Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finland's champion in 2012?

Today I interviewed Felipe Massa in Ferrari on the sacred Indian GP -paddock. Before I had time to ask anything Felipe said that he will start - and he asked me if Kimi Räikkönen will come back. The interview with replies comes to Saturday's paper so nothing more about it here.

But they are buzzing about Räikkönen's possible comeback or about how groundless it is to even hint about such a thing on the eve of Indian GP. F1 Racing -magazine already threw some fuel in the fire, although Anthony Peacock's interview was made weeks ago during Rally France.

On Thursday the reporters complemented information from each other on the paddock. Some are completely convinced that nothing will happen. Some again act as if they know that the contract has already been made. And the majority is just guessing over what might be going on.

I took the bull by it's horns and asked my fellow reporters to speculate that if Räikkönen will be in Williams next year and Heikki Kovalainen in Lotus or whatever the team's name will be in 2012, which one of them would be ahead?

It looks like Finland's championship would go to Räikkönen if these are the settings.

Here are the replies:

Gerhard Kuntschik, Salzburger Nachrichten (Austria):

– Williams will definitely be ahead of Lotus next year. Williams can't afford another catastrophical season and they will do everything they can in order to avoid that. Williams will compete fiercly in the mid-group and will be at least on the same level as Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso.

– It's also clear that Lotus will improve. But for them the next season is a question of scoring their first WC-point whereas Williams will score points evenly, Kuntschik thinks.

Luis Fernando Ramos, Radio Band (Brazil):

– Williams won't collapse more from this. This car is simply a rock bottom. It hasn't been fast on any kinds of tracks - not on slow, not on semi-fast and not on fast ones. Mike Coughlan will most certainly make a better car and they will also get Renault's engine, which will give performance ability and reliability.

– Whether it's Kimi or Rubens driving in Williams I think that Lotus will be left behind. Lotus will lift their level too but not as much as Williams.

Michael Schmidt, Auto, Motor und Sport (Germany):

– Williams is ahead of Lotus. The new people are talented and it's certain that they won't hit another rock bottom like this one. For Williams the switch to Renault's engine will help more than KERS will help Lotus, who already has the same engine.

– Both cars are designed in Williams' windtunnels. Whereas Williams uses the new one, Lotus is in the older windtunnel. I think a more competitive car comes out of the new windtunnel, Schmidt estimates.

Jonathan Noble, Autosport (UK):

– Lotus will surely improve next season. Mark Smith and KERS bring their own substantial inputs. Also Heikki Kovalainen seems to have been in flames already with this car. It's possible that Lotus could even beat Williams.

– I wouldn't bet on it though. Williams is Williams and after a lousy season like this they must be really making an effort to lift their competitiveness. If Kimi Räikkönen drives in Williams then he will certainly get everything out of the car.

Pino Allievi, La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy):

– First of all I would advice Kimi not to come back. World champions' comebacks to F1 haven't usually succeeded. But if we are talking about Williams and Lotus I would say that the one of them who have the finance better in place will be ahead in that battle. If Williams can get their budget together then they should be ahead.

Dan Knutson, Speed Sport News (USA):

– Kimi and Heikki against each other? If Kimi drives Williams and Heikki Lotus, then Kimi is ahead. This car has been so crappy for Williams that at least you can't go any lower. Both teams bring the best cars but Williams can improve at least as much as Lotus can.

– But there won't be any super leaping. If Räikkönen is at Williams then his position will be 12th whereas Kovalainen's with Lotus is 14th, Knutson estimates.

Erkki Mustakari, Maikkari (Finland):

– No matter who drives at Williams it will be ahead of Lotus-Caterham next year. If Kimi is the driver then he will whip the best out of the car the same way he did with the bad Ferrari in 2009.

– Williams have had their most weakest season ever. They have changed personnel and it's 100% sure that these new engineers are immensly motivated to give a strong performance of their know-how.

– Lotus will uplift their level and get to race in the midfield but if Kimi is at Williams, then he will lift the team's level the same way as Robert Kubica did in Renault and drive ahead of the compact mid-group Force India - Sauber - Toro Rosso, Mustakari thinks.

Heikki Kulta Turun Sanomat

Courtesy: Nicole

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