Saturday, March 31, 2012

Video: Kimi Räikkönen The Party Animal: The F1 Show - Sky Sports 2012

Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen speaks to Ted Kravitz following the opening two races of the season


Source: F1RunsDeep

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Räikkönen: I'll put a flag of this country to my car

Kimi Räikkönen's Lotus race car may soon be decorated with a new flag

Kimi Räikkönen and staff from Lotus team visited in Lebanon doing public relations after Malaysia race. Räikkönen met on his visit Lebanon's president Michel Suleiman.

According Lebanese President's Office website, Räikkönen said, among other things, his willingness to put a small Lebanese flag into his cars. People of Lotus team agreed to do so.

Lotus staff and Suleiman also discussed inter alia about possibility of building F1 track into Beirut.

IL

Courtesy: reppo

Lewis fancies a quickie

Lewis Hamilton will hurry along his McLaren mechanics to make sure he gets the quickest car in China next month

The 27-year-old has finished third in both of this season's races — despite starting in pole position in Melbourne and Malaysia.

And Hamilton, who won the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai last year, is determined to be top dog again.

He said: "I am massively excited about the race. It is about preparing in the best way I can.

"In qualifying we are very quick but we need to be quicker in the race. I don't think we are quick enough.

"We will have some upgrades for the car, I hope. I will go and push the guys to see if we can get some upgrades to try and squeak ahead in the race."

Hamilton's team-mate, Jenson Button, who won in China in 2010, added: "China has been good to us in the past.

"We have won it for the past two years, so I'm looking forward to it."


Source: The Sun

Kimi's Column: Malaysian Grand Prix review


Good vibrations! Well, two races done, eighteen to go. So far it¹s been more or less all right for me. I¹ve been having a good time, that¹s for sure. You never know about racing; Everything can happen ­ like the Malaysian Grand Prix showed us all. In a race while it rains like that and they stop it for a while, it opens up a chance for the handicapped cars, too. If you get your timing perfectly right, you get a free road, see well and you can fight for the top place. Wish it would have been us... But it¹s useless to get too thrilled afterwards, while, obviously, it doesn¹t change the result any more. The team has working very hard to keep us going to the right direction. Obviously, we have a good and solid car to work with. It¹s been quick everywhere. The weather and some happenings in the course of race weekend have not done us any favours, but that¹s motor racing. You just have to deal with what ever occurs and try to get best out of it. We had some work to do after Friday sessions. The car was not working properly. We lacked downforce, there was something wrong with the floor and we didn¹t have KERS on our long run in the afternoon. The boys did very well. They put a new floor, changed the set-up and then the car felt much better from then on. It was a shame the gearbox had some overheating issue in Melbourne. The team decided to avoid all the risks of DNF in the race, so they decided to change it before P3. Obviously, that meant a penalty of loosing 5 places in the grid. The car was very good in the qualifying. I made a mistake in the final run in Q3 while exiting the corner. We lost there some time, so it could have been better than fifth, forth or even third. I felt the speed was there in the car. Obviously, it was a good car to qualify! The race was one of those typical gambles in the torrial rain of the tropic. For me it was my debut with the rain tyres. While the lights went off, I had to take it easy, because I simply didn¹t know how the tyres are behaving. Obviously, we had done only one installation lap before with the wet tyre, so we didn¹t even know how to adjust the front wing for the wet race. But, the start went ok, actually we managed to gain a few places, but then there was an incident with a couple of cars in front of me, so I had to go to the grass again like in Australia to avoid them. I lost some places, but we made it through the first lap, any way. The car was good. After the safety-car situation I was behind Vettel. We could easily follow the Red Bull and we were faster in some places, they were faster in some other places. It was too tricky to try to pass him, so we just sat there and waited for the track to dry up. The rest of the race with slicks was more or less like keeping the P5. We could have go faster, but it became so dark, it was very difficult to see where are wet pots in the track. So it was better to seal the position and not to take too many risks. Now we have 16 points. It¹s better than nothing, but it could have been better. The best feeling is coming from the car. Obviously, we will get some new parts for the next race in China, so it should keep us competitive in Shanghai, too.

Source: KIMIRAIKKONEN.COM

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alonso's Blog: Nice to see so many smiling faces!


It was nice to be back in Maranello after Sunday afternoon’s win. In the plane, I was thinking again about the race and I could hardly believe it. Then, once I’d arrived here, I saw the smiles on the faces of all our people and I was very pleased to see how strong is the desire to work to improve the car in the shortest time possible.

During the race, I only began to think the win might be on after the final pit stop. With the intermediates I was trying to gain as much ground as possible but I knew that on a drying track, as the possibility of switching to the dry tyres became a reality, then it could all change. Then, after the stop, I saw that Perez was very quick and he was putting me under a lot of pressure, but I knew that all the same, there was only one dry line which was no more than two metres wide: even if he got right into my slipstream, getting past would not be easy and I was hoping I’d be able to fend him off all the way to the end.

It’s a shame none of my friends bet on me winning in Sepang, or on me leading the championship after the first two races: I think they’d have won an impressive amount! However, my real friends are all very happy and pleased about the win, but no one, including everyone in the team, is under any illusions. The championship has not got off to the sort of start we wanted and there is much much to do. But refusing to give up is a quality that I have always admired about Ferrari, when I was racing against them and also now that I’m part of the team. The next two races will also see us on the defensive and there’s no doubt about that. While we are incapable of being competitive and able to fight consistently for the podium or a win, limiting the damage is the only thing we can do. If the conditions are normal, we must try not to lose too many points compared to the best: let’s hope we can do the same as we did in Australia and Malaysia…

Now, I’ve got a few days here in Italy to undergo a routine medical check-up at the Physiology Centre at Forli where my trainer Fabrizio Borra reigns supreme. I do these medical and physical checks two or three times a year to see what shape I am in and to control every aspect of my body. Then, I’m heading back home to Spain to see the family, so we can spend a few days together. You need a bit of time to relax after such a demanding race as the one in Sepang and then it will be time to put the finishing touches to preparation for another back to back run, this time in China and Bahrain, which means more long journeys and changes of time zones. Imagine, when I left it was still winter and now, after three weeks away, we are right in the middle of spring: it’s a nice change!

The past three weeks have been my first on Twitter and I have to say it’s been a very enjoyable experience. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a while and I myself put the work in to get it up and running. Over the past months I had seen that there was a lot of talk about me on the Internet and on social media sites, so I thought it would be better if I was on it myself, don’t you think? It means I can give my own point of view, talk about my life, what I get up to when I’m travelling the world going to the races, trying to put across my real feelings. Nothing technical though, because deep down, Formula 1 is still a sport where discretion when it comes to certain aspects is still important, but it’s a way for me to describe what goes on in the world of someone who does the job I do. For now, it’s great, especially reading all the tweets from my followers and the suggestions they send me: I don’t reply to them, because it would take me all day, but I read all of them and I will try and improve my standard of tweeting. I have to say I was very surprised, first and foremost by the number of followers I had almost immediately. When I put up the first video I had made, I was having a stop off in Doha on the way to Australia and in the airport lounge, I had a bet with my manager and with my physio Edoardo as to how many followers I would have before leaving: I said a thousand, Luis eight hundred and Edoardo six hundred. Well, after four hours, when it was time to take off for Melbourne, the number had reached 39 thousand! Then there’s the level of enthusiasm: there are so many messages, all of them positive and I have to say that it gives me a real boost.


Source: Ferrari.com

Vettel is not surprised about Räikkönen


All of six F1 world champions have opened their points score, when the first two races are over. Five of them already got points in Australia and the sixth, seven times champion Michael Schumacher, got a point in Malaysia for P10 spot.

Mercedes, which started this season with high hopes, got it's first point by Schumacher. From third place started 43-year-old German veteran's race was ruined by Kimi Räikkönen's team mate Romain Grosjean.

- It was a shame to end up just to one point, when I finally started from so good position. I was run over after the start, the car spun, and in reality my day was spoiled by that, Schumacher thought sulky.

The series is lead by 2006 champion Fernando Alonso before 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton and 2009 champion Jenson Button.

2011 champion Sebastian Vettel has only two points more than 2007 champion Räikkönen.

Räikkönen beat Vettel on Saturday's qualification and was charging his mate hard in the race until he passed when Red Bull's rear tyre exploded because of Hispania's Narain Karthikeyan.

