Kimi Räikkönen bemoans fuel saving mission in Abu Dhabi


Photo: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Kimi Räikkönen has vented his frustration at his need to save fuel during the duration of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying that the technique “has nothing to do with racing”.

Räikkönen finished in fourth, ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, but over 15 seconds shy of his Scuderia Ferrari team-mate, Sebastian Vettel. Courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement, Räikkönen stole fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship away from the Australian.

Having been subjected to limited action, Räikkönen said his evening’s work was “boring”, despite being content with the balance of his car.

“Today my car felt pretty good most of the time, but to be honest, my race was boring.” said Räikkönen, who will continue with Ferrari in 2018.

“I was fuel saving for most of the time. In my view this has nothing to do with racing, but rules are rules.”

The 38-year-old Finn said that it was “painful” to see drivers refrain from pushing their cars, saying his gap to Verstappen at the end wasn’t close, but artificial and manageable.

“There’s nothing you can do, you keep lifting halfway through the straights, 200 meters before the braking point and the guy behind has to do the same.”

“It’s painful not able to push your car when you have the potential to do it. It looks close, but it’s not a fight.”

“I held Verstappen behind me and at the same time I was saving enough fuel to be legal. In some race tracks you have to do it more than in others and it’s not very exciting.”

Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene said that Ferrari’s true speed was only seen in the latter stages of a race dominated by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team.

“Today’s result is far from ideal, but it’s worth noting that, on a track like this, the only real overtaking opportunities are at the start of the race and during pit-stops.” said Arrivabene, who is rumoured to being moving higher up the Ferrari ladder next year.

“Unfortunately, the true potential of the SF70H was only visible in the closing stages of the race.”

Reflecting on an encouraging, but ultimately fruitless season, Räikkönen said that Ferrari had “a pretty strong package”, but emphasised the need to iron out flaws that destroyed their championship hopes in six devastating weeks.

Additionally, he hinted that Ferrari are going for revolution, not evolution for the 2018 car, saying that the Scuderia will “start from zero” in their pursuit of total improvement.

“Overall this year we would have liked to do a lot better, as we had a pretty strong package; we just need to fix and minimise all the issues.”

“Next year, it will be a different story with a different car, and we’ll start from zero. We want to improve in all areas and go faster.”

Arrivabene added that after a difficult second half to the year, Ferrari are “fully focused on 2018”, not forgetting to praise the 2017 effort.

“The whole team, here and at Maranello, gave its best as usual. Now we’re already looking forward, with humility and determination, and we’re fully focused on 2018.”