The 2007 world champion is making his second race outing within the NASCAR Cup Collection at Circuit of the Americas this weekend, rejoining the Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet staff with which he made his debut at Watkins Glen final 12 months.
The Finn, who retired from F1 on the finish of the 2021 season after making 349 race begins, will begin 22nd in tomorrow’s race, two positions ahead of NASCAR Cup rookie Jenson Button after they had been solely zero.033s aside in lap occasions.
Talking at Austin on Saturday, Raikkonen mentioned certainly one of NASCAR’s fundamental appeals was the best way the low-downforce inventory automobiles are capable of race one another with none reliance on any movable aerodynamic units, such because the Drag Discount System which has been utilized in F1 since 2011.
“There are locations you may overtake, and particularly in F1, you don’t get numerous circuits you may have an excellent race,” he mentioned.
“Folks can really overtake with out the DRS, and it feels extra like a traditional older-style F1 racing.”
Increasing on the variations between F1 and NASCAR, he added: “The racing is barely totally different as a result of in F1 with open wheels, for those who contact someone you often lose a automotive or lose the wheel.
“You can not actually take that danger in F1 that a lot since you lose tiny elements of the automotive, and your automotive is out of the blue a second slower than it needs to be.
“In NASCAR, you may have a bit extra nearer racing. Clearly, the foundations are totally different, they’re extra open right here.
“I believe it’s extra of for those who form of behave, effectively they’ll behave an analogous means in opposition to you the best way I’ve understood. It makes it extra thrilling on the finish of the races when individuals may be fairly aggressive.”
Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41
Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Raikkonen defined that the circuit could be very totally different to drive in NASCAR in comparison with F1, as the character of a number of corners at COTA are modified by having much less downforce.
The 2018 US Grand Prix winner at COTA with Ferrari significantly cited Turns 17 and 18, which “are fairly simple and flat for these [F1] automobiles”.
“In all probability essentially the most tough corners for NASCAR, they’re not likely for F1 automobiles due to the downforce,” he mentioned. “It makes an enormous distinction within the monitor.
“All the bumps the monitor has in F1 you get away with lots as a result of, once more, the downforce helps and also you don’t actually really feel it.
“However in a NASCAR automotive, the impact is sort of large. It makes it a way more tough monitor to drive and to get the automotive considerably working as you would like.
“It’s a very totally different monitor in some ways. It sounds silly as a result of it’s the identical monitor, however the automotive makes it lots totally different.”
NASCAR has additionally eliminated stage breaks for highway course occasions, permitting the race to play out extra naturally than prior to now.
He additionally acknowledged that the automotive felt “extra tail-happy” on account of NASCAR eradicating important quantity of downforce for occasions at brief tracks and highway programs.