[…] Although it was a long time ago, Kimi’s recollections are still vivid. “Senna’s death was an incredibly sad moment for the world of Formula 1,” says the Finn. “I was still at school back then and even if I don’t remember much about him, because I was too young, that day has stayed fixed in my memory. I think he was a great driver and a benchmark for many who came after him.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
"Magical. I was following the Prost-Senna battle very carefully when both were driving for McLaren. It was very interesting to see someone analytical like Prost having to cope with somebody sublime like Senna. Probably Kimi (Raikkonen) comes closest to that today. He can also be sublime and magical – sometimes."
Martin Brundle, former F1 driver
[…] Kimi (Raikkonen) has speed, but he doesn’t have Senna’s application. Senna was also smart in politics. He was one of the few guys who could control Ron (Dennis). So no, we haven’t really seen another Senna yet."
Kimi Raikkonen set to stick with short wheelbase Lotus car
Kimi Raikkonen is set to stick with the short wheelbase Lotus for the remainder of the 2013 Formula 1 season after some encouraging signs from Abu Dhabi.
Although the Finn endured a tough weekend – having threatened to not drive, being forced to start from the back and then crashing out at the first corner – there were still some flashes of promise on track.
His decision to go back to the shorter wheelbase was fuelled by the fact that the longer wheelbase version used since the Korean Grand Prix had not suited his driving style as much.
The switch appeared to pay off, with Raikkonen delivering his best qualifying performance since the German Grand Prix prior to his exclusion.
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said it was likely that Raikkonen would stick with that configuration from now on.
When asked if Raikkonen was going to fall in line with Romain Grosjean’s preference for the longer wheelbase car, Boullier: "I don’t think so.
"I may be going too far too fast, but it looks like he prefers the short wheelbase, while Romain likes the long wheelbase."
Raikkonen said in Abu Dhabi that the choice of the car was not circuit dependent, and that he would have to commit to a choice before each race weekend.
"If you go from one configuration to another it is not a very easy thing to do, as it is not easy to change during the weekend," he said.
"So whatever we choose to do, we have to stick with it for that race."
Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen ‘back on side’ after 2013 F1 pay dispute
Lotus has no doubts that Kimi Raikkonen is now ‘back on side’ with the team following his threat to quit the Formula 1 outfit over a pay dispute last weekend.
Raikkonen needed persuading to race in Abu Dhabi after issues relating to unpaid wages reached a head in the wake of the Indian Grand Prix.
The Finn also made it clear that he would not see out the season if the issue was not sorted.
However, AUTOSPORT revealed on Sunday that a deal was struck between his management and Lotus representatives to ensure he would take part in the final races of this year’s campaign.
Despite further flash points over the weekend, caused by a qualifying exclusion because of a floor issue and a first corner incident that put Raikkonen out of the race, the team has no doubts that the 2007 world champion is now fully committed.
Team principal Eric Boullier said: "He is completely on side.
"The stewards’ decision was nothing to do with him, and the incident at the first corner was another thing where nothing could be done.
"This weekend he qualified fifth fastest with the short wheelbase car that he prefers to drive.
"So Kimi is there, Kimi is a competitor and he will push."
Despite the difficulties that Raikkonen’s tough stance over wages caused him, Boullier said he understood that getting issues sorted off-track was vital for the team if it was to move forward.
"Like any company, especially any racing team, you need stability," he said.
"You need strategy for the future. And you need to be able – you and the people all around you – to focus on one thing: delivering a good car and a good driver.
"It is easy to be distracted by many, many different subjects when you just want to focus on the main one, which is racing.
"But at the end of the day, whatever story you have around, having the result on track is the only way to deliver."
Kimi Raikkonen willing to skip final F1 races of 2013 in Lotus row
Kimi Raikkonen has warned Lotus that he will consider not finishing the 2013 Formula 1 season if the team does not sort out its financial problems.
As AUTOSPORT revealed on Thursday, Raikkonen’s future with Lotus has been plunged into doubt following the non-payment of his salary and amid heightened emotions after a tense Indian Grand Prix radio exchange.
Speaking for the first time about the matter in Abu Dhabi on Friday, Raikkonen confirmed that he did come close to not racing this weekend, and has not ruled out skipping either of the final races in the United States or Brazil.
"I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on the certain issues we have been having," said Raikkonen.
"Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can."
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he would contemplate not taking part in the final races if the outstanding matters are not resolved, Raikkonen said: "For sure. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving – but a big part of it is business.
"Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation.
"You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that… it is not really my fault any more."
RADIO EXCHANGE NOT MAIN ISSUE
Raikkonen’s relations with the team were strained by the radio exchange in India, when he was ordered to move aside for Romain Grosjean, but his main frustration is relating to outstanding wages – which are believed to be in excess of $15 million.
Speaking about the radio discussion with trackside operations director Alan Permane, Raikkonen said: "It is a part of it. It is true those things should not happen but they have happened. That is not really the issue.
