Friday, May 11, 2012

Räikkönen is trusting on steady reliability in championship battle

Who would have thought that Lotus - now private Renault F1 team - could be driving for world championship? Hardly anyone ...

Fifth of the F1 season is now back. Victory in all races have gone to different drivers and teams. The first seven drivers are within one victory in the driver championship points.

Kimi Räikkönen is that seventh. He is 19 points behind the leader Sebastian Vettel. If Raikkonen's overtaking in Bahrain had been successful, then the situation would be even more even.

At the beginning of this interview, Räikkönen can be asked, at what point after such a good early season one can start thinking championship battle?

- I guess we go on just trying to get as good results in races as we can, as we have done so far. But if races go so across as in the past, and we can all the time get to the leading 4-5, all of a sudden we can be pretty high at the championship battle, Räikkönen ponders.

- But, right now is just a waste of time to think the situation. Positions will clear up more in detail later at some point, Raikkonen says.

The amount of petrol changed the nature of the race

At one time Räikkönen was in tyre war in championship battle, when he was driving on Michelins against Bridgestone. Now there is going on a whole new kind of 'tyre war' at the era of Pirelli.

Has the fast wearing of Pirelli changed the nature of driving in F1?

- The nature has not changed so much beacuse of tyres. I don't believe that with these tyres there would be more problems if we were still driving on 50 or 60 kilos of gas load at the start of the race. Previously, pit stops were made every 20 laps and in fuel tank there was all the time less fuel.

- Quite similar it would probably had been even then, if it we had been driving with 150 kg of gasoline. These tyres are quite good in qualification. They have good grip and are good anyway, Räikkönen analyzes.

In what way you can see the tyre wear, and how can you influence that worn tyres will continue work?

- Well, at least you try not to do burnouts... There are some corners, where you don't push so hard any longer, but will take them easier. But you cannot change driving so much in the race. You just go on so that tyres either last or not. A lot depends on the setup and the car.

- As such, wear out does not come as a surprise . When you have been driving in weekend's practice, you know how different compounds will last. At some point, they just go worse, and at some point run out completely. Depends on the track. What is worse, is when the rubber leaves off. Then it is trouble.

Was the tyre wear off in China worse than ever before F1 race, when you were passed by all others?

- At least I do not remember, that it would have happened before, but there have been all kind of situations before, when tyres have worn out. And it was not at all tyres' fault. We just tried too much for too long.

Strong Lotus is not a big surprise

How surprised are you that Lotus has been so strong, when it ended up to be your only option to come back to the F1 tracks?

- But I had another option. Hard to say what kind of results it would have been in Williams. They have been pretty good, but perhaps not quite as strong as we have been up to now. In the first race they were quite good and then in that rain, but dry, then they have dropped a bit.

- But I do not know what kind of surprise this team's results have been at the end of games. They (Renault) were not bad last year when they started the season. The team had already made it's decision when the car was designed with the forward exhaust pipes. It could only be changed by building a completely new car.

- Even then they got real good results in early season, but then that was all. That system just did not work well enough, Räikkönen analyzes.

Turun Sanomat, Barcelona


Courtesy: reppo

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