Kimi Räikkönen interview:
Q. A new season is here – how does it feel to be preparing for another year and what are your expectations?
A. We’re launching the car today, we’ll be testing in less than a month – the new season is really coming in quickly. We’ll just need to see how it goes: see how the car is when we get to try it and do the best we can in testing. Obviously, there have been some changes in the rules, even though the basic car is the same: the chassis is frozen but we have a new engine, some new elements, so we have to find out how the package works together and go from there. Besides that, the preparations are always the same every year. It’s nice to get started again.
Q. It was a shorter break than usual this year but hopefully still enjoyable. What have you done since we last saw you in Abu Dhabi?
A. I haven’t been doing much since the end of last season. We had Christmas and New Year’s right after Abu Dhabi, so we went to Finland for a while before coming back to Switzerland. I’ve been spending time with the family, doing normal things, training and visiting the factory a few times. In general, very basic home things – soon we will start travelling again, so I made the most of the time off.
Q. We have seen you do a lot of winter sports on social media. How have you been approaching the season, training-wise? After a season with so many races in a short time, did you change anything, from a physical point of view, in the way you are preparing for the season?
A. No, not really. Obviously, every year the preparation varies a little bit depending on the weather conditions, any teamwork we may have to do that might require more travelling – my plan really depends on these different factors. I mostly do things that feel good for me and they are very similar every year. I don’t have a fixed schedule, there are no big plans made in advance. I enjoy training, but if one day I feel that I do not want to train, I will train the next day. It’s not the end of the world!
Q. Third year with the same team, the same team-mate – continuity is the word. How is your relationship with both evolving?
A. Obviously I knew Antonio already from our days back at Ferrari. This made it quite easy for both of us when we became team-mates. Of course, the more years we spend together, the better we get to know each other. We always had a good relationship and we have some good fun together. Our main objective is hopefully having better results as a team this year: Antonio and I are working to move the team forward – let’s see how this season goes.
Q. Testing will be a lot shorter this season – only one and a half-day in the car for each driver. What are your priorities?
A. We will find out what the main priorities are soon enough: of course, the team always has many things they want to try. The drivers may prefer to do one thing, like trying different set-ups, so you need to find a compromise so that you get the most out of these days. This year, with only one and a half days per driver, there cannot be any reliability issue – you can’t afford to lose half a day or a full day as you will be left with not much to work with. It’ll be important to pick and choose the right things to tests, trying to spread it over the three days: I am hoping for good mileage and to finish the week feeling positive.