Posts Tagged ‘Raikkonen’

It is well documented that Ferrari has suffered its worst start to the season since the 1980s. If they fail to score a point tomorrow it will be their worst start ever.

While both Renault and McLaren have been able to bring a version of the double diffuser to their car already, Ferrari is still waiting for its edition to come out in Spain.

Against the backdrop of a significant step forward for McLaren, all eyes were on Ferrari in qualifying today to see whether they could get both cars into the top ten shoot out. As it turned out Mark Webber being blocked early on made one top ten spot available, but Ferrari were in anyway with a remarkable turn of speed in Q2, on Raikkonen’s car in particular. Massa got through in 9th place from Q2.

But Raikkonen had used a new set of tyres in the first run of Q2 and didn’t want to go out again, but the team was anxious not to miss out as the track improved and sent him out again, so he did not have a new set available for his final and most important qualifying lap. Massa used a scrubbed set for his first run in Q2 so he had a new set left for his final lap. He was also lighter than Kimi, by 10kg. Massa is 8th on the grid, Kimi is 10th

Good pace up until the final run, then?
“Today I was quite happy with the way the car worked. It wasn’t ideal in the final part, but I didn’t have any new tyres left so there wasn’t much I could have done any more.

You were fourth fastest in the low fuel Q2 session
“The car was surprisingly good in the first and second qualifying sessions and I think if we’d had some new tyres in the last part we could have done quite a good job. But with old tyres and high fuel it’s not going to be easy. I didn’t want to go out a second time but the team wanted me to go out again so we wasted a set of tyres. So it was not what I was hoping for.”

Did the circuit change much over the hour?
“I didn’t feel that the circuit improved a lot, sometimes when you go with one new set of tyres after another you can get find a little but of time in different places. In fact I would say that towards the end the circuit got a little more slippery near the end.

How much did KERS help here in Bahrain, it’s one of the two best tracks for it (along with Monza)?
“The car’s performance has improved with KERS. lap time in the second session was surprisingly close to the front runners. Of course you never know what they are doing [with fuel] but it was anyway much closer to previous races. So I think from yesterday to today it definitely helped. We would not have used it if it didn’t.”

What are your prospects for the race?
“In the race it’s a completely different story, it’s going to be quite hot, it’s hard for the tyres. We will try to finish in the points, so we’ll see how we can do against the others, the car is not as strong as the ones in front of us. ”

What is the heat like to deal with?
“It doesn’t change much. It’s hotter sitting here than it is driving, it’s a very dry heat and you have the wind to cool you down a bit.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is coming to Bahrain tomorrow to be with the team and offer encouragement. However there is also a politcal purpose to his visit. He has a planned meeting with the vice president of Toyota to discuss the current situation in F1, the budget cap and the best way forward for the FOTA teams.

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Kimi Raikkonen wound up his Bahrain test yesterday with a mixed day in which he set a competitive time, stopped for four hours with a KERS problem and then talked about the new Ferrari. This is an important car in Kimi’s career story because he really has to get on well with it if he is to stay with Ferrari in future.

It’s no secret that he didn’t get on well with last year’s car and at times it left him scratching his head about whether he had lost his ‘gift’. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali stressed at the end of last year that they would do everything possible to get the best from Kimi and give him the material he needs.

Kimi said that the car is as fast as last year’s despite the reduced downforce, but that, “It’s still too early to say whether I get on better with the F60 than I did with the F2008, too little mileage and above all none of the updates which will be on the car soon. But it’s started well and we have improved in every area.”

The KERS stoppage, due to overheating, was interesting and I’m beginning to wonder whether anyone is going to start the season using their KERS system. I know that sounds nuts, but the teams themselves are asking the question. It’s a very new and very complex technology and there will be a critical mass whereby if enough of them give out the vibes that they’re not going to run it in Melbourne, then the rest could follow suit on the basis that it’s the same for everyone!

That would not suit Max Mosley, for whom F1’s move to green technology is an important story in the season build up.

Ferrari has done almost 2400km over the five days it has been running in Bahrain, not as many as the Toyota, which looks pretty bulletproof as well as fast.

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This is a question I have noticed that lot of my readers have been asking on search engines which have led them here, so I thought I’d do a quick post with the answer.

I had a word with a mate of mine who is an agent representing premiership footballers and I looked through my files on drivers and through the estimated figures in Formula Money, which has some good research into the financial side of the sport.

The answer is that the top drivers earn far more than the top premiership stars, but of course there are far more top footballers than F1 stars.

Top of the F1 tree is Kimi Raikkonen, who is believed to earn around $36 million £24m) per season, with Fernando Alonso on $24 million (£16m) and Lewis Hamilton understood to be on around £12 million. Jenson Button was trousering £12 million from Honda. Heikki Kovalainen gets around $5 million (£3.4m). A front of midfield driver, like Mark Webber, earns $4 million (£2.75m) with drivers like Kazuki Nakajima on around £500,000.

No premiership player is close to Raikkonen; the top earners like John Terry and Frank Lampard are on around £6 million per year, Steven Gerrard gets around £5 million. Christiano Ronaldo earns £4 million. Like F1, the sport rewards its stars disproportionately compared with the average competitor. The average premiership salary is £500,000 per year. All of these figures are for the salary, not including the endorsements that many drivers and players have.

So the bottom line is, the top premiership stars earn roughly the same as the midfield guys in F1.

It’s only a quick look at the picture, but hope that answers your question.

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It’s great that F1 and its fans can once again focus on cars and racing, rather than chew through a diet of bad news about F1’s economic crisis. The crisis hasn’t gone away of course, but we are now in the season of hope; new cars, new dreams and new expectations.

The Ferrari media-fest continues, now the protagonists have moved up to the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort for the annual press event known as “Wrooom!”

Over the next couple of days Massa and Raikkonen will elaborate on the brief comments they made at Monday’s launch, but today was the turn of the team principal Stefano Domenicali and he did not disappoint, speaking of the championship ahead and the drivers.

The most eye-catching quote regarded Kimi. ” He has the capacity to isolate himself,” he said, echoing Michael Schumacher’s comments from last season. “It’s like he lives on another planet. I’ve never seen him suffer from pressure either from the media or from other drivers. Don’t expect him to smile or speak Italian, but he will show his quality right from the outset.”

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