Sunday, January 31, 2010

Petrov confirmed as Renault launch R30

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov will partner Robert Kubica at Renault, the team confirmed on Sunday. The news came as the team revealed their 2010 car at Spain’s Valencia circuit, where pre-season testing begins on Monday.

Petrov, 25, was runner-up in the 2009 GP2 Series and will become the first Russian to compete in Formula One racing when he takes to the grid in Bahrain next month. China’s Ho-Pin Tung was confirmed as Renault’s third driver, with Belgian Jerome d'Ambrosio and Czech driver Jan Charouz as reserves.

"This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to working with the team this season,” said Petrov. “I've always dreamed of racing in Formula One and so to make my debut with a top team like Renault is very exciting. The first race is just over a month away so I will make sure I spend as much time as possible with the team over the next few weeks so that I am fully prepared in time for Bahrain."

Renault team principal Eric Boullier commented: "This is a very special day for Vitaly and we welcome him into the team. As a rookie, we recognise that Vitaly will have a lot to learn this season, but his performances in GP2 last year were outstanding and confirmed that he is ready to make the step up to Formula One. With Robert alongside him, Vitaly has the perfect role model to learn from and I'm confident he will deliver on the promise he has shown throughout his career."

Kubica and Petrov revealed the R30 to the assembled media, complete with its new black and yellow livery - the iconic colours made famous by Renault in the 1980s. With stable aero regulations the R30 is a mixture of evolution and revolution, and is much more svelte than its predecessor. In particular the rear of the car has been considerably reworked to allow the car to make the most of the double-decker diffusers that were first seen last year. Changes have also been made to the architecture of the chassis to adapt to the refuelling ban, which has required the installation of a much larger fuel tank.

Speaking at the presentation, Boullier praised the team's efforts in delivering the new car in time for the first test: "We've been working flat-out during the winter to ensure that we begin the new season in the best shape possible. The R30 should be a competitive, strong and reliable car, and we've opted for an aggressive development strategy throughout the season. Now we're here ready for the first test and we're all excited to see if the car performs as we think it will."

Both Kubica and Petrov were thrilled to see their new car and spoke of their hopes for the season ahead: "The team has been working on the new car for a long time and it's clear that we are moving in the right direction," said Kubica. "Now we need to maximise the winter tests to keep up this momentum and continue improving the car. Our priority is to make the car easy to drive because the new rules favour cars that are not too sensitive - we need a car that behaves consistently in a wide range of conditions."

Petrov added: "The new car looks stunning and the colours remind everybody of Renault's great history in the sport. I can't wait to drive the car for the first time and start working with the team."

The R30 will get its first run at Valencia on Monday and Renault willremain at the circuit until Wednesday evening to complete the first pre-season test session.


Arctic Lapland Rally 2010 Kimi Raikkonen Rami Raikkonen and Mark Arnall speaking

Translate Courtesy: Nicole

Oskari Saari: From the Arctic Lapland Rally, the WRC-season will become extremely interesting, there's Hirvonen, there's Räikkönen and of course that Loeb-troll but let's see now how Arctic Lapland Rally will go.

Anette: Kimi Räikkönen stepped in front of the media for the first time as a WRC-driver on Thursday. The laidback Räikkönen chatted about this and that but assured that he is in rally with a serious intention.

Kimi: Well, I don't think I would go driving if I wouldn't be interested. It has never been up to interest, otherwise I would have retired a long time ago. Nobody forces me to do it and I don't have to do it if I don't want to. Of course we always try to do our best and go as fast as possible but I have to be realistic, we have a lot to learn so it doesn't happen really quickly. Maybe it's more easier in F1, you drive the same car on the same track so that you know what to anticipate during every lap but in rally there are so many things that change so you have to make the right choices really quickly. Let's see what happens.

Anette: Arctic Lapland Rally started on Friday. The first stage was as success story for Räikkönen. Kimi was 2nd fastest only 5 seconds behind Sordo. On the second stage the Newton's laws came in to the picture when the speed and grip didn't match anymore. Räikkönen heard the note wrong and the Citroen took off like a button from a shirt.

Kimi: There was a tree as thick as a leg and we went right through it but those things happen, that's why we came here, to learn everything. It was a tricky weather, it was snowing and my headlights were too high and I couldn't see anything. All kinds of things, on one stage the crossroad went too far so we had to reverse. A lot has happened but it's good. That's why we came here so that we could screw up what can be screwed up and learn from that.

Kaj Lindström: We came from the jump straight and tightening 3 and Kimi came to the corner and turned a bit too roughly and it didn't turn and he said: 'It wasn't 5 was it?' and I told him that no, it was 3 and he admitted himself that he heard it wrong, understood it wrong but these things happen and you have to get used to it. If you go to anyone else you will hear long stories about how it just is part of the rally.

Anette: Kimi wasn't the only Räikkönen with bad luck in this rally. Kimi's brother Rami rolled three times with his Fiat Grande Punto and this is the same car Kimi had in Jyväskylä last year.

Rami Räikkönen: Well it wasnt Left 6.

Anette: Apparently you used your brother's notes from last year?

Rami: Oh yes. Of course I had checked them myself but I still have to learn about that.

Anette: Tell what happened, how many times did you roll etc.?

