Kimi Räikkönen: senior and recordman of modern F1

source: automoto.it, 16. November 2020

The Alfa Romeo driver, former world champion with Ferrari, talks about his life outside the circus and the future: still on the track.

328 times Kimi Räikkönen and he doesn’t show it. The senior driver and recordman of F1 seems to be living a second youth with Alfa Romeo, which has extended his contract also for next season, bringing his presence with the Biscione team made in Switzerland to three years. Yet another year and the attendance record is set to lengthen, perhaps to become something unique on the world scene. Kimi is a very particular character: he is the most social among the unsociable. He speaks in monosyllables, but one is enough to make a complete speech. Kimi Räikkönen is the paradox of modern F1.

Nevertheless, he has the spirit of the drivers of old times, of those who speak little but communicate a lot. The track record is remarkable: an F1 world title with Ferrari in 2007, 21 GPs won, 103 times on the podium, 46 fastest laps, 18 pole positions. And the desire to try again. Married since 2016 to Minttu Virtanen, two kids, Robin (5 years old) and Rianna (3 years old), the unscrupulous F1 “playboy”, the one who presented himself at the official FIA awards ceremony completely drunk, put his head in place. It’s enough to watch a video on social media, put on by his wife, of when he came back from a Grand Prix and his two children met him. As often happens in normal families, with normal lives and not with a job at 300 per hour.

Since you became a father, has anything changed in your life, in the way you do and in your work? “Yes, as I think it is normal for everyone who becomes a parent, even if you don’t expect it. It happens. Others may change the lifestyle thinking about taking care of their children, worrying about them, changing something in their lives, but I haven’t changed anything as far as my attitude on the track is concerned. What I did before I still do. Then, in everyday life, it’s another story, something different happens for sure in the handling of the family, of the children. In this I am very normal.”

We meant to say that before becoming a father, F1 was the most important thing in his life, now maybe it is subordinate to other interests… “Actually F1 has never been the most important thing in my life. Certainly it was the activity that took up most of the time of my day, for the travels, the tests, the commitment it takes to race in F1, but it was never the priority of my life, it took me a lot of time without a doubt, but it was never the most important thing of my life. I repeat, even though it took up most of the time in my life it was not my priority. I never thought and believed that if I couldn’t race, everything else would be meaningless or that it would be shit, I never lived it this way. Obviously I always tried to give my best and do the best when I was on the track, obviously I was disappointed when things went wrong, or when I did something wrong. Then, as soon as I got home, I had a normal life, followed my passions, my family, the things I like and feel good about. With this I am not saying that F1 is more or less important than in the past, certainly now in my everyday life, the normal one let’s say, I certainly have something more important like my children and my family.”

Once you fought for victory and world titles, now the situation is different: how do you find the motivation to do your best with such different goals? “I honestly can’t see the difference, every race I go out on track to fight. I have won 21 Grand Prix and I don’t see any reason for not winning any more in the future. In addition, I would have won more if I hadn’t had mechanical failures and cars that were not always competitive. When I debuted in F1, Ferrari dominated, not as they do now at Mercedes, and I was in another team. Winning at the time was not easy. Now it’s Mercedes that dominates in an impressive way and surely you could have a better chance of winning without this dominance. In 2005 and 2007 I fought to win the world championship, but it’s not that in the other years, when I was at McLaren, I had the chance to do it often, so from a certain point of view I don’t see the difference with today.”

Your son Robin, five years old, has started trying out karts and is racing them, so much that you even joked saying that he’s faster than you are with rented karts: would you be happy if he became a professional driver? “Actually, I’ve never asked myself the question, but if he should, why not? If he wants to… We usually practice when I come back from the GPs, but now the weather is bad in Switzerland, where I live, and in Finland it’s even colder, so we’ve suspended kart practice. I’d say that in a couple of years we’ll have clear ideas about what he wants to do when he grows up and which way to go. If it will remain a hobby or if he wants to do it as a professional and in that case I will give him the support I can offer. Then maybe he will want to play football or tennis, the most important thing is that he does something he likes, without constraints, if he wants to race on tracks, on the road or do motocross. He has to be free and do what he feels.”