- I'm not at all surprised of Kimi's speed. We have seen that he has a car which has been fast everywhere. We knew before the qualification, that Lotus is one of those with whom we'll have tough competition, Vettel reassured after loosing qualification.

Vettel has been training hard to beat Räikkönen finally in badminton. When the two friends had a match, after two years break, against each other in a gym at Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Räikkönen was still better.

- Sebastian has developed in that game. But he still does not beat me, Räikkönen hinted.

Four cars are quite close to each other

In championship Vettel has now two points more than Räikkönen. The last season's Red Bull domination has disappeared together with it's superior blown diffuser.

At the moment there are at least four cars very close to each other in qualification speed. In long Sepang track, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus ended up inside little over two tenths of a second. This promises very exciting coming races - and possibly a number of different winners.

- I do not yet know how competitive our car really is. Hopefully in China we will just have a normal weekend, so that the qualification as well as the race will take place on dry track - and without penalties, first corner crashes or some other stupid blunders.

- Well, at least with this car it was easy to follow Red Bull. It was nice to race. If the visibility just had been better. Now, I could not quite drive on the limits.

- We will get new parts to China and we have to figure out something to those other curves there, to get more grip, Räikkönen explained.

From Malaysia Räikkönen flew for the first time in his life to Beirut, where there is waiting Lotus Cars' public relations job.


Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: reppo

KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN LAUNCHES LOTUS IN LEBANON

Fresh from the Malaysian Grand Prix, Kimi Räikkönen joined Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar in Beirut last night to celebrate the return of Lotus to Lebanon

The legendary marque is opening a new dealership in Beirut in partnership with leading Lebanese automotive dealer RYMCO and luxury real estate and management company Zardman. Lotus’ acclaimed Evora, Elise and Exige are set to quicken the heartbeat of one of the most exciting cities in the Middle East.

Lotus Cars Lebanon welcomed the 2007 Formula One World Champion to Beirut in style, throwing an exclusive party at the MAD nightclub and toasting the future of Lotus in the region. The ‘Lotus is Back’ event was also attended by a few lucky F1 fans, who got to press up against Lotus’ speediest models.

Kimi Räikkönen, racing driver, Lotus F1 Team: “It was a great first visit to Beirut and a lot of fun to join the Lotus Car Lebanon team and launch the marque here. Lotus is a really special car company with big ambitions and part of that is returning to Formula One, another is spreading the word around the world.”

Dany Bahar, CEO, Group Lotus: “The Middle East is a market of huge potential to Lotus and Beirut is a very strong location for us. There were a lot of competitive bids to host Lotus here, and I am very happy that we’ve agreed to partner with Zardman and RYMCO who I’m confident will represent our brand perfectly and give customers a fantastic experience here in Lebanon. This is an important step in Lotus’ international sales plans.”

Fayez Rasamny, Chairman, Lotus Cars Lebanon: “This is a very exciting night for sports car aficionados in Lebanon, and indeed for racing fans. Thank you to Kimi Räikkönen for his special visit, and thank you to Group Lotus for returning to the region and bringing their wonderful cars. We really wanted to be the ones to bring this legendary automotive brand to Lebanon. The Lebanese are massively into premium sports cars and Lotus’ racing heritage. I’m confident Lotus Cars Lebanon is going to be a huge success."

Source: LotusCar

Monday, March 26, 2012

Montezemolo meets Alonso in Maranello


Maranello, 26 March - Ferrari Chairmain Luca di Montezemolo met Fernando Alonso today for a long meeting in Maranello.

After he had spoken with Montezemolo the Spanish driver met the Team's technicians and mechanics, who didn't go to Malaysia.

Later on he went to the gym for some exercise after he had taken part in the usual presentation of the flag with the Prancing Horse, which is run up at the entrance to the Scuderia department after every victory.

Source: Ferrari.com

Video: Kimi Raikkonen in Lebanon (26/03/2012)

Kimi Räikkönen visiting Lebanon and meeting with the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman



Courtesy: iceman1

Kimi Räikkönen in Lebanon

I was just told that F1 Driver Kimi Räikkönen is as we speak meeting the President of the Lebanese republic Michel Suleiman in Baabda, He is expected to show up at the launching of the Lotus cars in Beirut tonight
2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen made a surprising visit to the Lebanese president Michel Sleiman earlier today. Kimi, along with a group of high personnel from Lotus, vowed to put the Lebanese flag on his Formula 1 car during Grand Prix weekends around the world.
The Finnish F1 driver is set to launch Lotus Cars tonight in Beirut, stay tuned here at Biser3a.com for live updates of the event!

Source: Beiruting.com
Courtesy: intelligentsia

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Exclusive Q&A with Lotus’s Kimi Räikkönen 24 Mar 2012

The Australian event probably wasn’t the welcome back to the sport Lotus’s Kimi Räikkönen would have wanted. But after starting down in 17th and eventually finishing in seventh, Raikkonen made the best of a bad situation and left with a well-deserved haul of six points. In comparison, the Malaysian weekend is already looking a lot better, even though a five-place gearbox penalty will see him drop down from fifth on the grid to tenth. Räikkönen discusses the Melbourne race and looks ahead to Sunday in Sepang…

Q: Kimi, is racing again in Formula One as much fun as you had hoped?
Kimi Räikkönen: It is all the same as before. It hasn’t changed. But the car is good and that always makes it a bit nicer. If you are in 15th place, then that of course is never nice. Okay, in terms of the paddock, I really didn’t expect it to be any different from when I left, but the team is nice so I feel very comfortable.

Q: So things haven’t really changed. You initially left for a reason so can you stomach those reasons now?
KR: I like the racing. And if you do so then it is inevitable you must accept the rest. Sometimes you discover that on your second try.

Q: How would you sum up your first race? Was it business as usual or did you have to warm up first?
KR: I made a mistake in qualifying so I put myself in a very bad position, but at least in the race we got something out of it. I took it quite easy as I didn’t want to get overly excited and throw it away. As for this weekend we’ve got a five-place penalty which means I will start from P10 tomorrow. But I’m used to penalties; I’ve got so many during my career! (laughs)

Q: Was it painful seeing your team mate, Romain Grosjean, start from P3 in Melbourne?
KR: No - we knew that we botched it and that we never gave ourselves a real chance. But that’s racing. Sometimes you are fastest and sometimes you are slower in qualifying. But it’s the race where you get the points.

Q: So were you angry about botching it up?
KR: We did it ourselves so we are the ones to be blamed. So what’s the point in crying over spilt milk now? I have been long enough in the business to know about the ups and downs of racing. It’s not the first time that I had to stop after Q1 - it is what it is.

Q: Today went better though…
KR: It was of course much nicer. The car felt really good. So maybe I am a bit disappointed as I very well could have ended up in P3 - or even on pole position. But I made a small mistake and there you go. And then with the penalty, of course that costs us even more. But sure it is day and night compared to Melbourne. Here the race should give us a very real chance. P5 would have been easier as P10 already means you have a ‘crowd’ in front. But after the first three corners I should be fine.

Q: You said that you missed the direct competition with other drivers when you were rallying. But there wasn’t too much direct competition in Melbourne…
KR: Ha! If I had been further at front the competition would have been much less. But again, the race went nice and smoothly.

Q: There have been rumours that your nickname could change from ‘ice man’ to ‘nice man’. How do you like that?
KR: It’s all just a rumour. It is the media who make up these kinds of things in the first place. It’s all rubbish!

Q: How do you feel seeing your former team Ferrari struggling so much?
KR: I don’t care. We try to beat all the teams and they are just one of them. If they do poorly it is bad for them but as we are ahead of them I could not care less. And if they become better than us then it’s a sign that we have to improve.

Q: What is your strategy for the race?
KR: I will try to get through the first corners without any accidents and then go on from there. There is not a plan or manual of what to do in the first lap. As I said at the beginning, the car feels good and there should be some options for me tomorrow.

Source: Formula1.com

Sepang Qualifying: Lewis does it again

Lewis Hamilton produced his second storming qualifying performance inside eight days to secure pole position in Malaysia as McLaren again locked out the front row

Underlining McLaren's status as the team to beat in the early stages of 2012, Hamilton sailed through the first two knockout stages before unleashing a spectacular 1:36.219 lap on his first Q3 run which ultimately proved out of reach for all his nearest rivals.

