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Ferrari: 'We'll keep Kimi busy'

2014-01-02 08:06

HARD WORK AHEAD: Former Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has his work cut out for him at Ferrari with simulator testing. Image: AP

LONDON, England - Kimi Raikkonen is no fan of Formula 1 simulators but he can expect to be spending a lot of time in one now that he is back with Ferrari.

The 2014 season marks the return of the "Iceman" in red overalls since he left Ferrari in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso.


Raikkonen (34) moved from Lotus to team-up with Alonso and has plenty of work to do with the first pre-season test in Jerez in January.

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo said: "Kimi will be extremely busy since the beginning of January to work in this strange machine that I don't like at all, the simulator.

"It's a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in this terrible, artificial, machine instead of being allowed to test here (at Fiorano) and at Mugello."

Montezemolo has long pushed for a return to in-season track testing, something which has been heavily limited as part of cost-saving measures, rather than relying on virtual technology.


Four two-day post-race tests in Europe are allowed in 2014 but they replace an annual three-day young driver test and each team's current allowance of eight days promotional track time.

Teams, who have had to reduce significantly the amount of wind tunnel testing they do before a cost cap is introduced in 2015, are working flat out on their new cars with the sport going through a rule change revolution.

The old 2.4-litre V8 engines have been ditched, with a new and less thirsty 1.6 V6 turbocharged power unit with energy recovery systems introduced in its place.

All drivers will have to come to terms with the new technology, and different ways of racing, and have already been putting in the laps around familiar circuits in their team simulators to get a taste of how the cars will handle.

Raikkonen, who underwent back surgery in November 2013 and missed the last two races of the 2013 season, is not big on them.

In 2012, ahead of his first Indian Grand Prix in his comeback season, Raikkonen told reporters: "I'm not like other drivers, so I haven't driven the simulator to learn it."


Raikkonen is expected to be first to try out the new car at Jerez, with 2013's runner-up Alonso joining the test later, and their partnership will be closely watched for signs of strain between the two.

Montezemolo, who once warned against having "two roosters in the same hen house", said he wanted two team players and assured reporters he was not worried.

Montezemolo said: "Putting together Alonso and Raikkonen could be dangerous. In F1...everything is potential danger.

"I think that Fernando knows that he drives not for himself but for Ferrari. And Raikkonen knows that he is in the second half of his career, two very important years for him, with experience and responsibilities."

Describing Raikkonen as a "very correct guy" who was fully motivated and concentrated, the Italian said the Finn's talents would mean Alonso was no longer fighting a lone battle up front against his rivals and would have someone pushing him hard.

Montezemolo said: "(Team principal Stefano) Domenicali has spoken very clearly to both of them. They have the honour and the responsibility to drive for Ferrari and every driver knows that he has to drive not for himself but for the team.

"If a driver wants to drive for himself, there are many possibilities. They can do their own team, they can go in a different team but in Ferrari these are the rules."

Raikkonen remains Ferrari's most recent World champion, with the sport's most successful outfit finishing third overall in 2013 behind champions Red Bull and runners-up Mercedes.
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