Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014

Eau Rouge no longer “very easy flat” – Raikkonen

2015 Belgian Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2014Kimi Raikkonen says the challenge has been restored to Spa’s signature Eau Rouge corner but he expects it to be less difficult than last year.

The high-speed corner, one of the most famous in motor racing, had been tamed in the V8 era due to lower top speeds and higher downforce. However last year’s change in regulations significantly reduced downforce and made the corner more demanding again.

“Especially last year for us at least it was a quite tricky corner again,” Raikkonen confirmed. “It depends how good your car is but I expect this year is being a more easy story going through there.”

“But in quite a few years back it was very easy flat all the time. It depends from year to year, from tyres and obviously for the conditions we have to race there. But still things can go wrong and it’s a fast place so it’s exciting.”

Raikkonen is the most successful active driver at the Belgian circuit where he has won four times. He singled out his most recent victory as the pick of the bunch, which was Ferrari’s only win during the 2009 season.

“I think 2009 because nobody expect us to win,” he said, “our car was not very fast in that year but we managed to have a good start and restart and somehow win the race.”

“But all of them are nice: 2007 was very important. And also 2008, almost, we were leading with two laps to go, but… it’s been a good place.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Eau Rouge no longer “very easy flat” – Raikkonen”

  1. It would be great to see Kimi have a clean weekend in Belgium. The track clearly suits him. Hopefully he can get into the ‘King of Spa’ mode again and give the Mercs a run for their money. The Mercs clearly have the edge here but Ferrari wasn’t the best car in 2009, either…

    1. In 2009 if he could kiss the kers of his car, he should. It won the race for him. He moved up 3 places at the start thanks to it, then was lucky that the race was yellow flagged and he could use it again to overtake Fisichella.

      Then it was a matter of defend himself, again, using kers.

      It was a disadvantage for most of that year, but not on that day.

      1. I’m pretty sure he also took one helluva short cut that year at La Source. But, because it was the first lap, there was no penalty.

      2. 2009 wasn’t the only time Kimi has won at Spa with an inferior car, there is also 2004. In fact, his 2004 win was significantly more impressive. He started down in 11th, and didn’t extend the first corner.

  2. I think this is a track where you would expect Kimi to have the edge on Vettel. If he gets out qualified and out raced by Vettel here again, then you really know Kimi’s time is up.

    1. Kimi’s never been beaten in race here.

      1. He was beaten by Lewis in 2008.. in probably one of the best races over the last 10 years.

        Do you mean he has never been beaten by a teammate? I thought Alonso finished ahead of him last year

        1. @todfod No in 2014 Kimi finished 4th while Alonso was all the way down in 8th place.

          1. yeah because alonsos mechanics were stil on the grid and he got a penalty. alonso easily outqualified him.

        2. @todfod

          I still think of that evening as the worst, accidents aside, that I can remember my whole time of watching Formula One. It was such a fantastic race and so exciting, and then the stewards took the race win from Hamilton. It was so clearly done to try to liven up the championship battle, a really dark day for Formula One.

          1. @paulguitar Max Mosley admitted Allan Donnelly phoned him in Peru to ask what to do! So it was Max vs Ron really, like several other decisions that year.

          2. @lockup I don’t remember Mosley saying anything like that and if it were true it would blatantly contradict Mosley’s stance on other incidents. Where was that reported?

          3. It wasn’t reported @keithcollantine, in fact Max also flatly denied it. It just slipped out in an interview on TV while he was holding forth, a few words of what he said to Donnelly. I’ve never found a link to it. But it was part of the two hours they took to decide.

            Max’s ‘stance’ was that it would be great if Hamilton won the wdc, but then look at the array of decisions that season, not to say why Donnelly was there in the first place, instead of Scott-Andrews.