"It is all the other stuff, and all the things come together in the end. Like I said, it is easy to say that is the reason but it is not that."
The 2007 world champion also expressed frustration at the fact that his loyalty to the team has been questioned at a time when he has not been paid.
"Sometimes it is not very nice when you hear that you are not really a team player, and you don’t have the interests of the team [at heart] – but you have been paid zero Euro the whole year," said Raikkonen.
"It doesn’t put you in the best place, but that is how it goes and hopefully, like I said, we found an understanding on both sides on how we should deal with the situation right now and fix the issues, and try to finish as well as we can."
Lotus boss Boullier admits Kimi Raikkonen’s future out of his hands
Lotus boss Eric Boullier admits that Kimi Raikkonen’s immediate future with the team in Formula 1 is now pretty much out of his hands.
Raikkonen has threatened to skip the final two races of the F1 season if a financial dispute with the outfit is not resolved, having come close to not racing at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was persuaded to compete at Yas Marina after reaching an understanding with team owner Gerard Lopez, and Boullier says is it now up to Lopez to sort out the situation once and for all.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was confident a deal could be reached with Raikkonen to ensure he races in America and Brazil, Boullier said: "Part of it I cannot answer you.
"There is discussion between Gerard and Kimi and it obviously involves our shareholders and parent companies."
Although the Raikkonen situation has come just as Lotus is knuckling down for a tough fight for second in the constructors’ championship, Boullier said he was hopeful the matter would not affect things on track.
"We have an exceptional group of people in Enstone and they produce a car, with the last aero package based on the long wheelbase, that is delivering," he said.
"We just do our best to be delivering on track. There is obviously some issues which we know already for a long time and we are waiting, as Gerard said, for the new investment company to close the deal with.
"And if that does not happen we will have to think about other scenarios."
Räikkönen put a stop to the blaming
Kimi Räikkönen’s press conference after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -free practice said it all. The reason why he wanted to stay home became clear to everyone.
– The radio message alone didn’t alone affect, but the line has to be put somewhere. It’s not nice when you hear claimed that you are not a good team player, or rather that I don’t think about the team’s benefit at all. When you have got zero euros this whole year it’s not the best situation for anyone, Räikkönen said.
Then why did the emotions run so high in India after Romain Grosjean’s overtake went tough?
– I don’t know. For me it was like any other race. I drive the same against everyone else, but some people see the situation differently. Everyone have their own opinions, Räikkönen said.
The situation has calmed down for now at least.
– We found a mutual understanding of how to deal with the situation, Räikkönen said.
Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi
Pay the salary – or Räikkönen’s season is wrapped up!
Enough is enough. Kimi Räikkönen didn’t left anyone in doubt over why he was about to skip the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
– I am here because I enjoy racing and I always want to do my best when going on the track. Sometimes something just happens, something that should not happen. This sport has both the professional and financial side. It’s not enough if one is in order and the business-things aren’t, Räikkönen told the media.
– I have been put in a difficult situation. They haven’t paid me one single euro this year although they have spread all kinds of stories. It’s not true that I don’t care what happens to the team, but when you are accused of not being a good team player, or rather that you don’t think what’s best for the team, it definitely doesn’t help at least if you haven’t paid any salary so far.
Alan Permane cursed rudely to Räikkönen and got back the same in India.
– But that doesn’t matter anymore at this point. Bygones are bygones. But the line has to be put somewhere and this is now it. If they don’t take care of things that I’m not satisfied with, then I have to react to it. The team should respect the promises they have given or else they find themself from a situation where there is no racing anymore.
Räikkönen didn’t confirm on Friday that he would race the remaining races, although his manager Steve Robertson and his lawyers have reached some kind of an understanding with Gerard Lopez.
– In this profession nothing is ever 100% certain, until the matters have been taken care of as agreed upon. If that doesn’t happen then it’s all the same for me if I race this season anymore or not. It wouldn’t change my life in one way or another, Räikkönen snapped.
On Thursday Robertson presented Kimi different options and he made his own decision based upon them.
– I have been in this business for a long time. One needs to have a certain kind of trust in people. When you repeat the same thing over and over again and nothing happens, it surely doesn’t help the situation. I do try my best, but right now this is not the most pleasant moment in my career. But it’s certain that if I would not try to win here then I would not even have showed up, Räikkönen said.
Then why did the emotions run so high between Permane and Räikkönen when Romain Grosjean overtook Kimi?
– I don’t know. For me it was the same situation like in any other race. I defend my position like this towards everyone and some see different situation in a different way. But what he said doesn’t matter much anymore. It was unfortunate that it happened.
Turun Sanomat, Abu Dhabi
Eric Boullier apologises for Kimi Raikkonen/Lotus F1 radio exchange
Lotus boss Eric Boullier has apologised for the radio exchange between Kimi Raikkonen and Alan Permane during the Indian Grand Prix.
The team’s trackside operations director Permane told Raikkonen to "move out of the ****ing way" as the Finn struggled for pace with worn tyres while team-mate Romain Grosjean was right behind him.
