Formula 1 - Stewart: Don't try to change Raikkonen

Lotus is doing the right thing in allowing Kimi Raikkonen to be his own man in Formula One, believes triple world champion Jackie Stewart.

The Scottish legend, who is also a strategic advisor to Lotus owner Genii, reckons that the team should have no worries about Raikkonen's quirks off the track because he is so quick on it.

"You don't change Kimi Raikkonen, you don't change him," said Stewart, speaking on the AUTOSPORT Stage with KX at AUTOSPORT International on Saturday.

"I speak to him very seldom on a weekend, because if he wants to speak to me, he will come and speak to me. If I and go tart him up, he thinks 'what are you talking about? Why bother me?' That is how the reaction would be.

"He is a very special person, the most special of any grand prix driver past and present, but his return was better than [Michael] Schumacher's return. He was up there every single race he was in last year, and he delivered."

Stewart's comments come a few weeks after Lotus owner Gerard Lopez suggested that Raikkonen had flourished on his F1 return because of the atmosphere at the Enstone-based team.

Although Stewart's approach to the job of being an F1 driver meant he embraced public relations and media work, he does not think it an issue that Raikkonen dislikes some of the off-track tasks.

"With the knowledge and experience he has, and the mind management he has, he doesn't care about PR, journalists or interviews. He doesn't want to do them.

"If you ask him a silly question, you get a straightforward answer. I like Kimi a lot. I can't count him as a friend, and the friends he brings along are pretty unusual. But Kimi is doing fine the way he is."