Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kimi Räikkönen to unveil special edition Lotus Evora in Geneva

What good is it having an F1 team to your name if you can't leverage it into a special edition sportscar and have the world champion you just signed unveil it in front of the gathered masses? That's what Lotus seems to be thinking as the British automaker is reportedly preparing to unveil a special edition Evora at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The model in question – expected to be joined by a convertible Evora as well – is tipped to be based on the top-spec, 444-horsepower Evora GTE, but with the black and gold livery featured on the company's F1 cars... as well as its other racing cars currently proliferating into racing series around the world.

The car will reportedly be unveiled by Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 Formula One world champion recently signed to return to F1 with Lotus this year. However fast Kimi is, however, the paparazzi seem to be faster as the car in question was snapped at the Jerez circuit in Spain ahead of its official unveiling just over a week from now.

2012 Lotus Evora GTE F1 edition (spy shots) Photos

Source: Autoblog
Courtesy: Tom

"When Kimi talks, it is always something important"

Kimi Raikkonen is said to be tight-lipped

Lotus test driver Jerome d'Ambrosio confirms the claim.

- Yes, he does not talk much, but when he speaks, it is always something important.

- Otherwise he is a nice guy. First meeting went well.

D'Ambrosio describes Räikkönen to be a very different personality when compared to Lotus' other driver Romain Grosjean.

- We have known Romain for ten years, so we get along well, we have never had any problems.

D'Ambrosio was in the last season Virgin team's driver. For the beginning season he did not get a contract. Now he is trying to create a new career at Lotus.

- This is a good deal for me. I have received support from one of the top teams. If you want to make a long career in Formula One, you must aim to the top teams. I am pleased that Lotus gave me the opportunity.

Lotus' tests in Barcelona were interrupted due to a defect in chassis. Still D'Ambrosio does not see the situation as a disaster.

- We are pleased with our car. In the second test we had problems, but it does happen. The team intends to resolve the issue next week. We have a good basis and from it, it is good to develop.

F1 season starts in Australia on March 18th.


Courtesy: reppo

Barcelona testing line-up

Teams head to Barcelona on Thursday for the last of the pre-season tests, with some under a little more pressure than others

Lotus were forced to skip three days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya last week after they discovered a problem with their chassis and this has no doubt put the team under extra pressure. Romain Grosjean will turn out for the Enstone squad on Thursday and Friday before Kimi Räikkönen takes over for the weekend's running.

That seems doubtful at this stage after Red Bull and Ferrari were forced to alter their testing schedules to run from Thursday to Sunday and not Friday to Monday as they initially planned. This was as a result of a "new clarification" of the Sporting Regulations.

Marussia won't be turning out at the test at all after the MR01 failed the FIA crash test. Fellow backmarkers HRT might run their new chassis for the first time after it passed the crash test at the second time of asking but the team have indicated they may not be ready for the opening day of testing.

Running order for final pre-season test:

Red Bull
Thursday: Mark Webber. Friday: Sebastian Vettel.
Saturday: Mark Webber. Sunday: Sebastian Vettel.

Thursday: Jenson Button. Friday: Lewis Hamilton.
Saturday: Jenson Button. Sunday: Lewis Hamilton.

Thursday: Felipe Massa. Friday: Fernando Alonso.
Saturday: Felipe Massa. Sunday: Fernando Alonso

Thursday: Nico Rosberg. Friday: Michael Schumacher.
Saturday: Nico Rosberg. Sunday: Michael Schumacher.

Thursday: Romain Grosjean. Friday: Romain Grosjean.
Saturday: Kimi Räikkönen. Sunday: Kimi Räikkönen

Force India
Thursday: Paul di Resta. Friday: Nico Hulkenberg.
Saturday: Paul di Resta. Sunday: Nico Hulkenberg.

Thursday: Sergio Perez. Friday: Kamui Kobayashi.
Saturday: Sergio Perez. Sunday: Kamui Kobayashi.

Toro Rosso
Thursday: Jean-Eric Vergne. Friday: Jean-Eric Vergne.
Saturday: Daniel Ricciardo. Sunday: Daniel Ricciardo

Thursday: Pastor Maldonado. Friday: Bruno Senna / Pastor Maldonado.
Saturday: Pastor Maldonado / Bruno Senna. Sunday: Bruno Senna.

Thursday: Heikki Kovalainen. Friday: Heikki Kovalainen.
Saturday: Vitaly Petrov. Sunday: Vitaly Petrov


Source: Planet-F1

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lotus: We Can Work it Out

Lotus F1 Team will not run for the remainder of the second test at Barcelona, scheduled from today until Friday

Barcelona test finishes early for Lotus F1 Team

Lotus F1 Team will not run for the remainder of the second test at Barcelona, scheduled from today until Friday.

During initial runs this morning with Romain Grosjean at the wheel, the team identified an issue with the chassis. After investigation at Enstone, initial plans to bring out chassis E20-01 to Barcelona have been held in order to give the team enough time to rectify the situation.

