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Raikkonen: Development key to success

Kimi Raikkonen says how he performs through the rest of the F1 season will depend on how Lotus gets on in the development race with its rivals
Kimi Raikkonen says the ongoing development of the new E21 will be key in deciding how successful Lotus can be during the 2013 season on the back of his victory in Australia.

The Finn secured an impressive success in Melbourne for his second win since returning to the sport, making a two-stop strategy work to perfection as he beat Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to the top step of the podium.

Lotus will hope that Raikkonen's win is the catalyst for a championship challenge during the year ahead, although the former champion admitted it would be a challenge for the team to keep pace with its rivals as the season goes on and the development battle hots up.

“There was a big question mark last year over whether our team could keep up with the development of the bigger teams and I don't think we did a bad job,” he said. “Of course it's not going to be easy for us. I'm sure we have the people and all the tools to make it happen. Budget is always a factor and it's no secret that we don't have the same money as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes. If we did have more sponsors I'm sure we'd have a better chance in the battle against those teams.

“It's a long season. If you do things right it will go nicely but one thing can change the whole year. You do a few things a little bit wrong it can turn around and go downhill after that. So we just have to do our normal things, like we did last year and put the good effort into new parts and if we're happy we keep them and if not we have to look more closely. But like I said, so far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can't keep it up.”

Sepang is a circuit where Raikkonen has gone well in the past, and was the scene of his first victory in F1 back in 2003 while with McLaren.

While that leaves him in confident mood for the weekend ahead, the Finn admitted he wasn't getting too carried away about the season ahead, with his aims having not changed despite his Albert Park success.

“Malaysia has been good and bad for me in the past,” he conceded. “I've had a few bad races there but I've also won three times at the circuit including my first Grand Prix victory so it's nice to go back to where it all began with my first win. For sure I will always remember that my first win came in Malaysian Grand Prix in 2003.

“It feels good [to have won the season opener] but it's only after one race. It doesn't really change our aim and how we approach this year. Definitely, we are happy with the win but there is an awful lot to still to do to win the championship. We seemed to have a good car in Albert Park, so hopefully it works well in the next races also.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
17.03.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21
17.03.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 celebrates his victory
17.03.2013- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 Team E21 race winner
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Sauber C36 Ferrari
Sauber C36 Ferrari
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
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Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
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Sebastian Vettel, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, ROC [Credit: ROC]
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Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes AMG Petronas
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Sri - Unregistered

March 19, 2013 4:22 PM

rob01, Drivers don't talk about sponsors' products. They just drive. At the most they can do advertizements for them. And drivers are not at all good actors. See Hamilton, Alonso, Federer ads -- we all know they cannot act, but who cares. they just need to be there. You may be surprised that Kimi can do a good job too as other drivers do. His ad for Mercedes and other companies in fact uses his monosyllabic character as the main point. Besides the main thing would be the sponsor's name being on a winning car --- that is more important than whether a driver can talk or not. The "free" air time you get just by being on a winning car can easily give you much better appeal than being on a paid ad on TV separately. If Lotus wins few more races, they may find some sponsor soon. It is a self-feeding mechanism. Win, get a sponsor, then win more and so on.

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