Michael Schumacher initially got closest as Mercedes opted to complete just one flying run with their cars but the seven-time World Champion was denied his first front-row start for nearly six years as Jenson Button pipped him by a mere 0.023 to replicate the front of the grid from Melbourne.

Third place though still represents the best qualifying result since Schumacher's return to the sport in 2010, and means he outqualified Nico Rosberg for the second successive weekend after the younger German again blew his qualifying lap with a lock-up, leaving him further down the order.

F1's previous qualifying kings Red Bull once more didn't feature in the battle for pole but the World Champions opted to split their tyre strategies - Mark Webber using the faster medium tyre to set the fourth-best time while World Champion Sebastian Vettel scarified some speed and went for the slower hards.

The German was the only top 10 runner to qualify on the 'prime' compound and while the resulting lap time was only good enough for sixth place again, it throws an interesting curve ball in the battle for victory on Sunday.

Vettel will, however, start fifth as Kimi Raikkonen, who ran impressively for Lotus throughout the hour and split the Red Bulls on the timesheets, will drop to a less spectacular 10th on the grid after a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

Raikkonen's team-mate Romain Grosjean therefore will line up sixth, ahead of Rosberg, with Fernando Alonso only managing ninth for struggling Ferrari ahead of Sauber's Sergio Perez.

Pastor Maldonado was threatening to make Q3 for the second successive weekend going into the final seconds of the second phase but was eventually shuffled down by the two Mercedes' to 11th, although this was still something of an achievement given he ran wide off the road at turn 10 earlier.

The Williams will be joined on the sixth row by the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa, the Brazilian managing to improve by four places his grid slot from Melbourne but still not delivering the kind of breakthrough Ferrari may have hoped for having pressed a new chassis into service for him this weekend.

Bruno Senna will line up directly behind his team-mate in 13th, as Williams outpaced midfield rivals Force India and Toro Rosso who both failed to deliver in Q2.

Paul di Resta recovered from a scruffy ride through Friday practice to make it one-all in what is set to be an intriguing season-long qualifying duel with Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg - although 14th and 16th on the grid hardly reflect the team's ambitions.

Likewise at Toro Rosso, who lost Jean-Eric Vergne in Q1 after the French rookie flat-spotted a tyre in a lock-up at the first corner and then saw Daniel Ricciardo set only the 15th fastest time.

Caterham, Marussia and HRT again took up their usual positions at the foot of the order, although for the latter this was hailed as a 2012 breakthrough as both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan set times within 107% of the fastest Q1 effort to ensure they will line up on Sunday's grid.

Times
01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.219s + 0.149
02. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.368s + 0.172
03. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.391s + 0.242
04. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.415
05. Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.439
06. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.634s + 0.445
07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.658s + 1.347
08. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.664s + 1.479
09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.566s + 0.242
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.698s + 1.370
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.589s + 0.874
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.731s + 1.016
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.841s + 1.126
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.877s + 1.162
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.883s + 1.168
16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.890s + 1.175
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.069s + 1.354
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.077s + 1.905
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m39.306s + 2.134
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m39.567s + 2.395
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.903s + 3.731
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.250s + 4.078
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.914s + 5.742BR>
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.655s + 6.483


Source: SkySports

Friday, March 23, 2012

According to the Race Engineer Räikkönen's speed is the same as it was during the McLaren-years


The afternoon's tropical rain has just wet the paddock in Sepang. The team-premises roof is still filled with rain. Under the roof stands Kimi Räikkönen's race engineer Mark Slade.

The race engineer's body language says it all: the team is doing well - no matter what the weather is.

How different was the Kimi that became Slade's working buddy?

– There is no difference between this Kimi and the Kimi who was in McLaren. The old Kimi was fantastic and this Kimi is just as fantastic, Slade praised.

– We just put our gloves on and the job gets done: he always gives the same accurate feedback, he always goes fast, he is always cool and he can handle almost any situation that comes up in the race.

In Melbourne Räikkönen's problem with the visor affected the race result.

– Kimi had problems with the visor. He changed it. Our schedule was very tight so we didn't have time enough to change the visor and do the necessary amount of laps.

– Unfortunately Kimi made a mistake on the lap which would have been good enough to take him to Q2. I hadn't updated the time that was left. When Kimi slowed down after the mistake we missed one lap. It was a very stupid situation, Slade said.

Lotus-Renault's E20 -car has succeeded all expectations.

– I am really impressed over the car. I believe that our whole team is pleasantly surprised over it's competitiveness. You always hope that you get a quick car on the track. It was fast in tests but we approached the opening race so that we would see where we are. We had just as good pace in Australia as we had in the tests.

– Hopefully the same pace is also in the upcoming races.

- The development program is going on in the factory. Kimi came back from rally and Romain Grosjean starts his career all over again. This is totally super for both of them - what a fantastic opportunity to make results! The whole team is excited over it, Slade said.

– Kimi's race pace was in place and his quali-pace would also had been in place. We just didn't get to show it in Melbourne.

The Lotus-car's speed on straights is very good and on top of that the car also works very well in the many fast corners Sepang has.

Turun Sanomat, Kuala Lumpur

HEIKKI KULTA


Courtesy: Nicole

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lotus keeps it's balance even with heavy loads


Kimi Räikkönen has now driven his first race without refueling Formula 1 car. The new experience in Australia did not much amaze Kimi in any way.

- I have driven a race before with more than a hundred kilograms of gasoline load - at least for McLaren in 2005 at Monza. In addition, I had time to experiment with heavy car in tests and practice. It really doesn't change anything, whether there is a hundred or 150 kilograms of fuel in the tank. You don't feel a greater difference until you have ten or a hundred kilos in your car.

- This car works well on heavy load, and does not change much according to the amount of gasoline. Of course, with full tank of fuel, it is slower, and some things go differently, but otherwise the balance will remain the same, compared Räikkönen.

Permane explains that, in Valencia in January familiarization tests Räikkönen started with 30 kilos and went to 160 kilos. The team calculated what kind of times with various weights could driven with the car and Räikkönen reached the expected lap times instantly.

Turun Sanomat, Kuala Lumpur

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: reppo

New Lotus almost as good as Alonso's Renault at his best days

The new Lotus car, E20 built for Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean, is so good that it is even dared to compare to Renault R25 car in which Fernando Alonso got his first world championship in 2005 - against Räikkönen in McLaren.

Technical Director James Allison and track operations manager Alan Permane were Alonso's trusted men in Renault at the time.

Prior to testing the new car both of them named R25 the best car which they have worked with.

- It looked cool and aggressive from all point of view. I really liked the color, all the appendages, additional wings, exhaust pipes in the chassis, and about all that current rules, unfortunately, no longer permits, Allison praised.

- R25 was a fantastic car. Very easy to setup, predictable and fast. Drivers loved it, Permane pointed out.

- While last year we went wrong, we now know we have done a good car for this season. Not only aerodynamically, but also mechanically E20 is highly functional package.

Räikkönen and Grosjean have one after each other praised the good feeling the car has given from the beginning.

Grosjean took the new car immediately to third position on the grid, and Räikkönen proved it's competitive strength by raising from 17th in the grid to 7th at the finish.

- When tyres of other cars started to slip at the end, our just improved all the time. If there had been more laps, I would have been able to improve the place even more than I had time to do at the final lap, Räikkönen calculates.

Lotus ready to prize fight

Perman assured the team have enjoyed co-operation with Räikkönen when the Finn immediately took over the situation in his first visit to the factory at the end of November.

- I don't see that Kimi was anyway rusty after his break from F1, but if so, the last of it was shaken off in Australia. After the break, it's always good to get one race done. Kimi can continue to be better prepared for Malaysia, Permane said.

What can we wait from Lotus at the weekend then?

- That we get both of our drivers clearly to top ten in qualifying and then to fight for podium finishes. Our cars will certainly work very well in Sepang. Both of drivers are similarly fast and belongs to the top, Permane acknowledged.

Räikkönen was annoyed when changing the helmet together with driving little wide caused the setback of losing the possibility for pursuing the podium finish in the opening race.

- The result would certainly have been better than seventh place, if the qualification had been normal. We had no problems with speed, and it should have been easy to go up to Q3.

Räikkönen has won in Malaysia in McLaren (2003) and in Ferrari (2008). In addition, during his 2007 championship season, he became third.