          4. Lewis cut the chicane and got an advantage. If he had followed Kimi through the Bus Stop chicane and stayed on the track as required, he most likely would not have the momentum to make the pass into La Source. The McLaren was tons faster at that point, he should have waited for a non-controversial way to pass, but he made a move that invited the stewards to take a look.

          5. Well @reg, the point here was that until the stewards decided that what Hamilton did was controversial AFTER the race, nobody had thought it was, and it was the first time we ever saw it interpreted that way out of the blue.

          6. @lockup Is there any more you can remember about the interview – when and who it was with? Am curious to see it.

          7. No sorry @keithcollantine, I’ve searched before and not found anything about it. I was a bit strong with how definitely I stated it perhaps, not being verifiable, though I’m quite sure myself. It was a fleeting thing – a few words that he quickly covered, and nobody would dare challenge him. It would be ITV of course, and at Monza.

      2. @bascb, It’s not correct to say the stewards had not interpreted this sort of thing in the same way before:
        Suzuka 05, alonso cut the last chicane and passed klien in the first corner, then passed someone else the next lap, was told to let klien (and hence the second car) to overtake or face a penalty, so he did so
        the problem with spa 08, was that it was the last 3-4 laps, so stewards couldn’t make this decision in the race itself….

        1. @mckinvj However the stewards subsequently told Alonso he did not need to hand the position back (albeit too late), so @bascb is quite right.

  3. Ooh, I remember when Lewis wiped the floor with him here at least twice in one race. Only for Kimi to go and crash it all by himself. What a Master of Spa indeed…

    Hamilton was subsequently robbed of the win.

    1. Well.. to be fair to Kimi, the Ferrari was a handful in damp conditions, and it was apparent that the Mclaren was in better shape when the rain arrived.

      When the race was dry, Kimi absolutely owned Lewis. I don’t know how you say Lewis wiped the floor with him twice in one race

      1. “Ferrari was a handful in damp conditions,”

        Ferrari? Or her drivers? Neither Kimi nor Massa are known for being good in rain.

    2. Obviously those 4 wins were only wins because Hamilton allowed it. /sarcasm

  4. our car was not very fast in that year but we managed to have a good start

    Yeah, I think we all remember that “good start”.

  5. I believe you’re right. Last year was a dreadful season for him, but he still beat Fernando at Spa. If there’s any place where Kimi can rescue his career, it’s here. I still think he’ll struggle to beat Seb, though.

    1. Well, Alonso did have a 5 second stop-go penalty which dropped him into traffic, without which he might’ve beaten Raikkonen

  6. I do hope Kimi comes alive this weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari are waiting to see as well.

    As for Lewis, I have this down as one of the three Nico might beat him on pace – I reckon Eau Rouge is Lewis’ worst corner on the calendar.

    1. I reckon Eau Rouge is Lewis’ worst corner on the calendar.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTataf0o3go

      1. Superb, but not about the line for the fastest exit speed. But he can adjust it of course, and maybe this year he will.

  7. It is indeed the case that, in every race where Kimi has finished the race, he has done so ahead of his team mate. In most of the instances where he retired from the race, he was ahead of his team mates at the time that happened too – the only instance where he retired whilst being behind his team mate was back in 2002, where Coulthard had managed to jump ahead of Kimi in the pit stops before Kimi retired.

  8. My sole prediction for this weekend is that Kimi will shine at Spa with a podium, maybe even the top step.

  9. So…about that argument of the cars being easier to drive???

  10. And at the same time Kimi is making a very compelling argument against the very idea Horner is promoting to make F1 better in today’s roundup: that making the cars faster by giving them more downforce will improve F1, make it more spectacular @zekeri.

    For if last year’s high torque, high power engines but lower downforce made Eau-rouge a challenge once again, then making the cars faster that way will do exactly the opposite of what Horner (and quite a few others) says it will do, namely make it easier to take such a corner flat out, because the downforce just keeps the car stuck to the ground.

    But thank you Kimi for reminding everyone of this fact at the right moment.

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