Ferrari will keep Raikkonen busy

Wed Jan 1, 2014 8:06am EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen is no more a fan of Formula One simulators than Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo but the Finn can expect to be spending a lot of time in one now he is back at Maranello.

The start of a new year marks both a new phase and a return for the 'Iceman', the 2007 world champion who is back in the red overalls of the Italian team he left in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso.

The 34-year-old has moved from Lotus to team up with Spaniard Alonso in the sport's only current line-up of champions and has plenty of work to do with the first pre-season test in Jerez now only weeks away.

"Kimi will be extremely busy since the beginning of January to work in this strange machine that I don't like at all, the simulator," Montezemolo told reporters over a pre-Christmas lunch in Italy last month.

"It's a joke. We have been forced to invest a huge amount of money in this terrible, artificial, machine instead of being allowed to test here (at Fiorano) and at Mugello."

Montezemolo has long pushed for a return to in-season track testing, something which has been heavily limited as part of cost-saving measures, rather than relying on virtual technology.

Four two-day post-race tests in Europe are allowed this year but they replace an annual three-day young driver test and each team's current allowance of eight days promotional track time.

Teams, who have had to reduce significantly the amount of wind tunnel testing they do before a cost cap is introduced next year, are working flat out on their new cars with the sport going through a rule change revolution.   Continued...

 
Lotus F1 Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland walks on the track at the Suzuka circuit October 10, 2013, ahead of Sunday's Japanese F1 Grand Prix. REUTERS/Toru Hanai