MELBOURNE, March 13th, 2014 (F1Plus / Jacob Polychronis) Kimi Raikkonen lived up to his reputation as the ‘Ice Man’ as he played down the effect of new engine regulations to grip Formula One this year on Thursday.
During the day’s media events, Raikkonen claimed that it is tyres which will influence drivers more this year, and not the newly fitted 1.6L turbo-charged engines. Subsequently, Raikkonen predicts this year’s championship to be closely contested by a number of drivers.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a big difference between the top drivers no matter what the rules are.”
“Obviously there is more torque and so you have to be a little bit more careful in some areas. I think that different tyres will influence the style of driving more than the rule changes will.”
The intention from Raikkonen was clear, as he answered questions from the world’s media - his intention is to win. However, Raikkonen remains uncertain as to if he will be able to add a second drivers’ championship to his trophy cabinet.
“Obviously we want to win but I don’t know how strong we will be. It’s too hard to say from testing, I prefer to wait for a few races. I will try to do the best and hopefully I’ll improve all the time and fight for championship. That’s the aim but if it’s going to happen…it’s too early to say.”
“There’s a big rule change so it is a bit of an unknown and it’s difficult to predict where the others are.”
An easy return
The weekend’s Australian Grand Prix represents a familiar challenge for Raikkonen. The Finn has previously won the event twice, including once in 2007 with his current team, Ferrari.
Returning to the team which he won a world championship with is proving to be a comfortable experience for Raikkonen.
“I’ve been here before, I know the people so in that way it is certainly a lot easier [than the first time].”
All eyes will be fixated on Ferrari as many question if the “dream-team,” consisting of Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, will prove to be successful.