INTERVIEW WITH KIMI AND ROMAIN—
Kimi Räikkönen: “The nice thing is that it starts so late”
After a challenging Indian Grand Prix, our Finn heads to the scene of his first race victory for Lotus F1
Team fired up for a strong result –
How’s the feeling heading back to the scene of your 2012 race victory?
You just approach it like any race. I had a good result there last year, but I had a very boring race there the
first time I visited in 2009. I’d prefer to have another good result, but you don’t know how strong you’ll be
until you get to the circuit.
What do you think of the Yas Marina?
It’s a great place to go. The circuit is connected to big entertainment centre and you’ve got all the boats
moored next to the circuit. There are often a lot of passionate fans watching the race and for me the hotel is
walking distance from the track which I like. It’s also good to race at a circuit where you have had a strong
Anything else in Abu Dhabi that’s good for you?
I like to be on a familiar time zone so you can wake up normally and do everything in the expected order.
That’s one of nice things with this race; especially with it starting so late.
What do you think of the circuit itself?
The facilities are second to none. The track layout makes it really challenging for overtaking as there are
not too many places to pass. You really have to qualify well to be at the front and get a strong result from
there. There are many corners, you need good overall downforce and grip, plus the car has to ride the
kerbs very well too. It’s a track where you really hope to get everything nicely together during the whole
weekend. When you succeed with that, it’s a good place to race. I have had one very boring race being
stuck in the middle group and then one great race fighting for the victory at the top. I know which I prefer.
Your race in 2009 wasn’t one of your favourites then?
That was a boring one I can tell you! I finished back in twelfth position and there was nothing I could do
about it. Those sorts of races are not the best.
How did it feel to take your 19th
win in Abu Dhabi last year?
I was very happy for the team; myself also obviously, but mainly for the all the crew and everyone at
Enstone. It was a hard season so the win was well deserved for everyone and just what we needed. It was
something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team too. For me, it was just
another win on the list. It’s great of course because it had been a few years, but the wins before were very
similar; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought hard and still won.
How does the evening race timing influence the race?
An evening race means I can get up later! Having a mixture of day and night makes a different challenge
from circuits that we see anywhere else. We start with the sun and finish with the lights. It’s different,
interesting and spectacular for the fans to watch too.
You’ve had some great races where you’ve moved up the order superbly; what’s the key to
overtaking in Formula 1?
You cannot plan it beforehand. Often an occasion comes suddenly and you have to jump on it immediately.
Sometimes you get it right, sometimes not. More often nowadays you have to sit for quite a while behind
somebody to work out where you can do it. Sometimes you just have to wait to see if the guy in front
makes a mistake or if his tyres are finished quicker than yours; that’s when you do it.
How was your Indian Grand Prix?
We tried something different with a one stop strategy and it didn’t work, but we didn’t lose anything by
making a late second stop over running the normal two stop strategy. I had a brake problem for all of the
race where they were overheating, and this got worse in traffic so I couldn’t overtake.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
A race like last year would be good, rather than the one I had there in 2009.
Romain Grosjean: “I’ve been on the podium for the last three races; I like it there!”
A storming drive through the field from seventeenth to third made three consecutive podiums for Romain
Grosjean, who heads to Abu Dhabi with four-in-a-row very much the target
What do you think of the Yas Marina circuit?
It’s an amazing facility and it looks so impressive. It’s not used as much as some circuits over the course of
the year so we know we’re going to get lower grip at the start of the weekend. For me, the layout is not my
favourite – there are too many second gear corners for my liking – but not every circuit can be your
favourite and the E21 certainly seems to be liking every track at the moment!
What types of memories do you have of Abu Dhabi?
My history in Abu Dhabi isn’t bad. Last year wasn’t the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not
finish the race. It was however a great race for the team, so we know what is possible. I’ve been on pole
position in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World
Championship round there. My comeback to Formula 1 was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice
session in 2011, so I’ve got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more…
The Indian Grand Prix was quite some drive for you from 17th
on the grid to the podium?
If you had told me after qualifying that I’d be on the podium in India I would have said you were crazy! At
the start of the race our prediction was fourth place at best if we could make a strong start and have a
perfect race from there, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team. A friend of
mine in the media said he would eat his hat if I made a one-stop strategy work, so I’m looking forward to
With a different outcome on Saturday, would the win have been achievable?
If we’d started further up the grid then a fight for second would definitely have been possible, but Sebastian
[Vettel] was just too quick. Congratulations to him; he’s a nice guy, a great driver, and I hope to be
challenging him for that World Championship in the future…
Does the schedule of a late race affect you?
I quite like it as it means you can get more sleep and I like to sleep! The logistics of the race are pretty
good as you stay right next to the circuit and the facilities are amazing. On the Friday you don’t start the
first practice until the afternoon, then qualifying and the race itself start pretty late in the afternoon too so it’s
different from a lot of races we do. Everything seems to work well like this, but in reality when you’re in the
car you’re not thinking about the time of day; you’re thinking about the lap time!
What about the heat?
It’s certainly a contrast to the weather in Europe at the moment! The cockpit of a Formula 1 car can be a
pretty hot place even when it’s cold outside, but certainly Abu Dhabi is one of the hotter places we visit. It’s
very important that you take lots of fluids throughout the day – not just when you’re in the car – as you can
get dehydrated if you’re not careful.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
I’ll come with the same philosophy as those last few races to give and do my best. I’ve finished on the
podium in Korea, Japan and India. It’s a good feeling being there. Without my engine problem in Singapore
I could have been on the podium there too. Certainly in this latter part of the season, our latest car with the
revised Pirelli tyres seems to work very well and I can get a good performance from it at different circuits. I
only want to be scoring points for the team and you get the most points from being on the podium!