Rami: The speed was 172 km/h, and it started rolling from the front, spectators said I rolled three times but I'm not sure.

Anette: What happened to your nose?

Rami: I guess the windows came in through my nose.

Anette: They went to the night break with Dani Sordo leading. Juha Salo was second. Kimi was 74th and he already had over an hour's difference to the lead due to the driving out. Mark Arnall was also in Rovaniemi, he has worked with Kimi ever since 2002. Training for F1 and rally is almost similar.

Source: YouTube -bigraikkonenfan5


Night club Doris:

After his WRC-debut in Rovaniemi, Kimi Räikkönen relaxed after a hard day's work in Rovaniemi's freezing night.

Kimi was seen partying in Doris-nightclub in Rovaniemi center. The arrival of Finland's biggest celebrity to the restaurant created buzz among the other partying people.

–Of course people took many pictures of him and his entourage. Many also went to ask for his autograph, Viihdeuutiset was told.

Kimi was partying with a big entourage. The entourage was about 15 persons including also his co-driver Kaj Lindström and his team mate Daniel Sordo who came with his own co-driver. MTV's rally reporter Anette Latva-Piikkilä represented the entourage's female beauty.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole Planet-F1

Race-engineer praises Räikkönen’s detailed work

Kimi Räikkönen’s race-engineer, Cedric Mazenq, in Citroen Junior Team thanks the Finnish driver for giving very detailed feedback on the rally-car’s settings.

In F1 Räikkönen is used to set up his car very precisely.

- He notices a lot of details because he has learnt in F1 to do detailed work. He is able to help the team improve the car, Mazenq says to MTV3 about what kind of first-impression Räikkönen gave him.

Citroen-team has offered in Arctic-rally many different kinds of set-up options for Räikkönen to try out so that the Iceman gets experience on what kind of adjustments are best for him.

- This rally is a test for Kimi. It is follow-up for the test we drove last week in Jyväskylä area. The goal of this rally is to find the initial settings for the Swedish WRC-rally, Mazenq emphasizes.

For Arctic-rally the Citroen-team’s goal has been to make Kimi a car that is the easiest possible to drive.

- In the beginning the most important for him is that he gets confidence in his car. This is a new world for him. We do our best so that we help him learn about the car, the route and the notes. There are a lot of differences between rally and F1 but he is taking them with an open mind, Mazenq tells.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Leijona @OF

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Anette Latva-Piikkilä: Racegirl's blog

If Kimi hadn't slipped yesterday during SS2 he would have been 2nd in Arctic Rally.

It's nice to say 'if'. And Räikkönen also had a nice time. During maintenance breaks Kimi was circulating around his car like a falcon. He was very interested about what changes they made into the car and he spent a lot of time with his engineer's.

Kimi's engineer Cedric Mazenq praised Kimi a lot for his sensitive touch to his car and good feedback. They offered Kimi many different setups during this weekend so that he could choose the one he liked best.

The fact is that Kimi has now taken part in 5 rallies. He was about one second behind Sordo. It really wasn't a bad start for a WRC-driver. And because the car still wasn't like Kimi wanted it to be we can wait for his pace to improve. Kimi is therefore a driver who develops.

Here in Rovaniemi there are now many Kimi-fans. Kimi took his audience on the podium and got enormous applauds from his fans.

Will Iceman get a new name while the season goes on?

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole Planet-F1

Kimi Räikkönen Interview From YLE in Arctic Rally Lapland

Source: YLE - YouTube

Hamilton 'suggested Button as a teammate'

Lewis Hamilton has shed some new light on Jenson Button's surprise move to McLaren by claiming he was the one who urged the team to consider signing the current Formula One Champion

The Woking outfit's decision to team up two high-profile drivers raised quite a few eyebrows in light of Hamilton and Fernando Alonso's frosty partnership during the 2007 season.

Hamilton, though, is adamant that he welcomed Button with open arms and he took things even further during the launch of the new MP4-25 by claiming he suggested to team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

"Something you won't know is that I actually called Martin and said 'What about Jenson?', which was before they had negotiations," said Hamilton.

"At the time I was calling them and asking them, 'What's going on? I keep reading all these different stories about different drivers. What's happening?'

"Fortunately I would be told who they were talking to, but I had absolutely no input into who they would pick.

"So I would say, 'Have you spoken to this person? Have you spoken to Jenson?'.

"And why Jenson? Because he is the best driver there is, and they wanted to get the best driver possible. I just wanted to find out because people kept asking me as to who was going to be my team-mate.

"I was happy with the team-mate I had, but it seemed like they were looking for someone else.

"I want the best team I can possibly have to score the points alongside me," replied Hamilton. "When he's winning I've got to be finishing second, and when I'm winning he's got to be finishing second.

"I need a team. I can't win the Constructors' Championship on my own, so I need to have as strong a team-mate as possible.

"You want someone to push you. I had Fernando (Alonso) pushing me in 2007, and at certain points in the year in 2008, I had Heikki pushing me.

"I've no doubts this year Jenson is going to be hard to beat. His results last year speak for themselves, so in coming here I'm sure he will do a solid job."

Confirming Hamilton was fully supportive of Button's appointment, Whitmarsh said: "As we evaluated the driver market, which we did over a number of weeks, Lewis was consistently positive about Jenson.

