Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vettel and Pärmäkoski will part as best friends


Tommi Pärmäkoski became Sebastian Vettel's trainer in October 2008. Back then he was a 21-year old GP-winner driving in Toro Rosso - but the media hadn't yet squashed the guy who had the face of a child.

– Sebastian became known by everyone during his first Red Bull-season when he won several races and came in 2nd in the driver's serie, Pärmäkoski remembers.

After that he has had takers like an unmarried man in the ladies dance.

Vettel and Pärmäkoski had time to conquer the F1-world thoroughly. During three Red Bull -seasons he got two WDCs after 55 races, one silver, 20 victories, 35 podiums, 29 pole positions, 40 starts in the front row, 9 fastest laps and the incredible amount of 732 WC-points.

Next season Vettel starts with a new trainer because Pärmäkoski starts working for Finland's icehockey union's management team, where he will start coaching the girls national league on January 1st in Kuortane.

Now is a good time to reflect on this seamless duo's time together.

What does Pärmäkoski remember from his first meeting with Vettel?

– I probably remember the meeting forever. Sebastian flew to Finland in autumn, he was just so natural and normal when he came to me to shake hands. We chatted for a moment and got to know each other a little. I got immediately an image of a really friendly and kind guy.

– That kindness is really genuine although Sebastian can have almost a killer-nature on the track again.

Pärmäkoski praises that he will probably never face a sportsman who is as determined and top-talented.

– Sebastian is in no way any German machine. The level of his motivation and committment is massively high. First and most it's the hunger with which he does everything, it's totally 100 %. And if something we do doesn't immediately go the best way, then he does it for as long until he has learned it. He demands to get that opportunity again and if he fails again then he just tries again. He has an exceptional competitive urge, Pärmäkoski said.

He will remember forever the thanking in Suzuka

The Finnish trainer got the most touching thanks in a live tv-program after Vettel had sealed his title in Suzuka.

– There are so many I want to thank. However I will take up one name, which has been really important to me during the whole year. I spend most of my time with my trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski. Thanks to him and to his family in Finland. They have a great son who has a good heart. Tommi has all the time kept my thoughts away from all that is irrelevant and he hasn't let me float after good results, Vettel said.

– I didn't hear it live but it didn't take long before someone already came to tell me what the dude had said. Of course it was a special thing for me and my family. It was Sebastian's way of thanking but then again as a gesture it was even greater. It would have been enough if he had said 'thank you' to me in private, Pärmäkoski reminded.

– My part was a tiny miny part in a huge puzzle. F1 is a group sport where you need a good car designer, a good mechanic who can tune it and a good engineer who can put things going in the right direction. When all pieces fall in place it's up to the driver how he succeeds. Hence all credit for the WDC has to be given to Sebastian himself.

Then how does the ex-trainer see his protegé's continuance?

– Of course one has to hope that the development still goes forward in the same positive way. Hopefully Sebastian will never be really ready and has hunger to continue on the path he has chosen.

– At least Sebastian knows now what it took to get to the top and which kind of pieces it really requires. It's up to himself to do it again and again - to each year be just a little bit better and go forward once again.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Vettel challenges Räikkönen in badminton


World Champion Sebastian Vettel throws a challenge to Kimi Räikkönen who is now returning to the playfield.

Vettel has finetuned his skills in badminton during the whole time Kimi has been in WRC. The men's challenge games in the badminton field have already been known for years.

Vettel has never won Räikkönen in badminton but according to his longtime game-buddy Tommi Pärmäkoski, Vettel believes he will also beat Kimi on the playfield in future.

– Sebastian asked me to say hello to Kimi, to tell him that he is ready whenever it suits Kimi. Sebastian has improved a lot during these two years and he believes that whereas Kimi is a bit rusty, he again is much more better than before. He boasts wondering if Kimi will even score one point anymore, Pärmäkoski said throwing more water on the challenge -sauna heater.

– However Kimi is damn good and talented in every way, Pärmäkoski admitted.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Räikkönen gets a big window in Lotus' development work


The new year has begun - and I'm sure Kimi Räikkönen who is coming back to F1-circles feels his withdrawal symptoms get less and the challenges piling up in the familiar Grand Prix -stars' style.

Lotus-Renault's team manager Eric Boullier summarized last season's downhill telling that the biggest reason was top driver Robert Kubica's injury in a rally accident in the middle of winter testing.

They saw in Renault how big the impact of a leading driver like Kubica was when the team lacked a mentally top tough doer like him who was irreplacable with his commitment. They badly needed Kubica's experience and attitude in R31-car's development work.

It's not difficult to make the conclusion that last season's experiences had a substantial influence when the team owner Gerard Lopez and team manager Boullier sealed so quickly the deal with Räikkönen.

Räikkönen's negotiations with Williams toppled and the Finn turned to Renault before the GP-weekend in Abu Dhabi. The contract was published three weeks later.

– Kimi is a world champion and they expect him to take the team forward with his own input and by the challenge of young Romain Grosjean, Steve Robertson said.

The ability to strike was maintained during season 2010

In 2010 season's second race in Australia Kubica came in 2nd and he was 3rd in Belgium and 5th in Abu Dhabi.

Last season Vitali Petrov and Nick Heidfeld snatched podium positions in the season's two first races but after that came a steep fall and for the rest of the season Renault was then racing with Lotus who had no points.

If the design department in Enstone factory led by manager James Allison will once again bring a competitive car on the track, then it's on Räikkönen's shoulders to see that the development work goes more positively than it did last season. If the car is slow, then even Midas couldn't turn it's competitiveness into gold.

Räikkönen is ouzing enthusiasm for work. According to himself his motivations is higher than ever before.

– I am happy when an opportunity like this happened. Kimi really wanted to come back. When you are away for a while you notice how much you miss back. Kimi still has a lot to give to this sport, Robertson says.

Räikkönen's WDC is from year 2007. His latest victory is from Belgium in 2009. Next season they will have three tracks - Korea, India and Austin - where Kimi has never drove. Mostly he needs to get used to Pirelli's tyres which are completely different from those Michelins and Bridgestones he knows most about.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Luca: I wouldn't swap Alonso for anyone

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has lavished praise on Sebastian Vettel, but insists he wouldn't swap Fernando Alonso for anyone else

Vettel is the hottest property on the Formula One grid after becoming the sport's youngest back-to-back World Champion this year. This year he claimed 15 pole positions and 11 race victories as he blew his competitors away.

Despite being impressed by Vettel's pace and intelligence, the Ferrari boss feels Spaniard Alonso is the "strongest driver around".

"He's [Vettel] a smart lad. I like how he behaves, and if I have to chose between drivers with equal skill I'll always take the one with the better head," Di Montezemolo is quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport

"However, today I wouldn't trade Alonso for anyone, because in a race he's the strongest driver around."

Di Montezemolo was also praised McLaren's Jenson Button, saying he "had an exceptional season and with [Lewis] Hamilton was part of the strongest partnership of the season." He was also impressed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg "who had two good seasons despite having a car that wasn't very competitive" and Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber "who has always done his job".


Source: Planet-F1

Monday, December 26, 2011

Berger is surprised if Kimi's selfcontrol and ambition falls in place


Gerhard Berger told in Austrian ORF-television channel's interview that he thinks Räikkönen's comeback is 50 % possible.

According to Berger Räikkönen is a nice fellow who will bring more color to the F1-serie. However it requires hard work in order to make it successful.

- He should surely reduce his vodka-drinking. Of course he announces himself that he will give his everything but I would be surprised if his selfcontrol and ambition would fall in place. F1 is hard work and we will see if he has the will for it, Berger commented to ORF.

At the same time Berger emphasized that he hopes Räikkönen's comeback would succeed.


Source: autotoday.fi
Courtesy: Nicole

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Formule1’s magazine: KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN’S COMEBACK


THE SECOND ICETIME
(Written by Ronald van Dam)

Another ex-worldchampion returns to Formula 1. After 2 years of hobbying in the WRC, Kimi realized he missed wheel-to wheel racing, and so Kimi’s sacret fire came back.