Lotus F1 Team will be back on track next week in Barcelona (1-4 March)

James Allison, Technical Director:
“Before we were due to fly chassis E20-01 out to Barcelona in replacement of chassis E20-02 - damaged this morning - we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today. As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work. It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week’s test. We’ll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
“Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel that our choice is the right one. On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution. We will be present at next week’s test in Barcelona. We draw faith from the fact that the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there. We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge.”

Source: LotusRenaultGP

Vettel makes fast Barcelona start

Sebastian Vettel put World Champions Red Bull's RB8 on top of a testing timesheet for the first time in 2012 on the opening day of the second pre-season test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya

The reigning two-time title winner moved to the fore during a competitive morning session in Spain and then mid-way through the afternoon increased his advantage over impressive countryman Nico Hulkenberg to just under two tenths of a second with a lap of 1:23.265.

Force India driver Hulkenberg, completing just his second day of running in the VJM05, had earlier topped the timesheet himself and such was his pace that by the end of the day he still remained ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in second place.

For Hamilton, however, it was undoubtedly still a positive start to the second test as he topped a century of laps for the first time this winter - 114 - with the MP4-27 again running reliably, the former champion eventually having to settle for a time which was three tenths of a second adrift of Vettel.

Ferrari were again, in contrast, forced to spend more time in the garage than they would have wanted during the morning as the team worked to resolve some niggling issues with the F2012, although Fernando Alonso eventually racked up 75 laps to take fifth behind Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo.

After delaying the introduction of their 2012 car by a fortnight, Mercedes' pre-season preparations finally got serious after the new W03 was rolled out this morning. With the team likely still carrying out early evaluations, Michael Schumacher completed 51 laps - although was still just 0.8s off the pace.

Sauber's Sergio Perez lost some track time through some reliability concerns, as the new Williams FW34 again showed good reliability, if unspectacular pace, in the midfield positions.

A similarly low-key day would have certainly been welcomed at Lotus and Caterham, however, after both teams ran into their first major headaches of the winter.

The situation was more costly, and potentially concerning, for Lotus - the mileage leaders and 2012 pacesetters Jerez - who managed to put just seven laps on the second E20 chassis that made its debut on Tuesday.

Romain Grosjean had completed just seven laps when the team became concerned that the new chassis wasn't responding quite as it should and, after some analysis back in the garage, announced at lunchtime that as a precaution it had decided to fly the chassis back to the factory for further investigations before returning to the track tomorrow.

However, the team's scheduled return has since been put back to next week after they subsequently confirmed that they had to make changes to both models.

Caterham, meanwhile, saw their CT01 machine stop out on the circuit just nine laps into the day when a rear track-rod failure struck.

However, after several hours of repairs, Heikki Kovalainen was able to return for the day's final 45 minutes and clear 30 laps, with the newly-promoted Caterham Group Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne hoping the issue proves to be a one-off.

"We had a rear track rod failure on Heikki's third run this morning which brought him to a halt on track," he said.

"As soon as we had the car back in the garage we identified the issue and managed to fix it on site, and we have more parts coming out tonight to make sure we don't have the same problem again. We know that this car is fundamentally reliable, so the aim for the next three days is to complete the plan for this test and put ourselves back on schedule."

One man not having any problems racking up the mileage was French rookie Charles Pic, who made his first on-track appearance since being made an F1 race driver over the winter for Marussia.

The Russian-backed squad, running with last year's MVR-02 while they await the arrival of their new car in time for next week's sessions at Barcelona, clocked up 121 laps as they got their first taste of the new range of Pirelli tyres for 2012.

Day one times:
1) Sebastian Vettel 1:23.265 79 laps
2) Nico Hulkenberg 1:23.440 97
3) Lewis Hamilton 1:23.590 114
4) Daniel Ricciardo 1:23.618 76
5) Fernando Alonso 1:24.100 75
6) Michael Schumacher 1:24.150 51
7) Sergio Perez 1:24.219 66
8) Bruno Senna 1:25.711 97
9) Heikki Kovalainen 1:26.035 31
10) Romain Grosjean 1:26.809 7
11) Pic 1:28.026 121

Source: SkySports

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Boullier revealed "I called Kimi"

Eric Boullier revealed that he personally contacted Kimi Räikkönen before starting the contract negotiations.

Negotiations started after Boullier called Räikkönen.

- I called Kimi. We didn't need any managers for that and nobody in our team even knew about it, Boullier told to Auto Motor und Sport.

- I felt very quickly that F1 is once again his priority, Boullier continued.

Source: Ilta-Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Räikkönen thought about leaving racing

Kimi Räikkönen lost his seat in Ferrari after season 2009. It was a hard hit for Räikkönen although he got an excellent compensation for his sacking.

Räikkönen even thought about changing profession, giving up racing completely after he was sacked.

- When I left from Ferrari I thought that I would change my life completely, Räikkönen revealed recently in Zürich when he met the international media.

- I thought that I would only drive motocross or something else in the future. However that pondering didn't last for long.

Räikkönen thinks that the F1-serie has changed for the better while he has been gone.

- The atmosphere is now much better than it was a couple of years ago. It's better in many ways.

Source: Ilta-Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

Vettel: Räikkönen could be serious title opponent

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has flagged his friend Kimi Räikkönen as a potential challenger to his throne in 2012.

