Raikkonen wraps up private Lotus test on a high 25 Jan 2012
After two years away from the cut and thrust of Formula One racing, Lotuss Kimi Raikkonen would be forgiven for being a little rusty in the cockpit. But following two days of reacclimitisation in a 2010-spec Renault at a specially-arranged test in Valencia, Raikkonen is raring to go and feeling optimistic about his comeback this season.
The 2007 world champion wrapped up his final day in the R30 on Tuesday, completing 91 laps of Spains Circuito Ricardo Tormo. Over the two-day test he covered 666 kilometres, the equivalent of more than two Grands Prix race distances.
It went well today and overall the two days have been helped me a lot, said the Finn. Even though I was using a two year-old car and the Pirelli demonstration tyres, I learnt about working with the team and the engineers which means I can focus on the new car once we get to Jerez for the first official test. It was great to be driving an F1 car again and from that respect I feel very positive.
As well as getting a feel for a Formula One car again, Raikkonen was charged with carrying out set-up work and short qualifying runs, as well as practising starts and pit stops.
We enjoyed another good day with Kimi in Valencia, explained Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations engineer. The morning was spent doing set-up work in particular with front and rear cambers. In the afternoon we ran very low fuel qualifying simulations with two new sets of tyres followed by a 27 lap run starting with a full tank of fuel.
Kimis pace improved from yesterday as we would expect and we completed several start, pitstop and clutch simulations. We were even able to finish early as we completed our programme ahead of time. Overall it has been a productive and valuable two days.
With this short preliminary test over, Raikkonen will continue his off-track preparations ahead of the online launch of the new Lotus on February 5 and the first multi-team test of the season, which will take place at the Spanish circuit of Jerez from February 7-10.
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