When Kimi Räikkönen closed the formula 1 door after 2009, it didn’t seem for any moment he would ever come back to the top class of circuitracing. His third season with Ferrari went laborious.
The Flying finn only scored 1 victory, 4 podium places, a anonymous 12th position in his last race and a even so laborious 6th place in the world championship.
The only victory in Spa was certainly a good one.
For Ferrari, appearently it wasn’t enough. They hired Fernando Alonso. Not Felipe Massa, but Kimi Raikkonen had to give room to Alonso.
‘’Only when I get a top seat, I’ll stay in F1’’, That’s what Kimi said, realizing that all of those places were occupied. However, he was already done with all the obligations of being a F1 driver.
Raikkonen obviously has never been a lover of press conferences, interviews with journalists, sponsor activities and all the other things he had to do.
This writer knows it. In 2004 i got the rare chance to talk to this guy who’s called ‘’The Iceman’’ after many requests. The man with almost the childish voice…
His nickname doesn’t only fit his coolness behind the wheel, but also on the icy silence in his conversations. A British colleague wished me luck. ‘’Do you know Chief, the Indian from the movie One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest?’’, he asked. ‘’He talks more than Kimi, and he couldn’t even talk.’’
Räikkönen was at that time doing his 4th season of his career, the third with McLaren, and in that year, the Mercedes engines died in droves. At the moment of the interview his 4th engine just broke down. Add to this that an Italian journalist in our company, who bragged about the reliability of the Ferrari and Michael Schumacher’s winning streak, spiced up things. As you’ll understand, this would become a laborious interview. First question: How would you describe you season so far, Kimi?
Kimi’s answer:’’difficult’’.
That’s the way it went for at least 10 minutes. 10 minutes, wherein the McLaren driver looked a few times just a little too emphatically on his watch. McLaren’s PR-lady saved us from our suffering.
Räikkönen was in a hurry to get to his fiancee Jenni Dahlman, a former miss Scandinavia with who he’s still been married these days, and his managers David and Steve Robertson. The Finn nodded with a villainous smile in our direction.
Yet again 2 journalists with an illusion less.

NO STRESS

So cool and unfathomable as he seems to be in public, so passionated becomes the iceman behind the wheel from a proper racing car. He becomes another human. It was so already when he was driving the Formula Renault in England. In the winterseries of that class he won in 1999 the first four races in a row and in 2000 he captured his first championship title in the British Formula Renault championship, by winning 7 of the 10 races. In total he grabbed thirteen wins in 23 races, a winning percentage of 56%!
In that period the talented Finn was accompanied by the Dutch ex-driver Gerrit van Kouwen, who was one of the first persons who could be planing the rough diamant.
In 2004 Van Kouwen told before a reporage in this magazine this about Raikkonen: ‘’Brands hatch was Kimi’s first time in a semifactory-Formula Renault car which was prepared for him. On my question to Kimi, if we should change something between the distance to the wheel and the pedals, Kimi only said: ‘’It’s okay’’.
In his first run his best lap he was only .2 seconds off the pace from a real factory car from Van Diemen. Unbelievable!
In his first test at Mugello we had to be on the track at half past 8 in the moring. I wanted to leave early but Kimi said to me: ‘’Wake me up at 10 past 8’’.
Everybody was fussing about his first Formula 1 test, except Kimi himself. He jumped in the car and drove immediately drove a world class time.
The second test day Peter Sauber came to the track, to watch Kimi. Peter first tough about a testing contract, but the Robertsons said: ‘’No, no testing contract. Give him a seat. He’s ready for it.’’
Before that conscious article I spoke to Kimi’s manager Steve Robertson. He described Kimi’s talent this way: ‘’My reason to work with Kimi is his unbelievable judgment that he has already since the start of his career, and his flair in the car. There’s a difference between good and really good, but where I was at the first category, Kimi was a class of his own, another league.’’
The rest is history. With a preliminary superlicense to drive a F1 car (Max Mosley first wanted to see it before he wanted to believe in Kimi) Kimi scored as 21 year old rookie in his first ever GP a point scoring 6th place and immediately a WDC point.
Formula 1 was introduced to an amazing talent. McLaren thanked Sauber warmly for his talent spotting and took the young Finn at the eind of the 2001 season. Raikkonen drove 5 seasons for McLaren wherein hescored 9 GP wins, and the vice championship behind Schumacher in 2003 and 2005.

PARTY ANIMAL

Schumacher temporary retirement made room at Ferrari for Kimi to go there. Ron Dennis probably did not shed a tear because of it. Kimi became a party animal from the most purest type.
As big earner he didn’t have to watch his money. Legendary was his visit to the London’s stripclub, wherein Kimi probably tought the ladies where still dressed too much. Raikkonen decided to make a strip-act himself, but the bouncers didn’t feel much for it and did their jobs. A nice set-off that Steve Robertson wanted to sketch. ‘’Kimi is a quiet boy, who like to sit on the sofa and watch a dvd with Jenni. He doesn’t like to get out, he prefers something which will be delivered instead of going to an expensive restaurant. Actually, Kimi is a homester.’’
Kimi’s transition to Ferrari was a golden move. In his first season was an immediate hit, ironically enough because of his successors at McLaren didn’t want to give each other anything, creaming off points from each other which were much needed. By winning 2007’s last GP in Sao Paulo, Kimi captured the world championship, just 1 point in front of Alonso and Hamilton, mission accomplished.
The following 2 years were laborious, Raikkonen was a wdc, he had nothing to prove. At Ferrari they were flirting with Alonso, back then, a Renault driver again. The Finn however sometimes won a race (Malaysia and Spain) in 2008 and (Spa) in 2009, but the sacret fire was gone, Ferrari’s non winning cars were part of it.
When the Scuderia before the 2010 season, as expected, presented Fernando Alonso, there was no room for the world champion from 2007 left. Kimi didn’t seem to have much desire to race against the Spaniard. He had already shown what he was capable of. Just like Felipe Massa, Kimi had a continuous contract with Ferrari, but Massa could stay and Kimi was ‘’kindly thanked’’ for his services. After this happend, Kimi became the best paid driver without F1 seat. Ferrari had an annual salary for him to leave. ‘’Thanks for all the support for 3 years at SF,’’ he tweeted at the 1st October of 2009, thereafter it became quiet around the finn.

INSIGHT

Away from the press, in the rest of his pre-retirement, Kimi chose to do things which he liked. He did 2 seasons in the WRC. 2 seasons with a Citroen, 1 season with his own team. With his point scoring 8th place in Jordania, Kimi became the first driver after Carlos Reutemann who scored points in both F1 and WRC. Obviously fun in the rallying world, grabbed some points, but never got exceptional results. His last WRC outing ended with a 3rd consecutive retirement. Thereafter, Kimi probably tought, I’m done.
His NASCAR outing in the States can’t be seen as a serious career step as well. In his last NASCAR race at 28/05/2011 Kimi finished in 27th, with parts from others underneath his car and a fine for speeding in the pitlane in his pocket.
His NASCAR adventure didn’t give him any prize money, but gave him one inportant insight.
‘’I missed the wheel-to-wheel racing on track, which is actually more fun than driving against a ticking clock, as in the WRC.’’ Kimi just wanted relax and have wheel-to-wheel fights.
And so ended a tweet silence of 2 years on Tuesday the 29th November of 2011: ‘’Hello everybody, it has been some time, but i am back! Expect more from here in the future.
He just signed a two-year deal with Lotus-Reanult, which will be called Lotus next year and he handled the news as the typical Raikkonen: ‘’I got a telephone call from certain people in the F1. We got a deal, and i’m very happy with it.
In a press release of Lotus-Renault, Kimi said he is more motivated then ever. It won’t be a problem according to Kimi. ‘’Otherwise, i wouldn’t have come back. Everybody always talk about my motivation, but apart from myself i know what i do and i don’t care what others think of my way of doing this. I wouldn’t have signed a contract if i wouldn’t enjoy those years. I never lost passion for F1, but i never had passion from all the things around F1’’. Ohyeah, still just as talkative.


Gerrit van Kouwen
(accompanied Kimi in his Formula Ford years)

’I like Kimi’s comeback, because I haven’t seen many races the past few years. With the announcement of Kimi’s comeback, I’ll go and visit a race every now and then, I think. Whether It’s wise to comeback? What’s wise? It’s just like Schumacher, it Kimi will enjoy himself, why not?
After two years of rallying it probably became itchy again for Kimi. I also think that Kimi found out you have to work very very hard to get in the top at the WRC. I don’t know if he was committed enough. It’s not just driving a stage with a few pacenotes: there’s a hell of a lot more to do. Don’t forget you’ll drive against guys who’ve done this all their life.
When you look at pure talent, Kimi is unbeatable. He is ‘’naturally gifted’’, as the English people would say. You’ll notice it when you’re sitting next to him in a car on a public road. As smooth as he drives, his assessment skills… Much will depend on his car, and if Lotus is developing well. How he gets along with the tyres. Kimi like an oversteering car. A car which is pointy, which turns in aggressively. Actually when you turn in, the turn has been made already. Schumacher likes that too, but had troubles with those tyres.’’

