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Formula One World Champion Participated in Renault’s Stars Rally

Published: March 19, 2013 | 6:46 pm
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(CNA)-Kimi Raikkonen, Formula One World Champion paid his first visit to Russia to take part in Stars Rally. The 24th traditional rally was held on February 23. The COMMERCIAL TIMES interviewed Raikkonen.

- How did you like your race in Za Rulem Stars Cup? How was it – driving on the icy road?

It’s ok. Nothing new for me. In Finland we have the same conditions.

- What’s been the main motivation for your comeback to Formula One with Lotus?

- I like to race and if you want to race you probably also want to be on top of this sport. F1 is probably the best place for that. As I said – I want to race that’s why I’m going back.

- What are the main differences in the work approaches at Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus?

- All companies are different, it’s not just in racing but in general. Swiss, Italian, British… They really try to do the same thing – produce the best results they can but they do it in their own kind of way. I don’t think there’s one right or wrong way of doing things it’s just working on the same goal with a different approach.

- After the tests you have your opinion on new E21. Do you think it would be a better car than the previous one?

- I think it’s better. A step forward compared to the last year. Is it good enough? I don’t know, we’ll see during the season. It’s going to be a long season, we have to try and start better than we did last year and then go from there.

- How do you evaluate your interaction with the team-mate? In your opinion, will Romain Grosjean step up in the 2013 season?

- He’s fast, we know that. He did well last year. He had some problems during the races but he knows more about Formula 1 now than before. I guess he can do better or he can do worse, it happens to all of us. I can do better or I can do worse than the last year. We cannot promise anything, we just can do our best and see what happens.

- 5 world Champions participate in F1. Besides Kimi Raikkonen, who is the most prominent participant? Who can you name your main rival?

- Well, Vettel won many years in a row. I guess he’s pretty strong. There were two guys in front of us last year, let’s see what happens this year, hopefully we can make it better.

- Are there any FIA rules that prevent you from winning? Would you change some of them if you could?

- They are also the same for everybody so there’s no point in complaining or changing anything. We just try to get the best out of what we’ve got.

- This year should be the last for V8 engines. The following year, race cars will be equipped with 1.5-liter V6 engines with a turbocharger. In your opinion, are the teams and engine suppliers ready for such significant changes? Are you up for it? Is this the correct vector of technological development selected by Formula 1 organizers? Do you think these changes will the group of F-1 leaders?

- I don’t think it changes a lot for the drivers or for the team. It’s going to make a massive difference for manufacturers though – they’ll have to produce new engines. It might be a little bit different for the drivers to start with but for sure this might change the results a lot if somebody makes a lot of mistakes with the engines.

- Do you think these two worlds, of rally and of Formula 1, are radically different or not? Which one is more exciting?

- Everything is different completely. These are two different kinds of sport and I like both. I enjoy doing rally since it was very difficult because I didn’t have experience like I have in Formula 1. I’d love to do it more if I could even now. But you can’t compare these two – they are so much different in all the areas.

- After F1, do you intend to go ahead with other series? You also participated in NASCAR races, it might be interesting to participate in INDYCAR as well…

- I don’t know. I don’t have any plans for the next year or the year after. We’ll have to see what happens: maybe I wouldn’t want to race anything or maybe I would want to do some racing. Who knows.

- How do you prepare yourself psychologically and emotionally before the race?

- I don’t have any specials things, I just try to get the start right and go from there. You can not really plan the race because you never know what’s going to happen and you have to be ready for everything and make the right decision when it comes to it.

- For the sake of what values do you risk your life – is it for money, adrenaline drive or fame?

- I don’t think that anybody thinks that we risk our lives. It would be a wrong approach for the whole races. It’s something that we like to do and that’s why we do it.

- What car do you drive in your everyday life?

- I guess, Renault.

- Any particular model?

- Megane.

- Is it true that your first car was a Lada?

- Yes.

- Where is it now?

- I have no idea. I gave it to my friend when I was 18 so it was quite a few years ago.

- Who was your favorite F1 pilot when you were a child?

- I don’t have any favorites. I always cheered for Finns but I never had one that I was constantly hoping for to win. I was more interested in the sport itself

- If not racing, is there any other area you would like to work in?

I think in some other sport. If not racing then moto racing. Or mechanics.

- They call you Iceman. But is there anything that can get you angry?

- For sure, there are a lot of things. But I think everybody has them.

- Who came up with it?

It was a long time ago, I think it was Ron Dennis.

- What are you afraid of most in your life?

- Everybody is afraid of something. For me there’s not really anything that comes up in every day life. I don’t know. But for sure you get scared sometimes when something goes wrong.

- Are you keen on speed in your daily life as well?

- No. Well, I was when I was little bit younger but not really anymore.

- What does the Formula driver feel when he stands on the top of the pedestal? And what does he think about standing on the second or third steps?

- For sure it feels better to be in the middle than second or third. You’re happy because you achieved something you’ve been working hard for. Being second or third is not a huge disappointment because it’s still a good result but in Formula 1 you try to win and you fail – you are not 100% satisfied. The only thing left to do is try to be better next time.

- How do you feel about some pilots’ saying that F1 has long ceased to be a great race and become something different? What do you think it has become?

- Every sport changes, that’s just the nature of life. I think this year was quite exciting and I had a lot of good races last year. Some people like it, some not but you never going to please everybody.

- Is it true that sleeping is one of your most favorite occupations in life?

- I like to sleep. I can’t say that it’s my favorite thing but it’s not wrong to sleep.

- At what age do you plan to leave the Formula?

- I don’t have any plans. It might be next year, it might be in ten years. Who knows.

- Do you think it’s right to leave at the peak of your career?

- Some people don’t have a choice, some people have a choice and some never probably achieved what they think they should. So in the end everybody does what they think is right for them.

- What do you plan to do after your racing career?

- Frankly, I don’t have any plans. And I don’t like guessing.



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