- Australia is not among the best from the point of view of racing. I hope the car works just as well as in Malaysia, because there we can drive more real track race. At least so far, it seems to be going well in every way, Räikkönen considered.

Turun Sanomat, Kuala Lumpur

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: reppo

Kimi losing 1-0

The inner hierarchy in Lotus team is up side down

In Melbourne Romain Grosjean made a qualification of his life time, driving to P3 on the grid. Kimi Räikkönen blundered himself out in the first qualification section.

The situation is thus 1-0 to Swiss-French driver.

- I knew that he is a fast guy. If he is here faster than I am, then he'll be. Of course, I'm trying to win. In the last race we didn't even give ourselves the opportunity to win him, Räikkönen said in the paddock.

- Of course in qualification I will try to win all, but it does not mean as much as the race. Only that matters.

In championship points Räikkönen leads Grosjean 6-0.

- The feeling of driving is very much the same as last time when I drove F1. Downforce is the same, or perhaps it is a bit more now. Car handling is the same, the Finn granted to compare.

Janne Palomäki
Sepang

Source: Iltalehti
Courtesy: reppo

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alonso's Blog: A hot weekend in prospect…


I’ve been in Kuala Lumpur since Monday already. As my trainer Edoardo Bendinelli has previously explained to you (see The battle with the heat is played out in advance) it’s important to acclimatise quickly to the extreme conditions, especially for us Europeans when we’re in this corner of the globe. Yesterday, for example, I played Golf with Edoardo and my manager Luis: we were the only ones on the course as no one was prepared to venture out in the heat!

This is the longest race in terms of distance, but above all, it’s the most tiring from the physical point of view: it is vital to be as well prepared as possible and, towards the end, that can also make a difference out on track. I’m doing all I can to be ready for this weekend, just as is the team; all the guys here in the garage in Sepang, for whom it is also very draining to work in these conditions and all the people back home in Maranello. In Malaysia, we will once again be racing on the defensive. There’s no other way we can go about it, given that the F2012 is practically identical to what we ran in Australia. We will have to try and adapt it as well as possible, knowing it won’t be easy. There are two points we will have to work on with great attention: finding the right compromise in terms of the aerodynamic balance and the tyre degradation. Sepang has two real straights where, because they are very long, a lack of top speed carries a higher price than in Melbourne, where the two straights on which you could use DRS were reasonably short.

We will have to see how the Pirelli tyres behave in the high temperatures here in Malaysia. Last year, we ended up doing four stops so we will see if the situation is the same this time. We will have the Medium and Hard compounds while last year we ran Soft-Hard. Given that this year, the four types of Pirelli tyre are much more similar to one another in terms of performance over a lap, maybe it will be a different picture.

By the second free practice session on Friday, we should already start to get a more accurate impression. The word “should” applies because every session here, especially the one in the mid-afternoon, can be affected by rain. There is no other place in the world, the Formula 1 world that is, where it can go from sunshine to torrential rain in the space of a few minutes. Not even at Spa is the variability so acute. Those on the pit wall will have to keep their eyes peeled and look at the radar carefully to be ready for any possible change in the weather.

At the moment, the forecast is for a high chance of rain, both for qualifying and the race, but honestly, I don’t have much faith in the forecast. The important thing is to react promptly and grab every opportunity. The only thing you can be absolutely certain of is that it will be hot, very hot…


Source: Ferrari.com

Kimi's Column: Kimi Australian review and Malaysian preview


The heat is on! It¹s signed, sealed and delivered with the Australian Grand Prix. Right now I¹m trying to get grips with the next challenge here in the hot and humid equatorial climate of Malaysia. Obviously, it was very nice and rewarding to open the season with some good points. Honestly, I didn¹t know that much what to expect from the first race weekend after two years¹ break. We got a good feeling in the car since the day one in Jerez, but you never know exactly how competitive the new equipment is compared to other new cars. Well, now we know ­ a little bit, at least. I always felt I could make a return to Grand Prix racing, but, I can confess now, I got some good answers to my own minor doubts how quickly you can adapt the racing rhythm after being away for some time. The speed is there. That¹s ok. The car is good. That¹s ok, as well. Some issues were to be improved, especially in the qualifying routine. I knew already before going to Melbourne, that it takes some time to get everything together in the best way with all the new things there are with tactical and mechanical part of the whole qualifying prosedure. On Saturday I wasn¹t happy at all. We had some issues that put as in a very poor situation to start the race. All in all, I¹ve got a perfect start from the line and, obviously, it could have been very good for the race. But the first corner mess-up with some cars took my advantage away, I had to back-off and we had to build up again the race to reach the TOP-10. The first set of tyres didn¹t feel that good, but then I saw the other people having even more problems with them, so I just sat back and went for it. It was quite tricky to get past the cars. The DRS doesn¹t help that much in Albert Park-like circuit and while I was battling against Saubers, they were too strong coming out of the last corner, where the DRS zones started. The safety-car situation didn¹t help, as well. I¹ve got a set of brand new tyres, but after the race re-started, it was very difficult to get them working properly. Finally everything went well. We got some places back in the last lap and I was quite satisfield finishing seventh in that first race. As a team we know, we have a solid and consistent car to work with. It¹s nice to have a race again this week. Sepang is the place with some nice memories for me, while we won a Malaysian Grand Prix both with McLaren and Ferrari. The heat is a little bit too much, but it¹s the same for everybody. I just sit back again, put my head down and try to get the best out of the car and myself, too. The heat is on!

Source: KIMIRAIKKONEN.COM

Monday, March 19, 2012

The two Kimi Räikkönens

There are, it turns out, two Kimi Räikkönens

The public face of the 2007 world champion, who has returned to Formula 1 this season after two years in rallying, is of a monosyllabic, monotone, unsmiling figure, energised only the moment he steps into a racing car.

The one who emerges in private is very different - a talkative, jocular man, who can happily sit and shoot the breeze like anyone else.

As Lotus trackside operations director, Alan Permane has worked closely with Räikkönen since he joined the team last November.

The 32-year-old Finn, Permane says, "is happy to sit and talk, not only about technical stuff, but laughing and joking and talking rubbish with his engineers about all sorts of stuff".

He is just not interested in any of his dealings with the media and, unlike his rivals, doesn't bother to hide it.

Permane worked with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso through the title-winning years with the team formerly known as both Benetton and Renault. He has been impressed with Raikkonen from the start.

Räikkönen first drove one of the team's cars at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia in late January. Straightaway the team knew they had something special.

He had not driven an F1 car since the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and had no experience of the Pirelli tyres he was using. Yet, after a single installation lap to check the car's systems were working, his first flying lap was within a few 10ths of a second of the fastest lap he would do over the next two days.

The good impressions did not go away.

Permane said, "He has never driven a car with a full load of fuel in it.
"We went from 30-160kg [of fuel load in Valencia] to show him that's the sort of difference you can expect - certainly from qualifying to race it's even bigger than that.

"We calculate the lap time difference the fuel load will make and his first lap was absolutely spot on that difference. That is impressive."

After that, Räikkönen did another 20 laps, each one exactly 0.1secs slower than the last - the lap time lost by tyre degradation.

There is a widespread belief that Räikkönen is as unforthcoming in his technical debriefs as he is in public, but that, too, appears to be a fallacy.

Lotus have found his comments in debriefs to be not only lengthy but very perceptive, too.

He was slightly quicker than new team-mate Romain Grosjean throughout pre-season testing, so it was a surprise that he was about 0.2secs slower than the Franco-Swiss semi-novice in the practice sessions in Melbourne.

Equally, the errors Räikkönen made on his qualifying laps that left him down in 18th on the grid betrayed a certain ring-rustiness, as well as perhaps the pressure he was feeling from Grosjean's pace.

In the race, though, something of the old Räikkönen returned as he fought back up from his low starting position to take seventh place by the end.

Clearly, though, there is more to come.

Räikkönen is not entirely happy with the feel he is getting from the Lotus's steering, but Permane plays down the significance of the problem.

"He's very particular," Permane says. "He knows what he wants and it's not quite to his liking. It's not a million miles away, but we'll get it there."

Räikkönen can drive perfectly well with the steering as it is, but the problem probably does mean that he is driving a little below his maximum.

The question now is, at what level is his maximum?

The reason Räikkönen left F1 in the first place was because he performed for Ferrari for much of 2008 and 2009 way below the level expected of him.