Olav Mol
(saw as F1 commentator all 157 races from Räikkönen)

‘’I’d like to see the racer Kimi Räikkönen back. He is one of the guys we’re watching F1 for, if only because we are freed from the Senna’s and Petrov’s in this world.
If it’s gonna be a success? Well, when he gets fun doing it, it can become pretty good fun. The question is what Lotus told him. They say they know in 2 years where they are, and Renault isn’t the winning Renault anymore. There are rumors Kimi has purchased something with Raikkonen-Robertson racing, maybe to give young talents the opportunity to drive. That sounds logic to me. At least Lotus has got a driver who can develop a car, because Heidfeld, Petrov and Senna couldn’t.
There are in the recent past some guys who made a comeback in different racing classes. There was 10 years between his last race and his comeback in Jan Lammers case, the biggest gap ever. While Jacques Villeneuve’s comeback wasn’t a success, Nigel Mansell found out his fat ass didn’t fit in the car anymore. In Michael Schumacher’s case, there’s not much to cheer for.
But Kimi is one of the top class drivers, just like Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. They’ve got the word racing in their pants tattooed. He misses the F1, he says. He hasn’t got anything to prove anymore. The expectations are not too high and maybe because of that, it’s the perfect moment to come back. Financially he’s completely independent, that’s why you can do crazy things on that age, you’ll get drunk in strip clubs. But he’s older now and has left those things behind him.
Boys like Kimi and Schumacher think F1 is the best there is, something faster on 4 wheels, you can’t find in this world.’’

Formule1.nl magazine, January 2012

RONALD VAN DAM


Courtesy: Andreas

Hamilton: I just want bacon sarnie for Xmas

When you sit down for Christmas lunch this year, spare a thought for Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton

While you will be tucking into roast turkey and Christmas pud, he will be staring at a plate of brown rice and beans — and not enjoying it one bit.

In an exclusive SunSport interview, Hamilton revealed just how determined he is to make every sacrifice in his quest to rule the Formula One world again.

He said: "I'm so strict — even on Christmas Day I stick to my diet.

"It's a protein shake for breakfast, with a few dates and some raisins — it's horrible, it really is horrible but I just blend it up into a smoothie.

"I sit at the table and I see everyone else having the biggest pile of pancakes, waffles and eggs and bacon and I'm just dying — it's like a punishment for me.

"If I could eat any food I wanted it would be a bacon sandwich, but I know I cannot.

"Lunch would be beans in a sauce with brown rice and then I might have fish or chicken for dinner."

That is the level of determination both Hamilton, 26, and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button show in their determination to be in peak physical condition for the huge demands of Formula One.

For both drivers, there is a constant battle between trying to keep their weight low and their strength high.

Button, who is 6ft tall yet weighs just 11st, said: "The team want me to be lighter than I actually should be — basically, I don't eat carbohydrates, unless I'm training hard.

"In the morning, I just have protein, which means breakfast is pretty much eggs every morning.

"I was quite heavy last winter so I went to see a specialist training company and told them I needed to lose weight, but without losing strength.

"They gave me this diet, which initially shocked me. Basically, it's eggs and steak for breakfast, but no carbohydrates.

"I could only eat carbs for one meal, stuff like brown rice or sweet potato. I lost four per cent of body fat in three weeks and I have not put it back on."

Every Formula One team is desperate for its drivers to be as light as possible.

Car and driver together have to be a minimum weight of 640kg, so the less the driver weighs, the more technical gizmos can be put on the car.

McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: "The team wanted to change the drivers' race suits during the season and add an extra logo.

"That would have added 37 grammes to the weight and I had a heated argument about it. We want the drivers to be as light as they can be, because that gives us more leeway with what we can put on the car."

Both Hamilton and Button, 31, adopt strict training regimes through the winter.

And they are designed to achieve that perfect balance of weight and strength for the start of the season in Melbourne on March 18.

Hamilton, world champion in 2008, will spend most of the winter in Colorado with his close family friend and personal trainer Antti Vierula, while Button will be in Hawaii with girlfriend Jessica Michibata and personal trainer Mike Collier.

Hamilton said: "A typical pre-season training day for me will be in the mountains.

"We'll either do 4½ hours hiking up the mountain and then we run down it — and that's through deep snow.

"It's very hard work — or we'll go cross-country skiing. We come back, have lunch, rest for an hour and then head into the gym, where we do a lot of core stability work and weightlifting.

"In the evenings, we'll go to the pool and swim laps, which is more for cooling down.

"Then we'll do some really good stretching, more like pilates, and by 8-8.30pm I'm dead. And that's how it is six days a week."

Button, who won the world crown in 2009, is a seriously good triathlete, who harbours ambitions to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in his age group.

To be an Ironman, you have to swim 2.4 miles, bike another 112 miles — and then run a marathon.

Button admits he hated training when he first broke into Formula One, but he now loves the tough cycling, swimming and running routines he and his trainers have developed.

He said: "To be honest, my regime is more of a training programme for a triathlon. The first day I arrive in Hawaii, I'm doing a marathon with some friends who want to go under four hours.



"That is pretty brutal, especially as I've never done a marathon before.

"I'll do a lot of cycling, swimming and running over the winter and then I do some specific work on core stability, especially on my neck and more muscle work.

"My aim is to get to the Hawaii World Championship.

"I don't want to get invited, I want to qualify in my age group and that's bloody hard.

"I've got to do nine hours, 12 minutes to qualify and that's bloody hard. The pros are doing eight hours, so to do 9hrs 12mins is hard but you've got to have an aim."

The attention to detail at McLaren is truly astonishing. An army of people in the team's Human Performance Centre are on hand to monitor not only the drivers' fitness but the fitness of every member of the pit crew.

New team sponsors Lucozade are even developing special drinks for both McLaren drivers to use during races to help combat the crippling effects of dehydration.

Button added: "The hydration is so important, "It's all about making sure you get the right fluids, minerals and salts in your system for the race — that's what keeps you alive."

Both McLaren drivers know they have a mountain to climb next season as they bid to challenge the might of the all-conquering Red Bulls and Sebastian Vettel.

But if the battle comes down to fitness alone, they will not be found wanting


Source: The Sun

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN: “I CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL”


Kimi, it has been three weeks since you were confirmed as a Lotus Renault GP driver for the 2012 season. How have you found the reaction to your F1 return?
KR: I have been surprised at how big the reaction has been so I guess people must have missed me!

What has been the best moment so far?
KR: Sebastian Vettel’s impersonation of me at the Autosport awards! No, seriously, my two visits to Enstone have been great. The first one, at the team’s Christmas party, made me realise how much support I have there. The second one, last week, allowed me to understand that this team has not been world champion by coincidence. I also saw all the investments they have made recently: new simulator building, CFD upgrade, 60% wind tunnel… It gives me a lot of confidence for the season ahead.

How difficult do you think you will find it coming back?
KR: Let’s put it this way: before my two years of rallying I had nine seasons, 157 races and 18 wins in Formula 1. I know the sport well. When I went to rallying and when I tried NASCAR, there were many new things to learn, but with Formula 1 I feel like I’m coming home. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

Do you think it will take you long to get back up to speed?
KR: I hope not! I am more motivated than ever and I don’t think I’ve lost any speed. Getting on top of the tyres will be the hardest thing, of course, but I’m not really worried. Although the technical regulations don’t seem to change much, they apply to a lot of areas and quite a few elements will have to be re-designed. As a result, the cars will be significantly different next year. The order could be shaken up, which will make things very interesting.

What is your schedule in the build-up to testing?
KR: We don’t test the new car until February so it’s a long wait. However, I should be able to jump into a two-year-old F1 car in January. Of course, there will be the usual training, but I will also be working on getting to know the team better and making sure I fully understand all the changes since I have been away.

What are your targets for pre-season testing?
KR: Finding out if we have a fast car! For me, learning how the team works will be another important aspect. Learning Pirelli’s tyres will be the most important job, as it’s a different approach from what I experienced before.

What are your plans over the Christmas break? Have you got anything special arranged?
KR: I am doing a lot of training. The most important area for me is to get my neck strong enough again, especially as it will be put through its paces in testing. Of course, I will also be celebrating Christmas with my family.