After becoming friends prior to Räikkönen’s rallying switch two years ago, German Vettel has stayed in contact with the Finn, occasionally meeting in their domiciled Switzerland to play badminton.

They did not manage to catch up at the Jerez test last week, but Red Bull’s Vettel admitted the pace of Räikkönen’s new Lotus caught his eye.

“If it’s as good as it seemed at Jerez, then Kimi is a serious opponent,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

Not trying to play down Lotus’ impressive debut for the black and gold E20 car is the team’s technical director, James Allison.

But the Briton also urged against getting carried away, with two tests at Barcelona still to run before the Melbourne season opener next month.

“We all try to know what is happening with the other teams, but in any case, we won’t know anything definite until Melbourne,” he is quoted by L’Equipe’s website.

“The most important thing is that the car runs well, not just from a mechanical standpoint, but also in terms of how the drivers feel, which is also important.”

Source: F1Zone

Räikkönen: NASCAR schedule prevented full-time switch

Kimi Räikkönen has revealed that despite being offered a multi-million dollar deal last year to make a full-time switch to NASCAR racing, he turned it down due to the intensity of a full NASCAR schedule and his reluctance to move to the US to pursue it.

Räikkönen drove two races in NASCAR’s national series last year, where his first race was in NASCAR’s third-tier Camping World Truck Series in a car prepared by Kyle Busch Motorsports. After one Truck race, Raikkonen stepped up a level to compete in a Nationwide Series race with a car prepared by Joe Nemechek. He finished 15th in the Trucks race and 27th at the Nationwide race. It is understood that Räikkönen was keen to try out the top level Sprint Cup Series but decided to return to Europe before he could take part in a Sprint Cup race.

A full Nationwide Series schedule this year consists of 33 races while a full Sprint Cup Series schedule this year consists of 39 races. The Finn was not prepared to move to the US to make a full-time switch to NASCAR, saying in an interview with Autosport: “I had a really good time there. But the biggest thing is that if you want to do it all the time, you have to move to the US. If there were less races, and you could stay in Europe, then I would probably have done it.”

“It’s a completely different way of doing things. The teams are very professional and I enjoyed it. It was something that probably in the future would be nice to do again,” said Raikkonen, leaving the door open for more NASCAR races in the future. The 2007 Formula 1 world champion has also said that he would like to do more rallies in the future, although it remains to be seen whether Lotus will allow him to.

Räikkönen also had many positive things to say regarding his stint of racing around ovals.

“The racing was nice. You don’t really think about the fact that you are just doing ovals because you have so many cars to race against. It looks very simple to drive around and be fast, but it’s the same as in F1; it’s the small details that make a difference. It’s so close time-wise that with one tenth [slower] you are 20 places back, so it’s still hard to be at the front.”

Source: F1Zone

Vettel's new trainer also made an impression in Turku

Sebastian Vettel's new trainer Heikki Huovinen started working with the German star by getting thoroughly familiar with his clothing- and equipment-cabin on Jerez track.

It took over three hours from Huovinen since he was shown from hand to hand all fire-proof underwear, racing outfits, gloves, shoes, helmets, visors etc.

Vettel himself made the ground rules clear when reporters wanted to hear comments from the trainer.

– Heikki is here to train me, not to give interviews, Vettel stated and hence got his new Finnish trainer the working peace he needed.

Huovinen is in a completely new world beside the F1-champion. Just like his predecessor Tommi Pärmäkoski he also comes from ice hockey. Huovinen has been well trained for his job in Jyväskylä University.

Huovinen, 28, still played ice hockey in the autumn.

Vettel always puts his own goals higher and higher. At 24-years old he thinks that he can develop and build his physical condition even tougher year by year.

– When looking from outside my last season might have looked almost perfect. But we still had a list over things we can improve in. The idea is that after the season we take distance and then come back better prepared and organized to the track.

How big is the change from trainer Pärmäkoski to trainer Huovinen?

– A Finn is a Finn. That says everything, Vettel said.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lotus delighted with Räikkönen

Lotus F1 owner Gerard Lopez says the squad have been delighted with star signing Kimi Räikkönen's attitude and work ethic since the Finn joined the team, and reckons he is already feeling at home

Räikkönen, who drove for both McLaren and Ferrari during his first spell in the sport, was renowned for his natural speed behind the wheel of Formula 1 car but picked up a less than flattering reputation for his perceived commitment outside of the cockpit compared to other front-running rivals.

Lopez, however, says he has seen no evidence of anything but complete commitment from the 2007 World Champion since the Finn arrived at the team late last year, reckoning that Räikkönen's positive attutude shows he is enjoying his new environment.

"For most people it's probably one of the big mysteries, because you hear the hearsay and so forth, but we feel very good with him and he clearly feels at home," Lopez told Autosport.

"He smiles a lot when he's with us! But most importantly that says he feels more like part of the family.

"I think Kimi has a public image that honestly from what we've seen does not translate into how he really is. He's a very hard worker, very good at providing feedback, and has a good team spirit."

After two seasons spent in the World Rally Championship, Räikkönen's motivation levels for a return to F1 were called into question when Lotus announced they had signed him to a two-year contract from 2012 - suggestions that the driver himself quickly moved to quash.