Ferrari, in fact, terminated Räikkönen's contract a year early and paid him not to drive in 2010 so they could bring in Alonso.

The Spaniard has since out-performed Felipe Massa, the man who generally had the better of Räikkönen from the start of 2008 until fracturing his skull in an accident in Hungary in July 2009.

Does this mean Alonso is that much better than Räikkönen? Or that Räikkönen in 2008-9 was a long way below his best? Or that Massa is not the driver he was?

No one knows for sure, but for Räikkönen's comeback to be considered an unqualified success he will have to be able to match his new team-mate's pace.

The fact Lotus have regrouped over the winter and produced one of the year's fastest cars only increases the pressure - it's not so bad to be beaten by a team-mate when you're battling to get into the top 10; but a very different matter when you're fighting for the podium.

That, it appears, is what Lotus are in a position to do.

"We screwed up with the car last year," Permane says, "and we know we've done a lovely car this year, not only aerodynamically, but we've done a nice package mechanically."

So pleased are Lotus with the new E20 that Permane says he "dared to compare it with 2005", when Alonso won the first of his two titles.

That is not so much a measure of Lotus's realistic hopes as a reflection of how much the drivers like the car, and how well it responds to changes.

Nevertheless, the team are confident they can keep up with the break-neck development pace of the likes of McLaren and Red Bull and hold on to their position.

For Räikkönen, the requirement now is prove that he can go with them. So far, the signs are positive.

Source: BBC Sport

The lost trophy bugged Räikkönen


Small things decide in Formula 1. It's difficult to give form to something like how changing a helmet before the crucial quali-stint could cost you the chance to even drive for a podium position in a race.

This however happened to Kimi Räikkönen.

7th position and 6 WC-points offered after Saturday's disappointment a quite reasonable start to the new season.

– A result like this doesn't change the fact that we had a good car and we would have had chances for a much better result.

– It's good that we scored points, but mostly I'm bugged when knowing for how good positions we could have raced for with this car. When looking from the situation we put ourselves into with stupid mistakes in quali, then the result is okay, but it isn't any comforting story, Räikkönen summed up.

Eric Boullier had to balance a weekend where on Saturday Romain Grosjean got a brilliant 3rd position in qualification and then in the race Räikkönen worked up from 17th to 7th in the race.

Räikkönen who wanted a different visor changed helmet at the end of Q1, which took those few seconds he would have needed to get one extra lap after the car went wide in the 12th corner.

Grosjean again fell asleep in the start and hence Pastor Maldonado crashed into his car on the second lap.

Räikkönen stretched to a fairly good race performance and did what he could from his bad starting positions.

– It's easy to sum up this weekend. Both our cars could have had a good qualification, we have the speed and it doesn't vanish in the race. We only have to screen out mistakes. Malaysia looks very promising from our viewpoint, Boullier noted.

Then what about Räikkönen's performance?

– Kimi had his old speed already this weekend. After this it's only a question of small details so he gets everything to fall in place. The qualification-process in particular is new to him, and Kimi surely needs a bit more time before that also comes naturally, Boullier said.

Räikkönen didn't even try to hide how much the mistakes on Saturday - own driving mistake and failure in estimating the time - still hurts.

– Hopefully we won't make as stupid mistakes anymore. We would have had a car that would have quite easily taken us to Q3. But if you make those mistakes, what can you do, Räikkönen sighed.

Turun Sanomat, Melbourne

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The change of helmet cost the additional lap Räikkönen needed


Changing the helmet just before the crucial Q3-stint in Saturday's qualification cost Kimi Räikkönen the time he would have needed to get one more additional lap.

According to information Turun Sanomat has, Räikkönen wanted a helmet with a different visor and these crucial seconds were spent during this change.

When Räikkönen's Lotus slided a bit wide in the 12th corner, he slowed down in order to make sure that he could drive a clean lap. He would have made it even with slowing down, if the time used for changing the helmet would have been at his disposal.

Turun Sanomat, Melbourne

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Stewart sees a positive side in Räikkönen's misfortune


Lotus-team's special consultant, 3 x WDC Jackie Stewart understands the disappointment Kimi Räikkönen experienced in Australia Grand Prix -qualification.

– The weekend has really not been easy. Kimi must be really disappointed, Stewart sighed in Turun Sanomat's interview.

Then the Scot grabbed my sleeve:

– In some weird way this isn't necessary a bad thing at all, because this will surely wake up Kimi to understand more carefully how everything he does in his preparations has to be handled as accurately as a computer.

– If he hadn't changed the helmet before the crucial stint, then he would have had that short time that was needed for an additional lap. There again was the potential to make a good time.

– You never know if you make a mistake in some corner. If you make two mistakes on the same lap, then you won't make it. That's how it always goes.

– I know Kimi so much that I can see how much he trusts in himself. I think that the qualification on Saturday was an effective wake-up call for him because at the same time his team mate made it to the 3rd grid.

– It takes it's own time to get yourself into the best speed when you have been away for a couple of years. It's not easy and it doesn't happen by snapping your fingers. But Kimi is such a full-blooded racer who has already experienced everything, that I'm completely sure that he can do it.

– Nobody gets gifts in this sport. You have to do everything yourself and take your position. You can only forgive yourself for those kind of couple mistakes and in the future use every moment more carefully, Stewart says.

Then what kind of a result does Stewart expect from Räikkönen one and a half hour before the start?

– If Kimi makes the first couple laps without anyone crashing into him, then he will navigate through the traffic. I am disappointed if Kimi isn't in the top 10 when finishing the race, because he needs 1-2 WC-points from this race, Stewart thinks.

Turun Sanomat, Melbourne

HEIKKI KULTA

Courtesy: Nicole

Video: Press Conference with Top three drivers at Australian GP 2012

Jenson Button won the opening Grand Prix of the 2012 season in Australia, with his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in third, and Sebastian Vettel in second



Source: SeventyBuckss

Kimi Räikkönen: Feels like I've never been away

Kimi Räikkönen admits he is happy to have come away with some points in the Australian GP after a "far from ideal" weekend for Lotus

After "a mistake and a communication issue" with his team saw him qualify P17 on Saturday, the Finn encountered further problems at the start in Melbourne and slipped further down the grid.

However, he fought his way through the pack and managed to finish in seventh position, which is not bad when you consider he has been out of Formula One for two years.

Although he believes Lotus had the potential to finish higher, Raikkonen feels there are plenty of positives to take away from the race.

"It feels like I've never been away. Yesterday we made some mistakes which cost us quite badly so it could easily have been better in the race," he said.

"I made a good start but then there was an accident in front of me at the first turn, so we lost a few places there as I had to almost stop and move onto the grass to avoid it.

"That made the race harder again as we had the speed, but a lot of traffic to get through. When you look at all these things we could have finished in a much better position.

"We had the safety car which I think actually hurt us a bit as well. Overall the weekend was far from ideal, but the car feels good and to come back to 7th means we at least come away with some points."

It was a frustrating day for Räikkönen's team-mate Romain Grosjean after he crashed out after only a few laps.

He started a career-best P3 on the grid, but made contact with Williams' Pastor Maldonado and was forced to retire.

"I think we could have achieved a great result today," he said.

"It's frustrating as I really wanted to make the chequered flag and even the podium, but on the positive side the car is performing very well.

"I was keeping pace with the guys in front of me and everything was looking good. My start wasn't great so we'll need to have a look at the data. Then of course there was the collision with Pastor.

"From what I saw he braked far too late and hit my right front wheel which broke the steering and that was it; my race was over. The team deserved better because they have been working very hard, but by tomorrow morning it will all be a memory. We'll move on to Malaysia now which is one of my favourite circuits and focus on getting a result there."

Source: Planet-F1

Kimi: Welcome back!

The evening in Melbourne has darkened. The paddock in Albert Park empties and the last containers are shipped to the airport and from there to Malaysia

Finland got their first WC-points since Brazil 2009 when Kimi was 6th with Ferrari. Now he got 7th position and 6 points with Lotus.

I think that the Finnish iceman seems to have made an icy and good comeback, when keeping in mind the end result of poor qualification and strong race performance.

When I walk around the paddock, the first thing they usually ask me is how Kimi is doing. Now I reply in the same way and ask what these interested in Kimi think of his first GP in two years.

Stefano Domenicali almost starts to reply before even hearing my questions.