If it were up to you, would you prefer to point him to rallies, where you raced in the World Championship, or to the track? “It’s not a problem, he has to decide what he wants to do. I will give him all the help I can. Whether he wants to do motocross, or dedicate himself to dance instead of racing, or if he just wants to have fun with karting. Maybe he could learn to play ping pong, he would have a simpler and less complicated start! For me the most important thing is that my children are happy.”

But of course we remember his beginnings, he was not very talkative with the press, and he remained so for decades: at Monza during private tests, he answered to a precise question: yes I know and he left us with the notebook in our hands. It’s rather difficult to have a chat with him, he seems to enjoy avoiding the press or he doesn’t like it at all… “Ah ah, I remember well, but I can guarantee that I have improved in the meantime. After all, we’re here to talk about it. Also because I can’t do without it today…”

Joking aside, surprised by Ferrari’s current situation? “Well, I really don’t know what to say. I’ve been a Ferrari driver for many years, it’s not the first time that one year they’re very strong and the following season they’re not competitive. Let me take 2008 as an example: we were fighting for the world title and in 2009 we were behind and not at all competitive. I seem to see similarities with the current situation after Ferrari had a winning 2019. This also happened in my time at McLaren, one year you’re competitive and the following year you’re out of the game. These things happen very often in F1. There are things that impact and annoy and some problems they have also affected us in Alfa Romeo with the engine, for example, but I’m sure they will improve. There’s no reason not to do it.”

A zoom call with Kimi Räikkönen

by Umberto Zapelloni, source: Il Giornale & topspeedblog.it

The champion recounts twenty years of his career on the day of his renewal.

“Formula 1 has never been the most important thing in my life”. It is a good starting point to chat with the man who has just signed the renewal of his contract with Alfa Romeo Sauber, which will keep him on the track until he is 42 years old.

But Kimi Räikkönen is like that. He still doesn’t have enough of the 324 Grand Prix races he’s already raced in his 18-year career. Covid’s cursed season, with few contacts and very few interviews, probably helped to extend his sporting life.

But what made you do it?

I have fun.

Will it be your last year?

I don’t know. Who can say. Even when this season started, I didn’t know if I would keep going. If I’m still having fun I might as well continue.

What do you like about F1?

Driving, racing.

What else?

Enough. Nothing else. But who would like all the rest.

When you debuted in 2001 in Australia, did you ever think you would still be here twenty years later?

At first I didn’t even know if I was going to finish the season, I had a temporary super licence… then at McLaren a three-year contract… I was planning it case by case.. I never thought I could still be here now.

What’s different between then and now’s F1?

I always do the same things. There’s not much difference. The cars, engines, tyres, tracks, team mates are changing. But then when you get behind the wheel you always have to try to go as fast as possible.

Which you did very well on the first lap at Portimao. From sixteenth to sixth. Excited?

It was great to overtake so many people in one lap, but I’m not excited about just one lap. It’s fun to pass so many people because in Formula 1 it’s not that easy to overtake. But more than getting excited about what I had done, I was worried because I knew they would then overtake me again. It would have been better to pass them all on the last lap and not on the first one. In Portugal the magic moment lasted three laps, then I couldn’t do anything against the others. Our performance improved, but we still lack some speed and in races like those, where there are no retirements, it’s difficult to finish in points. I managed to take the chance, to take advantage of the slippery track conditions, but it was slippery for everyone. I don’t know if there were others with soft tyres or if they were all struggling with the medium. Sometimes the situation turns in your favour, sometimes it doesn’t. It also depends a lot on how you can warm up the tyres during the formation lap… if you find the right feeling in the first few corners you are able to push…

What convinced you to stay at Alfa Romeo Sauber?

