Räikkönen: “The US made me want to come back to F1”

Kimi heads to Austin looking for a longer race than last time out, and expecting to enjoy some good old fashioned American hospitality.

What do you think of the Circuit of the Americas? It’s a nice circuit. The layout is quite interesting and the racing last year was good. The sectors of the track are fairly different, so there’s a challenge there. Last year the days started out pretty cold so it was very slippery, but hopefully now it’s been used a bit more the track surface won’t be as shiny, so it should be easier to get the car as we want it.

You’ll be using the shorter wheelbase car again; why is this? It has a better feeling for me and seems to make it easier for me to get more of what I want from the car. We’ve been trying to get rid of understeer to get the car more as I want it and the shorter car helps with this.

Any thoughts looking back at your race in Abu Dhabi? It wasn’t the longest race I’ve been in; certainly not as good as my 2012 race there either. Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but that’s the way things go sometimes. We should have a much longer race in Austin.

What’s your previous experience of racing in the US? I competed in seven Grands Prix at Indianapolis. Unfortunately the one time I felt I had a really strong car there it was 2005 when only six cars raced and I wasn’t one of them. I did get pole position in 2003, but none of the races there are ones I remember well. In 2011 I tried NASCAR. I did two races on the Charlotte oval and I really liked it a lot.

That was probably the experience I needed to open my eyes for racing again. After that I really wanted to come back to Formula 1, while it was a tempting idea to do more NASCAR too.

How are you looking forward to racing in Austin again? After going there for the first time last year – like everyone – I’m particularly looking forward to this one. I like the American atmosphere, it ’s just a relaxed environment. They know how to have fun, and most of all they love racing.

What are your memories of last year’s race? It was an okay day, but not a very easy one for us. I got a bad start and then I touched with another car on the first lap so I had a lot of work to do. We were using quite hard tyres for the race so it was difficult to get the performance you wanted from them; especially when it got cooler because of the clouds that day. Hopefully it’ll be clear skies this year.

Do you think a better performance is possible this year? The car has been feeling pretty good and we’ve seen some good races this year. We won’t know how good it is in Austin until we’re out on track, but we’re certainly pushing for a good result.

Lotus F1 Team

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Article type Interviews
Tags cota, f1, lotus, raikkonen, us gp

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