Raikkonen: Ferrari a happier team in 2015

Leave a comment

Kimi Raikkonen believes that Ferrari is a now a happier place to work following a raft of personnel changes over the winter.

The Finnish driver endured a miserable 2014 campaign, scoring just 55 points en route to 12th place in the championship.

However, he has been retained for 2015 alongside four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who arrived as a replacement for the McLaren-bound Fernando Alonso.

The Ferrari that is racing this year is very different to the team of 12 months ago, with marque president Luca di Montezemolo, team principals Stefano Domenicali and Marco Mattiacci, and a number of other key personnel being ousted from Maranello.

With the internal divisions of 2014 patched up and repaired, Raikkonen believes that everyone at Ferrari is enjoying their work more this year.

“The team bosses have managed to put the right people in the right places,” the Finn said. “It’s still early days, but everybody seems to enjoy it more. For the next test we’ll try to put the right things into the car.”

Raikkonen finished second in both of his testing days in Barcelona this week, but his final run was hindered by some problems on the car. These aside, he is happy with the progress that is being made and the direction that the team is making.

“Today was not ideal,” Raikkonen said on Friday. “We had some small issues which prevented us from running as much as we wanted, but still we managed to do other stuff, try things and learn.

“We are going in the right direction in all areas and the team did a good job over the winter. Of course, racing is a different story from testing, but so far it has been good.”

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).