Anthony Davidson is 'fully expecting' Kimi Raikkonen to struggle this season on his return to F1.
Raikkonen, who has spent the last two years competing in the FIA World Rally Championship, will compete with Lotus F1 in 2012, and while the 2007 F1 world champion has the pedigree, it remains to be seen if he can return to winning ways with the Enstone-based squad.
“I am fully expecting him to struggle a bit,” Davidson confirmed to Crash.net
during the recent Sky Sports F1
press day. “It is not easy to have a break and come back to it, it's really not. When I was a test driver for so long and came back for my first proper race in '07 [with Super Aguri] it was a real eye opener to be in a racing situation again. We saw that with Michael [Schumacher] as well [when he came out of retirement]. If Michael took a time to get back into it, I am sure Kimi will as well.
“It is just so different the sensation of a rally car to an F1 car. In F1 we are talking about the finer details all the time, it is the tenth of a second you are looking for. He will find it hard to get back into it. I am sure he will be fast and he is at a disadvantage because the car is not going to be there, in the same way that Michael's car wasn't [in 2010].
“Also to top it all off he has [Romain] Grosjean there, his team-mate, who nobody expects to go quickly at the moment. So if Grosjean is snapping at his heels, then it is going to make him look even worse.”
1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill, who like Davidson will act as an expert analysis on the new Sky Sports F1 HD
channel, meanwhile concurs that Kimi could be in for a rough ride.
“The thing is he has been doing rallying and to be honest if you want to choose something that is even more nerve racking than driving a F1 car, it has got to be rallying,” Hill added.
“It is really hard to come back because you have got these young guys coming up and you don't want to be the dead weight in the team. That's the trouble and that is why Michael is really unbelievable. Michael is an amazingly resilient competitor. He really is a phenomenal driver and to be able to with stand the pressure, all the grinding down... he must feel really deflated every time he gets out qualified by Nico [Rosberg]. But he still keeps going. He is absolutely incredible.”
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