Q & A with Kimi Raikkonen

When Kimi Raikkonen met the press at the Nurburgring before this weekend's German Grand Prix, talk of the current Formula 1 situation and Ferrari's prospects was soon put aside in favour of probing the significance of his entry into the Rally Finland - and whether that meant he was poised to switch from F1 to the World Rally Championship

Q & A with Kimi Raikkonen

AUTOSPORT was there to hear Raikkonen's views.

Q. Do you think it's possible to target wins?

Kimi Raikkonen: It depends on many different things, but we will try. I think a win will be very difficult in normal circumstances and probably the podium, but I don't know. It seems to change quite a bit. There are two teams that are usually at the top with two cars so it is quite difficult to beat one or two of them. We will know more tomorrow. We have some new parts so hopefully they will help.

Q. Another crisis in Formula 1, what do you think about it?

KR: I haven't read anything, I don't know about the whole thing. You lose interest in reading the stories because it seems to go up and down all the time. For sure there will be some decision at some point, and other than that I don't see much interest. It's pointless to read the stories. It changes every other day. I'll wait until everything is sorted out.

Q. A lot of rumours about you for next season, what are your expectations?

KR: It's the same at every race. You ask and it's the same thing. The answers haven't changed. I have a contract. You'll have to ask the team and see if they say something else, but I'm pretty sure they'll say the same.

Q. Have you asked the team?

KR: I don't need to, I have a contract. For sure they'll let me know if there will be changes.

Q. What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

KR: I hope that we can make some bigger steps at some point and hopefully get more to the front. I don't think that we are so far away, at least from the podium. The Red Bull was in a different league to the others at the last race and it will be very difficult for anyone to catch. Hopefully we can improve and be more at the front and at least have some chance to challenge for wins. At some point we will probably make some decisions to work next year but until then we will work the best we can.

Q. We know you're doing the Rally Finland, do you think it's strange or even a little bit risky to do an event like this during the Formula 1 season?

KR: I did a rally in the winter, two rallies, and one during the year not a long time ago in Italy, and it's no different. It's a rally and some people it's a more risky on some of the stages but all of motorsport is dangerous. You can even get hurt walking on the street. There's no reason why I shouldn't do it. It's fun, the team let me do it, it's good for them also as it's Fiat. It's all a positive thing. Like I said, you can get hurt, but you can get hurt here so it's not much different.

Q. How excited are you about the rally, and how will you prepare for it?

KR: It's nice because it's my home country. Everybody says it's a nice rally, but I have no idea how it will be, so it will be a nice experience like every rally so far. Hopefully we can have some good fun and we will see how it goes.

Q. You've always said you will stay in Formula 1 all the time you enjoy it. Do you feel you will stay in F1, and would you consider rallying your future aspiration?

KR: I don't think anything like that. If I wasn't interested in Formula 1, I wouldn't be here. I'm still here. For the future, I've always said that I still have next year and during next year I'll see different options and see what will happen in the future. Other than that, I have no interest to make any decisions. I have no need to make any decisions. We'll see how it goes, and what I'll be doing after that.

Q. Does competing in the rally help keep you motivated when you can't compete for the F1 championship?

KR: I don't think that makes any difference in motivation, but of course it's something new and something different, and good fun for me. It's just something that I can do. We can't test and there are pretty big gaps between the races, so it's good fun to do some rallying and try something different.

Q. How long does it take you to adapt your brain to the rallying driving style and having to slide the car?

KR: You probably don't want to slide it, it's not the fastest way there. Going straight forward all the time is also the fastest way in rallying. It's different, but I have not much experience on gravel, only two days. It's not so difficult. The speeds aren't that much slower than F1. You have a bit more time to react to things.

It's just completely different, you need some time to get used to it, but it's not so difficult to go from F1 to driving rally cars. It's a very difficult sport and you want to go in at the top level, the same as coming to F1. It's not so difficult to drive maybe five seconds slower than we do, but once you need to find the last half a second or two tenths, it's always hard. It's the same story in rallying.

Q. Is that why people think you're no longer interested in F1 - because they see you doing other things like rallying?

KR: For sure I'm going to carry on next year, but after that like I said I don't have any plans yet. I would have done rallying many years before if my past team would have let me. It's only because Ferrari are kind enough and let me do the rallies, that's why I do it. It would have happened many, many years ago. Plus I've been doing it before the season. It's not like I haven't done it before. People always try to make big stories from things that are not really anything to do with other things.

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