With Formula One currently on its mid-season break there isn’t much happening in the world of Grand Prix racing but that hasn’t stopped Kimi Raikkonen getting behind the wheel of a racing car. The versatile driver, who has raced and rallied in everything from Formula One to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, via the World Rally Championship, took part in an official GP3 test session to help his friend Afa Heikkinen’s Koiranen GP team.
Although testing is banned in season for Formula One drivers they’re not restricted to testing cars in other formula so the 2007 World Champion was free to complete 168 miles around the Barcelona Grand Prix circuit. The aim of the test session was to improve the spec formula car that’s used in the Formula One feeder series to create more overtaking.
After the test Raikkonen told the official GP3 website, “The GP3/13 (car) is a very good tool for young drivers, especially when you have to learn about tyre management like we have in F1.” After completing a distance only a few miles off a full Grand Prix race length he said, “I was curious to see how the car handled and it was actually fun to drive.”
The GP3 car is very different to anything used in F1, so Raikkonen wouldn’t have learnt much from the test that could help him when the Formula One World Championship begins again on 25th August with the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. The GP3 car has just 400bhp and has no power steering but the track time will remove any rustiness in the former World Champion created by the enforced August break in the F1 season.
Raikkonen is looking forward to a return to F1 action, “For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world,” Raikkonen said of the Belgium circuit. “It is my favourite place. I have liked the place since my first ever visit there in 2000 with Formula Renault.”