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Posts Tagged ‘Kimi Raikkonen’

Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari F60 at Bahrain

The four day tests at Jerez and Bahrain concluded on Friday, with the Bahrain running resumed after a two day sandstorm, and all teams starting to set some competitive lap times. In Spain, Sebastian Bourdais set a 1:17.472 in his 2008 car, whilst Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso battled it out for the fastest time in an ’09 car.

It was McLaren and Hamilton that came out on top, again by a small margin, but not quite as small as the previous day. His 1:19.632 was two tenths of a second faster than the R29’s best time. Alonso did a lot of work in the Renault and said afterwards: “Overall, we have to be very happy as we managed to do lots of laps and the car responded well to the set-up changes we made, so I think we’ve found some good solutions. Every day the driveability of the car is improving and although we still have a lot of work to do before the start of the season, we are definitely moving in the right direction.” Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber were having their own battle for third place. Rosberg put his Williams ahead by two tenths after Webber’s RB5 stopped out on track and brought out the red flags. Kazuki Nakajima was also out for Williams but, despite completing 34 laps, he failed to set a time, by driving through the pit lane on each attempt.

Meanwhile, Ferrari, BMW and Toyota were back in action at Bahrain, after being forced to sit out for two long days. Kimi Raikkonen posted a 1:33.325 in the F60. Of the days running, he said: “I immediately had a good feeling although it’s still too early to say where we are compared to our competitors. The car is improving and there are no especially critical areas. We used the KERS also today and I’m happy with how it works, apart from some minor childhood disease.” Jarno Trulli was out for Toyota and just a tenth down on Kimi’s time, whilst BMW’s Christian Klien was a further couple of tenths behind. Another four day test at Bahrain kicks off this Monday.

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Ferrari F60 at Launch in Mugello

Ferrari became the first to reveal their 2009 challenger, after launching the Ferrari F60 on Monday. The launch took place at Mugello, having been moved from Ferrari’s test track at Firoano due to poor weather conditions. The F60 is the first of the new generation of F1 cars launched, featuring a radically different design to last year as required by the 2009 FIA technical regulations designed to make racing more exciting.

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were present at the launch, with the 2008 runner-up taking the F60 for it’s first few laps of Mugello. Team principle Stefano Domenicali said the season will be “stimulating from all points of view” and that the drivers will play a much bigger role in their success. He was quick to play down expectations of Ferrari though, saying their project for the upcoming season is very complicated and their aim is to stay among the top teams, citing McLaren, BMW and Renualt as their rivals. Technical director Aldo Costa spoke of the shift of development from 08 to 09 saying: “It’s a completely new car, starting from a white piece of paper. Fundamentally the biggest changes come from the new rules from an aerodynamic point of view and the introduction of new technology, which is the KERS system. Because of that we had to start work pretty early and to review the main concept of the car, so it was a very very intense and long job.” Massa has said that his last-lap failure to win the championship has only made him “more eager to win”, whilst Raikkonen said he has put 2008 behind him, and is heading into this season confidently and with the aim of winning a second world title.

Another change comes in the pattern of which Ferrari’s cars are named, with the title ‘F60’ adopted in recognition of the 60 years the Italian team have been competing for. Toyota are the next team to launch their new car, the TF109.

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Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in F2008 at Shanghai

Despite the heartbreak of Felipe Massa coming so close to becoming a champion and failing, Ferrari do have a reason to celebrate after winning their 16th constructors’ championship. With Massa finishing first and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third, the Italian squad easily clinched the title from McLaren by 21 points, despite BMW making it the closest constructors’ battle in recent years.

This is the teams second consecutive title since the downfall of Renault, and their eighth since 1999. The rest of their wins come from 1961, 1964, 1975-77, 1979 and 1982-83. Williams are the closest rival to Ferrari’s tally of 16, having won 9 titles.

A full list of constructors champions can be found here.

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It was confirmed by Ferrari on Friday that reigning world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, will stay at the Italian team in a new contract that sees him signed until the end of the 2010 season. This ends speculation that Fernando Alonso would replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2010.

Alonso was rumored to be in talks to Ferrari to stand in for Raikkonen after his possible retirement at the end of 2009. Speculation still remains that Alonso may leave Renault for Honda next year but if so, the move would likely be long-term, rather than the expected one year contract before moving again. This wouldn’t have been the first time Alonso has stood in for Raikkonen’s absence, having replaced him at McLaren for 2007.

Felipe Massa is also signed until the end of 2010, meaning Ferrari’s driver line-up will not change for at least 2 years.

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Conditions dried after FP1 and normality returned to the time sheets as Kimi Raikkonen finished on top for Ferrari. His time of 1:23.861 forced BMW to settle for second and third with just one tenth of a second difference. Robert Kubica ahead of Nick Heidfeld with a gap of 0.01 seconds. Lewis Hamilton was right behind the BMWs, by only 0.04 seconds, in fourth, with Nico Rosberg’s Williams a further 0.2 seconds away.

The sister Ferraris and McLarens wounded up in sixth and seventh. Mark Webber, who failed to set a time in the morning practice, was eighth, but only 0.1 seconds ahead of the morning pace-setter, Adrian Sutil. Force India had more reason to be happy as Giancarlo Fisichella managed 13th place. Toro Rosso completed the session in 10th and 12th and Honda’s improved pace continued in 14th and 15th. The spots at the back were taken, surprisingly, by both Toyota and Renault.

Friday has thrown up some interesting results. Will they continue as action resumes for Free Practice Three tomorrow?

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