Lopez says the team's management were quickly reassured over the Finn's desire to return to F1 when they spoke to him for the first time and that Räikkönen's performance at last week's Jerez test - when he set the overall pace on his first full day in new Lotus E20 - proved he has lost none of his prodigious speed.

"Once we talked to him, once we understood why he was coming back, we really felt comfortable," Lopez added.

"If you look at what happened [at the test], nobody can say that he's not on the pace."

Source: SkySports

Alonso: 'Ferrari are only 20 percent ready'

Fernando Alonso reckons Ferrari still have a lot of work to do before Melbourne, saying they are only "20 percent" there with their new F2012

Ferrari's first pre-season test got off to a subdued start with the Italian stable failing to match the lap times set by Red Bull, McLaren and even Lotus.

That changed on the final day when Alonso clocked a 1:18.877 to finish Friday's running at the very top of the timesheets and second overall, his time only slower than Romain Grosjean's from Day three.

"It is still early and there is much work still to do to understand the many changes to the car compared to last season," he told Spanish daily AS.

"We are maybe at 20 percent of what we need to know but in the next test we will try to achieve the rest."

The one aspect, though, where Alonso is confident Ferrari have improved and have a great understand is with regard to the Pirelli tyres.

Last season the Italian stable struggled in qualifying as they were not able to get heat into the rubber, especially with the harder compounds.

This year Alonso reckons Ferrari, who hired Bridgestone's former F1 chief Hirohide Hamashim early in January, are on the right road to resolving that issue.

"I think we've managed to make better use of the tyres right from the first lap, which we could not do a year ago," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"What definitely needs improving is the aerodynamics and the reliability.

"To do only 40 laps in eight hours is a bit little, in Barcelona we must succeed in covering at least a hundred a day."

As for predictions for the upcoming season, the Spaniard said: "Where will I be in Melbourne? No idea but then I really do not know where I am here (Jerez), what position we are in."

Source: Planet-F1

Räikkönen's fairness delighted Grosjean

After two years break from F1 racing Romain Grosjean got a great gift from the first actual test session. The pace was right - and in addition natural relations to his new team mate Kimi Räikkönen came right away

Räikkönen's contract with the Lotus was published on 28 November. Few days later GP2 champion Grosjean was hired to partner Finnish world champion.

At that time, he told L'Equipe newspaper that he knows Kim's image and is nervous, how the man really is.

After Jerez test session Grosjean confessed that his impression of Räikkönen was immediately changed, when they briefly exchanged opinions about the test during the day.

- It was a really pleasant surprise, how Kimi is. I wondered a little what kind of relationship we will have, but even if we are not close, we get along very well and Kimi feels like a nice guy from the beginning. When I ask, he answers. It feels really nice at this point, Grosjean praised.

Raikkonen was driving on Wednesday, but when the floor fell apart on the curb of the track, the Finnish driver walked to the bus, where Grosjean was spending time.

- When Kimi came to the bus, I asked, was there a problem in the car. He replied that yes, and then we talked about the car and his experiences of it, Grosjean explained.

Telemetry in place

On Wednesday evening Grosjean became acquainted with telemetry of Räikkönen, who was already on his way home, to know at what point Kimi brakes and where he accelerates.

- I did not see anything strange, and then when I was driving on Thursday, our telemetry were nearly identical. It is very encouraging when our driving styles seems to be so close to each other.

On Friday, Grosjean focused on longer stints on different rubber compounds.

Raikkonen drove 192 laps in two days, while Grosjean got 212 laps. Be course Raikkonen drove on filming session 22 laps, mileage is pretty much the same. Most laps in Jerez drove Bruno Senna of Williams, who got 249 rounds.

The car is better

- This is definitely better than our last year's car, which I drove in Abu Dhabi's and Brazil's practice session. On the last season team learned how to improve different things. The car is now immediately good to drive. F1 has never been easy to drive, but with this we can play, and it is a major asset, 25-year-old French driver praised.

Biggest challenge at this point, Grosjean says, is to understand how tyres work with the car. Pirelli's characters are still the same as last season, and in certain circuits it means finding some compromises for drivers and engineers.

Grosjean drove in 2009 seven last races with Fernando Alonso. Thus throughout his F1 career, there has always been a world champion as a team mate.

Turun Sanomat, Jerez de la Frontera


Courtesy: reppo

Friday, February 10, 2012

Video: Fernando Alonso Interview at Jerez Sky Sports

Ferrari and Fernando Alonso were fastest on the final day of the first pre-season testing week in Jerez ahead of the new Formula One season

Source: GrandPrixGirls

Alonso Ends First Test On A High Note

Fernando Alonso silenced growing concerns about Ferrari's F2012 by finishing the four-day Jerez with the fastest time on the final day

Following the conclusion of Thursday's play at the Spanish circuit, Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry admitted to the world that he was "not happy" with how Ferrari's pre-season was progressing.

According to Fry, while the reliability of the new car is "good" the pace is only "okay" leaving Ferrari with a lot of work to do before the season gets underway in Australia next month.

However, Fry's concerns - at least on the surface - came to naught when Alonso broke the 1:20.000 barrier in the first hour of Friday's running.

