Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: I have to do a better job
There is no denying that Kimi Raikkonen has been overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari this season, but that hasn’t stopped the team re-signing him for 2016. Nor has it stopped the Finn believing he can up his game enough to win another world title. In a wide-ranging interview with Formula1.com, Raikkonen discusses minimising mistakes, life after Maranello, plus fastest laps, fans and fatherhood…
Q: Kimi, you’re still hanging on in there. Did you ever imagine for a minute that 2015 might have been the final word on your F1 career?
Kimi Raikkonen: Ha, I don’t think that ‘hanging on’ is the real term! (laughs) I am obviously doing things right otherwise I wouldn’t be here – this here is no charity ball. Yes, I am disappointed myself that it didn’t go so well at certain points, but we are moving in the right direction. A lot of good things are happening and the results overall show, even though my personal results have not been ideal for many reasons. I am sure we can fix all that in the next year.
Q: Now that everything is decided, can you tell us how close Ferrari came to opting for somebody else?
KR: You’d have to ask Ferrari…
Q: …but you get some impression from your personal situation…
KR: …but in the end when your contract is up for negotiation it is always the same situation in F1. There are so many rumours – people write you in, people write you out – I have seen that now for so many years. If I want to by cynical you could say that the rumours start at the first race. I talk with the team and that is one thing – the rest I leave up to all the crystal ball readers!
Q: Could you consider racing for another F1 team after Ferrari?
KR: When you are racing in F1, Ferrari is the best team to be with. When I quit the first time I said that it is Ferrari or nothing – and I say it now: it will be the last team in F1 I will be with. But in the end you never know. Life is rather unpredictable…
Q: In the last couple of years your team mates have always outperformed you – either it was Fernando (Alonso) or now Sebastian. What do you make of that? Is it luck, is it about commitment, is it about the team concentrating more on your team mate? What is it?
KR: Of course it is not ideal – who wouldn’t know that better than me? But this is part of the game. I have to do a better job. Last year was pretty poor, this season is much better – but it is still not anywhere near where I want to be. You make some mistakes – and that’s how it goes.
Q: Do you sometimes get mad at yourself when you make silly mistakes?
KR: Ha, I am not proud about it, but it happens for certain reasons. That’s it. You live with it and go on to the next race.
Q: You were voted the most popular F1 driver in a recent survey – what do you make of that? Your team principal said your popularity is like the guy who treats the girls badly yet still they run after him…
KR: I liked it. Was I surprised? Never really thought about it. I do my own thing and I’ve never tried to please anyone – and if people like that, fine. I am proud that I have fans, but as to why it is exactly that I am popular among the fans, you’d better ask them. (laughs)
Q: Michael Schumacher is the only man to have score more fastest race laps than you. Do you mourn the days when you were racking those up?
KR: No, not really. But F1 has changed a lot since when I started, so probably many records don’t really matter a lot nowadays. Back then these things were nice, but they really don’t mean the world.
Q: Ferrari in the age of Sebastian Vettel – what has changed? From P4 in 2014 to P2 this year – that’s quite a jump…
KR: We have a new boss – the right guy in the right position. And then there have been other changes in the team that all were right changes – so not only at the top – and more importantly, no changes without a reason. Good results help, as the atmosphere is much better. We have moved together and are moving in the right direction…
Q: …has the working mode changed?
KR: Everything has changed. When the atmosphere changes everything else follows. It is much more fun now.
Q: You were ‘crazy Kimi’ for so many years. What has changed since you became the father of a baby boy? You seem to have become so grown up…
KR: Ha, the grown-up thing – that depends on who you ask. (laughs) Not everybody would follow that! Yes, obviously I have a family and I love raising a family, but I am still who I am…
Q: …so half grown-up?
KR: …as I said, it depends who you ask.
Q: If Kimi Raikkonen were to be given three wishes, what would they be?
KR: I don’t think that I have so much to wish for. I am happy. And I wouldn’t really change my life even if I could. I think for everything there is a reason. Yes, sometimes it is not that cozy, but that’s life. I don’t think that I would change anything. I am happy with my decisions and I live with them – sometimes more and sometimes less comfortably – but they are my decisions.
