Tuesday February 27th, 2001
Young Finn Kimi Raikkonen is keen to begin the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, because it will fulfil a life-long dream to compete in Formula One.
Sauber driver Raikkonen will make his Formula One debut in Melbourne and he is determined to prove the critics wrong, who slammed the FIA's decision to hand him a superlicence to drive in the sport.
"It's been my life's dream to become a Formula One driver, and I will be going to Australia determined to do my very best for Sauber," said Raikkonen.
"My first Grand Prix is going to be a big challenge, but I'm ready and I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to see it from the wheel of the C20 for my first experience of it."
Raikkonen's teammate Nick Heidfeld, who signed from Prost, is also optimistic about the new season, but believes his first race with the team is of great importance.
"The first Grand Prix of the season is always very special to a driver," said Heidfeld.
"This year has even more importance for me because it is going to be my first Grand Prix with the C20, on my second visit to this street circuit.
"Despite being a street circuit, the Melbourne track is very much like a normal road course. I like it because there are not too many quick corners and the track is not too technical.
"This was what a driver and team need in their first Grand Prix of the new season, to assess accurately the performance of the car for the rest of the year."