Kimi Raikkonen is tackling his 19th Formula 1 season. Before the start of the season in Bahrain, the Alfa Romeo driver speaks in an interview with SRF about the car, the team’s goals and the vaccination.
SRF Sport: First a question about your family: How is your 5-year-old son Robin’s karting career going?
Kimi Räikkönen: We were only on the track once recently. But in Switzerland it is so cold in winter that your fingers freeze. If he feels like it, we’ll go again when it’s warmer. But I’m not putting any pressure on him. The important thing is that he has fun. He also enjoys his motocross and other things.
Now to you: In the tests in Bahrain, the car looked reliable, just like last year. And it seemed faster, also in qualifying. Is that impression correct?
It is currently impossible to say. We can’t compare it to the other teams yet, so that’s speculation right now. Soon we’ll be smarter. But yeah, the car felt okay, it went well, there weren’t any problems. But as for the speed: I don’t know.
The sub-floor has been reduced and is now generating less downforce. How does this affect driving behavior?
Surprisingly, it doesn’t make a big difference, although many teams were a bit afraid of this rule change. You can feel the change in certain places along the way. But if you didn’t know about it, you probably wouldn’t notice.
And what about the engine? Ferrari has promised more power.
Yes, we definitely have more power. But how much more is difficult to say. It is certainly a step forward. But of course you have to assume that the other manufacturers have also made progress. It is definitely going in the right direction, but the whole package has to be quick.
But the team expects more points than last year (2020 season: Alfa Romeo with 8 points)?
Yes, of course that is the goal. But it’s difficult to assess before the first race.
In 2021 you will be in Formula 1 with SRF up close – from the first qualifying. SRF will broadcast live from Bahrain on Saturday from 3:55 p.m. The next day we will also show the GP live (from 4:30 p.m. on SRF Zwei).
You have fond memories of Bahrain: 15 years ago you finished 22nd on the podium in your McLaren. I am assuming you will like the track.
Yes. The conditions are always difficult. It’s very hot and windy. It always depends on the direction and strength of the wind. Some cars can handle this better than others. The tires can make all the difference in these conditions.
Last question: The government in Bahrain gave all Formula 1 staff the opportunity to get vaccinated. Did you do it?
Yes, I received the first dose. But some have decided not to. I’m not the youngest driver anymore … (smiles) It’s great that we got the opportunity. Otherwise I would have got the vaccination sometime in Switzerland or Finland. We travel so much and that’s how we can protect people.
The interview was conducted by Michael Stäuble.