The 2007 world champion is on less taciturn form than usual as he explains that life is good, despite demoralising press reports and a bruising year
This seems to have been a particularly difficult season for you so far. Why is that?
It has been a really bad year for me, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. We’ve had some bad luck, we’ve made some mistakes, and we’re not as fast as we want to be as a team. We’ve got some points, but nowhere near as many as I want. And it’s been difficult for me with the car – we know where the issues are for me but it’s not a small change [ F1 Racing understands that Kimi is uncomfortable with the changes in brake feel resulting from the action of power recovery on the rear wheels]. Unfortunately it will take time, but hopefully at some point this year we will nd something that ts a little bit better for me. We’re making changes to try to improve things and I haven’t given up on the year; we’re trying a few different things to get it right for next year, and then we’re going to try again. It’s never much fun when you don’t get good results.
There seems to have been quite a lot of criticism of you over the past few months. Do you feel that your position at Ferrari could be under threat next year, or do you feel confident that you will be able to sort out all your problems?
Like I said before, I’m sure that we can x them. How fast? I hope we can do it quickly, but it depends on many things. I have a contract, so I’m not worried about that for the future.
There were some reports in the German press that you could be leaving Ferrari this year?
It’s not the rst time. You read these things every year for different reasons, saying that there’s no motivation, or you’re going to this team, or you’re going to get red. They write what they want to write – there is a person behind the story, just a single person, and whatever his idea is he’s the one writing it. Well, I never read them and I don’t understand German anyway!
So, as far as you’re concerned, you’re not going anywhere?
No, I have a contract. I know I’ve had a contract in the past and then left Ferrari – so I cannot make promises. You never know what’s going to happen in the next half of the year, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll still be in a Ferrari next year. Life can change very quickly.
We heard that when Fernando drove your car at the Barcelona test he got out and said it was undrivable. How difficult is it to drive the car?
I think he also has issues but he can drive round them better. We’re not very far away and I’m trying different things. If you try something in qualifying and it doesn’t work then it probably isn’t the right thing to do, but I’m trying to get some of the doubts out of the way. I will keep trying different things. We don’t have much testing in Formula 1, so you have to try stuff [at grand prix weekends]. In the position I am in now in the championship, it doesn’t really matter. Obviously I want to get the maximum points possible for the team, but we have to nd solutions for the future as well. I’ve been in this position before when it’s been a bad year and this is just part of the game. Like I said, it’s not fun when you don’t do well but I’ve got through even worse times – life is good, apart from racing!
What’s the feeling like with your engineers and the people designing next year’s car? How much have they shifted focus to 2015?
Obviously they’ve started next year’s car already – they started quite a long time ago and that’s the case for all of the teams. There are things we try to nd out at grand prix weekends to gure out which is the best way to go for future development. If we could do testing all the time it would be ten times easier, but now there’s a lot of time spent in the simulator and trying to solve issues at the circuit. You have to trust your guys – the drivers have a big say in it – and I know there is going to be quite a big change. But for sure we can improve some things this year… although not as many as we want.
What do you think you’ll do after Formula 1?
I dunno. I’ve tried many things. I enjoyed rallying because it’s so difficult, and very different, and I’d like to do some more for fun like I did before – and obviously try to get better at it. Maybe some NASCAR. I didn’t know what it would be like but I really enjoyed it, because it’s completely different to rallying and Formula 1. I have no real plans. I’ll try to do as well as I can this year and next year [in F1] – if that’s the last, I don’t know. There may be some more years still. Hopefully we can ght for the championship again next year.