Ice­man back in For­mula 1

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - Front Page -

WITH the open­ing race of the 2012 sea­son to be con­tested on Melbourne’s Al­bert Park road course in three weeks, break­ing news in F1 cir­cles is the re­turn of 2007 cham­pion Kimi Raikko­nen to F1 fol­low­ing sev­eral or­di­nary sea­sons in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship and NAS­CAR.

Though he had some top-10 WRC fin­ishes, he also crashed into the scenery on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions. Iron­i­cally Raikko­nen re­places Robert Ku­bika at Lo­tus Re­nault fol­low­ing Ku­bika’s crash into a steel guard rail dur­ing a “one-off” drive in the Ronde di An­droa Rally in Italy 11 months ago.

The crash left Ku­bika with hor­rific injures to his right g leg, arm and hand. He still has only very limited ed use of his arm and hand and con­se­quently is un­able ble to re­turn to F1 in 2012.

Known as “The Ice­man” due to his ob­vi­ous lack of emo­tion, whether on the podium or in me­dia in­ter­views, Raikko­nen has shrugged off com­ments about his re­turn af­ter two years away from the F1 cir­cuit.

“It has no ef­fect on me. Some­times you hear non­sense and some­times you hear nice things. The main thing is that com­ing back is what I wanted and I have a good op­por­tu­nity with the team so I’m happy,” he said.

For the first time, two Aus­tralians will be on the grid in Melbourne – Mark Web­ber, who fin­ished third in the cham­pi­onship last year, and West Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, who has se­cured a drive with the Ital­ian Toro Rosso Team. He will al­most cer­tainly re­place Web­ber at Red Bull Re­nault when he re­tires from F1.

Com­ment­ing on Web­ber’s per­for­mances, for­mer Red Bull driver now F1 com­men­ta­tor David Coulthard said: “We’ve seen some in­cred­i­ble per­for­mances from Mark and he’s a gutsy driver. His pass on Alonso at Spa, go­ing into Eau Rouge (high speed corner).”

“I thought it was go­ing to be an ‘aero­plane crash’. But he pulled it off. He is def­i­nitely a great rac­ing driver.

“Mark just needs to re­dis­cover his mojo for qual­i­fy­ing and he’ll be fine, be­cause the rest is there.”


IN other F1 news, Bruno Senna has re­placed Rubens Barichello at Wil­liams. Hav­ing lost his ti­tle spon­sor AT&T, Frank Wil­liams needed a ca­pa­ble driver with a pocket full of cash.

Senna, nephew of the great Ayr­ton Senna, was on the list but did not have enough cash. How­ever, he se­cured $US16 mil­lion to get the nod. De­spite this, Wil­liams’ chief op­er­a­tions en­gi­neer Mark Gil­lan said the final decision was based on raw pace, con­sis­tency, tyre man­age­ment, tech­ni­cal feed­back and men­tal ca­pac­ity. Fol­low­ing his sign­ing Senna said: “It will be very in­ter­est­ing to drive for a team that my un­cle has driven for, par­tic­u­larly as quite a few of the peo­ple here


With school now re­sum­ing, mo­torists are asked to ob­serve the 40km/h speed limit in school zones and

be most vig­i­lant in these ar­eas. Many young ones are at school for the first time and may be un­aware of un­fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings and the pres­ence

of mo­tor ve­hi­cles. ac­tu­ally worked with Ayr­ton.” (Ayr­ton Senna died af­ter crash­ing at the San Marino GP in May 1994, driv­ing a Wil­liams F1 car.)

Senna re­places fel­low Brazil­ian Rubens Barichello fol­low­ing a record 326 F1 races and 11 vic­to­ries from 1993 to 2011. How­ever, Barichello, not one to let the grass grow un­der his feet, is to test drive an Indy Car with KV Rac­ing at Se­bring in Florida this week.


AUSTRALIA’S Chad Reed had a great start to the 2012 World Su­per­cross Cham­pi­onship.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond in round one, Reed won at the Los An­ge­les Dodger Sta­dium and now lies in sec­ond place be­hind Ryan Dungey.

Three Aus­tralian riders will be on the grid at the open­ing round of the 2012 World Su­per­bike Cham­pi­onship next month at Phillip Is­land in Vic­to­ria. Mark Aithi­son, Broc Parkes and rookie Jed Metcher will no doubt ben­e­fit from parochial crowd sup­port where Casey Stoner has dom­i­nated for sev­eral years in the top level Moto GP.

As the young guns step up, Australia’s mul­ti­ple World Su­per Sport Mo­tor­cy­cle Cham­pion An­drew Pitt an­nounced his re­tire­ment last week af­ter a tri­umphant 15-year ca­reer.

Test­ing time: Fin­land’s 2007 F1 cham­pion Kimi Raikko­nen (right) gets an up­date with a team en­gi­neer in Va­len­cia this week, ahead of his first run with a Lo­tus-re­nault F1 car (inset).

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