Maranello, March 5 – There are now only a few days to go to the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season and this year, like never before, there is a great sense of anticipation to see the cars take to the track on Friday in Albert Park. For Kimi Raikkonen, there’s an extra reason why it will feel special, because he will be starting his second stint at Ferrari. Most recently, the Finn won this race in 2013, but he also did it back in 2007, when he made his Ferrari debut, thus joining a select band who triumphed first time out for the Prancing Horse, drivers of the calibre of Juan Manuel Fangio, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell. Only one other driver managed it after Kimi and that was his current team-mate, Fernando Alonso.
“I remember very well my first win with Ferrari,” Kimi told www.ferrari.com. “it couldn’t have been a better start to my seventh year in Formula 1, with a dominant win from pole. Winning always feels great for me. Nothing could be better. Last year, we also managed to win, which certainly surprised people because unlike 2007, at Lotus we weren’t favourites. So, if I had to compare the two Australian wins, somehow, winning it last year for the second time felt even a little bit nicer after such a difficult pre-season testing period.
“Australia is a great place to start the season, Melbourne is a wonderful city and, for us Europeans it always feels a bit special to be in this different part of the world. Only the weather is not always that nice,” added Raikkonen. “I can remember only one GP here where there was sunshine all the time. Of course, I’d prefer dry and hot weekends, especially this year with a completely new car and so many technical aspects still to be understood completely.”
Kimi ran the Albert Park track programme on the simulator today, to try and anticipate unusual situations that could arise because of the characteristics of the 2014 car. “The track is not that difficult and it’s a combination of a street circuit and a permanent race track and the event is very well organised. Sure, if your car is not well balanced then life can get difficult because you can lose a lot of time compared to those have got it right. If it rains, then the track is very, very slippery and the white lines can be really treacherous.”
The Espoo man won’t be drawn into what could be the possible outcome of the race: “Making predictions has never been my habit and this year there is even more reason not to. We are heading Down Under with brand new cars and I reckon it is wide open and anything can happen. In Maranello, we have worked hard and the F14 T seems to be a good car, but the track will tell who is quickest. When we start running to see where we are, we will at least have some data to give us a starting point.”