Brawn and Mercedes have failed to reach an agreement on a role in which he would have been happy to stay at the team, sources close to Mercedes said.
Mercedes will now be run in tandem by their two executive directors, Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe, along with non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.
Both Mercedes and Brawn refused to comment on the development. Brawn’s impending departure follows months of talks between Mercedes bosses and the man who masterminded Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles at Benetton and Ferrari.
Brawn also headed Jenson Button’s title-winning 2009 season, entering privately as Brawn GP following Honda’s withdrawal from the sport. Mercedes eventually took over the team for 2010. The German company had originally signed Lowe, who was formerly the technical director of McLaren, last winter with the intention of him replacing Brawn with immediate effect.
But plans then changed, with Mercedes saying they wanted a ‘soft transition’, that they would like Brawn to stay.
Lauda pushed for Brawn to remain at the team, but the stumbling block was over the level of authority he would have. Brawn, 58, wanted to stay in overall charge. However, sources close to the team say that option was never open.
Mercedes believe a single team principal is an outdated concept given the complexities of modern F1. They were hoping to persuade Brawn to stay on in a role that did not involve the day-to-day running of the team.
RALLY RACC – RALLY DE ESPAÑA – 24-27/10/2013 – WRC2—
ROBERT KUBICA SECURES WRC2 TITLE WITH WIN—
Robert Kubica and Maciek Baran dominated on tarmac and then controlled from the front on gravel to take their fifth win of the year at Rally de España. The Pole thus claimed the FIA WRC2 crown at the end of a perfect season, which he will conclude at the wheel of a DS3 WRC at next month’s Wales Rally GB.
The seventh and final event of Robert Kubica’s WRC2 programme, Rally de España provided the Pole with a major challenge since he had a chance to wrap up the title with a podium finish. Having already won four times this season (in Greece, Sardinia, Germany and France), the Citroën DS3 RRC driver was determined to finish in style whilst also accumulating as much experience as possible at the championship’s only mixed surface event.
After setting off from the square in front of Barcelona Cathedral, the competitors contested three night stages on Friday evening. On the first 21km-long stage, Robert Kubica beat his nearest rival by some 26 seconds! Maintaining his impressive form on the other two stages, he ended the first leg over 50s ahead of Elfyn Evans.
Keeping up his good pace the next day, he consolidated his lead at the rate of around half a second per kilometre. At the midday service, the gap to second place was 1:31.0. After winning the rally’s first eight stages, Robert only eased off slightly on the Salou super special stage. As Evans retired at that point, his lead over the second-placed driver exceeded the four-minute barrier!
With such a big lead, the challenge on day three was to finish the rally without jeopardizing the result taking shape. Whilst remaining focussed, Robert conceded a few seconds on the opening stages. However, he set the fastest time on the final two stages to finish the race in style, beating Yazeed Al-Rajhi into second by over five minutes.
Having scored 144 points out of a maximum possible of 150, Robert Kubica therefore becomes the first ever WRC2 champion. It is a title that crowns a season full of discoveries for the Pole: “Perhaps you’ll think that this result has been easily obtained, but I can assure you that it has been difficult from start to finish! When I began my season in Portugal, it was my first rally on gravel and I had to come up with answers to the hundreds of questions I had. After that, every event was totally different to the ones that went before, including those on tarmac. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this success, starting with Citroën Racing, PH Sport and my partner Lotos, without whom I wouldn‘t be here today.”
Robert also admitted that he wouldn’t be resting on his laurels for very long, preferring to focus on the challenges ahead: “In fact, I never really celebrated my win at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, so don’t expect any big celebrations from me! If people are happy that I have had some good results, then I’m pleased for them! The main thing for me is that I have improved, that I have made progress on gravel in spite of the limitations of my arm… I still have a lot of work to do before I can be totally satisfied, because I am very demanding of myself.”
In recognition of their performances, Robert Kubica and Maciek Baran will line up at Wales Rally GB (13-17 November) in the DS3 WRC of the Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team.
Sebastian Vettel wins the 2013 Formula One Drivers’ Championship-
SEBASTIAN VETTEL TAKES HIS FOURTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP—
Sebastian Vettel has claimed the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship crown, his fourth consecutive drivers’ title. The 26-year-old German drove his Renault-powered Infiniti Red Bull Racing to victory in the Indian Grand Prix, clinching the title with three races remaining. Sebastian has scored 10 wins, 7 pole positions and an insurmountable 322 points so far this season.
Sebastian’s win now brings him level with Renault Ambassador Alain Prost’s tally of four drivers’ championship wins.
Alain Prost commented, ‘I’m delighted to see Sebastian win the title today. He is a great driver and he has had some outstanding wins this year, some of the best of his career so far. Singapore was one of those wins: he was fighting all the way but he made it look easy, which is always a mark of a worthy winner.
‘You can see he is methodical in his approach, builds a strong team around him that is 100% motivated for success and is entirely focused on the end result.
‘He is a great champion and I don’t think this title will be his last. He has a good team around him, stability with the technical team and with Renault, and of course he is still young enough to challenge for more
‘I’m pleased to see him equal my four titles. I wish him all the best to go on and win others and become a great Renault champion.’
Jean-Michel Jalinier, President of Renault Sport F1, added, ‘Congratulations to Sebastian on his fourth title. He has shown great panache this year against very tough competition and fully deserved to win this season. It is a proud moment for Renault too, as Sebastian has taken the number of drivers’ titles we have to which we have contributed to 11, five of which have been won with the Renault V8 engine. We are very incredibly proud to have been able to maintain our quality and success throughout this entire period and to give great drivers like Sebastian the opportunity to do justice to their innate talent.’