Raikkonen: It was nice to get back in the car

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) tests a Lotus F1 Team car.
Kimi Raikkonen testing in Valencia after two year lay-off

Jan.23 (PVM) Kimi Raikkonen said enjoyed his return to an F1 cockpit, after the first of two days spent in the cockpit of a 2010 Renault R30 at Valencia’s Riccardo Tormo track.

Kimi talks to Lotus engineers during the first day of his test

Speaking to Sky Sports, Raikkonen said: “It was nice to get back in the car. It was quite a few years since I have driven last time,  of course it takes a little while to get used to it. But the main driving, braking, turning, that doesn’t take many laps. Of course to start learning about the car and team and tyres, that will take time.”

Asked whether he believed he would return to F1 the 32 year old Finn replied, “Not really. I didn’t have any plans for the future. There were different choices to do this year. I really wanted to do racing. We did some NASCAR stuff last year and I enjoyed it a lot, racing against other people.”

“That is where I decided to do racing, F1 is the highest level and probably where most people want to be. I found a good chance to come back and do racing with Lotus,” explained Raikkonen who has won 18 times out of 157 starts in Formula 1 and winning the 2007 world championship with Ferrari.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) in the garage prior to testing a Lotus F1 Team car for the first time.
Kimi in the garage prior to testing a Lotus for the first time.

Teams are not allowed to test up-to-date cars outside of official sessions which meant Raikkonen could drive only an older machine using demonstration tyres. The season starts in Australia on March 18.

“The day went pretty much as we planned, which is great,” said trackside engineer Alan Permane in a team statement.

“Kimi was on the pace we expected straight away. He completed around 300km, going through three sets of tyres. It leaves us with four sets for tomorrow, meaning we can run a bit longer.

“We worked on getting him comfortable in the car, giving him a feel for the setup changes, and helping him get to know his engineers,” added Permane.

“It’s always great to work with a top driver who is not just quick, but professional, and Kimi has all of those characteristics. His feedback is excellent, his requests are concise and to the point. We’re looking forward to a good season with him.”