invece che decidano di dare spazio a un pilota che ha più esperienza di me e che magari porta con sé il denaro dello sponsor. Penso a Maldonado, per esempio. Oggi come oggi, ho molte meno possibilità di tanti altri. Chissà, magari un giorno ci arriverò anch’io in F1. Mai dire mai”.
Exclusive interview with Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen
Having gone into F1’s summer break second in the points, Kimi Raikkonen has since slipped back to fourth following his first retirement of the season in Belgium. Unfortunately for the Finn, things don’t seem to have improved in Italy as he was only able to qualify his Lotus in 11th place. After qualifying we spoke to him about his hopes for the rest of the season – and which team he might be driving for in 2014…
Q: Kimi, what was that this afternoon? Out in Q2 is not your usual style… Q: So where did the speed go? You’ve had speed at quite a number of races so far. How has it suddenly disappeared? Q: What have you made of Red Bull’s decision not to sign you but to sign Daniel Ricciardo? Q: But you could have imagined driving for Red Bull Racing? Q: In the Monza paddock a lot of people are saying that you’ve already signed for Ferrari. But why would Ferrari go for a headache driver line-up? Q: So how do you layout your future? You must have a plan for 2014… Q: Could you really imagine another Ferrari adventure? At least you’ve managed to do what Alonso is still attempting to do: to win the title for Ferrari… Q: When will that be? Q: A driver line-up of Alonso and Raikkonen would definitely add to the excitement of a season, both in and outside the car. But why would Alonso nod through having you as his team mate? Q: Could you imagine racing alongside him? Him joining meant you moving out… Q: What about staying with Lotus? Could that be an option? Q: Red Bull Racing is settled with their driver line-up. But all the other teams that have to fill vacancies appear to be waiting for your decision. And you keep them hanging on… Q: Spa was not your typical race. How much anger was there having to stop after 25 laps? Q: Was it a one-off unlucky or will that haunt you for the next races? Q: So what do you believe in? Material fatigue? Q: Money will be a key factor for teams in 2014 to successfully drive through the massive technical changes. Is there a fear of underfunding that makes you look around? Q: Stefano Dominicali said recently that we will likely be surprised by the 2014 pecking order; that what we see today can be irrelevant next year and that a number of people will be betting on the wrong horse. Will you be among them? Q: The saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You’ll be the oldest driver on the grid in 2014… Q: What does Monza mean for you? Q: Needing a fast car in the race: how are your chances of having that tomorrow? Q: Two races ago you were a hot contender for the title. Now you’ve dropped out of the picture a bit. Will you be at the FIA prize-giving this year? Q: But you must know from Lotus’s development speed how the season will develop for you… Q: Is there a strategic streak within Kimi RaikRaikkonen? That a win is not always everything, but a strategic result can make your day? Q: Where do you hope to be scoring the big points again – those that get you sharply back on the title contender list? Q: What would be a good afternoon for you tomorrow?
Kimi Raikkonen: That has nothing to do with style. We simply didn’t have the speed this afternoon on this track. That’s it.
KR: These low downforce circuits are a killer. It wasn’t easy for us last year and obviously the history repeats itself.
KR: The decision had nothing to do with me so why should I waste another thought on it.
KR: We did talk to them, but obviously they wanted something else. It’s fine with me. And anyway it was their decision.
KR: Ha, some days ago the same people were one hundred percent sure that I’d signed for Red Bull! So much to that. (laughs)
KR: There is nothing certain. When I know I will let everybody know.
KR: I had a good time at Ferrari and only the end went a different way – but that’s how things sometimes go. No hard feelings. And time will tell what I am doing next year.
KR: When I have a contract.
KR: Go ask him! But I don’t think that he is the one to decide who is racing for Ferrari.
KR: I don’t have a problem with anybody.
KR: For sure. We had a good year last year and a pretty good 2013. Okay, today was not ideal, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are pretty okay together. We have certain issues and they have to fix them and they can have a good next year.
KR: I do my stuff and when people connect theirs to mine that’s not my problem.
KR: Yeah, I like Spa. But we weren’t as strong as I would have liked to have been. It’s a bit the same story here. The speed in the race was fine – but then we had that brake issue. It was a bit unlucky.
KR: Ah, actually I don’t believe in luck…
KR: It just happened.
KR: For sure if you have more money your chances of doing things and hiring people are higher. It always helps to have a comfortable financial cushion. It is actually a key factor in Formula One. But resources alone will not be enough in 2014 with these massive changes. Everybody starts from zero but to drive through that it helps if you have more money like the big teams do.