Q: Could you imagine putting in another year in F1 after 2016?
KR: Why not? It is still some time away. I enjoy it here – and I will enjoy it even more when we get even better results. Being on top always makes it more fun. I love to be with my team and would love to fight for championships with them.
Q: Do you feel that there is still a title win within you?
KR: I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that. I would do something else.
Q: Finally, Mexico City is about 2,200 metres above sea level. Does driving a Grand Prix at this altitude – in the thinner air – concern you?
KR: No not really. I am not worried about me, as I am not feeling any change. I even played football yesterday with no fainting or going weak at the knees. (laughs) I am worried more about the cars. We lose more downforce, so we don’t have the grip that we usually have. Of course we have our calculations – but everything will be put down to reality tomorrow. So the changes will be bigger on the cars than on the humans.
E’ stata la mia homepage per più di dieci anni. Ed ora non c’è più.
Il forum ufficiale di Kimi è stato chiuso (invero un po’ bruscamente) ma non sparirà in me il ricordo di ciò che è stato e cosa ha rappresentato per tutto questo tempo.
Ho iniziato a frequentarlo quando i social network erano ancora un oggetto sconosciuto. E’ stato il mio primo forum “straniero”, dove cioè si parlava soprattutto in inglese. Seppur intimorita all’inizio, la curiosità di avere notizie su Kimi da fan di tutto il mondo – in un periodo in cui sui media italiani di piloti non Ferrari si parlava quasi per nulla – mi ha dato il coraggio di lanciarmi in quest’avventura.
Sono immensamente grata a tutti quelli che hanno scritto e collaborato a quel forum. Anche se virtualmente, sono cresciuta con loro, ho imparato moltissimo da loro, e non solo a proposito di Kimi.
Mi sono esaltata, mi sono arrabbiata, mi sono divertita ed intristita. E’ stata la mia valvola di sfogo dopo ogni GP, il punto di riferimento dove scambiare opinioni e sensazioni da fan appassionata, dove scrivere post lunghissimi o lasciare lunghissimi silenzi.
Ho conosciuto persone squisite che mi hanno tenuto compagnia in questa importante fase della mia vita. Le ringrazio tutte, anche se ora saranno sparse nel profondo blu del web.
Per tutti quelli che ne hanno fatto parte, ma anche per i lettori di passaggio, riporto il messaggio che mi ha inviato Gilraen, grande moderatrice di quel forum:
Hey Kimi forum member,
It is with sorrow that I inform you that Kimi’s management and Racecar have decided to cancel the Kimi forum at the new website.
Apparently they did a check and found that most posts were in the non-English section.
So our beloved forum is no longer available!
I called them and was very surprised about this decision. I have asked them to post something on the new Kimi website, so that we can inform everyone who was a member of this forum.
But I have not seen anything. So, please do forward this e-mail to all members that you have email addresses.
Although the forum was only there for a few of us, I am sorry that it has to end this way. I enjoyed the friendships that were formed and do think it was a great place.
All the best to you all.
Grazie di tutto.
Räikkönen: “La nuova regola sul DRS un cambiamento sensato”
"Prima o poi ci sarebbe stato un brutto incidente"
La limitazione dell’utilizzo del sistema DRS in F1 al venerdì e al sabato è una decisione sensata secondo Kimi Raikkonen. Il sistema che riduce il carico aerodinamico dell’ala posteriore in rettilineo è stato introdotto nel 2011 per aumentare i sorpassi nella categoria regina. Il suo uso è sempre stato concesso in tutte le zone del circuito durante le prove libere e le qualifiche mentre in gara era limitato alle sole zone DRS. Dal 2013 anche nei primi due giorni del weekend i piloti potranno usare il sistema solo nelle zone designate dalla FIA.
“E’ un cambiamento sensato” ha dichiarato Raikkonen. “Si stava andando nella direzione di sfruttare al massimo, e il prima possibile, il DRS ovunque. Prima o poi ci sarebbe stato un brutto incidente. I piloti volevano questo cambiamento”.
“In passato le Red Bull erano in grado di percorrere alcune curve con il DRS aperto, gli altri team no” ha aggiunto Raikkonen.
