Toyota quashes suggestions F1 driver Raikkonen could return to WRC
Toyota has moved to quash suggestions that Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen could return to the World Rally Championship with the squad next year.
Raikkonen competed in the WRC for two years in 2010 and ’11 after he was dropped by Ferrari at the end of the ’09 F1 season.
The Finn contested the full 2010 season with Citroen’s Junior Team before he tackled a select programme with his own Ice 1 Racing outfit a year later.
He then returned to F1 with Lotus, and is now in his fifth year of a second spell at Ferrari, but previously admitted he would be interested in returning to rallying.
When asked by F1 Racing earlier this year if he would return to the WRC in the future, Raikkonen told Autosport’s sister publication: "Maybe some races. For fun. I hope so anyway."
Finnish media reports on Friday quoted Mia Miettinen – the executive vice-president of Tommi Makinen Racing, which runs Toyota’s WRC programme – as saying the manufacturer would be interested in running Raikkonen should he end his spell in F1.
"Kimi could be a good option for Toyota, but he has to decide whether he continues his career with Ferrari," said Miettinen.
But Toyota sporting director Kaj Lindstrom – who was Raikkonen’s co-driver in the WRC in 2010 and ’11 – told Autosport no discussions about Raikkonen joining the outfit had taken place.
"This is the first I’ve heard of it," said Lindstrom.
"Clearly if anything like this was going to happen I would have been the first to hear about it from Tommi or him [Raikkonen].
"For me, this is pure speculation."
Toyota’s WRC team is headed by four-time world champion Makinen and based out of central Finland.
It currently runs Finnish drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi in two of its cars, with Estonian Ott Tanak in a third factory Yaris.
Raikkonen’s best result in the WRC was a fifth place on Rally Turkey in 2010.
Raikkonen unfazed by Lauda’s wimp jibe
Kimi Raikkonen declined to hit back at Niki Lauda on Friday, despite the F1 legend calling him a "wimp".
Told that triple world champion and Mercedes chairman Lauda has been talking about him, Raikkonen said at the Nurburgring: "Huh? To me? He (Lauda) hasn’t spoken to me."
The 2007 world champion was then told by the interviewer for Tagesspiegel newspaper that Lauda had said ignoring Red Bull’s offer of a 2014 seat would make him a "wimp".
"I don’t care what he says," said the Finn. "He likes to talk a lot and that doesn’t concern me.
"He’s not being nasty, I know him well enough to know what he’s thinking," added Raikkonen.
The 33-year-old insisted he only returned to F1 in 2012 to win again, so the interviewer is curious as to why he would apparently hesitate to join Red Bull — the dominant team of the past few seasons.
"There are many reasons," answered Raikkonen. "Nothing is as clear as it seems.
"At the moment I have nothing for next year. If there is a decision, I will tell everyone," he added.
Asked if a great car, lots of money, or lots of free time are most important to him, Raikkonen admitted: "Everything. The whole package.
"I’ve been in a lot of teams and so I know what I want.
"I’ll make the best choice for myself, and if it’s wrong and I regret it, at least I made the decision for myself."
Asked if the likely friendly pairing with Sebastian Vettel next year could sway things in Red Bull’s favour, Raikkonen insisted: "That doesn’t matter.
"I know what you mean, but having jokes and laughs with friends is not why I’m here."
Da YLE.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
Latvala: They put way too much pressure on Kimi
According to Latvala they put way too much pressure on Räikkönen in the rally-circles.
– Kimi brought the genre a lot of media-visibility and a lot of new fans. Even many reporters who had never before followed rally started to follow it, Latvala said to YLE Urheilu.
– When Kimi came to rally they put way too much pressure on him. Little by little he started to relax but the expectations placed on him were way too hard.
According to Latvala the Iceman’s motivation seemed to go downhill during the autumn.
– Let’s just say that I started to notice how Kimi’s motivation towards rallying started to take off during the last races. Maybe him not being satisfied with the results and his F1-thoughts had something to do with it.