The Spaniard went even faster, posting a 1:18.877 during the morning session before heading into the pits prior to lunch with 24 laps under his belt.

For an as yet undisclosed reason, Alonso did just 15 laps in the afternoon - several of which were for practice starts - while his rivals put in the miles. None, though, were able to get close to his P1 time.

Toro Rosso rookie Jean-Eric Vergne came the closest, finishing 0.702s off the pace. However, his time was also set during the morning session.

The fastest man in the afternoon proved to be reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

The German completed just two laps in the morning as "an electrical issue" with his RB8 took several hours to resolve.

As such, he only ventured out mid-way through the afternoon but that did not stop the Red Bull racer from quickly working his way up the timesheets.

Vettel steadily improved from ninth to eighth to fifth and then third, finishing Friday's running with a 1:19.606, which was 0.729s off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton, who had a trouble-free day with almost 90 laps to his name, was fourth quickest, a further 0.034s slower than Vettel while Romain Grosjean was fifth in his Lotus E20.

Kamui Kobayashi brought his car home in sixth place, just under a second behind Alonso's P1 time. However, his day was not without problems as the Sauber driver was responsible for one of four red flags when his C31 came to a halt due to a hydraulic problem.

A solid day for Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who lost valuable track-time on Thursday after Jules Bianchi crashed his car, finished with the German eighth quickest with 90 laps.

Meanwhile, Bruno Senna, who was the busiest driver on the final day, put in some consistent runs as he covered a marathon 125 laps. The Williams's racer, though, brought out the red flags on two occasions.

The first was in the morning when, after 97 laps, he stopped out on track while the second, late in the afternoon, came at Turn Two. The day's first red flag stoppage was in order to allow a marshal to clear a piece of debris off the track.

Jarno Trulli completed the timesheets for Caterham with 117 laps and 3.321s off the

Unofficial Times
01 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:18.877 39 laps
02 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:19.597 0.720 80 laps
03 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.606 0.729 50 laps
04 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:19.640 0.763 86 laps
05 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:19.729 0.852 95 laps
06 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:19.834 0.957 76 laps
07 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:19.977 1.100 90 laps
08 Bruno Senna Williams 1:20.132 1.255 125 laps
09 Jarno Trulli Caterham 1:22.198 3.321 117 laps

Source: Planet-F1

Comment: Räikkönen made the right choice!

The first week in winter testing has proved that Kimi Räikkönen made the exactly right choice when choosing Lotus-team as his working place

In addition to Lotus taking the top times of the new cars on Tuesday and Thursday tests, the team has presented themself in Jerez like a big team in all ways. Lotus-team's paddock-buildings, trucks and the fantastic black&gold -look is on the same level with other top teams. Actually Lotus has been mostly presented of all teams in Jerez because they have wanted to keep noise over their new name, new sponsors and new drivers.

Räikkönen's second team-option Williams again has stayed under the average level when it comes to laptimes and they have been quite unnoticed all and all. When Lotus took all the attention on Monday by presenting their car in a well organized event, Williams again made their presentation with small gestures early Tuesday morning by opening the doors to their garage and rolling their car to the pitlane.

The spirit coming from Lotus-team tells that the team's crew is standing behind Räikkönen with all they have. Kimi can build the Lotus into his own success story.

Jani Merimaa, Jerez

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Grosjean's speed didn't come as any surprise to Räikkönen

First three days and 214 laps with Lotus new E20 -car are behind and Räikkönen can now concentrate on following Rally Sweden at home in Switzerland - while following Jerez testing times. At least through the internet

Räikkönen who made the pioneering work with the new car got praisal from the engineers for his feedback. The car is developing and Romain Grosjean got immediately into speed to polish the novelty into an even better one.

– I don't know him that well but he has won the GP2-championship and other car-races. You don't win them if you aren't fast, Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen's 942 kilometers experience from Jerez tests will help the people in Enstone to both develop the car and make it more like the driver wants it to be.

The challenge is at least to build a new steering and placing the DRS-button in the place where Räikkönen wants it.

Räikkönen's engineer in Jerez and in Barcelona's first test period is Simon Renney. After that Mark Slade takes his familiar place alongside Räikkönen.

– It goes well with Simon too but I wanted Mark along. He knows me and he knows what I want since we were together for five years in McLaren. On top of that Mark knows this team after working here earlier. It's easier for me to go to a new team when the engineers have experience of the team and know how to work with me and the team, Räikkönen justified.

Gerard Lopez is very satisfied with the new driver duo. He took personally care of hiring Räikkönen.

– We were in contact with Kimi already in 2010. Back then I got the impression that he still had unfinished challenges in rally and he gave the impression that he would like to do both F1 and rally at the same time. Coming back to F1 would mainly had been because of money.

– Now everything was different. I can assure you that Kimi came back because he wanted to race and money was a minor detail, Lopez reveals.

– Even though he was away for two years he was immediately at home in the car and showed right in the first test with the old car that he is physically in a very good shape. I think Kimi makes a lot of hard work which generally doesn't even seem to be understood.

Turun Sanomat's question about how Räikkönen fits in Robert Kubica's place as the team's leading driver got Lopez to smile widely.