"As I think has been made clear, they have a high regard for each other and are already getting on well."

Button's camp has always maintained that he only started discussions with McLaren after negotiations with Brawn broke down at the end of the 2009 season. However, the 30-year-old admitted that he had "talks" with Hamilton before that.

"[Lewis and I] spoke a little bit in Brazil and Abu Dhabi," Button said, "but not about me coming here. I just asked him questions about McLaren. So we spoke a little bit, but he didn't know why I was asking the questions.

"I was just interested then - just being nosy really. I didn't think for one second before Brazil that I would be changing teams. I didn't think the option was there, not before I won the title. But obviously your mindset changes when you win something that you've worked so hard for. Then you look for other challenges."

Source: Planet F1

Kimi's manager: very, very different

- I must say that for me this is very, very different. F1 pit stop is completely different than here. This is of course not WRC-rally. I'm waiting to get to those races, Robertson said to MTV3.

Robertson highlight that Räikkönen could have continued in F1 if had wanted.

- Transferring to rally was Kimi's decision. We had opportunities to make a deal with a couple F1-teams after he quit at Ferrari but that didn't happen. Kimi made it very clear that if he doesn't get into particular F1-teams he wants to investigate other options. We got a good chance from Red Bull and Citroen in rally and Kimi announced that he wants to do it.

Räikkönen's next years series-decision is going to be affected by the experiences in rally in the beginning of the year and the the situation on free driver-places in F1.

- Kimi looks how things progress in WRC-rally until the middle of the season. Then we look what options there are open in F1. If he likes WRC-rally, then he will continue there. If he continues in WRC-rally series, is championship a long-term goal, Robertson says.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Leijona Planet-F1

Cold ride to Robertson

29.1.2010 22:46:53

Kimi Räikkönen’s manager Steve Robertson arrived from his home Dubai, which had 28 degrees of heat, to the arctic cold Lapland. He got a cold ride also from his protégé’s initial difficulties in Lapland-rally.

What did it feel like when you heard that Kimi had driven out?

- We have to remember that this is Kimi’s first day in his rally-career. When you go to an entirely new class – like from F1 to rally – everyone certainly understand better after this how different it is – from driving style onwards.

- Kimi knows how much work it is to understand notes and make them in the best way. It’s a map where he now navigates. He has all the experience from F1 but it doesn’t help when you must suddenly do notes to places which experienced drivers have gone through already thousands times. It is not easy when there is no baseline to compare with.

- Kimi is certainly a natural talent in every way but it takes its time that he starts to understand the rally-world completely. And it doesn’t help that he’s a F1 champion. That’s why he is all the time in the spotlight and he can’t hide anywhere when he’s trying to adapt to these challenges. Kimi needs time but let’s wait when he adjusts his own things. I’m certain that he will become super-competitive by the middle of the season and he is an entirely different Kimi than he is now, Robertson assured

But what if these kind of crashes happen again?

- Everything doesn’t always to according to plans. It’s not easy for Kimi, but the learning phase has to be gone through. But it’s certain that this kind of set-back does not make Kimi any less determined about the fact that he will become very competitive also in WRC-rally, Robertson concluded.

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Leijona Planet-F1

Mark Arnall admits that the F1-regulations changed to Kimi's disadvantage last season.

- The driver's weight was important in F1 because of the KERS-drvice. We did a lot of work to make Kimi smaller because he was 2-3 kg overweight after KERS was put in. Some bigger drivers had even more difficulties, Arnall told MTV3.

In rally Räikkönen is weighed together with Kaitsu.

- The minimum weight is 150 kg. We are a little above it. We are more or less where we should be, Arnall said.

- Driving rally is more easier on Kimi because he doesn't have to put up with the same G-forces as in F1. The driving position is quite different so the muscles work in a different way. We will change the training according to which parts work more than before and which less, Arnall tells.

- In rally you sit in the car more than in F1 with pace notes and transitions. The rally car bumps the driver up and down more than a F1-car. That kind of bumping strains the lower back, Arnall continues

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Friday, January 29, 2010

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Mp4-25 Launch

Source: YouTube - OfficialMcLarenVids

[Video] Kimi speaks on the first day of the Arctic Rally Lapland

Source: MTV3 - YouTube

Kimi Räikkönen took the blame on himself for driving out during the second stage.

- I heard the note wrong and we drove into the snow bank because of it, Räikkönen admitted to MTV3.

It cost Kimi about half an hour.

- There was a tree, about as thick as a leg, and we went through it. Those things happen. That's why we came here, so that we could screw up everything that can be screwed up and learn from that. So that we wouldn't have to do the same mistakes in the upcoming races, Räikkönen said.

On the dark stage Räikköen had problems with visibility.

- It was difficult because it was snowing so I didn't see well. Our lights were a bit too high.

- On one stage the crossroad went a bit far and we had to back.

Räikkönen has been about one second per kilometer behind Dani Sordo on stages without problems.-

I see it myself, that I pump up quite a lot and hustle this and that but the times are pretty OK. I think it will start to go better. I could probably go faster if I would drive seriously but the main thing is that we could learn all different things. We can destroy this car now, Kimi said.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole Planet-F1

A chat with Kimi - from Turun Sanomat

Kimi Räikkönen's debut with Red Bull Citroen's WRC car has attracted 170 media people to Rovaniemi. As many as there were when Ferrari and McLaren presented their cars this week. On Thursday night Räikkönen spent over an hour interviewed first by the tv and after that by the press people.

