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Raikkonen confident he can adapt to Pirellis
Kimi Raikkonen is confident he will be able to adapt quickly to the Pirelli tyres when he makes his comeback with Renault next season.
Raikkonen last drove in F1 in 2009 when Bridgestone supplied tyres to the grid with very different characteristics to the current Pirellis. This year the new P Zeros have been engineered to degrade at a faster rate and that has caught some experienced hands, such as Mark Webber, off guard.
Raikkonen will return to the sport with less knowledge of the Pirellis than some of his rivals, but he said it was not a concern, pointing out that he won his championship in 2007 on Bridgestone tyres after spending the previous five years on Michelins.
"The biggest difference is the tyres as it takes some time to learn how to use them the best way," he told Turun Sanomat. "But it was more difficult when I changed from the Michelin to the Bridgestone tyres. Now, I haven't driven on F1 tyres for two years so I did not get used to something else. In this way it will certainly be easier. I have talked to my friend Pedro de la Rosa and from what he told me, they [Pirelli] feel pretty good, with good grip from the outset, which for me is important."
He added: "I can drive this year's car as long as it is on GP2 tyres. Just a familiarisation. I don't know the schedule yet but when the new car comes I will test it."
And he is not concerned about the added complications of DRS and KERS.
"It probably will not be so difficult," Raikkonen said. "I drove F1 cars for a long time, and the last time was with the KERS and with a lot of buttons on the steering wheel."
Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson said his driver was very keen to return to F1 and probably should not have left the sport at the end of 2009 when he was replaced at Ferrari by Fernando Alonso.
"He is back where he should be," Robertson said. "My personal opinion is that when he left F1 after 2009 he was too young and too good to be doing so. He still has a lot to give to the sport, and when he asked us to explore the possibilities, he was constantly pushing us forward.
"Everyone seems to know about our discussions with Williams. They continued for many weeks but on some of the things we could not agree. Then shortly before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix we started talking with Eric Boullier. Both sides wanted to come to an agreement quickly."