Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Raikkonen tests 2010 F1 car in preparation for return

Kimi Raikkonen returns to an F1 cockpit after two years away.

Kimi Raikkonen drove a Formula One car for the first time in two years as he tried out the 2010 Renault R30 around the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain. It was in a more updated specification than the car that ran at Valencia in pre-season testing in 2010 and the tyres were demo rubber provided by F1's new supplier Pirelli, as opposed to the Bridgestones on which it ran two years ago. Raikkonen drove the car ahead of his return to F1 in 2012 with Lotus.

The car was in the 2011 black and gold livery, as opposed to the famous 2010 "bumblebee" livery. The 2010 car, with which the team's former driver Robert Kubica impressed greatly that season, has been repainted in the black and gold colours adopted by the team since they rebranded themselves from Renault to Lotus last year.

Raikkonen said of his return to an F1 cockpit: "It was nice to get back into the car. It's quite a few years since I last drove. Of course it takes a little while to get used to it, but the main driving, turning, braking doesn't take many laps. But learning about the team, the tyres, the car will take some time."

Furthermore, trackside operations officer Alan Permane said  "From the first run he was pretty much there. It's very difficult to know where he should be but he was pretty much on the pace on the first run. He didn't find a whole lot of pace during the day. I don't see any reason why he won't be on the pace - you can tell he's a very, very experienced driver. It was very clear we were working with a former world champion. It was a good day."

Raikkonen couldn't test a 2011 car because F1 regulations forbid it, however teams can run outside of these rules, so long as the car is at least two years old. There is currently a ban on in season testing in Formula One. Lotus launch their car on 5th February, as their name changes from Renault.

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