Raikkonen: ‘Give me a chance to prove I can hack it’

Finnish hotshoe Kimi Raikkonen believes it would be unfair if he is denied the super-licence he requires to compete in Formula 1 next year

Raikkonen: ‘Give me a chance to prove I can hack it’

The Formula 1 Commission, which passes decisions on to the sport's governing body, the FIA, for approval, will meet in Monaco on December 7 to decide whether Raikkonen will be granted the licence he needs to take up a race seat with the Sauber team in 2001.

Raikkonen dominated the British Formula Renault Championship this year and is in line to take the second Sauber seat alongside Nick Heidfeld, but FIA president Max Mosley is believed to be against granting the 21-year-old a super-licence without any Formula 3 or Formula 3000 experience.

"Everybody should be given an equal opportunity," said Raikkonen. "I'm not sure how they judge who can have a super-licence and I'm not expecting to be treated differently to anyone else. I only hope to be given a chance to show that I can hack it in F1."

Sauber's chief designer Sergio Rinland, speaking to Autosport's sister publication Motoring News, believes Raikkonen is ready for the challenges of F1.

"He's proved that he's good," said Rinland, "so what else does he need to prove? He needs to race. So okay, we'll see after the first few races. If he can't take the pressure, which I think he will, then they could reconsider."

Should the young Finn be denied a super-licence, he will likely compete in Formula 3000 next year before stepping up to F1 in 2002, but the veteran of just 23 races does not believe that another season in a lower Formula will make him any better prepared.

"I may only have done 23 car races," he said, "but I don't believe the number is a key issue. I don't think Sauber would want a driver who's not ready for F1. I could do a season in something else, but I cannot see that changing my way of driving."

Raikkonen is due to complete a 300km test with Sauber at Jerez next week before the Commission meets on Thursday.

"I expect they [the F1 Commission] will make up their minds after [the test]," he said. "I'm not sure what I should do to convince them, but I'll just approach it as any other test - trying to go fast and not make mistakes."

For full Kimi Raikkonen Q&A,click here.

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