– Kimi is definitely the best we could get and I think that he is with certainity one of the world's four fastest drivers, Lopez praised.

Turun Sanomat. Jerez de la Frontera


Courtesy: Nicole

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Big and ability to strike

I mostly look at this through Finnish glasses.... however in Jerez press room the non-Finnish media gang is more and more assured that Kimi Räikkönen could drive for very good positions in this year's serie.

I got the best enforcement when sitting at Red Bull's coffee table and hearing Adrian Newey himself praise the new Lotus as a cool and smooth-looking new car.

Last year ended with Heikki Kovalainen fighting for Lotus' positions with Vitali Petrov and Bruno Senna from Renault. Now Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean have that new car that changed from Renault into a Lotus. At least the Caterham that changed from Lotus is far behind.

When leaving home on Wednesday evening Räikkönen adviced me to forget about staring at the laptimes. They only matter in the first qualification in Melbourne. Before that everyone concentrates on their own things and comparing them to others is only a waste of time.

Still the pondering over laptimes offers it's own world. Usually a good car is fast right from the start - like this Lotus.

The Spanish reporters have followed the new Ferrari's stumbling with worries, since the car that was praised as a radical car seems to bee too radical for the whole team to understand. At least at this stage Ferrari is slower than Lotus - even with same amounts of fuel.

Still the Spanish media-brothers quickly remind that when the new Williams was in last year's tests in Jerez, even Alonso made a mistake by putting it up as the season's toughest competitors. The end result was a complete pancake - and it was the worst season in Williams' long history.

So that I wouldn't limit this blog to only my own thoughts, I asked once again from a few reporter colleagues about their opinion about Lotus.

Giorgio Piola who is respected as the media-world's most famous technical expert classified the Lotus as too big even before the tests began. Has his mind changed at all?

– Lotus is too big-lined in my eyes but it seems to be good on the track: easy to setup and efficient, Piola admits.

– Even during Renault's time they had their own philosophy. The cars Fernando Alonso won championships with were big, the sidepods differed from others by size alone. But they were all effectively competitive though.

– Still one also has to look at the other side of the coin. Although they did well with Renault in the first two races, the development curve ended there and the rest of the season was diving. Although this car probably is better they have to find potential to also develop it during the season. Otherwise the good basic work is sort of wasted.

Auto, Motor und Sport's Michael Schmidt keeps up a neverending Kimi-competition with me. But when discussing seriously he admits that Lotus offered a positive surprise.

– At this time of the year the estimations of the cars usually go wrong, but it's a fact that the times that this Lotus has made cannot come with a bad car - no matter what the fuel-level is. Lotus is one of the most pleasant surprisers. With that car Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean can race for even top 5.

F1 Racing's Tom Clarkson is known for his Finnish sympathies. The new Lotus also got sympathy:

– I have always rated James Allison highly. His cars always have their own label. At this stage we can't possibly know what the real competitiveness is and how good Red Bull is or how bad Ferrari is. But at least the new Lotus is reliable and also good in the tyre-department. Those are two important features.

– At this moment Lotus is in the top 3 but it's still uncertain what the situation is when the season begins. They stopped their development work for last year's car when seeing that they went the wrong way with their exhaust-systems and concentrated on designing this E20. I'm sure it was a good decision, Clarkson sums up.

Source: Heikki Kulta Blog
Courtesy: Nicole

Video: BBC - Hamilton and Vettel discuss contrasting fortunes following first test

Hamilton says he is "in a good place" ahead of the new season whilst Sebastian Vettel complains of a "loss of grip" following their first experiences driving their 2012-spec cars on the third day of pre-season testing in Jerez .

Hamilton states "things went pretty smoothly" and had "no nasty surprises" after driving his new McLaren MP4-27 for the first time.

By contrast, Vettel reveals he struggles with his new Red Bull RB8, complaining of "quite a big loss of grip" compared to last year's car which was built around the now-illegal 'blown diffuser' exhaust system, and having to adapt his driving style to cope with the changes.

Source: SeventyBuckss

Lewis: McLaren have 'a good platform'

Lewis Hamilton said that McLaren have a "good platform" from which to build after sampling the new MP4-27 for the first time on Thursday

Taking over after team-mate Jenson Button had spent the first two days of Formula 1's opening pre-season test putting the new McLaren chassis through its paces, the 2008 World Champion gave a positive initial assessment after completing a total of 80 laps and setting the day's fourth fastest time.

"It felt pretty good to be out there first time, to get back out on track after such a long winter. My initial thoughts were pretty good," he told Sky Sports.

"Every year you arrive and you never know what to expect, but you always hope for a good platform to start from and something that the team can build from.

"I think that after today I feel quite positive about where the car is at the moment and I'm confident that the guys can push it forward."

Nice surprise
Hamilton said he received no "nasty surprises" adding that "the nice surprise was that it felt reasonably quick".

However, he did say that the car did feel different at the rear end without the extra downforce provided by the now-outlawed blown diffuser.

"The car is different. Last year we had so much support and stability, particularly in the high-speed corners, but now we're having to find that grip," he said.

"We'll take grip off the front and try to offload it to the rear somehow. But I think the baseline that we have is something we can really work with."

