Raikkonen feeling positive after test return 24 Jan 2012
Kimi Raikkonen was back behind the wheel of a Formula One car on Monday, as he began on-track preparations for his planned comeback this season. Raikkonen, who will race for Lotus (formerly Renault) in 2012, completed around 300 kilometres in the team's 2010 R30 during a private test at the Spanish circuit of Valencia.
"It was a good first day! explained the 2007 world champion. Having not driven a Formula One car for two years and obviously with a new team, there is a lot to get used to. I'm happy because I was pretty quick to get back in the groove. Obviously you get more into the zone with the more laps you complete, as you discover more about the car and the tyres.
Knowing when to turn, brake, and when to get on the power didn't take long at all. The good thing is that running today gives me something to compare the new car to, so I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully we'll be fast straight away and it's going to be an interesting season."
Raikkonen will continue to test at the track on Tuesday and, after using just three of the seven sets of Pirelli demonstration tyres that the team have at their disposal, the Finn is expected to complete a few longer runs during his second - and final - day in the car.
"The day went pretty much as we planned, which is great, explained Alan Permane, Lotus's trackside operations engineer. Kimi was on the pace we expected straight away. He completed around 300km, going through three sets of tyres. It leaves us with four sets for tomorrow, meaning we can run a bit longer.
We worked on getting him comfortable in the car, giving him a feel for the setup changes, and helping him get to know his engineers. It's always great to work with a top driver who is not just quick, but professional, and Kimi has all of those characteristics. His feedback is excellent, his requests are concise and to the point. We're looking forward to a good season with him."
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier added: "I must say today was very positive. You can see that the whole team is pleased with Kimi's feedback, and Kimi himself seemed very happy to be back behind the wheel. He got the feel of the car very quickly and it's good to see him building a strong relationship with the team. Obviously, the R30 is different to the new car, but he is clearly excited to get started at the first test in Jerez. Our team is made up of true racing people, and Kimi fits into that very well."
After he completes this two-day private test, Raikkonen will join new team mate Romain Grosjean and evaluate Lotuss 2012 car at the first multi-team session, which will take place at Jerez from February 7-10.
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