In F1 you said that you will always drive for victory? Is it possible this year in rally?

"No and that's for sure. There are pretty tough drivers out there and they have raced for many years the same rallies. They remember quite a lot from the stages and know what to do where. Like I said, you have to learn a lot before you get experience and can start improving your pace," Räikkönen says.

So this new challenge with a WRC car will replace his will to win this season.

What kind of expectations do you have from Sweden's rally?

"Everything is new to me so first of all I have to be patient. It's difficult to say what to expect when I haven't raced with this car. We'll see in Sweden how it goes. It's useless to say anything beforehand when there are so many things that can go wrong," Räikkönen said.

Sordo can't afford to lose

On Thursday Räikkönen got some comparison to Daniel Sordo's times when the duo drove the same stages with the same cars.

"Tunturi-rally is just a practice for Sweden. It's difficult to say how it goes here either. I have so much to learn in many things so the result doesn't mean anything to me in this race. You will see our pace in Sweden."

Sordo has drove in even colder conditions in Norway. Tunturi is his 6th snow rally. How badly will it hurt if the 3rd overall in WRC would lose to Räikkönen right from the beginning?

"Kimi is undoubtly fast but we try to go faster. If Kimi is faster it's not a good thing for me," Sordo thought.

There will be enough testing

Räikkönen had time to test for three days with Citroen before the races start. If there is need for it, can you test as much as you want?

"Of course there are some limitations. It depends on so many things, what kind of contracts who has and who pays what. I'm not even sure what the regulations say but I think you can test pretty freely in WRC. Other teams test, others don't," Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen denied many times the claims that he wouldn't have been motivated in F1 tests.

"Everyone can have their own view even if I wouldn't even know about the whole thing. The truth is that I have never had anything against any test where you try new parts and new things. It's a different thing if you just drive 600 km per day just to try if the car can take it without breaking," Kimi assures.

Brothers as competitors

Big brother Rami Räikkönen will drive in Tunturi in Kimi's old car Fiat Abarth Grande Punto. Now the brothers compete on rally paths for the first time.

"It's still my car but when Rami wanted to try rally and has been doing it for a longer time as a hobby I thought why not?"

Own pace notes to polish

So at what stage will the widely discussed Räikkönen's practice to make pace notes take place? How much do you trust the notes Kaj Lindström gives you?

"I trust in them because I have made them myself. There are many things. Of course I trust what Kaitsu says when I have made them myself and he has so much experience that if I would have made them totally senseless, he would have mentioned about it already when we made them. There won't be that kind of a mistake. It's more about the driver listening properly to the notes so that he doesn't make an error because of not listening."

"There is a lot to learn so that you can make good notes in a good place and precisely understand how fast you can drive there. Easily it goes so that if you can't describe it well enough it means that you can't drive as fast as you should."

A year in rally is not an obstacle for coming back to F1

Did you look at Ferrari's new F10 car from the internet?

"I have seen the car. It's hard to say anything based upon pictures. I guess they will start testing it next week. You see it then. It looked a lot like it looked last year ago too. Nothing terribly different," Räikkönen summed up.

Do you still have a burn for a comeback to F1?

"I have no contract with anyone for year 2011. Of course a lot depends on what happens and where. I guess I have a long year ahead of me and you can never know what is going to happen."
Will this year be wasted if you decide to go back to F1?

" It's not wasted in any way. I always do my best. In the final games this was the best option of all options for this year. That's why I drive rally now."

Thanks: KR Spaces and Nicole

Kimi's answers translated from Finnish in the press conference

Q: Kimi Räikkönen, your career's first WRC-race ahead of you, be honest, are you nervous at all?
Kimi Räikkönen: I don't know, I'm not nervous but of course you don't really know what to expect. I've driven a couple of rallies but with a little bit different equipment. It's fun to see how we do.

Q: There has been experts speculating a lot about what Kimi can reach, but what does the driver say himself?
KR: Well I don't have any information on that since we have not driven at all against anyone. Today we drove with Sordo for the first time the same stint and with the same car but there is still a lot to be learnt, especially doing notes and listening to notes is the most difficult that you dare to drive with them as fast as you can.

Q: What kind of show is the Iceman going to put up [for the reporters and spectators]?
KR: (laughs) Well let's see, like I said it is pretty difficult to predict anything and of course we haven't had the chance to drive with the car that much but it's a different thing when you have to go fast on the race right away. And there's not so much experience with this car, last year we have driven stints but they're not on top of memory so we were at the same position last year when we could drive a little bit before the race. Of course some more testing would help but let's see what happens and let's try to stay on the road and get kilometres under the belt and improve the pace.

Q: Sebastien Loeb mentioned on one of his interviews that Kimi Räikkönen in 2011 as team-mate would be an interesting alternative. How do you feel?
KR: (laughs) Well it's pointless to think what happens next year when we haven't driven any kilometres in races yet and there is time to happen all kinds of stuff within this year. But like I said let's do our best and see if the pace is enough and that will give some kind of direction on what will happen next year.

