Domenicali: I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team 12 February, 2014 Stefano Domenicali with Kimi Raikkonen Since last September much has been written about the Ferrari driver pairing for 2014, now Team Principal Stefano Domenicali explains how he will manage Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen – already dubbed Fire & Ice, and reveals how the latter has matured over the years. First Domenicali explained the thinking behind the axing of Felipe Massa and bringing back Raikkonen, “It was a rational choice, based on the need to have an expert driver pairing, with the one aim of it doing well for Ferrari. I hope the track will show that it was the right choice.” As for the combination of Raikkonen and Alonso, the Ferrari F1 team boss ventured, “How will we manage them? Decisions are always carefully considered, but they always have the same aim, which is that the sporting decisions are taken to reach the team’s goals, as the interest of the team always comes before all else. Decisions we have taken in the past have always been reached in this spirit.” Kimi Raikkonen back in a Ferrari cockpit after a four year absence Not long ago, 2009 in fact, Ferrari paid a huge sum of money for Raikkonen to leave Maranello and make way for Alonso. Prior to September last year, when he signed to return to the Reds, Raikkonen said of his time with the legendary team, “I don’t miss anyone. To me, leaving there was a relief. The situation could have been better, but it’s in the past and what is done cannot be reversed.” Clearly things have been reversed as Raikkonen said on signing for a second term with the team, “I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years. I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the World Championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable.” Kimi Raikkonen with Ferrari engineers during Jerez test It is well known that Domenicali was instrumental in swaying the opinion of Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, who was not a Raikkonen fan, and thus pave the way for the Iceman’s return to the Scuderia – and reality is that the last title won by the team was during Raikkonen’s era. “I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team. He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers,” revealed Domenicali. “He knows his worth and he knows what team he has returned to and what challenges he will face, having a World Champion like Alonso alongside him for whom he has respect and he will have to adapt to working with him.” “Fernando is extremely intelligent and has managed to stay ahead in whatever car he has driven. He has an ability to interpret the race and to read it in an amazing way and I think he will make the most of the new regulations, which will require some stages of the race to be managed in a different way. We feel close to him partly because it was such a long time ago that we decided to invest in him,” concluded Domenicali. (GP247) Subbed by AJN. 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Joni Filippula It’s interesting people are praising Raikkönen and at the same time some do torch Heikki Kovalainen, who sat into Kimi’s car, had tremendous speed right away (and probably would have ended up showing he’s the one with more pace) and would have ended both races in the Lotus in the upper top 10, if not for a (pretty) tragic freak incident… Devesh I love Kimi and I hope he kicks Alonso’s ass! But more than that I hope Williams make a great car and Massa does wonders there. For all the on-track mistreatment he’s had while at Ferrari, he needs to rub it on Ferrari’s face! Tamburello1994 Kovy gets torched for good reason. Both men are known quantities up and down the paddock both being around awhile. No mistaking why Kimi is back at Ferrari, and Heikki is out looking in. Looking promising one week, then mistake-prone the next, Kovalainen is a nice guy with no money who’s had his chances here and there and hasn’t really done much with it. Not a recipe for long-term success. He looked feeble in the Lotus – Even he admitted his performance was less than spectacular. It’s obvious his time has passed – Maybe its time to go do something else. Enough already. Its Nick Heidfeld all over again. Joni Filippula Fact is and remains, man was on his way to roll with the Lotus, having seized P8 in the qualifying of Austin GP, after impressing the whole team to the max (just search for Lotus hail ‘brilliant’ Kovalainen on the net, no links possible here)making people turn their heads and even Niki Lauda admitting “a very good performance”. Yet, fate felt things should go another way, forcing him to pit as a result of a ridiculous freak accident (namely some debris entering the brake duct and causing an additional pit stop that ruined his race. Most people don’t even have realized this and that Kovalainen would have finished around P6 or P7 without that shitload of bad luck. What happenened in Interlagos, his second race, is a result of this ridiculously bad luck and wouldn’t have happenened if he finished like he should have done in Austin. Joni Filippula “not having done much” 2004 Race of Champions Winner against the likes of Alesi, Coulthard, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Loeb (the latter ones being at their prime while Heikki was an unknown man) 2007 Kept in check establised f1-driver Giancarlo Fisichella in his first year with Renault, seizing a 2nd place podium finish 2008, 2009 defying Lewis Hamilton, despite the whole McLaren being built for Lewis (how he recently acknowledged), equal qualifying duels (minus the constant fuel overload on Heikki’s car – in Monza he was -0.8 secs slower in the stats, while fuel-adjusted he was actually the fastest – not a single occasion during his two years at McLaren, playing safeguard protection to Hamilton) 2010,2011 Thrash one of the greatest qualifyers in F1 history, namely Jarno Trulli, to the max, winning the qualifying duels 15-4, being elected Top 10 by the team officials. All achievements a Nick Heidfeld still dreams of… Tamburello1994 I couldn’t make it passed the Trulli comparison with out bursting out with laughter, Sorry. Thanks for trying though, Good effort. Your lipstick failed to disguise the pig. Stoner @jonifilippula:disqus talking of BAD LUCK, Kimi should have been a Triple World Champion by now (2003, 2005) . Heikki had is best chances in career while at Mclaren but failed to capitalize the time there. In my opinion Nick Heidfield was way better than Heikki. He was good in the BMW and he did a great job on his comeback as well. Stoner “one of the greatest qualifyers in F1 history, namely Jarno Trulli” Ridiculously LOL. he should be in his wine yard thinking about next years harvest Tamburello1994 I gave Joni a pass to the race of champions example but couldn’t let that wild assertion about Trulli go. That’s just too funny. Stoner Yeah the slower cars that’s used in ROC suits Heikki. BTW its the first time I am seeing a hardcore Heikki fan. Joni Filippula don’t just give me “a pass”: he beat Schumacher, Loeb and all the others, not narrowly, but by 2 to 3 car lengths. Just search for ” Heikki Kovalainen wins 2004 Race of Champions at Stade de France” on youtube… Joni Filippula You mean the “slower cars” who require a whole lot of precision a nd where the slightest mistake gets you out of the race, for good? Joni Filippula and, to speak some f1.insider info, that’s the reason a Lewis Hamilton never dares to take part in the RoC’s. Tamburello1994 I am giving you a pass because you’re chopping but no chips are flying – but Its quite clear you’re a Heikki supporter – For all I know you could be his agent or whatever. Needless to say I don’t think there’s any video I can view that’s going to change my overall opinion of Kovalianen – My mind was pretty much made up on him way back in his McLaren days. Not being at least halfway ready for subbing at Lotus sealed the deal with me, and apparently others as well. Good racers take advantage of that situation seizing on the opportunity especially at this point in their career. He threw up all over his shoes which tells me, A: You’re not serious about your tradecraft – or B: You’re are done. Either one pretty much fatal in the world of F1.