Difficult day at the office for Kimi
Raikkonen has plenty to keep him occupied during Korean GP practice
By Mike Wise in Yeongam. Last Updated: 12/10/12 12:08pm
Kimi Raikkonen admitted he had a tough day in the office at the Korean Grand Prix after winding up 10th fastest in practice on Friday.
The Finn was handed the task of debuting Lotus's new exhaust system, which follows the trend set by the other frontrunning teams of harnessing the Coanda aerodynamic effect in an effort to boost rear grip.
If that wasn't enough, Raikkonen was also making his debut at the Korea International Circuit having elected not to familiarise himself with the 5.615km layout using a simulator.
Indeed, he had not so much as even walked the seldom-used track prior to opening practice, in which dusty conditions also made the going tricky.
Summing his day, Raikkonen, who was 11th fastest in the morning, said: "Quite difficult. It wasn't very easy to get the car right. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
"I think that probably we expected a bit more than what we've seen so far but it's too early to say."
Of the track, which comprises three quite distinct sectors, he added: "It's okay. It's surprisingly bumpy in some places to be a new place but it's quite a bit different to the normal layouts that we go to."
Raikkonen reckoned that any attempt to judge the new exhaust over the old was clouded by the Yeongam track's different layout.
Even so, Lotus ran a back-to-back test with Romain Grosjean using the older version and Technical Director James Allison later said they would continue using the update this weekend.
"It's a completely different place. You can't compare from place to place, even if you don't touch it - that's the difficult thing. But that's why we had two systems; we'll look at the data and we'll see," Raikkonen said.
The 2007 World Champion said that running the new exhaust had cost Lotus time compared to running a more usual Friday programme, but he seemed confident they can progress.
"We keep Fridays for all sorts of different things. We can test different things and it's really for us to try to get the car right. It's testing things because otherwise we're never going to try these things," Raikkonen added.
"For me, I don't care about the lap times just so long as you get a good understanding of the stuff and then try to put everything together tomorrow.
"I think we are more or less where we usually are on Friday and we can improve the car and be faster tomorrow.
"I wouldn't say that the car felt very good today. I think we were one second off, so if we can get it right, we can easily get better - I hope. But then the other people might improve also."