GP Giappone, commenti post libere–11/10/2013
Japanese GP: Raikkonen upbeat about Lotus gains after F1 practice
Kimi Raikkonen says is more upbeat about the performance of his Lotus in Japan than he has been for the last few races.
Despite a spin early in second free practice, Raikkonen reckons he has made progress with extracting single-lap speed from his car.
However, his Lotus team admits that it must make improvements to how it handles the harder of the two available tyres in the race if it is to repeat the strong form it showed in Korea.
Raikkonen said: "It has been better, more to my liking today, than it has been for the last few races, especially on one lap.
"That is a good thing, but tomorrow is a new day and it might be a completely different story. We have to wait and see, but it was not too bad."
Raikkonen said his spin into the gravel trap was down to pushing too much and getting caught out by the tricky windy conditions that affected the day’s running.
"It happens sometimes," he explained. "It was quite windy today, so I think it didn’t help.
"It has been a bit tricky the whole day, but I pushed just a bit too much and spun. No damage or anything. I just didn’t do as many laps as we wanted but it is not a big deal."
Both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean admitted that while the car was good on the medium tyre, it was not as comfortable on the harder compound.
Grosjean said: "It was not an easy one to be honest. It is hard to get the tyres to work properly and get the car into the window.
"It was very windy as well. It is a high speed track, but it was much better on medium tyres than on the hard, and we worked from there.
"There are some things we want to try to test and tune a little bit to make the car get better and hopefully it will pay more tomorrow morning."
Kimi Raikkonen: new engineer for 2014 Ferrari F1 switch no concern
Kimi Raikkonen has no concerns that long-time Formula 1 engineering ally Mark Slade may not be following him to Ferrari next season.
The Finn formed a close bond with Slade during his spell at McLaren, and was instrumental in getting Lotus to hire him when he returned to F1 at the start of last season.
Although some consideration had been given for Slade to follow Raikkonen to Ferrari, it is now looking likely that his new Maranello bosses will use someone from their current talent pool to work with Raikkonen instead.
Despite admitting that Slade’s presence at Lotus had been important for getting him back up to speed in F1, he says that not having him at Ferrari will not be a problem.
"I enjoy working with him and we have been achieving good results with him," explained Raikkonen.
"But I know the people from Ferrari, and I achieved good results there.
"For me, it was important to have him here [at Lotus] when I came because he was in the team, he knew the team and I know him.
"It made my life easier and I could get into the team slightly easier, which is why I wanted him here to work with me.
"It has been a good two years but we see what happens next year."
Raikkonen was initially engineered by Chris Dyer when he joined Ferrari in 2007, before Alonso’s current engineer Andrea Stella took over in 2009.
Stella has formed a strong partnership with Fernando Alonso since then, and there appears little reason to break them up.
Kimi Not in a Spin Over Spinning Start to Japan Weekend
A good feeling with the car, but an early return to garage after an FP2 spin left the Iceman feeling philosophical but optimistic at Suzuka
How was your day?
The car felt pretty good. Of course, there are some areas we can improve but I’m quite satisfied with the progress we made. In FP2 I spun the car so we did miss some of the long run laps we would have got this afternoon. I was on a fast run when the wind changed and this can affect the car sometimes. At least we didn’t do any damage to the car so the crew won’t have any extra work. It’s not a big drama as we know the track pretty well. We have a few changes for tomorrow so let’s see what happens.
Were there any consequences from the spin??
There was no damage to the car so there’s no problem there. Maybe we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted but it’s not a big deal. I spun; it happens sometimes. It was quite windy today which didn’t help. It was a bit tricky at that part of the track all day and I just pushed a bit too much.
You’ve looked strong on pace all day…
The car’s been more to my liking here – at least today – than it’s been for the last few races, especially over one lap which is a good thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and it might be a completely different story, so we’ll have to wait and see.