Kimi Raikkonen has revealed he asked to test for Sauber in Abu Dhabi this week in order to give the team feedback on any potential weaknesses as early as possible.
The Finn will join Sauber on a two-year deal next season following the end of his Ferrari contract, and retired from his last race for the Scuderia on Sunday. However he will remain in Abu Dhabi this week in order to carry out testing duties for his new team during the 2019 Pirelli tire test, and says it was his own request to get started with Sauber early.
“I am (excited) actually — I would never have signed the contract if I didn’t think it would be something I want,” Raikkonen said. “We’ll see. I wanted to do the test to see how the car is. If there are any big things that we need to look at we have more time, and obviously there are next year’s tires. So it will be interesting to start working with them, a new challenge and that is what I wanted.”
Raikkonen will test for Sauber on Tuesday, and says there should be a few familiar faces in the Ferrari-powered team having started his career with Sauber in 2001.
“I know the people that were there on my first time there, but obviously there aren’t that many left! I was always good friends with them, it will, for sure, be interesting and I’m looking to do something different. That’s what I’m looking for, we’ll start testing on Tuesday and then we’ll see how it goes.”
The test comes after Raikkonen suffered a reliability issue in his final race for Ferrari in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and he says he could have finished with an even strong points tally but for a number of technical problems.
“Obviously, we wanted to finish better, but that’s how it goes in the sport sometimes. It has been, let’s say, a decent year, but we had four retirements that had nothing to do with me and that hampered our progress. This is part of the sport, unfortunately.”