Any more snowmobile races planned?
KR: I was surprised by how much attention there was over me falling off a snowmobile. You can watch what happened on YouTube and it was probably the smallest and slowest crash I’ve ever had. It is almost embarrassing! I won a snowmobile race right before the start of the 2007 season and that year didn’t go badly for me so who knows?

Source: LotusRenaultGP

Räikkönen will not struggle with F1 comeback


McLaren doctor and fellow Finn Aki Hintsa does not think Kimi Räikkönen will struggle on his return to Formula 1 next season, in the manner that Michael Schumacher has battled to get up to his former speed and prowess.

2007 world champion Räikkönen’s decision to come back to the sport with Lotus after a couple of seasons away has been compared with Schumacher’s recent struggle to readjust after a three-year sabbatical.

But Hintsa, who knows Räikkönen well after the now 32-year-old’s five-year tenure at McLaren until 2006, plays down that comparison.

“Physically, Kimi is definitely as strong now as he ever was,” he is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper. “It is clear that a return to F1 for Kimi will be easier than it was for Michael Schumacher two years ago.

“First of all, Kimi is so much younger than Michael, and secondly, he was not away for as long and while he was away, he kept driving in a very demanding category,” said Hintsa, referring to Räikkönen’s world rallying exploits.

Indeed, while Räikkönen only turned 32 some weeks ago, Schumacher is clearly F1′s oldest active driver as he approaches his 43rd birthday in January.

“At that stage of life a ten year age difference is a major factor in top-level sport,” said Hintsa.

“When an athlete turns 40, the response time begins to slow down naturally and there’s nothing you can do about it. It is not possible to turn back the clock.”


Source: YallaF1

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fernando Alonso and Raquel del Rosario are separated


Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and his wife pop star Raquel del Rosario have decided to end their relationship, issuing a report on Tuesday. The pair had been married for five years. Double time world champion Fernando Alonso met the pop star Raquel del Rosario of band El Sueño de Morfeo through the first days of his Formula 1 career, marrying in November 2006.

Statement:

‘After five years of marriage, we have decided to end our relationship as a couple. This has been a very though about and mutual decision. We are separating from marriage, but never as friends, and there is still a very strong affection and mutual admiration to ensure the happiness of the other.

With this statement, addressed to all who follow our careers, we wish to bring an end to any speculation. With it, we ask that the media respects our personal lives which, as you know, we have always been keen to protect.

With love

Raquel and Fernando’

Source: Formula1online.com

TV-boss promises a special tracking of Räikkönen

Year after year Finland has had successful F1-drivers who have attracted people in front of the tv

After Kimi Räikkönen left F1 and moved over to WRC the interest in F1 went down substantially. Räikkönen's return to F1 is like a victory in lotto for MTV3, who owns the sport's tv-rights.

- After Finland's top years in F1 we faced poor years and the interest to F1 has gone down among the big audience. Now the expectation parameters and hopes for success are high again. It would be a tough thing in any sport if a sportsman this famous would make a comeback, Tatu Lehmuskallio, sport manager from MTV3, says.

- It's obvious that we expect the orders to grow above the curve that we are used to. Of course Kimi's comeback will have a positive influence, Lehmuskallio states.

- We have different kinds of arrangements with teams, unions and singular sportsmen. F1 is no exception in that matter. Let's see if we can come up with some special arrangement, and if it seems reasonable then we will go for it. In Kimi's case the main focus will still be on the racing itself.

Kimi's departure hurt

The TV-boss confesses that Räikkönen's departure from F1 hurt badly.

- It was a bit like if you would own the tv-rights to some European soccer game but then your own country wouldn't make it to the final tournament. It was hard because we always pay for the tv-rights according to the the expectation parameters.

- When Kimi left F1 we took a risk to see if the financial equation would work even if Kimi wouldn't drive. And it worked since the pay-tv -business has worked well despite of the lack of Finnish success.

URHEILUTIETO

Source: Iltalehti

Courtesy: Nicole

Alonso welcomes back ‘great’ Räikkönen


Fernando Alonso will be pleased to see 2005 rival Kimi Räikkönen returning to F1 next season. After two years out, the Finn makes his comeback with a record of one world title, two overall runner-up spots and 18 Grand Prix victories to his name.

Although Michael Schumacher fought Alonso to the 2006 title, it was Räikkönen who provided the biggest challenge en route to the Spaniard’s maiden crown in 2005 - but losing a significant amount of points through technical problems and penalties.

“I welcome him back because he’s a great driver,” Alonso said at what was his last work commitment of 2011 in Madrid. “He is one of the most talented drivers out there as well as being a World Champion and a nice person, so it will be a pleasure to have him back.

“There is something different about starting a race with Kimi alongside you, rather than any other young driver. Fighting with people like him gives you a greater sense of security.”

Räikkönen and Alonso last shared a front row at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, with the latter – then driving for Renault – being beaten to the top spot in qualifying by the Ferrari driver; ironically, the pair will be racing for the respective other team in 2012.

Source: GPUPDATE

Grosjean: Kimi and I share same philosophy

Romain Grosjean admits that he cannot wait to get started on developing Lotus Renault's 2012 challenger - and working with new team-mate Kimi Räikkönen

New Lotus Renault signing Romain Grosjean admits that he cannot wait to get started on the 2012 F1 season after completing his return to a full-time role with the Enstone outfit.

The Frenchman, speaking a little over a week after being confirmed as the team's second signing, revealed that he had alrready upped hi training regimen, but was itching to get out on track and begin developing LRGP's 2012 challenger.

The car itself has not even been given a definitive launch date, but it is indicative of Grosjean's rejuvenated ambition that he is eager to do all he can to ensure that the 2012 season is more of a success than last year, which tailed off badly after a promising start.

"My training has remained very similar, but I must now focus more on strengthening the neck as this is essential for an F1 driver and a difficult area to train," he told the official LRGP website, "The main problem with training in winter is trying not to get too cold outside!"

"[Despite that], I will be training hard until Christmas and then taking a few days holiday to relax on the beach and get some sun before January.

"[However], I'm mostly looking forward to being back at Enstone to meet with the team and prepare for testing in February. I will be looking to give the best I can to help the team develop the car as much as possible before Melbourne.

"Testing is essential in preparing for the season ahead, and I am really looking forward to working with the guys and giving feedback on the car so that we can be ready for Australia. Also, each driver will only get six days of running before the start of the season, so every kilometre in testing will have to be useful. I can't wait to get started!"

Having decided to dispense with the services of both Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna for 2012, Lotus Renault will start the new campaign with a fresh driver line-up, but Grosjean at least enjoys the advantage of having worked with the engineers during his brief stint behind the wheel in Friday morning practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi and Brazilian GPs.

With new team-mate Kimi Räikkönen coming straight to Enstone from two years in the World Rally Championship, the Frenchman knows that his existing relationship with the team could be important.

"I came to Enstone last week and it was great to visit the factory as an F1 race driver," he conceded, "The good thing for me is that I have already worked with the team at the end of last season, [but] I met with the guys last week, and also had a chance to go into the wind tunnel and see next year's car.

"It is always something special for a driver to see the car being developed and to meet the people working so hard to give us a good car for next year."

Grosjean revealed that he has also had the chance to get to know his ne team-mate, and says he is looking forward to working with the 2007 world champion.

"I met him last week and he is a nice guy," he said of Raikkonen, " I think we have more or less the same philosophy, we both want to give our best for the team to get good results next year. I am looking forward to working with him."

The rumour mill continues to suggest that Senna could return to the team in a reserve driver capacity, with increased involvement in Friday morning practice sessions at grands prix, but Jerome d'Ambrosio is also being suggested as a potential third driver, thanks to his Gravity Sports Management links with LRGP team boss Eric Boullier.


Source: Crash.net

Monday, December 19, 2011

Alonso ends the year with the Magi


Madrid, 19 December – Fernando Alonso’s last work commitment of 2011 took place this afternoon in the Santander Bank’s head office at Boadilla del Monte, near Madrid. Yesterday in Maranello, he was Father Christmas for the families of Ferrari employees and today the Spanish driver was dressed in the robes of one of the Magi kings as part of the end of year festivities with representatives of one the Scuderia’s major sponsors. Alongside Fernando were his two colleagues, Marc Gene and Pedro De La Rosa, much to the delight of the many children present, who all received a Scalextric kit as a gift.