Simple: because this team is more than a team to me, it’s almost a second family. Don’t get me wrong, my family is at home waiting for me and it’s irreplaceable, but here I look around and I still find many of the people I met when I made my F1 debut with them in 2001.

Speaking of family, did you have fun shooting Alfa commercials with your wife?

Do you think I can have fun being an actor? It’s not really for me. But I liked doing it with my wife, we had a good time and a lot of good people worked around us.

And your son Robin is going to be a driver? What do you advise him?

I don’t push him. If he likes it, I’ll help him. Sometimes we go karting. Some days after 5 laps he gets fed up and wants to go home, others after 50 laps he wouldn’t want to stop.

Who knows where he gets it from… It seems to me that you are doing with Antonio Giovinazzi what Ibrahimovic is doing with the young people of Milan. And so the Italian is improving race after race.

I know Ibra, but football is different, it’s a real team game. I don’t hide anything from Antonio and if he learns by watching me I am happy, but when we get in the car everyone thinks about himself. But if a young guy asks me to help him, I am not jealous of my data, I am happy to help.

You said that Antonio and Seb are your only friends in Formula 1. Did you have fun with Antonio on the Nürburgring with the Giulia Quadrifoglio, a video not to be missed?

Did you see how scared I made him? He got really afraid, I didn’t expect. I had fun. But I understand him, I do this too when my wife drives..

Speaking of Seb, surprised how things are going in Ferrari this year?

I don’t think he’s very happy about what’s happening to him. But in Formula 1 nothing really surprises you. For everything to go well, a lot of little things have to work and it doesn’t always happen.

It sounds like a story he’s already lived through. Even though at his last chance in Austin in 2018, he managed to do it.

New book tells the story of Kimi Räikkönen’s special night in São Paulo: The party ended in the back seat of an ancient Lada

a collection of articles with stories from Heikki Kulta’s new book about Kimi Räikkönen:

A new book tells the story of Kimi Räikkönen’s special night in São Paulo: The championship party ended in the back seat of ancient Lada, “Elvis” was taken onboard

hs.fi and is.fi

In his book Iceman – Kimin matkassa, Heikki Kulta tells how the 2007 championship was celebrated in Brazil.

When Kimi Räikkönen won the 2007 F1 championship, Ferrari held a private celebration on October 21 in São Paulo. Heikki Kulta was the only Finnish journalist to be invited to the party.

Now Kulta tells in his book how the championship party went. He writes that team-mate Felipe Massa tried to teach Räikkönen the basics of samba at the party, but with very poor results.

“It would be hard to imagine the driver taking part in the TV hit Dancing with the Stars..”, Kulta states in the book.

According to Kulta, Räikkönen wanted to go elsewhere before midnight. In addition to Kulta, Räikkönen’s race engineer Chris Dyer joined. They ended up at the closing party of the F1 season hosted by the Redbull team.

“From five in the morning, the place started to close. I found Kimi’s in the middle of a cloud of smoke on the corner table where he and Vitantonio Liuzzi talked loudly. I was waiting for my time and I rushed that now we should leave when the place is closed, ”Kulta writes.

Eventually, Räikkönen and Kulta moved to queue for a taxi at the “backyard that seemed like a scrap yard”.

“Kimi didn’t have the patience at that point and he suggested that we take a rusty moped or a light motorcycle that looked abandoned in that yard. However, I advised that we better wait. A free car would still come, Kulta writes in his book.

In the end, it was their turn.

“To our luck, it was an ancient Lada. In it, Kimi saw a McLaren-era mechanic he introduced as Elvis. And of course he called his friend in our taxi. So the three of us crammed into Lada’s back seat. ”

On top of all that, the Lada’s back seat wasn’t completely intact.

“The mechanic sat on the left, Kimi in the middle and I on the right. “The spring sticking out of the worn bench was visible through the fabric in the middle and I guess it pressed straight into Kimi’s bottom. It was the actual championship ride to the hotel. Normally, the world’s mega stars move in limousines. We drove to the hotel on the championship night in a probably equally old car with which Kimi started his car hobby in Espoo as a little boy.”

