Mar.4 (PVM) On his first day back for official F1 testing last month, in Jerez, Kimi Raikkonen caused quite a stir when he topped the timing screens at the end of the first day, but yesterday the 2007 F1 world champion was slowest of all at the end of testing on day three in Barcelona, on a day which also saw him covering far fewer laps than most of his rivals.
A power steering issue had afflicted the Lotus – which in the hands of Romain Grosjean had topped the timing sheets at the end of both previous days at Circuit de Catalunya – forcing the team to change the steering column and rack on the E20.
Raikkonen explained to journalists at the end of the day, “The power steering did not work and it was the same system as yesterday but it just decided not to work today. We tried to fix it, thinking that there was some small issue that we could fix. They tried and unfortunately those things take a long time and it still did not work as it should and we had to change the whole system. This takes another one and a half hours. It takes a long time. It wasn’t perfect still, but it was OK.”
“Iceman” was not overly perturbed by losing out on track time, despite losing out on two days last week in Barcleona, “I guess you always wish to have more days, but it is what it is and you have to deal with it. At least in the first week we had very good running. I don’t think we have any major reliability issues in the car so I think that is a good thing. We had one problem last week and that’s fixed and there are not going to be any more issues.”
“Now it’s just to get things on a level where you think you’re happy and you know to press the right buttons at the right time. Maybe a few more days wouldn’t hurt but I’m very confident that we will get it right,” predicted the Finn who had a two year break from F1 after driving for Ferrari in 2009.
“We are still learning things, but everything is going smoothly and there are no problems,” concluded Raikkonen.