Earlier, Fernando had exchanged seasonal good wishes with a group of Spanish journalists, as well as throwing in some pragmatic views on the Formula 1 season just ended and the one that will be getting underway shortly. “This is the time when one is always optimistic, but then we must wait for the start of the season to see where we really are. It’s true that in the past few days, there was a good feeling at Maranello and there’s an air of confidence about it,” said Fernando. “We want to reacquaint ourselves with the taste of winning that has eluded us for a while. Last spring, we made important changes to the structure of the technical part of the team and now we have adopted a new approach, a less conservative one, in the design of the new car. The philosophy behind the 2012 car is very different to that of 2011, especially in some key areas like suspension and aerodynamics. We know that Ferrari is burdened with the expectations of victory and if it does not happen, in the winter the papers devote page after page to the whys and wherefores as to how things can change, while the others have to make do with the crumbs in terms of media coverage. It’s one of the things that make Ferrari different to all the other teams.”

However, now’s the time to take it easy for a few weeks,” concluded the man from Oviedo. “Time to recharge the batteries and be one hundred percent ready for next season, which I expect will be much more of an equal fight than the one just gone. Red Bull will still be very strong, but I think they will have less room for improvement than us, as we were so far behind this year.”

In the morning, Alonso received a special recognition from the Autonomous Community of Madrid, who awarded him the International Prize for Sport. Fernando was presented with the award by the President, Esperanza Aguirre, during a ceremony at the Community headquarters.


Source: Ferrari.com

Alonso jokes as Webber wins FIA prize


Mark Webber has revealed he had mixed feelings when he beat Fernando Alonso to third place in the 2011 constructors’ standings.

The pair, who are friends, lead similarly guarded private lives, so in the closing stages of the championship they considered the ‘prize’ that went along with pipping the other to the post for third place.

“Only the top three drivers have to go”, said Webber, referring to the official FIA prize-giving gala, which was held recently in India.

“Jenson, Fernando and I had had a bit of a joke on the drivers’ parade before the final race of the season in Brazil last month.

“We were all keen to improve our championship positions, but none of us were that up for any extra travel,” he wrote in his last BBC column for the year.

“In the end, I won in Brazil, relegating Fernando to fourth. He’s an intense competitor but I don’t think he was that unhappy about losing out by one point,” said Webber.

“I got a text message from him the day before I was going to India, reminding me that I had to go. It was along the lines of ‘This is your captain speaking, your flight is ready for boarding’. It made me smile.”


Source: YallaF1

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video: Kimi Räikkönen Crash at Swatch Snow Mobile 2011

Kimi Räikkönen and his accident during Swatch Snow Mobile in Austria



Courtesy: Verena

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lotus happy for Räikkönen to take risks

Kimi Räikkönen's Lotus team have ruled out reining in the 2007 Formula One world champion after the Finn crashed and hurt his wrist while competing in a snowmobile race at the weekend

Memories of Robert Kubica's near-fatal rally accident last February are still raw at the former Renault outfit, with the Pole yet to get back in the cockpit after missing the entire 2011 season.

However Lotus Group CEO Dany Bahar, whose Malaysian-owned sportscar company are now the renamed team's title sponsors, made clear on Monday that racing drivers could never be wrapped in cotton wool.

"It is part of our job to do things that are risky, we do it commercially and corporately, Kimi does it in his own life," he told reporters at a lunch.

"I like these characters. It's unfortunate if he hurts himself but it's part of life.

"Kimi is Kimi and it will be difficult to change the way he lives," added Bahar.

"It's not something we are focused on from a group perspective, saying: 'This is Kimi now you have to do everything to protect him from going out of his own house'. It doesn't work."

Lotus said at the weekend that Raikkonen, a champion with Ferrari and now making his F1 comeback after two seasons in rallying, had a sore wrist after the spill in Austria but it was "nothing to worry about."

STATEMENT OF INTENT

Kubica would have been the team leader on the track this year but may never drive for them again. In any case, his role has now transferred to Raikkonen whose services have not come cheap.

The team have signed France's Romain Grosjean as their second driver, dropping Russian Vitaly Petrov in a move that spoke volumes for their ambitions over the next three years.

Petrov was a competent driver, good enough to get on the podium in Australia this year, but the funding he brought with him was also important.

"The decision we took was that we need to bring the team to the next level," said Bahar, who was embroiled for much of the year with rivals Team Lotus over the use of the iconic brand in Formula One.

That dispute has now been resolved, with Malaysian-owned Team Lotus renamed Caterham.

"Now we have one issue solved, we have a clear identity and a clear brand.

"Now it's the next step, to restructure the team, to bring in new talent, technical talent, an experienced driver, maybe not to go after 'pay drivers' any more, not to look to the highest bidder any more," said Bahar. "It's really to get more and more competitive."

Petrov's departure will have financial consequences but Bahar hailed it as a bold move, just as Räikkönen's arrival was a gamble.

"It's a brave decision to say: 'We're not after the money, we try to go the hard way...we try to succeed through performance, with the best people coming in, best driver coming in, and make the team better'," he said.

"We have to fight even harder to get the money, even harder to race and to get sponsorships, but we believe we have a nice offer especially now with the two brands combined."

Bahar said Räikkönen, 32, had matured a lot and knew what he was letting himself in for.

"It's a different time and he has to deliver, and I think he realises that," he said. "If we get the car right then the sky is the limit for us."

Source: Reuters Sports

Monday, December 12, 2011

Räikkönen's spokesman: No need to worry over Kimi's hand


Riku Kuvaja assures MTV3 that Kimi's accident wasn't severe.

Räikkönen hurt his left hand in Swatch Snow Mobile -race in Austria on Saturday. Lotus F1 Team announced on Saturday-evening that Kimi had hurt his hand. According to the Italian Omnicorse.it-website he would also have a deep cut in the hand. Riku Kuvaja calms down the situation to MTV3.

– There's no reason to get worried over this, nothing that spectacular happened. On Saturday he mainly had to go and check to see that everything is in order, Kuvaja says.

Kimi was apparently meant to go on Monday to check his wrist but Kuvaja can't say if he even needed anymore visits to the doctor on Monday. Yet the man assures that there's no reason to worry over Kimi's wrist, the thing has been blown out of proportion.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Räikkönen hurt his wrist in a snowmobile race


F1-remigrant Kimi Räikkönen scared his fans in a show with his longtime partner Red Bull in Saalbach Austria.

The Finn who participated in the snowmobile race went too fast in a corner, the snowmobile fell down and the driver fell on the ground on his left hand.

The hard hit hurt but no bones were broken. The driver said he is okay although his hand naturally hurts. Racing with snowmobiles ended here.

News about Räikkönen's accident spread quickly all over. What made the fuss even bigger was that we still remember how Renault's driver #1 Robert Kubica injured severely in a rally accident last February.

Lotus-team's publicist sent calming information through twitter.

– We just talked with Kimi. He is okay. Only his wrist is sore and he will go and check it again on Monday, the team informed.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Friday, December 9, 2011

Räikkönen and Grosjean both have the same break from F1-races


GP2-champion Romain Grosjean drives as remigrant Kimi Räikkönen's team mate in Lotus next year.

25-year old Grosjean is born Swiss but he also has a French passport. He races with France Union's license.

The French will become Räikkönen's 9th team mate. Both drove in F1 in 2009 the last time and Abu Dhabi was for both of them the last race, where Räikkönen was 12th with Ferrari and Grosjean 18th with Renault.

During the years I have often asked for Räikkönen's opinion about his team mate. The answer is always the same:

– It doesn't matter to me who is driving the second car in the team. Ever since a little boy in karting I have concentrated on my own stuff. In the final game this is an individual sport, Räikkönen says.

Räikkönen is starting to get familiar with his new team at Enstone-factory. Grosjean already is at home in the team after being a top name on owner Gerard Lopez Gravity-program.

Grosjean conquered superiorly the GP2-championship with DAMS-team last season. The youngster got to get a feeling of the R31-car after driving two Friday practice sessions in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

Total continued their contract

Oil giant Total sponsors Grosjean. Total announced that they will continue the contract with Lotus-Renault season 2012 at the same time they announced their driver.

– Total is happy when they can offer a young, talented French driver an opportunity to fulfill his dream and drive F1-races with Lotus-Renault. Our main goal is to support new talents and encourage them forward in their career. We have had close relationships with Grosjean for six years, Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier from the management said.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kimi Räikkönen partied in Spain - what happened backstage?!

Some tender moments in the backroom (backstage)

Kimi was with his two security guards in Discoteca Mai Tai -night club, where women circled around the man as much as possible.

Remu Aaltonen performed in the night club and the entourage went to see him after the gig.