Da Elisa.net, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
"Räikkönen drove completely reasonable times"
They believe that Kimi Räikkönen’s rallying career is over for now when he is seriously negotiating about a comeback to F1. Kimi drove in WRC for only two seasons but the difference to the top has been several minutes. His best result is Rally Turkey in 2010 when he came in 5th.
SWRC-serie’s world champion from this year, Juho Hänninen with Skoda, was often faster than Räikkönen although Räikkönen drove in a class higher with a WRC-car. Still Hänninen thinks that Räikkönen’s performances in rally were good.
– I think that it was a realistic result. Maybe the majority expected more and I bet Kimi himself also expected more, however Kimi realised pretty quickly that it isn’t that easy. Still he made good times especially when driving a stage for the second time since he remembered them better. That’s when he drove completely reasonable times, Hänninen told Sport Content.
Hänninen reminded that rallying requires a lot of training and that it takes several years to develop into a top driver.
– Nobody can succeed in this without practice, Hänninen said.
It was fun while it lasted, but the adventure is over – Kimi Raikkonen is leaving the forests and heading back to Formula 1 with Renault, or rather Lotus, as the team becomes in 2012.
Two years ago, it had all seemed so promising. The world knew Raikkonen was ultra-rapid but had lost motivation in F1. It was the politics and the sponsor pressure that he appeared to have tired of, not the driving, and he loved dabbling in rallying on the side. The World Rally Championship gave him a chance to get back to pure driving, in a more laidback atmosphere in which he could thrive in time – especially with Citroen, Red Bull and Kaj Lindstrom behind him.
It wasn’t just going to be good for Kimi’s morale either: the arrival of such a big name was a massive publicity bonus for the WRC and saw a huge number of hitherto disinterested new fans heading to the stages or tuning in to Rally Radio to follow Raikkonen’s rise to the top in his new challenge.
Except it didn’t quite work out like that. Inevitably Raikkonen was some way off Citroen Junior team-mate Sebastien Ogier’s pace in 2010, and inevitably he went off the road a lot as he got to grips with such a different discipline. But this was nothing that time, patience and mileage couldn’t fix, especially as there were flashes of promising speed along the way.
Time was what the WRC and Raikkonen marriage did not have, though. It wasn’t far into 2011 before it became clear that his heart was elsewhere. There were rallies skipped (missing Australia meant his Ice 1 team was kicked out of the standings) and events not rejoined under superally even when it was easily possible and the extra mileage would’ve been so beneficial. It was the extra-curricular outings that were most telling, though. Whereas once rallying had been Raikkonen’s release from the drudgery of F1, now he was popping up in NASCAR Trucks and Peugeot LMP1 cars as an escape from the WRC – and also becoming pivotal to the F1 driver market. Even as he did so, his stage times got a little better, and his demeanour with fans and the WRC media became slightly more open (by Iceman standards), hinting at what might have been.
So farewell and good luck, Kimi. We would’ve loved to see you stick around, give rallying a proper chance and really hone your skills, but it was better to have had you with us for two years than not at all.
Lindström: "F1 is Kimi’s world"
To Kaj Lindström the news about the return to F1 did not come as a surprise.
Lindström doesn’t want to specify when Kimi told him about his decision. Lindström didn’t try to talk the F1-champion out of it.
– It was Kimi’s decision, I respect it. Great that he got a good contract, Lindström said to Iltalehti.
According to Lindström Räikkönen would have had a chance to go forward in rally if he had decided to continue in the sport. Lindström has earlier talked about rally as at least a 4-year project if the goal is to succeed. The co-driver doesn’t fret though that the cooperation ended.
– We went year at a time, that was clear from the start. You don’t instantly jump to the top. There was two great and sweet years. It was nice to work and drive with Kimi, Lindström thanked.
"Kimi will do fine"
Although Räikkönen was believed to enjoy himself better in rally’s more barren environment than in F1’s society, according to Lindström that is not exactly the case.
– F1 is his world. I think he might be more comfortable there.
Lindström learned to know Räikkönen during the two years. That’s why he’s going to follow next F1-season with a special interest, with "very different feelings".
Predictions about success he is not going to give though.
