Lotus: There won’t be a seventh version of the steering system for Raikkonen
14 June, 2012
Jun.14 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen’s discomfort with the steering of his pace setting Lotus E20 has gobbled up numerous column inches and now the Enstone team have reportedly admitted that they have provided six variations of the steering system for the Finn’s benefit. They will not be making another option for their star driver.
“Now, it’s like with a child,” an unnamed Lotus team member is quoted by the German-language Speed Week. “We’ve laid down six lollipops and he can choose one. There won’t be a seventh version of the steering for him.”
Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 world champion, described Lotus’ black and gold E20 car as “amazing”and suggested that with a top driver at the wheel, the Enstone based team might even be leading the world championship.
But what about Raikkonen? As the 2007 world champion who this season has made a widely-hailed F1 comeback, isn’t the laconic Finn a truly ‘top driver’?
Not according to Villeneuve. Indeed, whilst the 32-year-old has been on the podium twice so far in 2012 and is equal fifth in the drivers’ standings, Raikkonen has been regularly outqualified by his newcomer teammate Romain Grosjean this season.
“That he is usually behind Grosjean in pure performance makes me think he [Raikkonen] could be dropped,” Villeneuve is quoted in the latest edition of Auto Hebdo.
Finnish commentator Mika Salo acknowledged Raikkonen’s recent struggles, particularly the poor performances in Monaco and Canada. At the same time, Frenchman Grosjean almost won in Montreal last Sunday.
“But this was just one good event for him,” former Sauber and Toyota driver Salo told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
Salo acknowledged: “Kimi has retained his natural ability to drive a car, but he and the team definitely haven’t come to terms about what he needs. But as for Jacques Villeneuve, I doubt he has even spoken a single word to Kimi about what the problem really is. He is a complete outsider.
“I still think Kimi will win a race this season when the weekend is spot on. You can see that the relationship between Kimi and the team is really good. Although there are problems, there is still a good atmosphere. Some in the media allege that they are breaking up, but the real situation is quite the opposite. The team has full respect for Kimi, and Kimi respects the team,” Salo insisted.
Subbed by AJN.