– It felt really good to see Kimi back racing. We met on Saturday and I sort of joked by thanking him for giving us some leverage in qualification, since he could have been ahead of us.

– I am happy that Kimi is back. I am assured that once he gets a little more races under his belt his race performances will become stronger and stronger, Domenicali smiled while holding the microphone in his shivering hand.

Certain feelings could probably not have been avoided when Räikkönen overtook his former team mate Felipe Massa in his Ferrari.

I asked Felipe Massa how it felt to race against Kimi.

– You probably liked it...? To me it was the same as if I would have raced against any other driver. It's all the same if it's an old team mate like Michael or Kimi, I race, Massa stated obviously annoyed.

Next stop was Sauber's garage. Kamui Kobayashi overtook Räikkönen the last time they met in Abu Dhabi 2009 and now they met even tighter. Overtakings happened on both sides. In the end Sauber finished the race ahead of Lotus as 6th.

What was it like to battle with Kimi?

– This was a replay of Abu Dhabi. It's great to race with Kimi because he is a very fair opponent. The end was easy though. It wasn't difficult to keep him behind.

– Our cars touched one time. I tried to overtake Massa but there wasn't enough space, and when I gave up Kimi came there and the accident happened. We are here to race. In this race Kimi was the opponent I battled most with, Kobayashi said.

Peter Sauber lit a thick cigar after the team scored good points.

What kind of memories does racing against Kimi bring to a team manager who once brought the 21-year old rookie to this track to race?

– Time has made memories golden. I am really happy that Kimi drives in F1 again. The fact that he happened to battle with our car and Kamui was practically thrilling. Totally genuine racing when two racing drivers like those two are up against each other.

Was it still the same Kimi who Sauber remembers?

.– No, this Kimi was too much for us during the last two laps
, Sauber laughed and grabbed my shoulder.

Alan Permane said that the opening points were welcomed in Lotus-team.

– We expected Kimi to climb up to points but the end result was even better than we calculated beforehand. The car was better than 17th grid, so next time we hopefully get the qualification to hit both our drivers, track engineer Alan Permane summed up the team's feelings.

What about Kimi then?

– It went somehow. It was cool to race, Räikkönen said before all press conferences.

The word is free under these circumstances. What do you think about Räikkönen's racing or about the opinions of those who followed it from close?

Courtesy: Nicole

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Button: You always want to be first, but Lewis had upper hand


McLaren's Jenson Button has conceded that team-mate Lewis Hamilton had the upper hand today in qualifying for the Australian GP and that his best just 'wasn't quite enough'.

Button will start the opening round in the 2012 F1 World Championship from second on the grid, having been just 0.152 seconds slower in the sister Mercedes-powered car.

Despite that though, he was still happy with the MP4-27 and the Englishman paid tribute to the job done by McLaren over the winter.

“Lewis nailed a great lap in Q3,” Button commented after Q3, “but I think the whole team is really happy to have both cars on the front row – it's been a long time coming to have the two of us there together. You always want to be first, but I couldn't quite do that today. We were so close through all the qualifying sessions but Lewis had the upper hand [in the end]. I tried my best but it wasn't quite enough.

“Nevertheless, I think we both want to thank the team – it's a big vindication of how far we've come this winter.

“And that's been crucial: having a good winter can really make the difference. We still don't know exactly how strong our car will be in the race, but yesterday it appeared to be consistent and looked after the tyres during the stint.

“Tomorrow will be about getting the tyres to the right working temperature and looking after them across the stint.

“Tomorrow is the important day, and today is about making life easier for tomorrow.”

Source: Crash.net

F1 Australian GP: That old, familiar feeling for Webber

As is often the case with Mark Webber at the Australian Grand Prix, if he didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all…

Despite the victories, the commanding qualifying runs and the gutsy performances over the last decade, the thing Mark Webber is most associated with is still that superhuman Albert Park debut race for Minardi back in 2002 in which he finished fifth.

Bizarrely that remains his best return at his home race – he was fifth for Williams in 2005 and again last year for Red Bull. In between he’s dropped out of the race while leading with a broken gearbox and suffered all manner of problems that really suggest he used up any luck he’s due around here driving for Faenza. Today the curse stuck again as Mark’s KERS seized during Q2. So, far from being disappointed with his performance, Mark actually looked pretty relaxed afterwards, having put in a storming lap to get as high as he did.

It was a case of history repeating for Red Bull who suffered the same problem in qualifying for last year’s Australian Grand Prix, though in 2011 the Red Bull KERS had precious little mileage behind it, this year the failure came completely out of the blue.

“The KERS has been faultless all winter, absolutely faultless and then we come to Q2 and suddenly we don’t have it,” said Mark wryly. “That’s the way it can go sometimes but we’re looking forward to going forward tomorrow.”

Despite believing he would have been higher up the grid with a functioning energy recovery system, Mark insisted that he did not consider a healthy RB8 to be an automatic contender for pole. “We knew there were some quick guys out there, to be honest, particularly McLaren, and Mercedes had also looked a little bit threatening in the build-up to this event,” he said.

Webber complimented McLaren on their front-row shut out but also paid tribute to compatriot Daniel Ricciardo’s efforts to get his Toro Rosso into 10th place. “He’s right in the guts of it there for some great experience tomorrow, he did a really, really good job.”

Also singled out for praise was third-placed Romain Grosjean. “I’m really happy to see him back: He had a tough time in his first year in Formula One and it takes character and guts [to come back]. He’s persevered with the categories on the fringe of F1. He’s not a guy that brings a gazillion dollars, he’s worked hard to get where he had. Of course we want to pass him tomorrow!”

RBR expect to give Mark a fully functional car for tomorrow’s grand prix and the Australian remains confident he can still do something in the race – certainly finishing fifth isn’t on his agenda. “Bloody hell, fifth again? They haven’t handed out any trophies yet – so let’s see what we can do.”

Source: Red Bull

Kimi Räikkönen is a king - "he can buy the Guggenheim-museum into his garage if he wants to


F1-season's first GP takes place on Sunday morning. Urheilulehti's editor Esko Seppänen dedicates his column to motorsport for the first time.

I guess I have to admit it.

I follow F1 from MTV3 MAX.

Hence I don't practice ”place your political party's book in the middle of a porn magazine so that nobody sees it" -kind of hiding, I follow F1 completely in the open and without any shame after a sabbatical of 13 years.

***

I don't understand a thing about the genre.

Actually I don't even understand why it's allowed to even glorify and practice a circus like that in year 2012 when the oil barrel is empty and gasoline costs over 10 FIM per liter.

A F1-car uses during one lap about 4 liters of fuel and they drive quite many laps during the season. Actually I'm quite sure that the team's private jets are the kind where you can hold the cars running, tyres warm and KERS hot. That way you can get the consumption into new records when driving inside an airplane that is up in the air.

But that's not the point of this column, to sum it up in two words it's Kimi Räikkönen.

I returned back to F1-broadcasting just because I think that Kimi is:

A) This nation's only really big player in the scale of the whole world.

and

B) A great man.

***

Kimi is the greatest of all men firstly because he has mastered one thing better than any other Finnish sportsman has mastered during his whole career.

Kimi has said the word "no" often enough - always depending upon the situation.

He has never sold himself too cheap, instead he has negotiated the most juiciest driver-contracts in F1-business into his own pockets. At Ferrari he earned at best 41,5 million euros per year. Now he earns - straight after playing with rally and partying with the Duudsons - about 12 million euros according to reports. Salary drop? Perhaps. But one thing is sure, nobody else could have come out of the woods and got himself a similar cardboard like Kimi did.

Kimi also could say ”no” to MTV3. They had some kind of an agreement that Kimi would give MTV3 all his most important interviews quickly, efficiently and in a good co-operation.

Shit, Kimi thought.

They didn't get him to get interested at all about what others think of him. If he isn't interested in chatting, then he doesn't chat - no, not even if the contract had these and those kind of flourishing phrases. Because of this MTV3 put later on all their eggs in the same basket with Heikki Kovalainen.

***

Yeah, Heikki.

He doesn't even have an ounce of the attraction that would make me wake up in the middle of the night to watch cars driving somewhere in the Australian coast. Heikki's sportman's personality doesn't offer even one reason for this. He has been forced into a mold. He can smile when asked. He can say the right words in the commercials. I can't say anything about driver-Heikki. I can only look at the statistics to see that he has won 1 out of his 90 races. Hence the winning percentage is 1,11.