– I had to compare the sports for two years until boredom, although I have never sat in a F1-car, so it’s difficult to comment on that. The driver at least is talented, so I’m pretty sure he’ll do fine, Lindström laughed.
Da iltalehti.fi, traduzione Leijona@F1CoffeForum
Da iltalehti.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
Räikkönen: We have had negotiations
Kimi Räikkönen says that he doesn’t have a contract to F1 for next season, although he has negotiated over it.
– We have talked with them (Williams) but I don’t have any contract one way or another. Nothing has changed, Räikkönen said.
Räikkönen’s shakedown in Wales could be his last if his job continues in F1. If this happens, then Räikkönen leaves WRC in a good mood.
– It has been fun and we have improved when comparing to where we started from, Räikkönen estimated.
– I didn’t expect anything from it although I always tried to drive as well as I could. Sometimes the results were better, sometimes worse, Räikkönen says about his WRC-rallies.
If Räikkönen’s Citroen changes next season into Williams F1-car, then the change is smaller in Räikkönen’s eyes than it was when he came to rally.
– It’s a thing that I’ve been doing for the most part of my life. It’s much more challenging to try something else, Räikkönen said about F1.
Räikkönen isn’t swayed by the flexible rear wings and the couple new tracks in F1.
– From what you see in the television they haven’t changed much. The biggest differences are in the tyres, Räikkönen estimated F1.
One heck of a talent
Kaj Lindström would like to see Räikkönen in WRC also in the future.
– He makes his own decisions but it would be interesting to see how far Räikkönen can go in rally, Lindström says.
– He can’t develop his skills other than by driving. Kimi is one heck of a talent when it comes to steering the car. It just comes out of somewhere all by itself, Lindström says.
– I said already in the beginning that this is a four-year project if he wants to go to the top. The first developing steps are long but after that the steps are smaller.
Intervista da MTV3: http://www.mediafire.com/?r2fupb1pt9ft224
SS1 (Audio http://www.mediafire.com/?fhq5py3k5zbf519 ): Raikkonen, meanwhile, stops the clock at 14m 21.5s, the seventh fastest so far. "We spun in the third corner. Very slippery."
SS2: RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. "Second stage we spun on first corner, tyres were too hard."
SS3: "On the first stage we spun, on the second we had the wrong tyres but the last one was a little bit better," said the Finn.
SS4 (Audio http://www.mediafire.com/?0i5b2n2hpdtdm5i): Kimi Raikkonen sets the fourth quickest time so far on SS4: "The morning was difficult, I was not driving well. Hopefully I can do better now."
SS6 (Audio http://www.mediafire.com/?3bf3l366k995ef6)
RÄIKKÖNEN K. / LINDSTRÖM K. FL doors smashed "On previous one we were too fast in right hander, slide and destroy the doors."
[…] Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen’s Citroen shows signs of damage on its left-hand side following an impact on the previous stage; he sets a time of 12m 27.9s. "I was a little bit too fast in a right-hander and there was a fence. We slid into it and broke the door."
Due giorni di test per Kimi in Germania, prima dell’omonimo rally.
Altre foto qui: rally3.de
Qualche video da Facebook:
Piccola intervista a Kaj Linström sul risultato del test
Da rhein-zeitung.de, traduzione con Google.
[…] Kaj Linström ci ha concesso un momento durante la pausa pranzo per una piccola intervista. Ha parlato principalmente della sua relazione con il “boss”.
– “Dobbiamo solo lavorare insieme. E’ un lavoro basato sulla fiducia reciproca. In privato non ci frequentiamo molto. Siamo colleghi che stanno svolgendo un lavoro.”
[…] “Il percorso qui è l’ideale. Ha molte caratteristiche che lo rendono impegnativo ed è un buon test” dice Lindstöm, che una settimana prima ha festeggiato il 42esimo compleanno. […]
Quando gli abbiamo chiesto degli obiettivi per questa stagione, non ha dato una vera risposta.
– “Non spetta a me mettere pressione a Kimi. Non abbiamo un risultato in particolare in mente, vogliamo migliorare”. Räikkönen è giunto ottavo lo scorso anno.