Hamilton also added that Pirelli's new tyres offered "more life" than their predecessors and suggested that McLaren's only issue to date is that their simulator had not been set up accordingly.

"There's a couple of small things in the car that we have. There are no real problems, it's just different in driving with the tyres and everything," he said.

"I tested in the simulator and it's a little bit different to what it is in the simulator. We'll go back and adjust the simulator to what it's like in real life."

Not a contest
Even so, Hamilton said he saw no reason thus far not to think that McLaren will challenge this year.

"Today you've got to remember that everyone is just focusing on their own programmes. It's not a contest for who's the fastest at the moment," he continued.

"We're just trying to get lots of running, testing the items. The Ferrari's not really showing anything just yet; of course, the Red Bull looks fast - as it usually does - and we're there I think.

"But over the coming weeks we'll get a better indication of where everyone is."

Source: SkySports

Seiska Magazine: Welcome to The Iceman's Cave

Seiska asked Kimi 77 questions in his home in Porkkalanniemi

Are you nervous when going back to F1?

- Not at all. I wouldn't had come back if I wouldn't have liked to. I'm sure it's going to be fun this season.

What kind of chances of success do you think Lotus has this season?

- It's difficult to say, nobody knows yet. We will see after the first tests where we are going.

Do you have hunger for another WDC?

- Yes. You always have that as a goal. I will try a lot, lets see if that's enough or not.

You have said that Lotus has a homey atmosphere compared to your earlier teams, how do you see the difference?

- Each team has always been different. Lotus has however a different kind of management. They are younger and racing-spirited and not any uptight people.

Is Sebastian Vettel your best buddy in F1?

- Yes, I know him best and have spent most of time with him than with any other drivers.

Do you have any enemy or someone you can't stand there?

- No I haven't but it's difficult to say what other people think.

Have you already met your team mate Romain Grosjean? Is he a good guy?

- I have met him and he is a nice normal guy.

Where do you see yourself after ten years?

- Difficult to say but hopefully everything is still okay.

What plans do you have for your life after F1?

- No plans. I have never have any terribly long plans.

In how good physical shape are you?

- I guess in the same shape as before. I know pretty well in which shape one has to be.

They operated your wrist after the recent motorsledge-race. Has it healed well?

- Yeah. It's now completely okay.

They often talk about your money in public. You have a fortune of over 100 million euros. What does money mean to you?

- I guess it means the same as it means to other people too. I get a certain amount of money for the job that I do. Some think it's right, some think it's wrong. I myself have however made all the work so it doesn't make me ashamed at all. Money makes some things easier but it really doesn't solve everything in life.

Has the big fortune made you out of touch with reality or do you even think about monetary matters?

- *laughing* Definitely not! I'm just the same as I was before. It makes some things easier but it also brings a lot of negative things along.

Do you pay your bills yourself or do you use an internet-bank for example?

- No I don't. My mom takes care of quite many of my things.

How much money will you get for your next season in Lotus?

- I get something.

How have you invested your money?

- Well I have a few apartments and something like that... You have to live somewhere.

They have thought in public that you are part-owner in Lotus, is that true?

- No it's not.

Would you like to own your own F1-team someday?

- I don't have the passion for it. In the end it's quite cruel business.

Have you ever donated a lot of money to charity?

- I have done that every now and then. At the moment I have this small thing going on with SOS Children's Village.

What is your biggest win in poker?

- In poker? It can't have been any big sum at least! I have sometimes played poker with my buddies but never been to a casino.

Then what is your biggest loss in poker?

- I doesn't come to my mind right now, but usually I lose rather than win.

Do you play other gambling games?

- I guess I have sometimes played some pajazzo etc. if they are seen as gambling games, but nothing more.

They say that you are genuinely a laidback guy and don't look like you would be nervous of any racing situations. What kind of situations make you nervous?

- Hard to say. Sometimes normal things can make me nervous. It depends on the place but I am also nervous about races.

What kind of things are you afraid of?

- There are no things that I would be afraid of. I don't have fear for high places or things like that.

You have many houses but how many homes do you have?

- This place in Porkkalanniemi is one home and I have another home in Switzerland. I don't think that I have any more homes than anyone else has.

You travel a lot. How many nights per year are you here in Porkkalanniemi?

- I can't say at all. I spend more time here in the summer when the weather is good.

Is the place in Kaskisaari more of a partying place than home?

- No. I use it when I have for example some job stuff in Helsinki.

How do you decorate your apartment? I doubt you go to IKEA by yourself.

- No I don't go to IKEA. This house has been designed by interior-people.

Is there something in the interior that Jenni likes and that you let her have with long teeth?

- Well I don't have terribly much that I would have objected to. I don't pay attention to those kind of details. We have a pretty similar taste but interior is more a thing for women. I'm sure it's more important to them than it is to me for example. We should just let the women take care of these things!

Which room is your favorite room?

- I guess I spend most time on the couch in front of the tv.

What do you serve your friends when they come and visit you?

- It depends of course on which day it is! *laughing* I don't usually ask terribly much, they find their way to the fridge themself.

Do you go to the supermarket yourself?

- I go there quite often. I like to go there but it also depends upon which time you go there. Sometimes there are many people etc. but I like to circle around there.

