Feb.5 (Lotus) The 2007 Formula 1 World champion Kimi Raikkonen talks of his return to the sport with the Lotus F1 Team after two years away in the forests and stages of the World Rally championship
Kimi Raikkonen: Formula 1 is something very special in my racing career, and you always want to race at the toughest level, so Formula 1 is where you want to race if you have a choice.
What do you think of the team now you’ve completed two days testing?
Raikkonen: I’m happy with the team, they are very nice people, very easy going and it was nice to work with them for the two days I did in the R30. I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.
When did you decide to finish rallying and to go back to Formula 1?
Raikkonen: When I did the NASCAR races, I enjoyed the racing and I want to do more racing. I still want to do rally and if I could I’d do them both at the same time – but this isn’t possible. For sure I will do rallying again in the future. I want to do racing as I had a really good time in NASCAR racing against other people and I realised that I was missing this – that’s when I decided that if there was a good chance to return properly that I would do it.
What are your thoughts on how F1 has changed since you last competed?
Raikkonen: In 2010 I didn’t really follow Formula 1 but I saw more races last year. It doesn’t really look different, but there is overtaking in some different places where people can just drive past by opening the rear wing and the driver in front has no chance to defend himself – so is this really overtaking? I don’t think it counts all the time. But for sure the show is better. The tyres make a difference too, as there is a big speed difference between when the tyres are new and when the tyres are old. In the old Formula 1, you had to be so much faster than the guy in front of you to have any chance to overtake, but now with the tyres and the DRS, it’s different.
Do you have anything to prove with your return?
Raikkonen: I think people expect things from me, but as long as I know that I’m giving 100% and I’m happy with my driving then I’m happy. If those aspects are true and it’s not enough, then it’s not enough.
How well do you know your new team-mate, Romain Grosjean?
Raikkonen: I think we will have a good relationship. I met him before Christmas and I raced against him in 2009. He seems a very nice and normal guy, so I don’t see any problems there.