Thanks: KR Spaces and Leijona

Kimi: it was my own fault

"The place wasn't difficult, it just went out of control. The car was stuck from the bottom to a snowbank and it didn't move anywhere. First I tried with Kaj with our own shovels for 15 minutes, but then there came people with huge shovels and the car was moved".

Because the car remained technically intact, will Räikkönen continue the rally in testing spirit.

"We will continue the race, it is nice to drive the car and everything works well."

Thanks: KR Spaces, Leijona

Kovalainen: I know why McLaren didn't work out

New Lotus recruit Heikki Kovalainen expects McLaren to rise to the task of supporting both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, despite not achieving success himself at the Woking-based concern

Heikki Kovalainen has admitted that he expects the McLaren team he left over the winter to 'work flat out' to provide new world champion Jenson Button with the opportunity to maintain his frontrunning form in 2010.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, the Finn refused to bad-mouth his former employer and said that he knew that Button would be made to feel welcome at Woking, but admitted that he knew the reasons why his own two-year tenure alongside Lewis Hamilton had failed to provide the race-winning performance he had expected.

"I have analysed it quite a lot myself and with the people around me, with my family and with everybody," the Lotus F1 recruit commented, "We tried very hard with McLaren towards the end of my time there, [but] it didn't work out. I don't want to get into the reason why too much, there's no point, [but] I think I know why it didn't work out for me. Now I am starting from another place and let's see how it works out."

After struggling initially at Renault, many saw the move to McLaren - in an exchange deal with Fernando Alonso - to allow Kovalainen to rediscover the sort of form that made him Nico Rosberg's closest rival for the inaugural GP2 title. However, after taking a somewhat fortuitous maiden win in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Finn was saddled with an uncompetitive MP4-24 at the start of 2009, and never really made the most of the improvements that transformed the car as the year went on. Hamilton, meanwhile, recorded two victories and out-scored the regular frontrunners over the final third of the season.

"If I went back in time, I would still go to McLaren, no question about it - but I would do things very differently," Kovalainen conceded, "I felt I didn't get everything out of the team, [but] I am doing things differently at Lotus and my target is to get 100 per cent out of the team all the time. For me, it's just a new chapter in my career and I feel I am in very good shape.

"The first chassis has arrived here, and everyone is building it. The engine is here already, so there are quite a lot more people working here compared to a week-and-a-half ago when I was here last time. It all looks very positive.

"Everybody is flat-out working, because it will be busy until the first test and first race – it will be very hectic. For me, it all looks like it is progressing really well. It looks fantastic. I don't expect it to be a rocket to start with, but it looks really cool – people will be surprised when they see the car.

"I expect some tough times, especially the first half of the season, but I have to go through them. I think we have a lot of potential and that's why I decided to join. I think, in the long run, this can be a very good place for me."

Meanwhile, as Kovalainen waits for the official launch of the first Lotus F1 machine since 1994, his former team unveiled the car that it hopes will carry either Hamilton or new recruit - and 2009 world champion - Jenson Button to the 2010 title.

"I don't know how it is going to work out for [Jenson], the only thing I can say is that he will find a team that is warm and very professional," the Finn opined, "I'm sure they will be very motivated and work flat out for him. That's what he will find, but whether it will work out for him, I don't know."

Kovalainen has been a regular visitor to the Lotus F1 base at Hingham, and he recently took time out to drop in on the home of Lotus Cars to meet the Lotus family and choose the paint scheme for his personalised Evora.

The Finn was given a tour of the production facilities yesterday [Thursday], and tested the Evora on Lotus' own test track before being given a special tour of the Classic Team Lotus workshops by Clive Chapman, son of Lotus founder Colin. The tour was steeped in Lotus history and included some of the F1 cars that helped the marque to achieve 79 GP wins, seven constructor's titles and six drivers' championships, including Emerson Fittipaldi's iconic Type 72.

"It was an honour to meet Clive Chapman and learn more about his legendary father and to see Lotus' classic F1 cars," Kovalainen admitted, "I'm really keen to drive one of the JPS cars and maybe I will be at Lotus again sometime soon to drive the Type 72!"

The 28-year-old was also impressed with the Evora, a personalised version of which he expects to take charge of before too long.

"The Evora was everything I expected - Lotus is famous for fantastic sports cars and the Evora did not disappoint," he reported, "The power to weight ratio gives the car a real racecar feel and allowed me to really push the car round the track. I enjoyed every lap and had fun sliding it sideways!

"The entire day has been great. I was really excited to see so many happy, motivated people and the support of the Lotus workforce is very much appreciated; I really got a sense of the passion the people have for the Lotus brand. I'd really like to thank everyone for a great day."

"Group Lotus is very proud of its racing pedigree and we are all very excited to share our story with Heikki," added the company's CEO Dany Bahar, "It was our honour to welcome Heikki to Group Lotus, and we wish him and the Lotus F1 Racing team every success for the 2010 F1 season.

"We take great pride in the sportscars that we produce at Hethel, and Heikki's visit provided a great opportunity to show off the multi-award winning cars that we produce and the advanced niche production facilities at Hethel."


Female driver for Campos?

As the clock ticks for Campos, the new Spanish team is considering whether signing a female driver could help attract much-needed sponsors.

