Raikkonen: “There’s nothing better than an F1 car”
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jan 2012   |  8:28 am GMT  |  109 comments

Kimi Raikkonen completed his comeback F1 test this week and has spoken about his feelings at driving an F1 car after two years away.

Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 world champion now aged 32, drove for two days at Valencia’s Riccardo Tormo circuit, which has been used for F1 testing for many years. Testing restrictions meant that he was in a two year old Renault on Pirelli demonstration tyres, but the Finn said it was enough to give him back the old feelings and to show that he’s still got it.

“I was a little concerned about finding the sport had really moved on. But frankly, on Monday and Tuesday I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t feel any difference,” he told L”Equipe today.

“The memories came back, all those times I spent driving various F1 cars, on this track. The old reflexes and feelings came back really fast. Of course it took me a while to find the limit. But after a first day of acclimatisation on Tuesday it went much better, even if there’s still room for improvement.”

Raikkonen also explained that the main motivation for turning his back on rally and coming back to the F1 fold was the desire to go wheel to wheel against other drivers.

“Last year I did a test in NASCAR and I loved rediscovering competition. I really had a good time. In rally you are alone, racing against the clock. In NASCAR you’re in a peloton, battling with forty cars,” he said.

“It was the first time in two years that I raced against others and I just wanted to relive that feeling of real combat. And on a race track there’s nothing better than an F1 car. We had some discussions with Williams, but then very quickly Lotus approached me and everything went together to get an agreement.”

Raikkonen becomes the sixth F1 champion on the grid this season, the first time in the sport’s history that this has happened. He was famous for not enjoying the obligations which come with being an F1 champion, such as dealing with promotions and media, but he says he has his eyes open about this for his comeback,

“In this sport there are loads of things I don’t like and which weigh you down. But when you’re racing, everything’s okay. I love racing other people, It’s what I do best and which gives me the most pleasure.”

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1

awesome, there is just as much fan politics as is in F1. let the season begin then (inside and outside)

2

http://planetf1.com/driver/18227/7466139/-F1-will-be-better-for-Kimi-s-return-

Martin Whitmarsh sure seems to enjoy praising Kimi whenever he gets the chance! 😉

Hmmmmmm?!?!

3

In reply to hero_was_senna post

4

That’s why Spa is Michael Schumacher living room

5

While I am KR fan, I’m not going to enjoy hearing him getting slagged by the fans as they did to Schuey. Between the time off and a midfield car at best, its going to be difficult seasion

6

Hi James,

Based on your insider prediction, how Kimi will drive in comparison to his new teammate at Lotus? Luckily he don’t have to be measured against someone like Nico Rosberg after coming back. Do you think that will help him to settle in better?

At McLaren, Kimi projected a image of really fast driver. Ferrari year was a myth. I really hope he will produce some spectacular driving this season.

7

Yes, it helps he’s up against Grosjean, who is also relearning F1. I think he’ll take a few races, but he’ll be getting the best out of the car very quickly

8

On another site I saw this today; “I expect to have to fight in the middle group,” he said. “But it will not be a drama. It’s no different to my last year at Ferrari.” 🙂

9

I don’t even mind if Kimi does get stuck in the middle group with a car that is on par with say the Force India’s and the Saubers and such. I just want to see Kimi back again.

10

I don’t think Kimi will be battling with the likes of Force India and Saubers, but rather he’ll be fighting with the second drivers of top teams like Massas, Webbers (if he has the season like in 2011) and Nicos n’ Schueys. The man will not however have the machinery to take on Vetels, Alonsos and both the Macca Boys.

Kimi has a superior speed skills and this is allow him to challenge the second bunch of top teams.

11

The problem is, I do not have that much faith in Renault, I mean Lotus, producing a good car.

Lotus (Renault) was quite far back at the end of last year… I do agree that Kimi will wrestle every last bit of perf out of whatever car he gets, but whether that will put the Iceman in reach of the Merc’s, Massa and Webster is a big question.

Damn, I’m so looking forward to march 18, hoping Lotus (Renault) will prove me wrong and actually do just that, get the Kimster a car he CAN use to go up against the second- tier 🙂

12

Cool, for a guy who says very little, he actually says alot!

13

I can’t help but question his sincerity. He’s forcing everything he says like Lotus is making him do it. If you’re passionate about F1, you don’t leave it for NASCAR (which the media seems to be writing off as “two years in rally”). Kimi’s a good driver in the same sense that an infant is good at yelling; it’s not a passion, but a habit that comes naturally.

14

When Kimi left I had no favorite, but do now, again…

15

same here 🙂

16

raikkonen at spa. cant wait.

17

Kimi says Lotus approached him, I thought it was actually Kimi who approached Lotus.

Also I do think partly Kimi is in F1 because of financial issues – which is OK as everyone in F1 has a part of their mind on it.

Did he not criticize F1 a couple of years ago stating that F1 is boring when he was off to rallying? Memories are really short and now all of a sudden he is showing “sudden” interest in F1. Do not know which one is true or is that change of heart in two years? Anyway good luck to him as it only increases competition in F1.

18

Aah this is a perfect example of you don’t know what you got till it’s gone but luckily for Kimi, he still has age on his side so he can still be competitive.

In a way it’s good to know that Kimi feels he hasn’t lost his edge but this won’t be good news for drivers seeking glory in 2012 and beyond for this means Kimi is going to spoil a number of people’s parties i.e. Taking away points from pilots that seriously need them.

