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Kimi – "The car is fast but will it suit me?"
Kimi – "The car is fast but will it suit me?"
Posted By:   |  18 Feb 2009   |  5:37 pm GMT  |  8 comments

Kimi Raikkonen wound up his Bahrain test yesterday with a mixed day in which he set a competitive time, stopped for four hours with a KERS problem and then talked about the new Ferrari. This is an important car in Kimi’s career story because he really has to get on well with it if he is to stay with Ferrari in future.

It’s no secret that he didn’t get on well with last year’s car and at times it left him scratching his head about whether he had lost his ‘gift’. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali stressed at the end of last year that they would do everything possible to get the best from Kimi and give him the material he needs.

Kimi said that the car is as fast as last year’s despite the reduced downforce, but that, “It’s still too early to say whether I get on better with the F60 than I did with the F2008, too little mileage and above all none of the updates which will be on the car soon. But it’s started well and we have improved in every area.”

The KERS stoppage, due to overheating, was interesting and I’m beginning to wonder whether anyone is going to start the season using their KERS system. I know that sounds nuts, but the teams themselves are asking the question. It’s a very new and very complex technology and there will be a critical mass whereby if enough of them give out the vibes that they’re not going to run it in Melbourne, then the rest could follow suit on the basis that it’s the same for everyone!

That would not suit Max Mosley, for whom F1’s move to green technology is an important story in the season build up.

Ferrari has done almost 2400km over the five days it has been running in Bahrain, not as many as the Toyota, which looks pretty bulletproof as well as fast.

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Another problem for Ferrari yesterday, this time the gearbox. Winter testing tells you, a bit, but not a lot, and i've followed a couple closely and my time, and if i didn't know any better, id say Toyota and BMW definitely look a tad stronger than Ferrari, with maybe toyota ahead of BMW as well. Still plenty of development to come before melbourne of course.


I think Raikkonen should worry less about whether the car will suit him and concentrate on what he can do to add to his skill set. Martin Brundle has said on air before that a driver's ability to adapt to the inevitability of changing conditions, whether it be track temperature, rubber laid down, weather, or even driving around technical issues with the car is a fundamental skill. You give up too many points by having off days.

Drivers like Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, Prost, and Senna to name a few seemed hooked up in the car on the majority of days and they've been driving through different formulas, with different tyres, handling characteristics, circuits and through a raft of technical regulations. Some drivers seem to have a natural or nurtured ability to assimilate a technical feel and knowledge about the way they go racing in the car they're given.

Kimi could well be the fastest driver in Formula 1 but I think he needs to add some things to his skill set if he's going to beat Hamilton and win back the title. That includes racecraft (his overtaking particularly seemed lacking against Kubica at Fuji last year), plus technical knowledge, and also galvanising his team to support and help him more during a weekend maybe.


I think Paul that judging Kimi's 'talents' as lacklustre because of one poor season is a little unfair.

You have to remember that if Kimi had had the reliability that Hamilton has enjoyed all his career, we would be talking about a double if not triple world champion! It was McLaren who cost hm the 2005 championship, and most likely the 2003 title also.

His over taking over the years has been excellent (Suzuka in 2005 being a highlight, winning from 17th on the grid, and making a last lap overtake on Fisi).

The 2008 Ferrari was very poor in the wet conditions, and we had more wet races than any other season I can recall. This fell into the hands of Hamilton. It was also clear that Kimi just could not set up the car, especially over one lap though the ultimate pace was there in the number of fastest laps he had. Massa also struggled badly in the wet and it is unfair to call either poor wet race racers.

I hope that Ferrari have addressed what ever problems Kimi had on 08 and also have improved the cars handling for wet races. I think we all want to see lots of wheel to wheel action between all the top teams and having a fast Kimi is vital.


One thing intrigues me here. Did Kimi actually say the words you have in quotation marks in the title? I have noticed in the Press the prevalence of comments in titles which, when you read the body of the report, are not representative of the comments actually made and give a totally incorrect take on an interview.

To use a recent story on another site Fernando was headlined as saying that Lewis was his "toughest rival" when he actually said was that he was "ONE of his toughest rivals. I also think that the Ferrari drivers will be better this year". A small but interesting distinction.

I would hate to think you were falling into this rather tabloid trap.......


Hi Stephen, my note on Kimi wasn't meant to say that Kimi overall as a driver was below-par or summate his overall talent as being lacklustre. I am not anti-Kimi and I'm a fan of what he does bring to F1.

Kimi has a strong argument to claim he is the fastest driver in F1. That alone makes him a potential champion and the evidence of could be seen with his 10 fastest laps last year. I agree that McLaren didn't provide him with the opportunity to win a championship given the failure of the 03 car, the perpetuation of the 03 car design into 04 which was against Newey's advice, and the ill-calculated risks by Mercedes in power and performance seeking resulting in unreliability for 05.

Kimi seems very brave in searching for the lap times, he has shown bravery in passing moves too (as you say Fisi at Suzuka 05).

I will still maintain none-the-less that his skill set could be improved with the areas I mentioned and I say that taking into account all of his F1 seasons, not just last year.

I think he could take a leaf out of Hamilton's book with passing, and to give an example - when in another car's slipstream he needs to go further to the inside of the track instead of immediately assuming the outside line. Rarely does the guy in front block the full inside line, and even if he does, hold the slipstream and see if he moves back under braking to get a better angle for the corner - in which case Kimi can nail him up that inside passage under braking and hang him out to dry.

I would still like to see him build an ability to gauge and respond to grip levels and set up options, if he can do that as well as eg Alonso seems to he will be very hard to beat.


Kimi likes to party too much. There's no way modern world champions can carry there self like him,falling over drunk and stuff ... god knows what else he gets up to on those yachts. Do they have drug testing in F1??


No he would be much better if he was a lying robot like Hamilton


Kimi's car was damaged in Fuji, due to the McLaren's both hitting him in the first corner. Kimi is the fastest driver, his overtaking skills arn't perfect but nobody's is. Kimi overtook Lewis around the outside in Spa, Massa too.

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