Boullier: How we convinced Iceman to return
30 November, 2011
Nov.30 (PVM) Shortly after announcing the biggest coup of the season, renault boss Eric Boullier explained hos his team’s plans convinced Formula 1 refugee, and former world champion, Kimi Raikkonen to return to the pinnacle of the sport which he left – in disillusionment – in 2009.
Boullier explained the impact of signing Raikkonen, who is arguably one of the most popular drivers of this era, “It is good news for the sport and of course it is good news for the team. Strategically, it is good to have a big name, a high class driver and Formula 1 World Champion to join us.”
Raikkonen, aka Iceman, is known for his disdain of the politics and media frenzy that tends to surround Formula 1 and his motives for returning have been questioned.
But Boullier is convinced the Finn will perform, “He is committed to racing for us and he is definitely a very good character with the experience he has from driving for McLaren and Ferrari. Also, to have someone like Kimi signing with us shows that the package we have offered was good enough – we convinced Kimi to come back to Formula 1!”
With only six days of testing available to drivers before the start of the 2012 season, questions have been asked how the team will get Raikkonen up to speed in as cars have changed dramatically since he sat in the Ferrari F60 in Abu Dhabi in November 2009.
“First of all, in not so long we will have our simulator ready – this is good news for him and for us. I think that we will also be able to plan a couple of days with the demo car,” explained Boullier.
Boullier also gave insight into the team’s short term and long term ambitions.
He revealed, “There are many things that the team will announce soon, in the coming weeks and the coming months. Let’s not forget that the team’s current identity is only a couple of years old and it is clear that we have made some strategic investments like the wind tunnel, like the CFD pole and like the building of the simulator– it will be a state of the art simulator.”
“We are also in the process to reinforce our team with the recruitment of some key people, some of them have already joined us and some are to be announced soon but we can’t say too much at this stage as some of them are currently on gardening leave,” said the Frenchman.
“Next year, we will also have an upgrade of our facilities trackside, in fact it is going to be a complete change with a new engineers truck, a new infrastructure for the team garage, which of course will also have an impact on our image and obviously Kimi joining us is a big step in reinforcing the investment Genii Capital is putting in the team at every level,” added Boullier.