Raikkonen requires licence to thrill

FINNISH wonder kid Kimi Raikkonen seems certain to make his Grand Prix debut for Peter Sauber's (pictured) team in Melbourne next March - if he can get his hands on a Formula 1 super-licence

Raikkonen requires licence to thrill

Team boss Peter Sauber has said a super-licence, the driver's ticket to F1 racing, is all that stands between the 21-year-old Finn and a race deal with his Swiss-based outfit, despite the fact he's only ever started 23 motor races.

"We would like Kimi Raikkonen to drive our second car next to Nick Heidfeld," said Sauber. "When we get the confirmation of the super-licence by the FIA, the public and media will be informed accordingly."

Raikkonen has tested twice for Sauber, but will have to fulfil the FIA's criteria of completing 300km of testing at racing speeds over two days. He is scheduled to test for the team at Jerez from December 5-7 and Barcelona from December 18-20, giving him ample opportunity to prove his ability.

Sauber has already gone on record as a big fan of the reigning British Formula Renault champion.

"There are several aspects why we very strongly believe that Raikkonen is the right man for us," he added. "First of all he has a very professional approach towards his work and an astonishing maturity considering his age. Even more impressive is his natural speed. He seems to crank out fast lap times effortlessly. In comparison with other drivers, we never got the impression that he reached his limits. We still have to find out how fast he can go!"

Despite rumours that Raikkonen is having trouble obtaining a super-licence, his manager Steve Robertson is confident this is a mere formality.

"I haven't heard any concerns about it," he said. "No one said anything when Jarno Trulli jumped up to F1, and his German F3 car had almost the same power as a contemporary Formula Renault."

Most Grand Prix graduates qualify for super-licences by winning major international championships, such as Heidfeld did by winning the FIA F3000 title, but that trend has been bucked recently by the likes of Marc Gene, Gaston Mazzacane and Jenson Button. The latter, managed by Robertson's father David, leapt into the BMW Williams team despite only finishing third in the British F3 Championship in 1999, but satisfied the super-licence criteria in testing.

Raikkonen's deal would send a shockwave through the F1 driver market. Mika Hakkinen's manager, former World Champion Keke Rosberg, said: "The world will change if Raikkonen gets a super-licence. It will turn the whole drivers' market on its head."

shares
comments
Zonta: 'I suffered too much at BAR'
Previous article

Zonta: 'I suffered too much at BAR'

Next article

Zonta Slams BAR for Lack of Support

Zonta Slams BAR for Lack of Support
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022