KR: Nobody knows what is going on next year. At the first test – when everybody will have their car running – then we will know more. Then we will have some sort of evidence. But here again I think that the bigger teams have bigger chances of getting it right.
KR: Racing is still the same. And we constantly come up with new things so that will not be an issue.
KR: It’s a nice place with a huge load of history. But you need a good car here because of the low downforce and the kerbs. On top of that, it is the closest race to my home and that makes it pleasant.
KR: So far we’ve always done better in the races. We are not so fast here, but I am sure we can do much better than today.
KR: I will know after the last race if I need a black suit.
KR: What I can say is that after this race the circuits should suit us better – and hope is on the horizon again. But right now it is a fact that if you fail to do well in a race you drop down in the standings significantly, so let’s see. We are aiming for wins – that’s it.
KR: For sure I want to win – but I also take what I can! So there is that strategic streak! (laughs)
KR: When we go back to the tracks with a normal downforce level. Then we should be okay again.
KR: When I deliver a good race.
Q: Kimi, what was that this afternoon? Out in Q2 is not your usual style…
Q: So where did the speed go? You’ve had speed at quite a number of races so far. How has it suddenly disappeared?
Q: What have you made of Red Bull’s decision not to sign you but to sign Daniel Ricciardo?
Q: But you could have imagined driving for Red Bull Racing?
Q: In the Monza paddock a lot of people are saying that you’ve already signed for Ferrari. But why would Ferrari go for a headache driver line-up?
Q: So how do you layout your future? You must have a plan for 2014…
Q: Could you really imagine another Ferrari adventure? At least you’ve managed to do what Alonso is still attempting to do: to win the title for Ferrari…
Q: When will that be?
Q: A driver line-up of Alonso and Raikkonen would definitely add to the excitement of a season, both in and outside the car. But why would Alonso nod through having you as his team mate?
Q: Could you imagine racing alongside him? Him joining meant you moving out…
Q: What about staying with Lotus? Could that be an option?
Q: Red Bull Racing is settled with their driver line-up. But all the other teams that have to fill vacancies appear to be waiting for your decision. And you keep them hanging on…
Q: Spa was not your typical race. How much anger was there having to stop after 25 laps?
Q: Was it a one-off unlucky or will that haunt you for the next races?
Q: So what do you believe in? Material fatigue?
Q: Money will be a key factor for teams in 2014 to successfully drive through the massive technical changes. Is there a fear of underfunding that makes you look around?
Q: Stefano Dominicali said recently that we will likely be surprised by the 2014 pecking order; that what we see today can be irrelevant next year and that a number of people will be betting on the wrong horse. Will you be among them?
Q: The saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You’ll be the oldest driver on the grid in 2014…
Q: What does Monza mean for you?
Q: Needing a fast car in the race: how are your chances of having that tomorrow?
Q: Two races ago you were a hot contender for the title. Now you’ve dropped out of the picture a bit. Will you be at the FIA prize-giving this year?
Q: But you must know from Lotus’s development speed how the season will develop for you…
Q: Is there a strategic streak within Kimi RaikRaikkonen? That a win is not always everything, but a strategic result can make your day?
Q: Where do you hope to be scoring the big points again – those that get you sharply back on the title contender list?
Q: What would be a good afternoon for you tomorrow?
Raikkonen: «Interpreto gare e vita a modo mio. Credo sia questo che piace oggi ai miei tifosi»
Alla vigilia del GP di Monza 2013 abbiamo intervistato il pilota della Lotus nel contesto dell’apertura di una nuova concessionaria della Casa di Hethel nella città lombarda. Ecco cosa ci ha detto
Monza – A poche ore dal via del GP di Monza, nel contesto dell’apertura ufficiale di una nuova concessionaria Lotus nei pressi dell’autodromo, abbiamo scambiato alcune battute con Kimi Raikkonen, uno dei piloti più al centro dell’attenzione per questioni di mercato oltre che per questioni di classifica mondiale che non lo vedono ancora tagliato fuori dalla lotta per il titolo 2013.
Cosa ti aspetti da Monza 2013?
«Cercherò di fare meglio dell’anno scorso, stiamo migliorando un pochino. L’anno scorso abbiamo avuto qualche problema, ma abbiamo sempre lavorato per migliorare i nostri punti deboli. Il nostro obiettivo è naturalmente lottare per vincere gare e campionati, ma sappiamo di non essere competitivi come altri team, per cui dobbiamo essere realisti. E’ frustrante per me e per il team non poter fare di più, non poter vincere più gare, ma in generale non credo che stiamo facendo male, e possiamo solo concentrarci per migliorare. Sappiamo di non essere i favoriti sulle piste dove si viaggia scarichi di aerodinamica, ma aspettiamo di scendere in pista per capire come siamo messi. Credo che sarà più facile, che saremo più competitivi della scorsa stagione qui.»