Reports in the specialist press, including Germany's Auto Motor und Sport and the Swiss newspaper Blick, indicate that the team could be asked to hand back its official entry if it cannot guarantee a full budget for the 2010 season.

It is believed the Campos issue will be discussed by the F1 Commission on Monday.

At the same time, it is rumoured in the Italian press that Maria de Villota is being considered as a teammate for Bruno Senna.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who has competed in world touring cars, DTM and Superleague Formula, is the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota.

"When time runs out, urgent action is needed," said the Spanish sports daily AS, revealing that di Villota could minimally be offered the role as reserve driver.

Meanwhile, another Spanish sports daily, Marca, claims F2 champion Andy Soucek is in talks with Renault about becoming Robert Kubica's 2010 teammate.

Both Soucek and his chief rival for the seat, the Russian Vitaly Petrov, are well sponsored.

Source: F1 Complete

Yet another video from Arctic Rally Lapland...

Source: YouTube

Kimi Räikkönen in Artic Rally Lapland

Source: MTV3 YouTube

[Video]: Arctic Rally Lapland Press Conference

Thanks TaniaS and Anelise

Kimi on Arctic Rally Lapland Press Conference Photos

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More photos from the McLaren launch

Photos of Kimi's damaged car...

Raikkonen crashes on Arctic Rally

Finland's 2007 Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen has crashed on his first competitive event driving for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team.

Raikkonen was placed second overall in the Arctic Lapland Rally when his car left the road and crashed into a tree on the event's second stage, the 23km Aittajärvi.

Kimi and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were unhurt in the incident, but their C4 World Rally Car sustained damage to its right-hand front corner. With help from spectators the pair eventually got the car back on the road and underway again, but the episode cost them more than 20 minutes and could bring an end to their day.

The team is hoping that once the car is repaired, Raikkonen will be able to continue in today's competition, or re-start on Saturday.

Raikkonen and Lindstrom are tackling the winter event, the opening round of the Finnish championship, as a warm-up before their WRC campaign kicks off in Sweden on 11 February.

It is the first competitive outing for the duo in the Citroen C4 World Rally Car they will campaign this season. However it's not a new event for the pair, who made their rally debut together there in 2009, finishing 13th in a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000.

Before the crash, Raikkonen had got off to a good start. In perfect snowy conditions, and in a temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius, he recorded the second fastest time though Friday's opening stage, the 11.27km Rantasipi Pohjanhovi / Mäntyvaara. The only man to beat him - by a margin of 5.5sec - was his fellow Citroen C4 driver, Dani Sordo, who is also using the event as a pre-season test.

After two stages, Sordo, now the sole World Rally Car driver in the predominantly Group N field, leads the rally by 26.1sec from the Estonian, Ott Tanak.


Kimi suprises: snow doesn't fit the Iceman!

29.01.2010 08:01

Kimi Räikkönen doesn't enjoy the wintry conditions at least not behind a rally car.

- I have driven the most in snow with a rally car but in my opinion snow is the most difficult surface. There you have to be pretty accurately on the clean driving lane because otherwise there will be a lot of action. On snow it is the most difficult to do notes and keep the car on the road, Räikkönen admits to MTV3.

In Arctic-rally, which is driven in Rovaniemi's snowy roads on Friday and Thursday, Räikkönen's WRC-car has wider tires than the N-group's drivers', which makes Räikkönen's job difficult since the WRC-tires won't fit the narrow lanes properly at the special stage that is driven for the second time.

The WRC-series start at the middle of February at Sweden's snow but Räikkönen is waiting to get to other surfaces already.

- I have driven one rally on sand and I've tested there somewhat. On tarmac and sand you can search for driving lanes a little bit. Tarmac is certainly natural for me. There you can read [the road] with your eyes more.

In WRC the tarmac-rallies are placed on the second half of the season.

- Fortunately there is a couple of races driven before the tarmac-rallies come. If we would have learnt something before that, Kimi says.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Leijona

Kimi Räikkönen Interview From MTV3

Source: YouTube @Anelise30


For long they have written Iceman-stories about Kimi Räikkönen during his F1-career.

On Thursday the reporters making these stories became at once real Icemen. At least it seemed that way when I was frozen from my cheeks up while standing in the snowbanks up to my knees in a windy -20 degrees just waiting to see a glimpse of Räikkönen's Red Bull-Citroen when he tested on the test-stage in Vennivaara.

Like Unto Mononen said, Lapland's nature still creates a strange magic. When Räikkönen left to WRC-rally challenges he vacuumed like magic the international media from all over the world to the Arctic Lapland. The organisers are counting that there's even more foreign reporters than there are Finnish reporters. The furthest stories will travel from Rovaniemi all the way to New Zealand.

It's a long way from Vennivaara's forest to Ferrari's home in Maranello. They arranged almost at the same time with the National Finland Rally their biggest celebration when Ferrari presented their new F10-car to the wide media-people

According to the original transcript Räikkönen should have been on Thursday in Maranello in that presentation because he had a signed contract of this year in Ferrari in his pocket.

After the contract was broken in September Räikkönen hasn't given even a thought to Ferrari's future.

If F10 is a successful car, Kimi got at least a feather in his hat for keeping during the prolonged designing time the sharpened axes of criticism buried and drove a victory and a few other good results for Ferrari during the endseason.