In his first passing attempt, Grosjean had to go off track to avoid contact.
Raikkonen responded on the radio with another profanity before Grosjean, under pressure from Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, passed him on his way to third place.
Lotus said after the race that it would discuss Raikkonen’s defiance.
On Monday, Boullier said the radio exchange had been inappropriate and that he will make sure it is not repeated.
"Romain was two seconds per lap faster than Kimi at that time, so it was not even a team order," said Boullier.
"By asking Kimi to let Romain pass, we just made the obvious choice, as Massa could have stolen our podium.
"With hindsight, this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way.
"There was a lot of tension, a lot of potential technical problems, and some of the words that flew around were simply not appropriate.
"I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologise for that on behalf of the team. It won’t happen again."
Lotus, il team radio e la dura legge dei social network
L’episodio del litigio via team radio tra Alan Permane e Kimi Raikkonen al Gran Premio d’India si è rivelato un tremendo boomerang mediatico per la Lotus, fin qui regina dei social network tra le squadre di Formula 1.
La Lotus e Kimi Raikkonen hanno formato, almeno fino a ieri, un perfetto binomio sia a livello di risultati sia a livello d’immagine. Il ritorno della scuderia nero-oro, nata dalle ceneri della Renault F1, accoppiato a quello dell’ex campione del mondo, rientrato dall’esilio volontario di due stagioni nel mondo del WRC, è stato un autentico successo.
In pista, il team di Enstone e il pilota finlandese in queste due stagioni sono stati qualcosa di più di un outsider, conquistando due vittorie e svariati podi e dando regolarmente filo da torcere agli altri top team che dispongono di budget nettamente superiori. Agli eccellenti risultati in pista, coronati dal terzo posto finale di Kimi nel 2012 che potrebbe venir bissato quest’anno e dal record di gare consecutive a punti, si è accompagnato un vero trionfo sui social network a suon di tweet ironici e foto divertenti, facilitati da quel modo di fare così fuori dagli schemi di Raikkonen.
Se la Red Bull si è dimostrata imbattibile in pista, sul web la Lotus ha staccato nettamente i rivali in termini di successo di visibilità. Un tale trionfo che la scuderia quest’anno ha portato gli hashtag twitteriani addirittura sulla carrozzeria della E21, con una parola chiave per ognuno degli appuntamenti del calendario 2013, test compresi. Questo ha permesso alla rinata scuderia di raggiungere in breve tempo un numero di iscritti ai propri canali su Facebook e Twitter che non sfigura rispetto a quello degli altri top team: al momento sono oltre 628.000 i fans su Facebook e più di 320.000 i followers su Twitter.
Un’operazione d’immagine importante per un team sempre alla ricerca di nuovi sponsor per far fronte alle spese elevate della Formula 1. Ma anche una potenziale arma a doppio taglio in caso di episodi negativi. E questa possibilità si è concretizzata proprio nella domenica del Gran Premio d’India. Il colorito botta e risposta tra Alan Permane e Kimi Raikkonen ha scatenato i tifosi di Iceman sul web, autentici talebani del tifo quando di mezzo ci va il finlandese.
Sui social network è partito un autentico bombardamento nei confronti della Lotus. Su Facebook è stata aperta la pagina “I dislike Lotus F1 Team after 2013 Indian GP” (“Io detesto il Team Lotus F1 dopo il Gran Premio d’India 2013″) che in poco più di 24 ore ha raggiunto i 2.400 iscritti, mentre la pagina ufficiale della squadra è stata bombardata da messaggi dispregiativi, alcuni volgari, altri ironici. Insomma, l’ironia mostrata in passato dalla Lotus è ora usata dai tifosi di Raikkonen per attaccare il team.
Nei Top e Flop abbiamo detto che la squadra ha un personale “Adrian Newey” nell’addetto, o negli addetti, ai social network. Il lavoro che lo aspetta ora, a partire dal weekend di Abu Dhabi in arrivo, sarà veramente difficile: ogni messaggio potrebbe essere rivoltato dalla fantasia dei tifosi di Raikkonen e diventare un’arma controproducente. Al momento sembra accusare il colpo: su Facebook è apparsa la foto dell’orso che vi mostriamo in copertina, mentre su Twitter si fa riferimento all’episodio solo riportando le dichiarazioni di Boullier: ”This radio message was simply not appropriate. I can only apologise on behalf of the team” (“Questo messaggio radio era semplicemente non appropriato. Posso solo scusarmi a nome del team”).
Oppure, semplicemente, da navigato esperto delle faccende dei social network, il responsabile della comunicazione Lotus sta solo aspettando che passi la tempesta per pubblicare un messaggio talmente autoironico da spiazzare tutti i nuovi detrattori della squadra. Sarà curioso vedere se saprà superare questa prova da autentico fenomeno del web come si è dimostrato finora e se il team applicherà sulle E21 uno speciale hashtag dedicato proprio all’episodio.
Da Autosprint n.42 del 22-10-2013