- Kimi came to say hello to me and he hugged me backstage. Vesku Loiri's son was also there, Remu told Seiska.

Source: Seiska.fi

Courtesy: Nicole

Häkkinen says Räikkönen will find it tough


Formerly his strongest supporter, Mika Häkkinen is now questioning how quickly his compatriot Kimi Räikkönen can get back up to speed in formula one.

When he retired a decade ago, Häkkinen recommended rookie Räikkönen to then McLaren team boss Ron Dennis by saying: “If you want to win, get the Finn.”

Now, a 32-year-old Räikkönen is reportedly busy losing the four kilograms he put on during his forays in world rallying and NASCAR.

Häkkinen tells Bild am Sonntag: “The return will be very difficult for Kimi. He will have almost no time to test the new car — five or six days, that’s it.

“If you lose a day with a problem you don’t get it back, while in the past we used to sit in the cockpit from morning to night, because you get faster and faster the more time you have to get into the rhythm,” he said.

That is why, to help Räikkönen readjust after his two-year sabbatical, Lotus already has plans to circumvent the current testing restrictions by preparing the 32-year-old a 2009-spec Renault equipped with GP2 tyres.

According to Häkkinen, Räikkönen will still find it difficult.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a world champion or not. In formula one the competition has never been tougher.

“The fitness of the drivers, their technical understanding, it just gets better and better. These drivers, they work brutally hard!

“It will all make Kimi’s return much more difficult even than five years ago.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, whose last few grands prix were alongside Räikkönen at Ferrari in 2009, agrees: “Formula one is unforgiving, especially if you’ve been away for a couple of years.”

More optimistic for Räikkönen is 2009 world champion Jenson Button.

“This is a very good thing for the sport; he’s such a competitive driver,” the McLaren driver is quoted by France’s autohebdo.fr.

“The guys at McLaren have told me that he is very good at setting up a car.”

Räikkönen travelled to Lotus’ Enstone base on Saturday and met with team owner Gerard Lopez, who sensed the former McLaren and Ferrari driver is highly motivated.

And “the more people that question it (his motivation) the better, because it’s only going to motivate him further,” said Lopez.


Source: YallaF1

Alonso unsure how good Vettel is in bad car


The jury is out as to whether Formul 1′s reigning back to back world champion is as good as Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

That is the suggestion of Ferrari driver Alonso, who said the final test for dominant Red Bull driver Vettel, 24, is to prove he can regularly haul a less-than-perfect car to the top of the podium.

The Spaniard was asked by the Diario Sport newspaper if he agrees with Pedro de la Rosa’s recent assessment that only Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are able to win races in something other than the best car in the field.

“We have seen two do it, for the third it is yet to be seen,” said Alonso.

“We will see when he has a car good enough to be sixth and he gets it to be second, third or fourth. Until now we have only seen him in a car that can win the championship with five grands prix to go.

“So we have to wait,” added the Ferrari driver.

As for Ferrari, Alonso said the Italian team has been learning over the past year how to develop a car as rapidly as his 2007 employer, McLaren.

“McLaren is a good example,” he admitted, “of a team that can start a year with any problem and resolve it in a couple of races.

“Pat Fry has brought new ideas, new methods and I have not the slightest doubt that Ferrari is much better today than it was a year ago,” added Alonso.


Source: YallaF1

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Petrov changed his mind after Kimi became his team mate


Vitali Petrov wants to stay in Lotus because he got funny Kimi as his team mate.

Apparently Petrov planned earlier that he would leave Lotus but Kimi Räikkönen's contract seems to have changed his mind.

- I have nothing to lose. I learned so much during season 2011. I will never learn as much during one year, since this year we had so many problems, Petrov tells.

Petrov gets well along with Kimi Räikkönen.

- I have to adjust my driving style to the new car and develop new things in it. In my head I see a big step and I feel that I have improved my level. Together with Kimi we will develop the car. He is a WDC and a funny guy, Petrov said.

Petrov critisized Lotus Renault-team earlier in public but now he tells that he loves the team and it's personnel. Working with Kimi Räikkönen will bring a lot of extra motivation to everyone, including Petrov himself.

- Hopefully the team makes the right decision, Petrov said about his own situation.


Source: Autotoday.fi
Courtesy: Nicole

Hamilton: Have fun but don’t drink and drive

Lewis Hamilton went underground yesterday to launch Diageo’s Responsible Drinking Campaign and their sponsorship of free travel around the UK capital on New Year’s Eve

Thanks to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes partner Diageo, Londoners will be able to party and get home safely, with free travel from 23:45 on New Year’s Eve until 04:30 on New Year’s Day on the capital’s transport services including tube trains, buses and trams, and on London overground trains until their last service of the night. At selected central London Underground stations Diageo will be giving out top tips and free bottles of water on some of the busiest party nights of the year.

Speaking at the launch Lewis said: “Whilst we all want to have a good time this party season, a good time will be a better one if you can remember it and get home safely. Diageo sponsoring free travel is going to make it a little easier for us all to get home this New Year’s Eve and this campaign will remind us to drink responsibly for a great night out.

“Through my work with Diageo on Johnnie Walker for the Join the Pact campaign I have been part of many responsible drinking initiatives and I hope today serves as a timely reminder to people in London to have fun but be responsible.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson described the deal as “fantastic” for partygoers. “London has a tremendous amount to offer over the festive period and this will allow people to welcome in the New Year in the world’s most fantastic city, and still get home cheaply and safely, late into the night.”

Source: YallaF1

Friday, December 2, 2011

Race Of Champions | Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher Q&A

With a grand total of nine Formula One world championships between them, driving legends Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher – aka Team Germany – talk about their plans and chances in the Race of Champions 2011…

How does it feel racing in an enclosed stadium in front of your home crowd?
Sebastian Vettel: "It’s magic, a little bit like playing in a football stadium. It’s very special."

Michael Schumacher: "Indoor racing is just sensational. It is just big fun. For us it’s so unusual. I really think every driver fully enjoys it. The whole atmosphere is just great."

'To me it always looks a bit like a toy racecourse which has become reality.'

Are you looking forward to taking part?
Michael Schumacher: "Well, to me it always looks a bit like a toy racecourse which has become reality. The event is very entertaining so it’s a cool place to go out at the weekend. If you like cars, if you like music, if you like action, there is nowhere else to be this weekend."

Sebastian Vettel: I can’t wait for the event. It’s completely different to what we experience on the F1 circuit, in rallying or other motorsport. That’s why drivers from so many different categories and countries compete against each other and have a lot of fun together. It’s an unforgettable experience!"

Michael, did the fact that you took part in Race Of Champions from 2007-2009 play any part in your decision to come back to F1?
Michael Schumacher: "It is not so much the competition which brings me back, it’s the fun, the time you spend with the other drivers. During the season, everybody just has to be so focused and it’s just nice to have time to have a drink together in the evening. Of course, we are all professional drivers so the moment we close the visor we want to win but that`s really only one part of it."

Sebastian, last year you were still in a daze after your world championship. Has it a been bit calmer this year?
Sebastian Vettel: "It’s a bit different because I already won the championship in Japan and not at the last race. Still this doesn’t mean that we stopped fighting or competing. We kept fighting for wins. This is all we want, to get the maximum out of every single race."

Michael, how much do you think you've changed as a driver during your two seasons back in F1?
Michael Schumacher: "I have certainly developed in the way that I know the team better. And, yes, at the very beginning I was probably still a bit rusty. Things are smoother now. I am confident that Mercedes and me will get there."

Sebastian, how much have you changed as a driver now you are a double world champion?
Sebastian Vettel: "I learned from the first title. I am a bit calmer and maybe more self-confident. If you win a title, you prove you can do it. But people shouldn’t misunderstand this and think I can handle every situation easily now. I still have to learn a lot."

Michael, if you had to choose just one, would you prefer to win the ROC Nations Cup again or finally to triumph in the individual Race Of Champions?
Michael Schumacher: "Celebrating with Sebastian has become a very fun thing to do, so I am totally fine with us winning the ROC Nations Cup again. The problem then usually is the party afterwards which kind of compromises the next day.

You can watch the Nations Cup and Race of Champions 2011 live at RaceofChampions.com and on Freecaster.tv

Source: Red Bull

Photos: Kimi Räikkönen arrives at Enstone

Kimi Räikkönen visit Lotus Renault factory this afternoon





Source: LotusRenaultGP

Kimi Räikkönen arrives at Enstone


Lotus Renault GP’s new Finnish star driver Kimi Räikkönen set foot in Enstone for the first time to meet his new team mates.