According to Kulta, the trio arrived at the hotel just before seven in the morning. Kulta still congratulated Räikkönen for the championship win, after which a surprising thing happened.

“On a spur of the moment, we almost hugged what had never happened before and has never happened since. But it hasn’t come to those championships either ever since…”


The ride in Kimi Räikkönen’s helicopter got a bloody turn – “Someone will think Kimi hit me on the head with a mallet”

mtvuutiset.fi

Kimi Räikkönen’s kind gesture was turning into a special catastrophe a decade ago in Japan, recalls Heikki Kulta in his book Iceman – Kimi’s journey.

In the book, Kulta recalls the 2006 Japanese GP in Suzuka.

Kulta, who was on the spot in Japan, was wrestling with bad logistical problems at the time. He was supposed to return to Finland after the race on Monday morning, but the move from Suzuka to Osaka was painful.

– Especially after the race on Sunday night, the roads are crowded and it takes hours.

– Then I came to the paddock, where I went for coffee at McLaren. Kimi just happened to be free and I told him about my problems getting to Osaka. He suggested bluntly that why I wouldn’t go with him, Kulta writes.

Räikkönen had ordered a helicopter transport for the evening, which still had room.

However, the friendly gesture meant to turn into a disaster.

– We left the paddock pretty briskly. Kimi warned that the actual climb to the helicopter was fast. There was no stopping because the place was teeming with fans waiting for their idol.

– Through the people, I pressed after Kim. To the helicopter we had to climb steep stairs and then enter a dim space. Kimi went ahead and I followed until I banged my head painfully on some sharp ceiling. I sat down next to Kimi in the back seat and I felt the hair on my head was quite wet. When I cursed, Kimi asked how I am. I said I hit my head and Kimi asked the pilot to turn on the light.

A wound on Kulta’s head, which was full of blood. The helicopter pilot offered Kulta a scarf which he pressed on his head.

– We took to the air, and in just over half an hour the Osaka lights were already visible. We continued on to the airport to a five star hotel on the roof of which we landed. We hopped down from the helicopter, and in that light I saw that the white silk scarf had turned red from the blood.

The little accident made Kulta wonder what would happen if he stepped bloodily out of the helicopter.

– I joked that if someone sees us, will probably think we are fighting in blood with each other. Maybe someone thinks Kimi hit me on the head with a mallet.


An outrageous news story was published about Kimi Räikkönen: “Next time we meet in court”

mtvuutiset.fi

The German magazine AutoBild Motorsport once published an outrageous news story about Kimi Räikkönen, which is why the Finnish star was ready to sue the magazine.

During the 2005 Italian race weekend, the German AutoBild Motorsport published a violent story about Räikkönen, according to which the Finnish star would have been totally smashed the week before at the Monza tests.

However, the rumor was not true. According to Heikki Kulta, Räikkönen spent a total of 30 hours in Italy. The Finnish star, who arrived on the test track by helicopter, did laps on the test track for two days until he left home by helicopter.

According to Kulta, the sensationalist story was written by a journalist who was reportedly angry that a promised interview with Räikkönen had not been carried out on schedule. Because of this, the reporter would have written a false story to criticize the Finn.

Räikkönen even considered suing the magazine. However, the German newspaper apologized for the false story.

– I thought I’d take them to court, but I will probably not bother anymore. Next time, if they write something similar, we will meet in court. There are those stupid people, Räikkönen says according to the book.

– I guess everything has to be taken into account. If someone writes some shit, then we turn to the court. I will not let them ruin my days.


The hockey star turned into Kimi Räikkönen when Ferrari fans wanted to see their hero – “I went to scribble the autographs”

mtvuutiset.fi

Former Leijonat defender Tom Koivisto held out his helping hand to Kimi Räikkönen with Ferrari fans, according to Heikki Kulta’s new book Iceman – Kimi’s Journey.