When thinking of that I think Heikki has everything just a little bit too well. Or is Heikki this positive only in the media? What is he really like as a racing sportsman?

No clue. I have never been closer to a F1-paddock more than 300 km.

***

But I'm sure of this thing: In a similar situation Kimi would be filled with fire and fierce. He would stuck the double diffuser down the mechanic's throat if things wouldn't start to go forward. He would do his everything for a victory and also show it outwards genuinely.

And that's why there's that something in Kimi.

Yet he is all the time barked at and belittled.

Why?

(Well think for a moment why....)

Answer: Envy!

Envy is more common in Finland than gum infection.

Let's go through the reasons why it's too easy to be envious of Kimi.

1. It's easy for academical people to point the finger at Kimi saying "what has that brat even achieved". He can't even speak English or praise his home country in interviews.

2. Sport people might say that F1-cruising isn't a sport or that Kimi won his WDC only because others sensationally screwed up their last races.

3. Kimi is one hell of a rich man. He buys toys that the rest of us even can't draw. He goes to parties that we never see pictures of. He lives a life that for the rest of us is a movie.

***

Let's take a closer look at money.

I will bring some more perspective about the amount of euros that Kimi has DESERVED/EARNED.

Not out of pity, not in vain, because of his work and based upon his contract.

A) As I stated Kimi earned according to reports about 41,5 million euros during his Ferrari-season. Kimi would only have to work 3,5 years more and then he could buy the Guggenheim-museum to his car garage, the museum that is planned to be built in Helsinki..

B) Kimi could buy with this year's salary a new iPad to each person living in Hamina.

C) Kimi could with his earning buy ridiculously overpriced WC-tickets from Kalervo Kummola to the Leijona-games, all and all 77.419 by the cheapest price category. This means six (6) sold out Hartwall Arenas. Maybe Kimi should call Kalervo? Then again, these really rich people don't have to pay for their WC-tickets. I guess they still have on Areena's yard an own parking space for Räikkönen's VIP-visits. I won't even start.... (quick sigh...)

D) URHOtv raised prices when it was time for the final games. 15 euros per net-broadcasting sounds like a hard price. Kimi could watch 800.000 games from URHOtv in a row with his salary. Advice to Kimi: don't watch. They are playing out of pity at the moment. The real games begin next Thursday.

E) Kimi earns during one day the same amount an average Finn earns during one year.

***

I have sometimes tried to be envious of Kimi. Or at least tried to undermine his achievements.

I have cursed how this car mechanic has the balls to attend a wedding wearing jeans.

Fortunately I quickly realized what it is about Kimi that is really enviable.

He has the guts to be himself in the world's brightest spotlight. If he was taking a shit and didn't because of that go to some celebration, then he also has the guts to say it out loud. Whether it's socially acceptable or not. That doesn't interest Kimi.

Kimi is not paid to have his back washed in the name of journalism, he is paid to win WC-points to his team.

I guess that you or me could not turn your back to everything else except racing when you are surrounded by all the treats in the world. Could you be able not to jump to the tune of PR-people or lick to the tune of every possible sponsor? I doubt.

Kimi has balls to be:

A) poorly educated

B) nonacademic

C) blurting

D) his own trade school -self under the toughest imaginable pressure.

He doesn't bow to anything else except winning. He came back to F1 because he wants to race with the dude beside him. Kimi wants to eat his enemy alive.

It doesn't fascinate me that Kimi has money. Nor does the fact that he has sometimes won the WC-belt either.

What is intriguing here and now is the hunger for victory.

***

Nothing else than Kimi's absolute genuinity opens up my tv at dawn on Sunday. There was a time when F1 became some sort of a substitute of a church for Finns. The mandatory confession by the altar of commercial money, Matti Kyllönen (commentator), Mika Häkkinen, motor noise and most and foremost the Finnish success.

For myself the F1-circus is something a lot more simpler. It's the same as Kimi Räikkönen.

Kimi is like the fishing buddy from earlier years, someone with who it was fun to go and fish once in a month in the nearby creek.

And now when this same dude gets with the same spinners the ocean's biggest catch, should we here in the land of small puddles really turn envious?

Or could we admit out loud that after all Kimi is one of us - with the only difference that he has balls to be himself other than when he is drunk?

Kimi doesn't explain, hem and haw.

His work is to drive a F1-car on Sundays, he doesn't do it for free and the only justification to step in the cockpit is victory.

Because of this reason Kimi has placed F1 back on my sport map.

Courtesy of mikael and Nicole

Hamilton on pole as McLarens lock up front row

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of team mate Jenson Button as world champion Sebastian Vettel was banished to the third row of the grid

The Briton's best lap of one minute 24.922 seconds put him just ahead of compatriot and fellow former world champion Button, who was second quickest in 1.25.074 and will make up an all-McLaren front row for the first time since 2009.

French driver Romain Grosjean sprung the biggest surprise by steering his Lotus to the third fastest lap and he will line up alongside the Mercedes of seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher on the second row.

Vettel, who claimed a record 15 pole positions last season including on his way to victory at Albert Park, was sixth fastest just behind his Red Bull team mate and Australian hope Mark Webber in fifth.

"It's an incredible feeling to be back here and to get off to such a good start," said Hamilton, who won at Albert Park from pole position in 2008.

"I think it's my and Jenson's first one-two in qualifying so it's fantastic to start the season this way. It's going to be incredibly tight and tense in the race."

Button was equally delighted to lock up the front row for McLaren for the first time since Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen at the 2009 European Grand Prix.

"It is only the beginning but this is great first result for us on a Saturday and it looks like it's going to be a very exciting season," Button, who won in Melbourne in 2009 and 2010, said.

Vettel said it was too early for Red Bull, who took 18 poles in 19 races last year, to panic despite Sunday marking the first time they will not have a driver on the front row since the 2010 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

"We are not starting at the front but we are not starting at the back either, so it's far from disastrous and regarding the car, we know what we need to do," he said.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado of Williams will be on the fourth row of the grid after finishing seventh and eighth quickest.

Ferrari's problems continued with both cars failing to reach the final round of qualifying.

Former world champion Fernando Alonso spun off into the gravel in the second session while running fifth fastest and will line up 12th on the grid, while Brazialian Felipe Massa's miserable run of form continued with the 16th fastest time.

Another former world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, made a mistake on his final flying lap and failed to get through the first phase of qualifying on his return to Formula One with Lotus after two years away.

The former Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari driver also suffered the embarrassment of being resoundingly outqualified by the inexperienced Grosjean, who has never raced at Albert Park and will be starting his eighth race on Sunday.

"It's really nice to be back in Formula One and I enjoyed the time," said the 26-year-old, who last raced for the then Renault team in 2009.

"I'm very proud to be with those guys here and hope we can keep going that way all season long and then it will be a very nice story."

The two HRT cars both failed to get inside 107 percent of the best time in the first session and therefore failed to qualify for the race for the second successive year.

Source: Reuters Sports

Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Räikkönen. A straight flush and a joker on top of that


Kimi Räikkönen's comeback to the 'real work', F1, has been the biggest news before the season has begun. They have speculated over the backgrounds, weighed the test results, tried to dig inside Räikkönen's head. With no success.

Räikkönen himself tells that he came back to the F1-business because he had missed it. It sounds odd at first, because during his last couple of years in Ferrari the disgust and fatigue with everything the genre offered was shining from his face.

However rallying in a small car with only the clock as the opponent for two years got Räikkönen fed up. He told earlier this spring that he has missed 'real racing', driving on track man to man, and now it's offered to him.

Räikkönen still doesn't care for the PR-things and other cackle that comes with the sport.

'Neither does any other driver either. Everyone of us only wants to race', Räikkönen said in February to reporters.

When the information of Räikkönen's will to come back were confirmed, they were taking him starting from Red Bull to all other top teams. Finally he joined Lotus.

They were astonished over his choice. They didn't think that the French team that had dropped in the midfield would be any dream working place.

Testing in Jerez and Barcelona however changed the tune in the bell. Although the test results aren't comparable the performance ability and reliability of Lotus has surprised. The car has been both reliable and fast.

Australia will be the real thing. If it goes well in Melbourne, then the co-existance of Räikkönen and Lotus will get a lot more easier. If the car is not good for racing, then we can expect some wrinkles in love.

