Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean talk about the Lotus E21
By Berthold Bouman
Kimi Raikkonen — “2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013.”
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean unveiled the Lotus 2013 contender today at their Enstone headquarters, both Lotus drivers were optimistic ahead of the 2013 season. Raikkonen recently signed up for another year with the Anglo-French outfit, and he feels pretty good after a successful 2012 campaign.
Asked about his second season with Lotus he said, “Last year was my return to Formula One and it went pretty well. This year will be my second with Lotus F1 Team and my eleventh season overall in Formula One so I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect. I’m sure it will be an exciting season and I’m sure there’ll be lots to talk about.”
Raikkonen is adamant he can still learn as a driver, but he feels he’s not a rookie anymore, “I don’t think you ever stop learning, but there is less to learn than if you’re a rookie. I don’t think I could say I’m a rookie. We had new tracks last year; that’s always something nice to learn and for me best learnt on the tracks themselves. There will be a new car which we’ll want to develop and get working at its best. There are always changes in the sport; some small, some big. Generally everything’s pretty similar, and the feeling of racing on track is pretty familiar.”
Of course the Finn has set some targets for the 2013 season — he will do the best job he can — but he has no idea if the new Lotus E21 is a winner or not. “I’ve not driven the E21 yet so it’s difficult to say what could or could not be possible. We know we had a good car last season, but everyone is working hard to make the best car. I will be working with the team to help get the car as strong as we can, then in Melbourne we’ll have our first taste of results. It’s a long season from there. 2012 was a good start; let’s see what we can do in 2013,” he said.
The 2007 World Champion thinks it is possible to win another title, but does Lotus have what it takes to win a championship? “Yes, I think they do,” he said, and added, “Clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they’ve won championships. Nothing I saw last year made me think that another championship was impossible in the future. Of course, there is some pretty tough competition out there and everyone wants to win. The team have beaten everyone before and there’s nothing to say they can’t do it again.”
What does he think of his team mate, Romain Grosjean? We had a pretty good relationship last year and it’s clear he’s fast and motivated. On track we were pretty close to each other at times but we didn’t have any issues. It’s good when you have a team mate who’s fast and works hard. I think we should be fine in 2013.”
Romain Grosjean — “I want to score a lot of points for the team.”
After a very eventful 2012 season, Grosjean is looking forward to another year with Lotus. It wasn’t always easy for the Frenchman in 2012 as he was heavily criticized about his controversial first lap accidents, but he thinks 2013 will be different.
“It’s clearly different for me this year. I have much more experience in Formula One and even if I knew the team before, I now know how to work with the engineers much better on the technical side. I also know all the tracks and understand better the various challenges of a season,” he said.
Asked about his objectives for this season he replied, “I can clearly say I want to score a lot of points for the team — everybody knows that — but I think it would be wrong for me to say I want to finish in a particular position in the championship. I really want to jump out of the car as many times as possible thinking that I did a good job.”
About the new E21 Grosjean said, “All through last year, the feedback given about the E20 was interpreted by the development team for the E21. This means there’s a lot of information from me and Kimi which went into this car. It’s difficult to say after the season ‘we would like this or that’ for next year. I think it’s more about the work done during the whole season; discussing this or that, or an idea about this or that. After twenty races you know more-or-less what has been good with the car and what hasn’t. Hopefully we’ve made the right calls for this year.”
And finally, with 2012 in the back of his mind, does Grosjean have something to prove this season? “I think everyone is waiting to see if I’m able to be consistent, which is where I was lacking a little bit last year. I know it and I’ll do everything I can to prove to people that I’m able to achieve this goal!”