Raikkonen back in driving seat, eager to race

London: Kimi Raikkonen made himself comfortable again in a Formula One car and looked forward to getting back up to speed in his comeback season with Lotus.

The 2007 world champion, who is returning to F1 after two seasons competing in the world rally championship, had a seat fitting at the former Renault team`s Enstone factory in central England.

"This is indeed the first time I have properly sat in an F1 car with a helmet on since the last race of 2009," the 32-year-old former Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari driver told the team`s website.

"It felt a bit odd at first because the cockpit seems a bit small but that`s normal. It`s just like in the past when I have done seat fittings," added the Finn.

"It feels a bit strange when you first step into the car but you quickly adjust. It will be nice to get back to racing."

The seat fitting, which involves moulding a seat to the driver`s exact specifications, is a routine but important part of pre-season preparations.

The first official pre-season test at Spain`s Jerez circuit is not until early next month but Raikkonen could have a track outing before that in an older car with different tyres.

Raikkonen, winner of 18 grands prix with McLaren and Ferrari, has generated scores of headlines with his return to F1 as one of an unprecedented six champions on the starting grid this year.

"It has no effect on me," he said of the positive and negative comments. "Sometimes you hear some nonsense and sometimes you hear nice things.”

"The main thing is that coming back is what I wanted and I have a good opportunity with the team so I`m happy. I have never really looked at what people say or think."

Bureau Report