Räikkönen, who lives in Switzerland, became friends with Tom Koivisto and Mikko Eloranta, who played for the Rapperswil hockey team in the 2006-07 season, when one night he had been watching the duo in the Swiss league.

After the match, Räikkönen had gone to greet the Finnish duo and later in the evening the Finnish star invited Koivisto and Eloranta to the sauna.

– After the game, Kimi just showed up to greet us. We talked for a moment and we complained with Mikko that we only lacked a Finnish sauna. Kimi went home, but it only took a couple of hours for the cell phone to say that the sauna is warm – welcome! Since then, we went there to Wollerau and took a sauna until the morning, when there was a suitable holiday, Koivisto says in the book.

The trio quickly became friends and more often spent time together in Switzerland. Koivisto, who also played in the NHL and in the Lions’ shirt at the World Championships, also helped Räikkönen with enthusiastic supporters.

– There were enough Ferrari fans out there. Once, I put on a Ferrari sweatshirt, Kimi’s cap, sunglasses, and went scribbling the autographs which were wanted there. I calmed Kimi, that there is no worry because I’ve seen how he did it, Koivisto smiles.

20 years onboard Räikkönen’s ride

source: HS.fi

F1 journalist Heikki Kulta has interviewed Kimi Räikkönen hundreds of times over the past 20 years and many people who are important for Räikkönen’s career. Now Kulta has compiled the material accumulated over the years into a book, which he calls his own memoirs.

“Has it ever happened before that a sports reporter writes his own memoirs of his dealings with an athlete? Has that been the case?”
This is reflected by Heikki Kulta in the café of the Paimiola gas station, where we arrived from a nearby karting track, a photography place suitable for the theme.

Kulta’s new book Iceman – Kimin matkassa (Kimi’s Journey) tells all about Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen’s racing career, as Kulta has watched him in numerous races and other F1 events over 20 years. In addition, the book lists all of Räikkönen’s F1 and World Rally Championships with their standings.

Over the years, Kulta has interviewed several formula drivers and, of course, also Räikkönen. “It’s certain that no one else has interviewed Räikkönen more often than I have.” No one has been interviewed separately for the new book, not even Räikkönen, but Kulta has mentioned his book project to the F1 star.

“Räikkönen’s comment was ‘Do it, as long as you don’t slag too much’. I said back that I wouldn’t do that because I’m pretty kind reporter”, Kulta says, laughing.
“With a good conscience, I can say that the book has the best pieces of Kimi’s career. I made the book strongly about sports. I bet a lot of Kimi’s comments in the book he doesn’t even remember saying.”

The idea of the book had been on Kulta’s mind for a long time. Years ago, Kulta discussed with Räikkönen’s managers that a book should be made about Räikkönen’s career.
“It moved and moved, and the career went on and on.”

In addition, the Unknown Kimi Räikkönen, written by Kari Hotakainen, which became a big hit two years ago, told about what kind of person Räikkönen is.
“Hotakainen also asked me about Kimi. I told him why you don’t ask Kimi directly. Hotakainen told that Kimi said: “Heikki is the only one who knows every single race, which I have been driving.”

This year, Kulta had a good time writing the book. The coronavirus delayed the start of the season and also meant that Kulta will not be traveling to Formula One races this year. He started the book in January during the F1 winter break.
“There would have been more than double the amount of material.”

Kulta’s first encounter with Räikkönen was in October 2000, when he interviewed the future F1 driver by phone. At that time, it became clear that Räikkönen would move from the British Formula Renault series to F1 in the Sauber team.

The first face-to-face meeting was in the winter tests in Jerez in December 2000. At that time, one could not have imagined that a chain of events would begin, leading to hundreds of Räikkönen interviews.

“He had been told that when he moves to F1, every sentence is grabbed. Kimi was so scared of all of us, including me, that he always ran away. When he was caught and asked about something, he always replied ‘I don’t know’,” Kulta recalls and laughs again.