A throng of LRGP-ites made Kimi feel welcome as he arrived at the factory ahead of the team’s Christmas party tonight.

After being welcomed by Eric Boullier, Kimi was given a factory tour and met with Chairman Gérard Lopez…

“It is my first time in Enstone,” Kimi said, “so it is very nice to see the factory - it feels good. It is a very warm feeling and I’m very relaxed. I haven’t really read the newspapers about all the excitement but it is quite normal, isn’t it? It doesn’t put any more pressure on me. I always try to do my best, so I don’t put myself under pressure. It will be exciting, yes, but no pressure really and we will see how it goes.”

On having Kimi at Enstone, Gérard feels it is like the right thing to happen. “I think we decided that we had to look forward in terms of performance and the key way to see how good a car is, is to have a good driver. Kimi has proven in the past that he is among the fastest and in terms of age he’s still in his prime. In terms of motivation from what I have seen and spoken to him, he is probably as motivated as ever. And the more people question the better it is because it is going to increase his motivation even more to prove that they are wrong. I’m excited that he is here because I think it’s one of the very important steps in getting the team to where we want it to be – which is one of the top teams in Formula 1…”

Source: LotusRenaultGP

Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger are back together

Now the gruelling F1 season is over Lewis Hamilton has the chance to experience everything he's missed out on this year

The Inbetweeners Movie, Downton Abbey, Mandy coming back to EastEnders, buying himself a pair of red jeans — they are all things he could be familiarising himself with.

But the big loved-up softie has only one thing on his mind — getting back together with Nicole Scherzinger.

The stars are back on after agreeing to give their relationship another go.

And they've planned a series of secret meetings over the next few weeks to rediscover that magic formula. A source said: "It's a struggle to maintain a blossoming relationship during the F1 season.

"Lewis is so busy and in a different country every other week. When they can't see each other they use things like Skype, but that's no substitute for the real thing, "With no F1 distractions, Lewis aims to spend some proper time with Nicole. He can't wait."

Unfortunately for him, Nicole is getting to the business end of judging on the first series of the American X Factor.

The final is just before Christmas so Lewis will have to share her with Simon Cowell until then.

The F1 star put on a brave face after the split in October and they briefly met in LA last month to have a heart-to-heart.

Lewis said: "We still have very, very strong feelings for each other and I still love her very much.

"Who knows, maybe we will be together in the future?

"It was a really positive few days. I came away from LA feeling great and things are getting into perspective."

You can't blame Lewis for wanting to get their future sorted quickly.

Any single woman in the company of US X Factor host Steve Jones doesn't remain untouched for long.

It's just lucky Lewis has a fast car.

Source: The Sun

Räikkönen gets only six testing days before the season starts


Kimi Räikkönen has to adapt to Lotus-Renault F1-car and Pirelly-tyres really fast because he only gets to drive six days in winter tests.

F1-teams have decided to limit the winter testing to three four-day periods 7-10.2.2012 and then 18-21.2.2012 in Jerez plus 1-4.3.2012 in Barcelona.

All and all there are 12 driving days which are divided evenly between the teams' both drivers.

The F1-season starts 18th March in Australia, Melbourne.

According to information Turun Sanomat has Räikkönen gets to drive Renault's F1-car privately in January on the testing track before starting with the new cars.

Regulations are that these kinds of tests can only be driven by an old car from season 2009 using GP2-tyres. It's called a 'demo-car'.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kimi's Camp Firmly Denies the Equity Rumours

Respected German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport reported about rumours that Kimi Raikkonen had supposedly bought a stake in the Lotus F1 team with a couple of his millionaire friends.

Raikkonen's assistant Riku Kuvaja told on tuesday that Kimi is just an employee of the team when the two year long contract was announced.

Has there been a change in the situation?

- "No there has not. I do not know where they come up with these rumours. This is such a time that you hear rumours all the time", Kuvaja says.

If the rumours about Raikkonen's Williams negotiations were true, the man is interested in having a stake in a F1 team. Kuvaja however says that there is no current interest for something like that.

- "It's hard to say anything about the future. Let's do this now first and see what happens next", Kuvaja says.

Source: Iltalehti
Courtesy: Nicole

Kimi, 10 million good reasons


Posted by Leo Turrini Thu, 01/12/2011 - 01:09

Wow.

I just came back from a nice dinner with Cola.

The Cola confirmed to me his enthusiasm for the return of the Holy Drinker.

Meanwhile Cola had collected some extra information about the tasty Come Back of the Blond.

I am going to order now.

Kimi has 10 million reasons to drink vodka.

Lotus-Renault is paying him ten million.

I understand that the agreement includes in Marchionne-style a robust performance bonus.

Translated.

1 million more if the Blond wins at least one Grand Prix.

An extra extra extra bonus if the win comes at some place that is seen as 'special' (read: Monte Carlo or Spa or Monza).

Renault-Lotus has guaranteed to Raikkonen that the car is good from the beginning, since the first Grand Prix of Australia, that it will be in top ten in qualifying.

The drafting of the contract was made up so that by the end of 2012, by paying a small penalty, the Holy Drinker is free to find a home elsewhere (Mercedes, if the Old Uncle decides to devote himself to Corinna).

I just sat there.


Courtesy: Nicole

Lindström hopes that Räikkönen would still drive rally sometime


Kimi Räikkönen and Kaj Lindström drove all and all 22 WRC-rallies and six other rallies. Their best position in WRC was 5th in Turkey 2010. In France's national serie Vosgien in 2010, the duo achieved their only victory by making the fastest time on every stage.

.– Kimi would be an undisputable talent as a rally driver too. He already started to get some routine but only by driving WRC-rallies 2-3 years more, would we have wiped that last second off from the lead's time, Lindström calculated.

Then were you surprised when the driver went back to the F1-tracks?

– It didn't come as a surprise that they wanted Kimi back just as it didn't come as a surprise that he still had the passion to go back, Lindström says.

Then will we still see Räikkönen driving rally someday?

– I hope that Kimi would someday drive rally as a hobby. However driving on the track is more Kimi's own environment, his real thing, but I have to say that we did well in rally too even with a this short experience.

– Kimi has a very positive feeling towards rally, but driving man to man is more natural to him and as a bonus he gets the fun that overtaking offers. Work comes first and F1 is his work, whereas rally is more like a hobby to him.


Difficult to find the right pace

Räikkönen wasn't lacking speed in rally but his difficulty was to find a good rhythm right from the beginning of the race.

– When driving on a track you see what your pace is all the time because you can compare it to others' pace. In rally you just have to rely on your pace and on yourself to drive fast enough. You can't make any straight comparison. If you go too fast you are in danger of driving off and if you are too careful, then the clock doesn't like it at all. Finding the real pace and rhythm comes only with the routine after driving enough. Kimi already got a pretty good hunch about this plot.

How does Räikkönen expect that he will manage with Lotus next year?

– Because you can't know about the car beforehand I can only hope that Kimi finds a good feeling from the car. If he can't drive for leading positions with the car then he just have to be satisfied with the level he can achieve with it.

Berger is courted into becoming a Lotus-consult

In paddock rumours they are anticipating that the main sponsor Lotus Cars would cash in this season's Renault-team from Genii Capital. They are rumouring that Eric Boullier is going to leave.

Italian Gazzetta dello Sport -magazine wrote that they are courting Gerhard Berger as a consult to Lotus. The experienced Dave Ryan was already with the team in Brazil.

The team's current owner Gerard Lopez assured when announcing Räikkönen's contract that getting Kimi was only the first step of many progress steps they will take in order to create a new chain of success.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pärmäkoski: Vettel was happy over Kimi's comeback


- He is a tough guy, hats off to him. Kimi is a man who walks his own paths and has the courage to make brave decisions. His return will lift up both the team's and the serie's PR-value without any doubt because a WDC is always a person who is followed.

Räikkönen is a familiar man to Pärmäkoski because in Switzerland they used to live nearby. At that time the duo also met on the badminton field. Despite the good relationship Pärmäkoski has naturally his own view about next season.

- In badminton the victories can go quite evenly. When thinking about next season I hope that Kimi and the team will get the car in such condition that it's realistic to reach for podiums. Yet I have to admit that although I'm a Finn my heart is pounding towards a certain German driver when it comes to victories, Pärmäkoski said.

He also tells that Vettel is happy over Räikkönen's return.

- We haven't talked much about it but I know that Sebastian is happy over Kimi's return. They were already familiar to each other and I believe that two champions will give each other additional heartbeat.

