"Raikkonen would have won eight titles if he'd been born earlier"

06-06-2020 14:40
by GPblog.com
Raikkonen would have won eight titles if he'd been born earlier

Kimi Raikkonen has been a special personality in Formula 1 from the beginning of his career. A driver who speaks in front of the camera with very few words. That this isn't an act is evident from the words of his former engineer at Lotus.

In the two years (2012-2013) that Raikkonen drove at Lotus, Ricardo Penteado was at the head of the engine department of the team. To Motorsport.com he tells about the frustrating experiences he had with the Finn at first, but also that he started to respect him enormously afterwards.

Raikkonen doesn't talk on his own

The difficulties started before Raikkonen had even driven one meter in the car. He was going to test on the circuit of Valencia and the team planned to give him a full update on the car a day in advance. Especially since he had turned his back on the sport for two years. However, Kimi only showed up when it was time to get in the car and at the first race of the season he still didn't know what all the buttons on the wheel were for.

Penteado was irritated and it would take several races before he realized that Raikkonen doesn't ask for more information if you don't insist specifically. Kimi was there to race, that's all. His driving qualities were excellent and his engineer thinks he would have had more success in a Formula 1 world that would have been simpler.

"In the end, after an incredible race [in Melbourne], Kimi finished seventh after starting in 18th place. He proved his point, but it was difficult for me to adapt to him. It took him ten races to know my name was 'Rico' (Ricardo's nickname)". In the first races Kimi simply called him "Hey, motor, motr!" If anything should happen to the Renault power unit.

Raikkonen is a natural talent

"Raikkonen would have been world champion eight times if he'd been born 20 years earlier. He needs very few tools and information to be fast. He has a natural talent for space and knows exactly how to win time with the right balance of the car."

Penteado makes the comparison with Romain Grosjean, his teammate at the time. Raikkonen is a stunt pilot, who does everything by feeling, while Grosjean is an astronaut in his eyes. Someone who knows all the technical aspects of the car by heart. According to him, the ideal driver is a combination of the two and comparable to a fighter jet pilot.

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