It would be Lapland's magic if Räikkönen could on Friday and Saturday challenge Dani Sordo immediately. Sordo has taken his place in WRC in the top 3.

Sordo will have to go first to the first stage and Räikkönen gets to drive beside the snowbanks with the ideal starting number 3.

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Thursday, January 28, 2010

[Video]: Kimi speaks about the Arctic Rally in Finnish

Thanks: Anelise


Rallydriver Kimi Räikkönen denied on Thursday in his interview with MTV3 that he would be buying the icehockey -team Ilves from Tampere.

- I am not buying Ilves. The papers are again writing their own stories, Räikkönen said to MTV3 in Arctic-rally.

Iltalehti told the news about Räikkönen's Ilves-rumours.

Räikkönen is also known as a passionate hockey-guy.

- I've always been interested in icehockey but I have nothing to do with Ilves. Of course I know people from there but it has nothing to do with these purchasing affairs, Kimi said.

Ilves is at the moment last in the national league.

- Let's hope that they get their things sorted out, Kimi sent his regards to the league in Tampere.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole - Planet-F1


One of the concerns on Friday in Arctic Lapland -rally might be the freezing of breather pipes.

The breather is a pipe divisioning the pressure and it freezes easily.

The Arctic-rally will be held in -20 degrees. The breather pipes have to be clean in cold conditions so that dirt won't freeze in them because otherwise you are facing a retirement.

In cold temperatures also the oil in the suspension become stiff and the car is harder to drive than normally.

Freezing problems might not be a problem when driving flat out during stages but they can occur when driving in a slower pace to other places.

- Once the car is warmed up it also stays warm during cold temperatures because everything is in movement and the catalysts and turbos bring heat, the experienced co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen tells MTV3.

- You need some cooling during stages because the engine is too hot. Then when you move from a stage to another you have to cover up the grids so that the engine doesn't freeze, Lehtinen continues.

Rally-drivers don't need any extra heating inside the car because the floor is so hot but they have to get the moist out of the car.

- A big problem in the winter is the windows fogging up. You have to have windshields that you can heat up and all your heating devices have to be in order so that the moist doesn't stay inside the car. Otherwise it won't go well because you can't see anything, Lehtinen knows.

Source: MTV3 – Jani Merimaa, Rovaniemi
Courtesy: Nicole

[Video]: Schumacher talks about wanting the title in 2010

Source: F1 Videos

Alonso eyes both titles with F10 + more photos of the Ferrari launch

Today, the Marlboro Scuderia Ferrari unveiled its 2010 Formula One car, the F10, to the public. Fernando Alonso, who joined the outfit at the end of the 2009 season, is convinced that he and his team mate, Felipe Massa, can win both Championship titles with this car.

Alonso said:
"This is the first time for me, to be at a presentation for Ferrari, and it's a big emotion for me. I want to thank the whole team because they've worked really hard over the last few months to create this dream, this new car, and I also want to thank the sponsors and partners as they have also worked hard and with a lot of passion."

"Felipe and I will be a very strong team and we hope that we'll make all the Ferrari supporters around the world very proud to see this car winning the championship."

Some photos from the event:

Source: F1 Technical

Schumacher: Who says I'm only back for three years?

When asked why he has agreed to return for three years rather than just one initially in order to test the water, Mercedes Grand Prix F1 comeback king Michael Schumacher responds: Who says I'm only back for three years?

As words to strike fear into the hearts of his rivals go, Michael Schumacher could scarcely have chosen them any better. When asked about what had prompted the signing of a three-year contract with Mercedes Grand Prix rather than just one year initially to see how things go, the record-breaking multiple F1 World Champion simply replied: “It doesn't have to be the end after three years.”

Schumacher will already be defying all conventional logic by returning to the fray this year at the comparatively grand old age of 41, when most F1 drivers are generally either contemplating putting their feet up or else turning things down a notch or two in order to race in something a little less physically and mentally demanding. Not 'Schumi'.

With his appetite for glory and thirst for battle clearly re-awakened by three years spent out of the cockpit since his original 'retirement' at the end of 16 seasons of top flight competition in 2006 – and palpably as fit as he has ever been, even entering as he is into his fifth decade – the German has an incredible eighth drivers' world championship in his sights in 2010, and quite possibly a ninth in 2011 and a tenth in 2012. And then, he reasons, if he is still capable of holding his own against rivals closer to half his age, why stop there?

“Three years wasn't really my intention, but the idea came from the team,” Schumacher told German newspaper Bild. “I look at it as a vote of confidence. The good thing is that we can have more success over the course of three years, but it doesn't have to mean it's over after three years.”

At the beginning of the F1 2013 campaign, the Kerpen native will be 44 years of age, and in support of the 91-time grand prix-winner's claim, the legendary Juan-Manuel Fangio was two years older still when he secured the last of his five titles in 1957. Giuseppe 'Nina' Farina and Sir Jack Brabham were also both over 40 when they clinched the crown.

Asserting that he is 'sure' of being competitive – even if it might be 'a little optimistic' to add another championship trophy to his extraordinary career CV as early as 2010 – Schumacher added that such an objective 'has to be our target and our motivation', before quipping that he just needs to remind himself which team he is driving for on his return, given that he has spent the past 14 years in the employ of Ferrari.

