Kimi Raikkonen is confident the new protocols put in place for Formula 1 to cope with Covid-19 will swiftly be forgotten once the racing starts.
Alfa Romeo driver Raikkonen starts his 18th F1 season this weekend that will finally begin in Austria at the Red Bull Ring following a near four-month hiatus due to the pandemic.
With the paddock restrictions and the grandstands empty, it will undoubtedly be the strangest experience in the 40-year-old’s long career, but he is convinced that once the visor goes down it will all be forgotten.
“It will feel a bit weird to get back to racing in these conditions,” said Raikkonen. “But I am sure that once we are in the car we will not focus on the restrictions but just on doing the best job we can.
“The break was a chance to spend time with my family but now we have to focus on the job. With so many races in so little time, we need to make the most of every event and score points every time we get the chance.
“It’s hard to tell where everyone stands, but we will find out soon enough.”
Like Raikkonen, team principal Frederic Vasseur acknowledges “the situation will be different” this season, but has every confidence in the measures taken by the FIA and F1 to keep everyone safe.
On track, ahead of a double-header at the Red Bull Ring, Vasseur is unable to make a call as to how things will pan out.
“It has been so long since the last race in Abu Dhabi, so obviously we are eager to go back to racing,” said Vasseur. “This is what drives us on and what we have been working for all season.
“The first race of the season is often a chaotic affair and that’s when opportunities arise. We will need to be ready to take any that come our way.
“Racing again [at the same track] will be a new experience for all of us, but we expect the midfield battle to be so close to make both races really open and unpredictable.”
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