Räikkönen gets visibly nervous when someone says the word 'motivation' around him. Everybody notices how the safety clicks.

Yet the truth is that Räikkönen doesn't get fired up over lower positions. This has been taken in account when making the Lotus-contract.

According to Autosport the contract has a clause which justifies ending the contract if Lotus doesn't get into top 8.

Räikkönen also doesn't have to drive with a community effort. He gets 8-12 million euros per season which will substantially slow down poverty.

Although a driver, who so far has earned about 200 million euros isn't in any need for pocket change, it still is expensive to live like Räikkönen lives. It costs to keep up several luxurious houses, flying with a private jet and keeping the armada of cars swallows money like a F1-car swallows fuel.

By Vesa Kovanen
Courtesy: Nicole

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alonso: Balance good, car responds well

Fernando Alonso: It is always a pleasure to be back at a Grand Prix after the winter break: everyone is out on track together and there's the crowd, so it is always a nice feeling

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was feeling 'reasonably satisfied' after practice today for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

The Scuderia struggled somewhat during the pre-season tests, but despite that Alonso still ran well today posting the fourth quickest time in both free practice one and free practice two, his best lap a 1 minute 28.360 seconds.

Like all the drivers he was frustrated by the variable weather conditions, but he was pleased not to have any technical issues with his Ferrari F2012.

“It is always a pleasure to be back at a Grand Prix after the winter break: everyone is out on track together and there's the crowd, so it is always a nice feeling,” said the Spaniard. “It was a bit complicated trying to work through the programme we had planned for this Friday though because of the weather. Therefore there is still a bit of work to do tomorrow before qualifying, but I think the others are in a similar position.

“I am reasonably satisfied with the car: the initial feeling as to its balance is positive. However, we have not done the usual comparison between the two types of tyre, because we ran mainly on the intermediates and the Mediums and these seem to be behaving quite well, as far as degradation is concerned. It was important to have everything working perfectly – from the KERS to the engine, from the power steering to the gearbox and everything else, as is always the case on the opening day of the season – and that's how it went.”

Looking to qualifying he added the grid could be 'very mixed up': “There's no point looking at the time sheet from today with a view to making predictions for qualifying. Tomorrow I expect to see a very mixed up grid because there are so many teams that have done a good job over the winter,” he continued.

“We will try and do our best, putting together the best elements we have tried in the past weeks, including a few details we brought here.

“However, my opinion has not changed: we wait for tomorrow to see where we are compared to the others. But if I was to give some sort of opinion on the day, I would say it's been positive. We did the important things, the balance is good and the car responds well to changes.”

Felipe Massa meanwhile had a more trying day in the other Ferrari F2012 and was only 18th in FP1, after an off track excursion. He improved though in the second session and was seventh.

“After over three months, finally we are back to what we drivers like best, namely racing. However, today was a rather difficult first day back, because we could not do as many laps as we had planned,” Massa commented. “The rain complicated matters in both the first and the second session.

“In the first one, I also went off track, which cost me a bit of time: as I was braking, I got the left rear wheel on the grass and the car took off on its own, only stopping in the gravel on the escape road. In the second session, the rain meant the track was wet for a long time and only towards the end was I able to fit the dry tyres.

“All things considered, it wasn't really possible to understand much as to where we are compared to the others. I did too few laps to say if the car has changed since the last day of the Barcelona test.

“Tomorrow afternoon, in qualifying we will all run in the same conditions so we will finally understand something!”


Source: Crash.net

Vettel unhappy with 'messy' Friday

Sebastian Vettel's title defense got off to a slow start in Australia on Friday with the Red Bull racer admitting he "wasn't happy" with his RB8

The German struggled during first practice, finishing outside the top ten, while the afternoon did not see much improvement as heavy rain prior to the start left the track very wet.

And although Vettel was one of the busiest runners in Practice Two with 19 laps, he ended the first day of the season down in 10th place, three seconds off the pace.

"This morning it wasn't very good, I wasn't happy at all in the car," said the 24-year-old.

"This afternoon I think it was a bit better. Obviously with the conditions it was difficult to get a lot of running. It was more or less the same for all of us, but with the little time we had in the afternoon it was quite okay.

"It's up to us to find the balance and understand the car a little bit more and learn a little bit more about the car in these conditions on this circuit, and hopefully go a lot quicker tomorrow.

"Tomorrow the target is to make it into Q3, and then we go from there."

The German admitted he is concerned that his "messy" Friday will have an impact on the rest of his weekend as a limited number of tyres on Saturday means he cannot just run at will.

"You can't re-invent the wheel, even though you had a messy Friday due to conditions it doesn't mean that on Saturday you just run the whole hour, you don't have enough tyres for that, and obviously it's about preparing for qualifying mostly.

"You can't do everything in one hour, so as I said the most important thing now is to make a step overnight, learn a bit more about the car - the laps in the end were important to understand a bit more - and then we go from there."

Source: Planet-F1

The "Iceman" exudes warmth on Formula One return

Former world champion Kimi Räikkönen is happy to be back in Formula One but unsure of how long he will be staying as he remains convinced there is much more to life than motor racing

The 32-year-old Finn walked away from the sport apparently disinterested in 2009 after a three-year stint with Ferrari during which he brought the sport's most famous and glamorous team their last drivers' championship in 2007.

Although Räikkönen could never be accused of being effusive, in public at least, he was polite and engaged as he discussed his return at the Lotus team hospitality area at Albert Park, the venue for Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"I'm always happy, if you're not happy, you do something else," he said in his familiar monotone, his arms folded in front of him and his eyes hidden by a huge pair of reflective sunglasses.

"It's good to be back in racing. Hopefully we're going to have a good year but we don't know yet.

"If we are last, then I am disappointed but I don't think we are going to be last. The car feels good but are we fast enough? I don't know."

Räikkönen, who has always had little time for the hoopla that surrounds Formula One, said he was back simply for the racing.

"The racing is the main thing, drivers like to race, that's not any secret," he said. "That's what I want to do... and the rest is part of it."

Nicknamed the "Iceman", Räikkönen spent his two years away from Formula One racing in the world rally championship, something he said he would like to keep up despite his return.

He had earlier drawn gasps of surprise from a packed news conference when he declared that he had not watched much Formula One during his time away.

"I don't care what they think," he said. "There's an awful lot of other things in life than Formula One. Maybe some of the people here don't have anything except Formula One in their lives.

"That doesn't mean if I don't watch the race, I don't like it. I never said that, I have always liked the racing, I always liked Formula One.

"There are certain things on the outside in Formula One that I'm not the biggest fan of, but I have never hidden that.

"People can think what they like but I have other things to do at that time. I had my own things to do and not sit in my home and watch racing."

POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP

One of the other things Räikkönen has clearly never liked in Formula One is the team politics. He said, nevertheless, that he had no ill-feeling for Ferrari and had enjoyed catching up with team boss Stefano Domenicali in Melbourne.

"I never had any issues with anyone there - well, maybe one person," he recalled. "As I said on the day I left, I wouldn't change anything. I had a good time with them, some bad times too, I achieved the championship with them."

Perhaps the fact that he left Ferrari with a year left on his contract makes him reluctant to predict how long his comeback will last despite having signed a two-year deal with Lotus.

"Who knows? I have no plans," he said. "I have a contract, but sometimes when you have a contract, it doesn't mean anything in Formula One. You never know in Formula One. So just wait and see what happens in the future."

Räikkönen said the early days of his relationship with Lotus, who raced as Renault until the end of last season, had been positive.

"So far, I haven't found any bad things in Lotus, they are nice people and they like racing and not so much politics, they want to do racing and they want to do it well," he said. "That's a good sign."

That relationship will only have been improved by the surprising pace the car showed in pre-season testing.

So could he spring a major surprise at a circuit where he scored a point for Sauber on his Formula One debut in 2001 and won in his first race for Ferrari in 2007?

"I haven't though that we're going to win," he said. "In testing the car felt good and everything worked pretty well. But if we are fast enough? I don't know. Nobody knows.

"You always try to win races and championships but there's not many years you can do it," he added. "Sometimes you win races, sometimes not. You aim for the top always, but if it's not going to happen we have to accept other results.

"That's the first aim and we'll have to see what we can do."

Source: Reuters Sports