Kulta soon got a new source for Räikkönen’s practice news: he met Räikkönen’s parents Matti and Paula Räikkönen, who were involved in the testing days at that time. Kulta says he didn’t need Kimi so much when he got information from his parents.

“My own job was made much easier when Kimi started to trust me. Winning that trust was one of the sweetest accomplishments of my entire journalism career. ” [Excerpt from the book Iceman – Kimi’s journey]

When Räikkönen moved to McLaren, Kulta was able to take advantage of his old relationships, as the media people there were the same as in Mika Häkkinen’s career.

“I heard from them what Kimi did in his spare time, and I knew he wasn’t as stiff as many think. Admittedly, he is still much the same. ‘Normal Friday’ is already a classic answer after practice.”

Kulta also developed his own approach to Räikkönen’s interviews.
“If he has been angry about something, I have started some joke. He answers me back with some Turku joke. I know that he has a very sharp sense of humor. It just doesn’t accidentally come up in official interviews.”

What is Räikkönen then like in Kulta’s view?
“Many say he is unpredictable. But I don’t think so. When he has a good day, he is the world easiest to interview. When it’s a bad day, he mostly growls. When it is said that Kimi is an iceman, no he can’t completely hide his feelings.”

Kulta emphasizes that Räikkönen has a really good resistance to pressure.
“With a little weaker pressure tolerance, he wouldn’t have won the championship in 2007.”

A big change in Räikkönen happened when he got children, Kulta points out.
“He became more outgoing. It just doesn’t show up after practices or races.”

Although the book focuses on the stages of Räikkönen’s career, there are also special incidents related to Kulta.
For example, after the 2006 Suzuka F1 race, Räikkönen offered Kulta a helicopter ride from the race track to the hotel. When Kulta got on the helicopter, he hit his head badly.

“I stuck my head straight into the radar. When the lights were put on, the hand was all in blood. The pilot wore a white scarf, and it went all red. ”
“I joked that if someone sees us, probably we’ll be believed to be fighting in blood towards each other and maybe someone will think Kim hit me in the head with a mallet.”

French photographer Jean-François Galeron, on the other hand, asked Kulta at the 2012 Malaysian race if he needed photos of him. Kulta tried to say that pictures of Romain Grosjean, the Lotus teammate of Räikkönen at the time, would be of use.

“There is no croissant, do cookies work?” Galeron replied.

Kulta also reveals that he wrote Räikkönen’s race diary for Ferrari’s website in 2007 and many years after.

According to Kulta, his writings suited Räikkönen so well that the F1 driver started using them himself.
“When he came to a press conference, he used the same words I had written. Damn, he had read them”, Kulta rejoices.

Kulta has seen 260 F1 races of Räikkönen at the track but which one is best remembered?
This is the only question that Kulta has to think about for a long time.

“The most tense was the Nürburgring race at the beginning of 2005. At the beginning of the last lap in the lead the suspension failed and the race was over. That same year, Suzuka Kimi won when he started 17th and overtook [Giancarlo] Fisichella in the final lap. What has been the weakest feeling and the most comfortable feeling fit into this 2005 championship.”

“Now let’s take it easy. But there will be no rioting, Kimi promised. ” [Räikkönen after winning the 2005 Suzuka F1 race]

Finally, the obligatory question: will Räikkönen’s career end this season?

“I said in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that this is Kimi’s last year. Last year, I decided that I would never say again that this is the last year. It is clear that he will no longer win championships, races or pole positions.”

Räikkönen previously emphasized the importance of winning for his motivation. Now he’s struggling for points at the Alfa Romeo team. What has changed?

“Now it has to be that he’s not interested in anything other than driving.”