TOMI OLLI


Source: Iltalehti
Courtesy: Nicole

Vettel says Räikkönen return will be tough


Sebastian Vettel has admitted it is “difficult to judge” whether his friend Kimi Räikkönen will be at full speed when he returns to formula one next season.

The pair often meet near their Swiss homes to play badminton, but reigning world champion Vettel does not want to predict a smooth comeback for the 2007 world champion after two years in world rally.

“We have all seen Michael’s comeback,” the 24-year-old is quoted by France’s 20minutes.fr on a visit to Red Bull’s engine supplier Renault.

“He (Schumacher) left when he was at the top, but when he came back he said a lot had changed and that he needed time to adapt.

“If I think about the car I drove two years ago, so many things have changed,” said Vettel. “It’s amazing. Even during a season, new buttons appear on the steering wheel.

“I can imagine it would be very difficult to return straight away to the same level as before,” added the German.

Renault/Lotus boss Eric Boullier revealed on Tuesday that Räikkönen will soon be able to use the team’s new driver simulator, and get some laps under his belt in a two-year-old “demo car” before real testing begins in February.

But the former McLaren and Ferrari driver insisted on Tuesday that while his neck may be out of shape, his motivation is back at full power.

Britain’s Guardian wrote: “If he got fed up with driving a Ferrari … what will happen at Renault, a midfield outfit who are unlikely to be challenging the top teams next year?”

Mercedes’ Norbert Haug is quoted in German reports: “I look forward to seeing Kimi back if he is motivated, and that seems to be the case.”


Source: YallaF1

Räikkönen's Lotus-time starts from Friday's Christmas-party


Two years and 29 days ago Kimi Räikkönen drove his last F1-race in Abu Dhabi at Ferrari. Two years and three months ago Räikkönen snatched his last GP-victory in Belgium.

On Tuesday it became sure that Räikkönen will come back to F1 when Lotus-Renault published their 2-year contract with the 32-year old Finnish WDC.

Turun Sanomat got an exclusive intervew with Räikkönen right after the contract was announced.

How does it feel to go back to F1 after rally?

– It feels cool. I don't have to roll in the mud anymore, a very relaxed and sunny Räikkönen grinned.

– It felt cool to drive rally too but you can't get over the fact that I also missed racing. The longer I was away from F1, the more I wanted back there.

Why Lotus-Renault?

– We talked for a long time with Williams and when nothing happened there we turned to Renault and after that everything proceeded quickly in three weeks. Now I have a contract and I'm pleased that I can race with F1-cars again.

When did your will to go back to F1 arise?

– When I drove those Nascar-races in May I noticed how cool it was to race on track again. That's when the spark came and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted back.


Racing fascinates more

Did you get bored with rally driving?

– Absolutely not. I would still like to drive rallies. But yet it's a different thing when you race against other drivers on the track. It is afterall what I have been doing for almost my whole life.

What remained as your best rally?

– I guess it's this year's Jyskälä. We didn't get into the speed the first day but after that it started to go well. We had a good pace until we hit the fence.

– That's the thing that bugs me most in rally, how much disadvantage for a long time you can get from the smallest situation. If you hit a little but the service park is far away that blunder willl reflect on your times in so many stages.

How long would it had taken for you to drive for trophies in WRC?

– It would have taken a lot of time. Every now and then I could take the same times as the lead did. Better results would have required that I would get to test just as much as the drivers from the factory team got to test.

Räikkönen didn't finish the last rallies.

– The decision was based upon the prognosis that it was going to rain and I didn't want to go sliding there. Then the weather was good afterall so of course I should have continued.

– On the other hand it wouldn't have made any use since I had already retired. It's a bit stupid when you can continue in rally although you have retired. You can't continue the race in F1 anymore if something happens, Räikkönen said.

Most to learn about is tyres

How difficult is it to come from rally back to a F1-car?

– I don't think it's that tricky. Afterall I have drove F1-cars for a long time and haven't had more than a two years break. The last time I was there we had KERS and we had a lot of buttons in the steering wheel back then already. I guess I'll also control the buttons soon.

– The biggest difference will be the tyres. It takes more time to learn how they work the best way. But it was more difficult when I went from McLaren and Michelin-tyres to Ferrari and Bridgestone-tyres. Now I haven't raced for two years with F1-tyres so I haven't got the most fresh feeling of them. This way I surely adapt easier to the new tyres.

What kind of information do you have about Pirelli's tyres?

– I have chatted with my old team mate Pedro de la Rosa and from what he has told me it feels pretty good. I hear that the tyres have a damn good grip right from the beginning and in my case it's important that the front is working.

How much information do you have about Lotus-Renault's team?

– Not much. I talked for the first time with Eric Boullier on Monday in the phone. On Friday I will visit Enstone factory and from there I continue to the team's christmas party.

Getting used by using GP2-tyres

When will you start testing?

– I can drive with this year's car as long as it has GP2-tyres. I guess I start getting used to it by that. I don't know exactly about next year's schedules. The new car comes when it comes and then we test with it, Räikkönen told.

Turun Sanomat

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kimi Räikkönen - “I never really lost the passion for racing in Formula 1”

Kimi, good news today, you have decided to come back to Formula 1. Why are you coming back?
The main reason was that I never really lost the passion for racing in Formula 1, just maybe for all the other things around it. But when I did some NASCAR races this year I noticed that I was increasingly missing the racing side – to race against each other – because in rallying you really race against the clock. And then I got the call from certain people in Formula 1. All sorts of things happened and we managed to have a nice conversation with Lotus Renault GP and make a deal – I’m really very happy with that!

Why did you choose Lotus Renault GP?
Really there were two options – it was this team or Williams. And everything worked out with Lotus Renault GP as we wanted, so that’s really the reason. Have you been following the team and the performance this year? I didn’t follow Formula 1 much at all last year. This year I followed it a bit more but not really any specific team. I watched the last 20 laps of the last race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, and because I knew this was going to happen I also watched how the Lotus Renault GP team did. But before that I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen or that there would be a deal in Formula 1 for next year, so I just watched Formula 1 as a whole. I saw a few races but nothing special.

Do you think Formula 1 will be very different for you from what you know from 2009, with the DRS, Pirelli tyres, etc?
Comparing 2009 to next year the biggest difference will probably be the tyres. I don’t think there is a lot of difference with the cars. DRS is a new thing but this is basically similar to before. The button that used to be for the front wing has disappeared, so now it’s for the rear wing. I would guess the main difference is really the tyres.

Personally, what’s the main difference from the Kimi Räikkönen we saw in 2009 – in which way are you a better driver?
I don’t know – I’ve been away for two years. I haven’t driven and I haven’t even sat in a Formula 1 car since the last race in 2009. I’m interested to get back into the car, I’m two years older now and I don’t think anything else has really changed. It has been really nice to try to learn rallying in the last few years. On some days it was hard. It’s been easier this year than last year but still it’s a very difficult sport. I’m really looking forward to coming back. At least Formula 1 is something where I know how everything works as I’ve been there for many years – compared to rallying when I didn’t know what would really happen. Then I went to NASCAR and I had no clue how it would be. So in that way it should be much, much easier to come back and it should be pretty normal.

Have you already changed your training routine?
I kept training the whole time for the rallying but of course it’s not so physical – in the rallies it’s more that you have to sit in the car for the whole week. In Formula 1, it is more physical but over a shorter time. A month ago I started to get back into proper training for Formula 1. The neck is the most difficult thing to get ready but we still have plenty of time.

When you think about your last race in 2009, what is the feeling you have of driving in Formula 1?
I certainly remember all the braking and how quickly everything happens. But compared to rallying, say, you have slightly more time. In rallying, it doesn’t give you a second chance. When you make a mistake you go off. There are no run-off areas. In Formula 1 you have a lot of run-off areas, you can run a bit wide and it is not such a big deal. You lose a lap in the practice or in qualifying but in the race you maybe don’t even lose a place. So this time, the braking and the G-forces will certainly come back very quickly. The biggest thing will definitely be to get the neck used to it again. All the rest will take a while but it’s not really a big thing.

Six world champions on the grid next year, you are coming back to Formula 1 – how big of a boost is it for your motivation?
I would not have come back if I wasn’t motivated. There is always a lot of talk about motivation but nobody really knows what I do or what I think apart from myself so I don’t really care about what people say. But I’m happy to be coming back. I wouldn’t put my name onto a contract if I didn’t think I’d really enjoy it – so it will be interesting and exciting to get back!

Source: LotusRenaultGP