Raikkonen plagued by steering problems in Barcelona

By on Saturday, March 3, 2012

Raikkonen was reporting that the steering didn't feel right

Kimi Raikkonen lost almost half a day of running on his first day back in the Lotus E20 since Jerez, only managing to complete a handful of laps during the morning session in Barcelona. The Finn complained that the steering "didn’t feel right" after only three laps, although the steering rack on the car was the same one that teammate Romain Grosjean had been running for the past two days.

According to Sky Sports pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz, the engineers found differences between Raikkonen's and Grosjean's telemetry, indicating that something was indeed wrong with the steering. "The engineers checked the telemetry data and saw that there was indeed something not quite in keeping with Romain Grosjean’s steering data from the previous two days. So they checked the system over, bled the hydraulics, checked for air bubbles etc and then sent him out again," said Kravitz.

However, Raikkonen still wasn't happy with the steering when the team sent him out again so the mechanics set to changing the steering rack for Raikkonen, fitting the one he used at the first test in Jerez. Raikkonen had already reported that he was not happy about the steering in Jerez last month and the team had already brought a new steering system to Barcelona. “Lotus mechanics are replacing the entire steering rack; that’s quite big job and time is ticking away, which is unfortunate as Lotus couldn’t wait to hear what Kimi had to say about their car around Barcelona, given Romain Grosjean’s time-topping performances over the first two days," Kravitz reported. Raikkonen ended the morning session 10th, +3.526 seconds off the pace.

According to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, Raikkonen prefers to have a light steering which allows him to correct the rear when it slides. Raikkonen will now have a big task ahead of him to make up for the lost time. The team states that they have a number of setup runs planned for Raikkonen this afternoon, which will see him diving in and out of the pits.

Raikkonen missed all of the second test at Barcelona last week due to Lotus' chassis problems. His last appearance behind the wheel of the E20 was on February 8 in Jerez.


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