Watson: Raikkonen will do it his way

Date published: January 13 2012

Former F1 driver John Watson reckons Kimi Raikkonen may find the going tough upon his return to F1 – just as Michael Schumacher has…

Former F1 driver John Watson reckons Kimi Raikkonen may find the going tough upon his return to F1 – just as Michael Schumacher has.

After three years out of the sport, Schumacher returned to F1 in 2010 but his comeback has been anything but successful as the Mercedes GP has yet to finish on the podium never mind win a grand prix.

This season, Formula One will see another former World Champ attempt to make his mark upon his return as Raikkonen, who quit after the 2009 season, takes the lead role at Lotus.

Watson, though, reckons the Finn will find it difficult to adjust to the new-look Formula One.

“I’m a big Michael fan, and I had hoped he would win a race, but it has been a struggle for many reasons, and I’m sure Kimi will have to deal with those reasons,” Watson told PA Sport.

“Tyres, aerodynamics and technology have moved on since Kimi was last in the sport in 2009, so it will be difficult.

“But Kimi is the kind of guy who is ostensibly laid-back, so will take it in his stride.

“There’s probably a lot he wants to prove, but will do it in a Kimi way, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on, certainly in relation to Michael.

“But he’s at least joined a great team, and I would like to believe they will return to the level when (Fernando) Alonso won his World Championships there (2005 and 2006).

“I’d love to see them winning again, and to see Kimi Raikkonen in a competitive Formula One car will be very exciting.

“I just hope his commitment will be at the level when we saw him at his best in his early days in Formula One, and not as in his last season with Ferrari.”

The Brit, though, is looking forward to the season ahead which will see six World Champions; Raikkonen, Schumacher, Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, grace the grid.

“With six world champions on the grid, you couldn’t ask for better advertising,” Watson, who started a 152 races, said.

“The usual suspects are the top four teams, and they are there to be challenged by the likes of Lotus, maybe Force India.

“But the resource the top four teams possess, not just financially but human and technological resource, is at at a level that makes it difficult to challenge when coming from behind.

“You may need a superhuman as part of one of those teams, and whether they have a superhuman is hard to tell.

“At Force India they’ve replaced Adrian Sutil with Nico Hulkenberg, who I think is outstanding.

“Whether he and Paul di Resta can be combative enough to push Force India further up the field, that’s going to be one to watch.

“But those two young guys are potential future world champions that we need to be aware of, to monitor their progress.

“But whether the team supply them with the equipment over 20 races, that’s a big challenge for Force India.”