L’ex collega di Michael Schumacher sfortunatamente non era pronto per una breve intervista. Ha preferito rilassarsi con una tazza di caffè. Quando è stato il momento di partire per l’aeroporto di Hahn, dove lo aspettava il suo aereo privato, ha dovuto pensare a lungo per trovare una scusa per non concerderci due minuti per qualche domanda. Dopodiché ha salutato mormorando “Devo prendere il mio volo”.
In realtà, gli aerei privati non partono mai senza i loro titolari. Neanche quello di Iceman Kimi Räikkönen.
Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström, who already showed a promising turn of speed in the previous rally in Greece, confirmed their progress in Finland. The ICE1 Racing driver started his third Rally Finland at a searing pace only a second per kilometre off the reference time, and finished the first leg in thirteenth place. He lost precious time due to a minor error on Friday morning. On the way back to Jyväskylä he got back into the rhythm and moved up to twelfth. Iceman’s confidence was now at full boost, and he upped the pace even further in the home stretch by overtaking his nearest rivals and finished in ninth place.
“These roads are as quick and as difficult as ever,” underlined the Finnish driver. But we still managed to set good times. I’d like to thank the many spectators who cheered us on during the weekend. We were able to maintain a good pace throughout the whole rally despite a few minor mistakes. It’s encouraging for the rest of the season.”
With both Citroën DS3 WRCs at the finish, Benoit Nogier, the Citroën Racing Technologies team manager, was pretty satisfied with the team’s overall performance in Rally Finland: “Kimi’s made a lot of progress since last season. He’s showing promising steadiness and he’s on the right track. Above all, he’s now getting used to finishing the rallies in the points. It’s both satisfying and very encouraging.” […]
Da TS.fi, traduzione Google
La prestazione di Räikkönen elogiata dagli esperti
Räikkönen non è considerato una persona mattiniera ma questa volta è partito velocemente sia il venerdì mattina, sia in particolar modo, il sabato.
Nella SS17 la sua Citroen ha colpito una roccia poi ha toccato con il posteriore contro degli alberi.
– “Il paraurti davanti si è staccato e l’aria si infilava sotto. Quando andavo un po’ più veloce, l’anteriore iniziava ad andare da tutte le parti e non stava più in pista. Non c’era ragione di andare veloci quando l’anteriore scivolava in tutte le direzioni”, ha detto Räikkönen.
Comunque la prestazione è stata notevole. L’apprezzamento nei confronti di Räikkönen è aumentato tra gli esperti.
– “Certamente da spettatore finlandese preferirei vedere Kimi continuare a vincere in F1, ma ora le cose stanno così. Kimi è nella posizione di poter guidare ciò che vuole. Lui vuole guidare i rally e tutti conoscono che controllo della macchina ha il ragazzo. Lui migliorerà come pilota di rally quando imparerà come fare le note e ad estrarre da esse il massimo delle informazioni”, pensa Lasse Lampi.
– “Non ci si dovrebbe limitare ad osservare e a dire, ‘oh, Kimi è di nuovo ottavo’. Io osservo la guida di Kimi in modo completamente diverso e penso che la sua prestazione sia stata migliore di quanto mi aspettassi”, dice Rauno Aaltonen.
– “Kimi dimostra di avere un buon controllo di nervi e di mente quando è in pista. I rally a questo livello sono comunque una battaglia e quando sei al limite, la probabilità di errore diventa sempre maggiore. Tanto di cappello per Kimi”.
Aaltonen si chiedeva anche del perchè della dichiarazione di Olivier Quesnel apparsa nel web, a proposito della sua delusione sul ritmo di Kimi.
– “Penso che sia stata una valutazione ingiusta. Bisogna capire che le persone guidano su diversi percorsi con diverse velocità. Un essere umano non è una macchina. Alcuni vanno meglio sulle strade veloci, altri danno il loro meglio su strade tortuose. Dipende completamente dalla macchina, dai muscoli e dal modo in cui uno pensa a dove guardare”, dice Aaltonen.