Apr.5 (PVM) Kimi Raikkonen’s comfort issues in the cockpit of the Lotus E20 have grabbed numerous headlines since the Iceman made his comeback to F1 and his team is already working on ensuring that their 2013 car does not have the same problem.
Raikkonen was at the team’s Enstone factory on Wednesday, race engineer Mark Slade explains why, “Kimi’s main priority today was to sit in a basic mock-up we have of next year’s car. There’s some re-thinking in terms of the driver position for 2013, and we wanted to test it out before committing any further to the concept. It may seem early, but it’s better to do these things sooner rather than later otherwise it can hold up the whole design process.”
“We’re assessing very basic features at this point; making sure the changes we’re considering are going to be ok for him and he didn’t have any problems with it – which is good news! He’s a pleasure to deal with, especially on the technical side,” revealed Slade.
The comfort factor for Raikkonen, in the cockpit, appears to be linked to the steering system. He told journalists at Sepang, “We’re still working on the steering. We tried a new system but there wasn’t a huge difference from how it felt in Melbourne. It’s not exactly how we want it yet but it certainly won’t be an issue.”
Slade, who worked with Raikkonen in 2006 during his final year at McLaren, added, “We just took the chance to have a brief chat about things before Shanghai. This included discussions over the power steering and what we’re planning for that, aero improvements we have coming for the next race, and also some damper mods. We basically just gave him a quick run-down on what to expect in China, and what we’re hoping for.”
“Kimi has always gone very well at Shanghai. The last time I worked with him there was in 2006, when he was running in a strong P2 during a wet / dry race until technical problems forced him to retire. That was a real shame, but he had always performed well there in previous years as well with P3 in 2004 and P2 in 2005. Then of course there was his win in 2007,” recalled Slade.