Lotus Formula One Team driver Kimi Raikkonen previews the opening race weekend of the 2013 Formula 1 season: the Australian Grand Prix. The Iceman talks about how testing went for him and what he expects from the race at the Albert Park Circuit.
Albert Park is upon us and testing didn’t quite go to plan for you; how are you feeling at the start of the 2013 Formula 1 season? "We had some problems in testing but we still completed quite a few laps. Of course, you always want more laps, but it is what it is. We’re all going racing and then we’ll really see where we’re at. I’m not really concerned about reliability or anything like that as it was the same problem which caused us the biggest problems in testing and we’re on top of that now. You can never be 100% certain of course, but if you look at last season we had problems before the start of the year then we were pretty good when we got to the races. Of course we hope that we can perform better than last year, but let’s see how it goes. "
Do you feel better placed to fight for the championship than last year? "Hopefully, but it’s so difficult to say from testing. Twenty kilos of fuel can make a big difference to lap time and we don’t know how much fuel people were carrying in Spain. Let’s see what happens in Melbourne. Hopefully we can be fast in the first races and have a good start to the year."
You’ve said the E21 is a nice step forward from the its predecessor; is that across the board and in every area, or is there more you want from a racing car? "I think you always want more, but this car is a pretty good starting point and we’ll see; hopefully we’re fast enough. I don’t think there’s any area where it feels worse than last year’s car; so far everything is better. We had good speed last year, but not enough to win the championship. That means we need more speed this year. If we can get just a little more from the car and keep our consistency, with some better results at the beginning of the year, then we should have a much better chance. "
It’s your second year with Lotus F1 Team; does that continuity help you and your feeling with the team and does it mean you are working well together? "It helps for sure, but if it’s going to make a difference, well I don’t know. The fact that we know each other already will be better – you know each other and what the other driver likes from their car and so on – but if this actually helps to bring better results to the team I don’t really know."
What would you like to achieve in Albert Park? "I’d like to start the season strongly and hopefully run the first races better than we did last year. We don’t know exactly what to expect so we’ll try to do the best we can; we should have a reasonable start to the season."
You’ve had some good races in Australia; is it good to be starting the year there? "Australia is a nice place even though it’s a long way from Europe. The circuit itself is not the most difficult on the calendar. It was good to score a point on my first time at Albert Park, and the podiums and race win in 2007 obviously made me happy. The circuit hasn’t changed at all so I’m confident I know which way it goes… "
Do you think Albert Park could suit the E21? "It’s always difficult to say for the first race of the year. It’s not a full time race track so the weekend starts pretty slippery. The weather can be a bit of a surprise sometimes and we’ll also learn how we compare to the other teams. You need a car with good traction and the E21 feels better in this area than the E20 which wasn’t a bad car itself. Strong turn-in and stable braking help too, and those areas also feel good with the car so we are well placed."Source Lotus F1