All quotes in italics are from Heikki Kulta’s book Iceman – Kimin matkassa (Readme)

Fred Vasseur about Shwartzman, Schumacher and Kimi: “Possibly Robert is one of the future stars”

Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur believes in the revival of the Ferrari engine and comments on all rumours of driver contracts.

source: championat.com

The lack of journalists who write in the Sochi Autodrome is not an excuse to do without an exclusive. During the Russian Grand Prix days we had a more than detailed talk with Frederic Vasseur, the head of Alfa Romeo, discussing the difficult current season and the team’s plans for 2021. So far, Alfa Romeo has both driver vacancies open, and the fate of one of the seats is determined by the Ferrari – Mick Schumacher is expected to take over. Who will be his partner depends on Kimi Räikkönen’s decision about his own career and, of course, on Vasseur himself. We have also talked about this.

Frederic, how would you rate the first half of this challenging Alfa Romeo season?

The season has begun hard for us, especially the beginning. I don’t want to go back to the engine situation, but it is as it is. The engine is not our area of responsibility anyway, so we have to work on the rest of the technical package, particularly the chassis.

The first races were quite difficult, but we expected that. We were able to respond well to the situation and take a pretty good step forward. Yes, it does not always reflect on the results – for various reasons – but this step is undoubted. In racing, we can now fight Ferrari. I can’t say that’s what we want, it’s not the goal at all, but it’s good for the team to show that we’re working in the right direction. We kept our motivation and were pleased with our speed at Mugello. Let’s see what the finish of the season will bring and see if we can add a little more.

How did you maintain your team’s motivation after the starting failures and especially the motivation of Kimi Räikkönen, who is hardly interested in fighting for Q2?

Yes, yes, motivation is a key factor when you find yourself in the wrong place before the start of the season. It is always difficult in such a situation. So I have to pay tribute to the way the team reacted. Everyone continued to work at their best, even in a difficult financial situation due to the coronavirus. We got together and managed to make a step forward.

As for Kimi, when he signed the contract, he knew that he would not be a world champion with us. Everything was transparent, we were discussing the project, and he knew that we would have ups and downs. Kimi remained motivated, he reacted well – just like the whole team. There is no doubt that a strong driver’s performance is a key factor in the overall performance of the team.

Do you agree that in the first Grand Prix Giovinazzi looked a little better, and now Kimi is ahead?

If we sum up the intermediate results, the drivers are about equal, including when we look at the number of points scored. The fact that they are close to each other motivates both drivers, and their rivalry motivates the whole team. Of course, I would prefer it if Antonio and Kimi fought for fifth or sixth places, but the situation is as it is.

Do you have some kind of deadline to sign contracts for the next season?

There are no deadlines. We will talk to Kimi in the next few weeks to see what the next step may be like together. As for second seat, we will have discussions with Ferrari and we will make a decision in the next few months.

But have you probably heard rumours that Kimi has already signed a new contract with you?

Of course I have! But that’s what they wrote a fortnight ago about Hülkenberg, three weeks ago about Perez, and last week about Vettel. Well, journalists can write whatever they want, but this will not affect my decision! (Laughs)

At the same time, you have a very advantageous position – you can choose from several experienced Ferrari drivers and promising youngsters.

I don’t know if it’s possible to talk about a privileged position. Still, top teams always come first, and since we still have vacancies left, what should we call it? But we do have a lot of good drivers available for us, but first of all I have to discuss everything with the guys who are in the team now. Despite the difficult first half of the season, they did a good job, we had teamwork, which is very important for me. Let’s move step by step, we take our time. We really do have a lot of options.

Günther Steiner said that there are about ten candidates on his list. Do you have more, less?

I’m not sure that there are ten drivers with super-licences on the market right now. For example, a couple of young drivers still need to earn points for the license – so you have to wait until the end of the season to understand their situation. Well, everyone knows the experienced drivers on the market. Don’t worry, everything will be fine!

Can Alfa Romeo, in theory, form a team of two rookies?

I do not have a clear answer. You can say yes, because we’ll be using almost the same car as this season, and it’s much easier to perform with rookies when you already know the car well.

