Hans-Joachim Stuck: Raikkonen is capable of doing it

By on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

© Lotus Renault GP

Twenty-four hours ago, Lotus Renault GP announced the signing of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen for the next two years. One of the latest prominent figures to comment on the matter is German ex-Formula 1 driver and two times 24 hours of Le Mans winner Hans-Joachim Stuck, who could not hide his joy, in a long interview with the German website Motorsport-Total.com.

“I already said a long time ago that he would come back anyway. He is not done yet, he still is a young guy,” Stuck said. “I’m looking forward to have someone like Kimi back; just the same way I was glad about Michael Schumacher. These are guys who polarize and Formula 1 needs them. And also if they drive at the front, then Formula 1 benefits a lot. Kimi is certainly a very positive figure for Formula 1. He polarizes, but such people are needed.”

For Stuck, it is clear why drivers like Kimi Raikkonen or Michael Schumacher cannot let go and still need to keep on racing, even if they have enjoyed long successful careers.

“Schumacher or Raikkonen, they are racing animals. What else could they do? For them, this is their purpose in life,” Stuck said. “Kimi left Formula 1 in a not completely unproblematic way, but he has also realized how important Formula 1 is to him. To have him sitting in a Renault now is a terrific story, because he has a relatively competitive car there. I am sure if he also sorts out all the other things in his life, then he can drive at the front like he did before,” he added.

Hans-Joachim Stuck is not so sure though, about Raikkonen being the best driver to lead Lotus Renault GP, unless he gets the right team-mate.

“I’m a bit cautious there. I would trust this to somebody else. I think, he is not the totally consistent worker that he maybe could be,” the ex-DTM champion said. “I think it is important for Kimi to get the right teammate. A teammate he can not only compete with, but also collaborate with, in order to bring the team forwards. He must extract the last drop to really have it become a top team. But of course, this is a bit problematic. If Kimi could work with a high-flyer like Vettel, Schumacher or Rosberg, it would be easier for him.”

Given that Michael Schumacher struggled to adapt back to Formula 1 when he returned in 2010 after a three-year break, many pundits consider Raikkonen could also face a difficult reentry in the Big Circus. Above all, the adaptation to the Pirelli tyres have cast some doubts, as Raikkonen was driving with Bridgestone tyres when he left at the end of 2009. But Stuck does not think that would be a problem for the Finnish driver.

“A pro like Raikkonen can also drive with three wheels, if it is necessary. He has also proved it in rallying. He won nothing big there, but he can also drive cars fast. He drove NASCAR. He can do this, he has it in him. Of course, he must readapt to many things, he has to adjust to the new tyres and the new cars, to the DRS. But I absolutely believe Raikkonen is capable of doing it,” Stuck affirmed.

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