‘Kimi will only shine in excellent car’

Date published: January 20 2012

Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback will be great for both F1 and his Lotus team, however, whether he will be at great depends on the latter says Niki Lauda…

Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback will be great for both F1 and his Lotus team, however, whether he will be at great depends on the latter says Niki Lauda.

Raikkonen is set to return to Formula One this season with many wondering which Raikkonen the sport will have on the grid.

During his first stint in F1, the Finn was at times brilliant, winning the World title in 2007, and at others mediocre, resulting in his departure from Ferrari and F1 at the end of the 2009 season.

And which of the two fans will get to see in 2012 will all depend on whether Lotus can provide him with a car capable of fighting at the front.

“It’s excellent news that he will be back,” Lauda told Autosport. “He is an exceptional personality and will create huge interest and excitement with media and fans.

“It is a good move for Renault or Lotus as the team is called now. It depends on how good the car will be, because Kimi will only shine in an excellent car.”

Lauda also weighed in with his predictions for the upcoming season, saying that while Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull will be the ones to beat, the form sheets could be turned on their head by the new ban on blown diffuser exhausts.

“Sebastian has gained a lot of confidence last year, and doesn’t make mistakes. He will be the benchmark again. Whoever wants to beat him, must rely on a perfect car.

“Right now nobody knows how the new cars will perform. However, from a logical point of view, Red Bull should be out in front again because they only have to modify the exhaust and the diffuser.

“The loss in downforce will be regained by aerodynamic improvements. The question is: who will find the smartest solutions? Who had a very good car in 2011 has the advantage now too.

“Red Bull had an excellent car last year and they only need to do further developments whereas, say, Mercedes have to build a proper new car. That includes the risk of going in the wrong direction, though they added some well-known technicians. The same for Ferrari.

“It is easier to improve from a solid basis than to start from scratch. Having said that, we all have to wait for the first tests.”