Che condizione non vorresti per questa corsa?
«Probabilmente l’area in cui soffriamo di più è in condizioni di umido, non riusciamo ad essere veloci come vorremmo per mancanza di grip, o pressione aerodinamica, o quello che è. Ma credo che la nostra vettura non abbia un problema ben definito in qualche area specifica, è solo che dobbiamo migliorare tutto un pochino per essere più veloci.»
Qualche strategia particolare?
«No, dipenderà tutto da come vanno le prove venerdì e sabato. Posso solo puntare a salire sul podio, poi vedremo come andrà.»
Cosa pensi della macchina del prossimo anno? E Lotus è soddisfatta?
(Ride) «Sarà una grande sfida per tutti. Ci sono tante nuove tecnologie che interessano molto le Case costruttrici, ecco perché tanti stanno per entrare in F1. Credo che toccherà a loro sviluppare queste tecnologie, poi toccherà a noi integrarle nella nuova macchina. Dopo sette anni senza cambiamenti drastici nel regolamento tecnico siamo ad un punto di svolta, e uno degli aspetti più critici è per i motoristi, che devono lavorare in equilibrio fra le risorse investite per quest’anno e per il 2014. Credo che il nuovo regolamento sia interessante e che sia positivo sia per i tecnici che per lo sport. Purtroppo è anche qualcosa di molto costoso e che dovremo gestire di conseguenza.»
E cosa pensi del prossimo anno? Chi saranno i favoriti?
«E’ difficile da dire. Visto il cambio di regolamento è impossibile prevedere chi sarà veloce e chi no. Sicuramente sarà molto più facile tanto fare una gran macchina quanto sbagliarla completamente. Ci sarà più differenza fra i vari team, che adesso sono molto vicini l’uno all’altro.»
Quanto conta la motivazione per un pilota di F1? Si parla molto di un top driver in lizza per il mondiale 2013 (Alonso) in pensiero di abbandonare la F1 per prendersi una pausa. Tu che quella pausa dalla F1 l’hai fatta nel 2009. Era una questione di motivazioni?
«Quella del 2009 per me non è stata una mancanza di motivazione. Non l’ho mai detto, è stata una cosa che mi è stata attribuita dalla stampa ma non era così. Sono successe tante cose e sono finito a fare felicemente dell’altro. Non ho mai smesso di divertirmi, mai persa la passione per le gare. Purtroppo in Formula 1 ci sono tanti aspetti che non hanno niente a che vedere con le gare e ho finito per fare altro. Felice di averlo fatto. Per quanto riguarda gli altri piloti bisognerebbe chiederlo a loro.»
Cosa hai provato nel 2007 alla conquista del titolo iridato?
«Ovviamente ero felice. Era un traguardo che ho sempre sognato di raggiungere, e negli ultimi giri dell’ultima gara, quando ho sentito che tutto stava andando come doveva, ho continuato a dare il massimo. Ero felicissimo, tutti eravamo felicissimi, non so bene come spiegare le emozioni che ho provato.»
Sei ancora affamato come allora?
«Beh, sicuramente qualcosa cambia. Quando vinci un titolo la soddisfazione dura poco, ne vuoi vincere subito un altro, però la pressione è minore, non ti senti più obbligato a farlo. Lavori per tornare a vincere, la determinazione è la stessa, ma sai che se non ci dovessi riuscire non sarà qualcosa che ti perseguiterà per il resto della tua vita. Quindi corro divertendomi forse di più. Non che sia facile farlo a questi livelli, però è psicologicamente più facile.»
Sei tornato in F1 e si è accesa una nuova passione nei tuoi confronti. Forse anche più forte di quando eri in Ferrari. Che ne pensi?
"E’ bello avere dei tifosi…sicuramente più bello averne che non averne. Io sono sempre in pista per provare a vincere la gara, a fare il meglio che posso, e credo che i fan lo apprezzino. Certo, quando si fa bene è naturale avere più fan di quando si fanno risultati più scarsi, però io interpreto le gare e la mia vita a modo mio, e credo che ai tifosi piaccia questo mio aspetto. Non corro per cercare il consenso degli altri, non sono qui per farmi amare dal pubblico, ma è comunque bello avere tanti fan che ti supportano.»