Anyway as long as he’s ruining Ferrari & Red Bull’s races, all I can say is welcome back Mr. Ice man!

19

I fear that the new even softer Pirellis will hurt the likes of Kimi and Hamilton. These two guys are the best to watch with classic oversteer moments etc. Even the recently released test videos showed some great, classic Raikkonen moves. It was great to see again, but would be costly during a race in 2012. Shame.

20

From what I understand Pirelli is making the soft tires more durable this year.

21

I think the car would have been adapted to feel more like a 2011 car.

They probably played around with the wings and aero and of course the weight and fuel load.

22

And there is nothing better than Raikkonen in an F1 car 😉

23

@mo kahn maybe if you added “to me” there is nothing better than Raikkonen in an F1 car that would be fine but without that a bit exaggerating don’t you think 😉

24

nope 😉

25

Yup 🙂

26

You are free to live in your own head 😉

27

Yes there is…. sorry to burst your bubble

30

It will be interesting to see how good the Lotus car will be this season. If it is good then expect Kimi not to take too long to be up to scratch, unlike Schumacher! If it is not too good then Kimi might struggle at first before coming good.

Either way it looks to be a fascinating season with 6 World Champions racing, can’t wait!

31

Totally off-topic, James, have you heard anything about the issues regarding the TV F1 rights holder in Spain (“La Sexta”). I’ve read that they’ve had to re-sell the rights as they’re not able to pay and now there’s some legal controversy.

32

I read that too let’s hope they do something about it because I loved their race buildups, correct me if I’m wrong but I think they even had Marc Gené and De la Rosa as commentators.

33

No, but thanks for the suggestion and I’ll follow that up

34

As much as I enjoy several other categories of motor racing, Raikkonen’s right about one thing: there is nothing like an F1 car.

35

Kimi is one of the old style pure racers left and one of the most gifted ever. The car however unlikely to allow him to reach top 3 places. This is the reality, but hope his fans will keep supporting him anyway.

36

we are for Raikkonen regardless 🙂

37

Good to have him back, regardless of how it turns out. F1 needs pure racers like Kimi.

38

An unusually frank couple of quotes there. Perhaps, having seen the grass on the other side, perhaps the negative sides of F1 will be less of a drag for Kimi.

39

Kimi,

Unfortunately, driving a two year old car proves nothing. Things have moved on enormously since then…Are you still up to it?

40

Kimi,

Ignore Phil. You’re kick@ss.

41

To add to that,Schumi was mighty fast when he first tested a GP2 car and later the Merc in pre-season testing, but it took him a long time to get everything together and he is still playing catch up. Having said that,Kimi has 2 things working for him :

1) Age. He is still relatively a young man.

2) He never stopped racing. For Schumacher it was a big switch from couch to an F1 car. Kimi on the other hand has been rallying,NASCARing and ofcourse crashing. I wish him all the best, but i dont expect anything spectacular atleast for the next 2 seasons.

42

“I didn’t feel any difference”

Yes… Maybe because the car was 2 years old!

Maybe I don’t know something but are they allowed to add 2012 like features to that car ?

43

If anybody can drag Lotus up the ranks to start fighting the top 3 marques, Kimi can. Hope he is able to do it asap so we see more dogfights………..role on 18 March.

44

Heidfeld was as quick as Raikkonen when they were at Sauber together.

He was, on his day, as quick as Kubica, yet whilst Kubica worked the team hard and paid back their hard work, Heidfeld was dropped because he didn’t direct the team as they had hoped.

Heidfeld was always a good test driver, yet Kimi never was, I wouldn’t be expecting this to work out.

Regarding Whitmarsh, he has Button and Hamilton and in 2010 he had the chance to sign Kimi, I doubt that’s a likely avenue to be honest

45

Heidfeld was as quick as Raikkonen when they were at Sauber together.

– You forgot to add Heidfeld had quite a few years of F1 experience whereas Raikkonen had virtually none. Being new to the series and driving as good as someone that has a few years under his belt tells you something about the guy’s talent

Heidfeld was always a good test driver, yet Kimi never was, I wouldn’t be expecting this to work out.

– Maybe you are neglecting those engineers who have worked with Kimi in the past and their high praise of his ability to just simply go out and drive flat out for a few laps, come back in with some good feedback? In case you aren’t aware of them they are all over Google.

46

Er… maybe you should read what I typed? I didn’t say Heidfeld was better than Kimi, and I said essentially the same things as you.

In my reply I was quoting the original poster “hero_was_senna”. Do please READ properly.

47

im sorry to disappoint you…Kimi is the best test driver ever…prior to his carrier he used to test the engine for formula feeder series…and the manufacture was shocked by his sensitiveness on the car and engine….and his feedback of course is beyond great~~!! You ask every engineers who worked with him b4 and they will tell you the same things!!! Adrian newey etc….Jenson BUtton recently stated that the mclaren engineers still talking about Kimi on how good he is in develop and setting up a car!!

48

I think Kimi’s onto a winner here.

He has to out-qualify Grosjean, and also to define what the limits of the car are. If he can do both, the calls will come sooner rather than later from Whitmarsh and Horner.

If Horner [or Mateshits} goes for Hamilton to replace Webber, McL will snap up Kimi.

Course, all this depends on him achieving the above….

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