“I have to watch out not to drive into the red box when I change tyres,” he joked.


Finnish telecommunications company in support of Räikkönen

Finnish telecoms operator DNA has begun to cooperate with the Formula One World Rally Championship with Kimi Räikkönen shifted.

DNA and Räikkönen's contract covers the current period. Telecommunication Company sponsored driver, which in turn serves the company's marketing façade.

Räikkönen's DNA was involved in support of his troops boarding a Formula One Championship ones-Sauber driver.

Source: MTV3 and luieluv Planet-F1

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yet another very cute video of Kimi's new website

Thanks: Anelise and icemanvideoblog

25.01: Kimi season preview - the Arctic start

"Well, this is what I’ve been looking for since signing the contract for WRC rally season 2010 with the Red Bull Citroen team. My feeling is about the same like it always has been before the first race of the season in Formula One. Like us all I feel the butterflies in my stomach in a nice way. All in all my feeling is the very best to start racing again.

The most motivating thing for a racing drivers is to approach a new kind of challenge. Obviously, going to rally is all new challenge for me. That makes it so exciting to start this season.

The new car Citroen C4 WRC has fitted me well since the first test. Now we have had 3 days with it. It feels nice, while you see how effectively it reacts to the changes in the set-up. Everything we have tried has worked as it should. We feel we are working into the right direction and that’s what the engineers confirmed to us in the briefings, too.

I start this brand new campaign this week form the Arctic Lapland Rally in Rovaniemi. In our programme this rally is only a preparation – like a final test – for Sweden, where the WRC season starts in February. It’s great to get going so soon. After testing the car first time in France, I’ve been looking forward to race it, too.

The winter break went fast. I spent it exactly in the same way I always did while I was in Formula One. First I took some holiday, had fun with my family and friends and then I went back to training. I have trained in the same way like always with Mark Arnall. I know the rally will be physically very, very tough. It will be hard shaking and ratting and sometimes in the cockpit it will be hot like a Finnish sauna with your overall and helmet on. You have to be top-fit to be able to focus all the time on your driving.

I’ve always said that it’s useless to give too much predictions before the first race of the new season. Obviously, now I mean it even more than ever before. I don’t know how the oldtime Finnish pioneer settlers felt before going to America, but, most likely, I feel a little bit the same for this new adventure of mine.

How it goes, I don’t know. Let’s wait and see, but, for sure, I can promise doing my very best in every rally. I’m not going to give up a single bit.

Of course, the start of the season will be some kind of confidence building period, too. All the rallies outside of Finland are new places for me. I have to learn all the rallies and I have to learn to rely on the notes. It’s very important for me to have Kaj Lindstrom as my co-driver. We get along fine and he is the best possible guy to work with. Without Kaj I probably would not have started this huge project at all.

We tested two days in Central Finland everything went well. The car is reliable like a Swiss watch. Obviously, it’s easy to see that the car has been strong and reliable, like it should while the team has won so many races and so many championships.

It’s for sure all the other Formula One drivers would love drive a rally car – at least, to try how it goes. Well, I know already how it feels.

Now we go to Rovaniemi and start making notes on Tuesday. We are looking for the feeling on snow and we test that everything is working well in such a cold conditions. On Thursday we’ll have a shakedown and then the race on Friday and on Saturday. "


At last: Kimi Räikkönen's new website!


Thanks: Anelise

Räikkönen: I've never driven a F1 car at -25ºC!

In Finland, preparing for the 2010 season, Kimi Räikkönen has participated in his first tests behind the wheel of his C4 WRC of the Citroën Junior Team.

Q: You start your first season in rally. Have you found different aspects from WRC comparing to F1?
KR: They are completely different disciplines. Here, it's -25º during testing. I have never driven a F1 car at -25º! In F1 practice sessions, we loop around the circuit all the time, taking the same lap. In rally, even in the same stretch of road, the conditions change every time we pass. There's more or less snow.

Q: What do you like about rallying?
KR: Everything! It's a new challenge for me. It's the biggest challenge of my racing career! It's very exciting...

Q: What do you expect from your first races?
KR: I'm a beginner in rally. We'll see how we compare to drivers with many years of experience in this discipline. At first, our goal will be to finish the races. I have to learn how the car works before I can attack a bit more.

Q: Which surface do you think you'll be more comfortable with?
KR: I've driven in every surface last season. Maybe more in the snow, as I've driven in testing and races. But I imagine I can get good results on asphalt. It's the surface I'm most familiar with.

Q: For a beginner in rallying, the pace notes are an important job. Is it something in which you have already progressed on?
KR: We will use the same system as last year, it's worked quite well. Experience helps, we will continue to improve and we will see how it works during the first few races.

Q: What are your ambitions for the start at the Arctic Rally?
KR: It was my first rally last season. This was good practice. I will be able to run a few kilometres with the car before the first race in the World Championship. It's also a good oportunity to race in Finland.

The 2007 F1 World Champion will be in the Arctic Rally, from Friday to Saturday in Rovaniemi. Besides Räikkönen, Dani Sordo (Citroën C4 WRC), Mika Salo (Ford Fiesta R2) and Rami Räikkönen (Abarth Grande Punto S2000) will also take part in the event.

Source: Autohebdo
Thanks: TaniaS and Anelise
Translated from French by: Fran