Raikkonen looking for more from Lotus E21


Kimi Raikkonen has told Lotus that they need to make improvements and continue to develop the E21 car if they are to challenge Sebastian Vettel for the 2013 world championship.

The Finnish driver has made a good start to the season, winning one race and claiming two further podiums, but he still feels that the team needs to make improvements, particularly in qualifying.

“To catch the leaders, we have to work twice as hard as they are,” Raikkonen told Autosport.

“It’s no secret that we want more speed from the car in qualifying; it’s so tight up there at the front and we really need to be on the first two rows to fight for victories every time.”

Despite the need to improve, Raikkonen felt that Lotus is well placed to challenge Red Bull at the start of the European season in Barcelona next weekend.

“It’s good to be able to start the European season where we are as this is when you see teams starting to push on with lots of new parts for the cars.

“It’s still early days, but to have scored strong points since the start of the year is obviously better than not having them.”

Lotus appears to be in the running for the title this season, with the aggressive Pirelli tires suiting the E21 car. However, Raikkonen has failed to challenge the frontrunners in qualifying so far this season, and he will be hoping for a change in fortunes if he is to repeat his 2008 victory at the Circuit de Catalunya.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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