Do you clean your home yourself?

- Yeah I clean sometimes. I do the normal cleaning myself, like wash my own clothes.

Do you have a housekeeper?

- No. A cleaning lady comes twice a month to sweep the biggest thrash.

Do you make food yourself?

- I make food if I'm home alone.

What is your speciality?

- I guess it's chicken pasta. It's the easiest to make. I'm not any passionate cook.

What is your favorite food?

- I like salmon quite much and meatballs are guite good too.

What is hour favorite drink?

- I drink a lot of milk.

How do you prepare a White Russian the right way?

- I don't know since I haven't drank White Russians for years. I'm sure I couldn't make them the right way.

What about cranberry vodka?

- I guess you mix vodka with some cranberry.

Is Jenni a good cook?

- She is a bit better than me but if we would compete I think it would be quite an even competition.

Does she cook for you often?

- Every now and then. We don't have any rule book about those things, that someone would always have to cook. Often we go out for dinner and sometimes pick up something.

Do you have pets?

- We have three dogs. My mom keeps two Jack Russell terriers and the German Shepard is in Switzerland.

What names do they have?

- Reiska, Peppi and Ajax.

Is it true that you are allergic to Jenni's horses?

- I'm allergic to quite many things like cats and horses. I get a stuffed up nose if I spend a lot of time with them. I had more allergies during the army-time.

What tv-programs do you watch?

- This and that. Mostly sport. Yesterday I was staring at something that my mom watched.

Your favorite movie?

- Finnish movies.

What Finnish icehockey-league do you support?

- I don't personally support anything special. Of course I hope that Espoo's and Helsinki's leagues would do well. I don't follow icehockey with clenched teeth and despite rumors I don't own anything from Tampere's Ilves. May the best league win.

How often do you party?

- It depends a lot. Now I haven't had time to party because of having so much to do. Of course if I'm free and want to go, then I go. I don't have any regulations concerning that. These things are related to normal life just like it is with everybody else too.

How is a good party made, a party where you enjoy yourself?

- I guess it's the good gang. That's where it usually takes off.

Does it have to be karaoke?

- It has been less karaoke although it's usually been fun there. It's not necessary but I rather go to a smaller and more quiet place than to some big disco.

How much and what do you drink during a bar-night?

- Hmmm... Hard to say what I drink. There is no main drink. I usually order a lot of cranberry vodka because my buddies drink a lot of that. I often drink vodka and vichy if I drink.

Are you a person who likes to be comfortable?

- Well not any more than anyone else is. I'm usually fine with everything.

How hard steam-man in sauna are you?

- I like sauna but with normal steam. No sauna-Timo-business for crying out loud!

The sea is here beside, do you swim a lot?

- I swim in the summer. The last time I took a swim in that sea was just before the ice came.

Cold or hot shower?

- It depends a little but I like a really cold shower too. It refreshes quite well.

How much time do you spend in the shower?

- Well as long as I get clean I guess. I don't have any stopwatch there for crying out loud!

Do you sing in the shower?

- No.

Do you wear a bathrobe or do you walk around with a towel over your hips?

- With a towel.

Your favorite cologne/scent?

- I only use the basic deodorant. You get it easy from the gas station!

Do you blowdry your hair?

- No.

What is your favorite music?

- I usually listen to Finnish music from the radio.

You mean radio Suomi Pop?

- I has been less now that people there have changed. It's not as good in the morning as it used to be.

How many cars do you own?

- Five I think. Audi, Fiat, Merc and VW. I guess I get some Lotus too soon but any luggage won't fit into them.

How many tattoos do you have and do they have some meaning?

- Two. I don't think that they have any special meaning.

You have told that you would want to have two children. At which stage do you think starting a family would be actual?

- Of course you want family. It doesn't mean that there should be one or two children. Hopefully I get a family at some point and that all children would be healthy. I think that's the main thing.

I heard that you are very fond of children. Is it true?

- Yes, I like children. I don't have any of my own but I like spending time with them.

What is the secret of your and Jenni's lasting marriage?

- I don't think that we have any secret. Of course we have arguments and nagging at times just like in every other relationship but it's normal life.

How often do you see Jenni?

- We are about every day together at home unless we are on some trips. It has been like that ever since we met.

What mutual hobbies do you have?

- I guess just being home since we both have our own hobbies. I do my own things and Jenni rides everyday.

What is a good relationship like according to you?

- I'm sure everyone have a different relationship and you can't order what is good for anyone. For as long as both have fun and both feel good to be together is what defines it.

Which one of you are more jealous?

- Hard to tell.

Are you jealous of each other?

- I'm sure eveyone is. Even though you would say that you aren't jealous I think everyone is.

Are you happy?

- Yes. I don't have anything to complain about.

Do you think that Jenni is also happy with you?

- Yes. We wouldn't be together if we weren't happy. Like I said there are always arguments every now and then but I think it's the same for everyone else too.

Do you read Seiska?

- I read it every now and then because we get it in Switzerland! Yeah, the bible comes to our home (laughing).

So you call Seiska jokingly a bible?

- It is sometimes like that, yes!

Courtesy: Nicole