Raikkonen Returns

On two sunny January days, former world champion Kimi Raikkonen made his return to a Formula One car. He took part in his Lotus-Renault team’s 2010 car, as FIA rules dictate a returning or new driver may only test in a car two or more years older than the current version. He completed a total of over 170 laps over both days, more than the distance two full-length races.

Happy to be back, he said:

“It went well today and overall the two days have been helped me a lot,” said the Finn. “Even though I was using a two year-old car and the Pirelli demonstration tyres, I learnt about working with the team and the engineers which means I can focus on the new car once we get to Jerez for the first official test.

“It was great to be driving an F1 car again and from that respect I feel very positive.”

Getting to know his new team

He also added a note of caution to those expecting him to be on the pace straight away, as he referenced the potential tyre troubles which befall some of 2011’s runners:

“”It was nice to get back in the car,” explained Raikkonen. “It was quite a few years since I have driven last time, [and] of course it takes a little while to get used to it. But the main driving, braking, turning, that doesn’t take many laps. But of course to start learning about the car and team and tyres, that will take time.”

Back at the wheel

Long-time member of the team and now Trackside Operations Manager, Alan Permane, echoed the Finn’s good vibes:

“We enjoyed another good day with Kimi in Valencia,” he said. “The morning was spent doing set-up work in particular with front and rear cambers. In the afternoon we ran very low fuel qualifying simulations with two new sets of tyres followed by a 27 lap run starting with a full tank of fuel.

“Kimi’s pace improved from yesterday as we would expect and we completed several start, pitstop and clutch simulations. We were even able to finish early as we completed our programme ahead of time. Overall it has been a productive and valuable two days.”

The next outing for Raikkonen shall be at the first of four pre-season tests. Test 1 takes place over four days, between February 7th – 10th at Jerez, Spain.

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