Il finlandese ha anche dichiarato che a suo parere difficilmente un top driver come Lewis Hamilton può fare la differenza per migliorare le prestazioni di un team: “Se fosse vero, non avremmo più bisogno di ingegneri. Sono solo sciocchezze. Di sicuro come piloti diamo la nostra opinione e gli ingegneri ascoltano. Proviamo quello che ci danno e vediamo se funziona o meno. Ma non è giusto chiedere ai piloti di realizzare la vettura”.
The feeling will decide Räikkönen’s F1-continuance
Kimi Räikkönen’s F1-career will continue for at least one more season. His will to continue will be based upon how good it feels to drive with next season’s big regulation changes.
Räikkönen has raced with 10-cylinder engines in 2001-05 and with 8-cylinder engines in 2006-09 and in 2012. They are now changing engines into 1,6 liter V6 -turbo engines.
Kimi shrugs his shoulders when asking for his opinion about the significance of the engine change.
– Nobody simply can’t know anything about them yet. Anybody can have the best engine or it can be that they are all equal. We can’t even ever be 100 % certain about which team is the best team next season.
– That’s how it has always been in F1. This year’s strong car can be bad already next year. You never get any guarantees.
Lotus won one GP and Räikkönen was 3rd in the WDC-serie. What has the team most to catch up with when compared to the lead?
– They never lacked anything big anywhere. I guess we were slightly behind in each area. There could probably had been more downforce in the car and of course the car could have worked better in certain temperatures, Räikkönen estimated in an interview with Turun Sanomat.
– I guess the biggest change in the beginning of next season is that, now we know each other in the team and have all the routines during the weekend better under control. As long as we get better qualifications than last spring our chances to get better results in races grow significantly.
DRS-limitation a sensible change
Rules in qualification will next season change so that it’s not allowed to drive the whole lap with an open DRS. They will follow the same procedure they have in the race with only one DRS-area.
– It’s a totally reasonable change. Now it was more or less so that everyone tried to use the DRS earlier and earlier in qualification. That way a big crash is bound to happen at some point. It was the drivers who wanted this to change. The risk sort of grows smaller when not trying to open the DRS too early in some places.
– I think that the situation will also get more even when earlier some Red Bull could drive on some tracks with an open DRS all the time while other cars weren’t capable of the same, Räikkönen thinks.
James Allison got offers from bigger teams last season, but he will still continue with the Enstone crew.
No driver can build a car
Now they are developing the E21-car being aware of what Räikkönen and Romain want from it. However Kimi trashes the claims that experienced drivers could in some teams be actively involved in the car’s development work.
– Not one single F1-driver designs these cars. If that would be the case then we wouldn’t have any engineers or designers here left. Those claims are pure bull shit. Of course we get to say our opinions as drivers and the engineers listen, but after that it’s the team who will then do their best.
– Engineers invent first and after that we try how it works, if it’s good or not. It’s just an urban legend that some driver would sit there designing how the car is built.
– Of course everybody believes at this stage that their car will be good, but there are no guarantees of the competitiveness until it is put on the track. But no team says at this point that they have a totally bad car coming up, even if they would know it would happen. It goes without saying that everybody is praising their car until the end. Räikkönen assures.
Strong faith in Räikkönen’s striking ability
What does the international F1-media expect from Kimi Räikkönen’s season 2013? Here is the German, British and Italian opinion.
– If Kimi has an even slightly better car than he had last season, then he will be driving in the top group. If Lotus doesn’t achieve the same level, then even a driver of Kimi’s caliber can’t do miracles, says Michael Schmidt from Auto, Motor und Sport.
– I expect a stronger season from Kimi. Lotus made a fantastic car and although the new E21 doesn’t perhaps offer all the same advantages as the E20 it should still be quite strong – and Kimi at least is as a driver tougher than before after driving his comeback-season, says Jonathan Noble from Autosport.
– If Lotus has enough money to build and develop new parts to their car, then why wouldn’t Kimi do top results with that car also. In the final games the previous season was a learning year for Kimi and he was immediately good enough to drive in the lead, says Andrea Cremonesi from La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Un piccolo pensiero per un giorno speciale.
Tanti Auguri Kimi!