Preview: Raikkonen Aims to Win

Kimi Raikkonen fancies his chances in Malaysia this weekend after Formula One's extraordinary season-opener in Australia

Preview: Raikkonen Aims to Win

McLaren's 'Ice Man' took his first career win in Sepang's sweltering heat two years ago and, despite Renault's victory in Melbourne, believes he has the car to succeed again on Sunday.

"The result may not show this but we have the pace to challenge for victories," said the Finn after charging from the back of the field to finish eighth 10 days ago.

Renault's Italian Giancarlo Fisichella romped to victory after being favoured by the fickle weather in Australia, and he recognises the McLaren threat.

"I think on some circuits they will be quicker than us, at others we will be a bit quicker than them," said chief strategist Pat Symonds.

McLaren insiders are confident that Malaysia is one of those circuits that favours Raikkonen and his new Colombian teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.

However, Renault have made aerodynamic improvements, including a new floor for Sepang, and they too are bullish.

"We know the weather made the circumstances strange in Melbourne, so we expect other teams like Ferrari and McLaren to be much stronger in Malaysia," said Fisichella. "I think we will expect to fight at the front again. But if bad weather does not play a part, I am sure the race will be a lot closer than in Australia."

Alonso Confident

Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso, who became the youngest driver to start a Grand Prix from pole position in Malaysia in 2003, was also upbeat.

"I love the track, there are lots of long, fast corners and it is a place where you really see the potential of the cars," he said. "I think we will see more of the potential of the R25 in Malaysia."

There are many more variables in Formula One as a result of new engine and tyre regulations, not to mention the heat that will put cars and drivers under immense pressure.

"Nobody knows how the tyre performance will unfold in temperatures like we have in Sepang, and it will be interesting to find out," said Fisichella.

With engines having to last for two races now, reliability will also be a concern for most.

Ferrari's seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher failed to finish the opening race and is unlikely to change engines to avoid complicating the timetable for the introduction of the team's new car.

The German remains confident he can fight back with an old car that was still fast enough to take his Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello to second place in Australia.

"Sure, zero points in the first race were not what I had hoped for," he said. "And that makes me even more determined to do better in Malaysia.

"After what we saw in Australia we are definitely able to compete with our interim car, even more so than we thought." said Schumacher. "So I think we can expect to do quite well in Sepang and achieve a good result."

shares
comments
Preview: Raikkonen Aims to Stop Renault
Previous article

Preview: Raikkonen Aims to Stop Renault

Next article

Davidson in Line for JV's Seat

Davidson in Line for JV's Seat
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Plus

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022
Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers Plus

Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers

As Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career has come to a close, figuring out where he fits into the greatest of all time order is a tough and subjective call. With the aid of statistics, attributes and history, here’s how the four-time world champion stacks up in the debate

Formula 1
Nov 19, 2022