On the other hand, look at the 2021 calendar: there will only be three days of tests, and then Melbourne, China, some third race – Vietnam or something else – is waiting for us. These are new tracks for F1 debutantes. I am not sure that will be easy. For rookies, it is always good to have an experienced team mate around – that’s what happened when Charles drove for us and his team mate was Ericsson. You might have noticed that in the first four or five races, Markus beat Charles, and then further, Leclerc was more likely to have the advantage. You have to keep that in mind. But in theory, you can start the season with two rookies.

I cannot but ask about Robert Shwartzman…

Ha, you have waited ten minutes since the start of the interview before talking about Shwartzman, congratulations, you are my idol! (Laughs) But I only had ten minutes for the interview, thank you! I’m joking, of course, you should ask!

Do you think it’s better for Robert to try and get into Formula 1 right now or spend another year in F2?

First of all, the championship in Formula 2 is not over yet. The final result always influences your impression – what if he wins all four final races? Then if I say now that he better stays, I will look stupid. Plus, a rookie always has a bonus in the form of an opportunity to progress during the season.

Robert had a very good time last season in Formula 3, just as he did at the start of this season. Yes, he has the space to progress in qualifying or, for example, at the start, but he performs very well anyway. Let’s see what Ferrari decides, if they want to give him a chance. There is no doubt that he is very, very talented. Robert is probably one of the future stars of the paddock.

And a question about Mick Schumacher. We can assume that he will be an F1 driver in 2021 – without specifying whether he is in your team or not. How much time do you think he needs to be given to adapt before we can demand good results from him?

Of course, you have to remain calm at the beginning of the season. If you compare it with Formula 1 ten years ago, then before the start of the season the drivers had, say, 19 days of tests, and in 2021 it will be one and a half days. This is a very different story. Plus, as I said before, we will start the season on tracks where young drivers did not drive. We already remembered Charles – it takes time for a rookie to understand Formula 1, tyres and so on.

I would give the beginners five or six races. Then they already know the tracks, have their first experience in Formula 1, have some kind of base. But it’s important not to be too impatient. When we start working with a newcomer, we understand that some races can be difficult. But this is a normal challenge, and if you look at our team, we have been quite successful in dealing with such challenges recently.

A logical final question – what can we expect from Alfa Romeo next season? Are you expecting serious help from the renewed Ferrari engine?

Yes, we hope that next season we will be able to take a step forward with the engine and return to the group where we used to be. Ferrari is sure of that. In terms of the chassis, we can’t expect a huge step forward because it is roughly frozen except for the details. But once we get back to a more normal financial situation, we can restart the normal development process and move forward together.

Even though I was talking about the final question, I can’t help but clarify – what exactly are the financial difficulties? Don’t you, as Haas, prepare new parts?

The financial impact of the pandemic was huge, and Formula 1 revenues fell, so we had to cut back significantly on expenditure. And the first thing you can reduce is the cost of developing the car, because we have already built four monocoque cars for Melbourne anyway, got the engine and gearbox and prepared the aerodynamic body kit – there is nothing to save on. It remains to reduce development costs. And we have cut them sharply! I hope that in 2021 we will get out of this situation with COVID-19.

Kimi Räikkönen “I like racing, the fun now is to try to improve”

source: Gazzetta dello Sport, 05.09.2020

Eighteenth time in Monza. Only Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello drove more than him (19). Forty years, zero points in the standings and a face to make us go to hell. But not in the sense that he doesn’t care any more, quite the contrary. If Kimi Räikkönen is still here it’s because he loves racing more than anything else. It’s the other side of Formula 1, more relaxed, without obsessions. He never gave the idea that he was ever particularly stressed when he was fighting for the title, let alone that his only goal is to get his Alfa Romeo back a little bit further from the rear where it crashed.

Happy to be in Monza?
Very. It’s close to home and I’m always happy to come to Italy.

Seven GPs without points. You never had seven races without points, not even in your debut season, even then at Sauber, when the scoring system rewarded the first six. Is it frustrating?
How could it not be? Obviously we’d like to go better, but we’re not giving up. Lately, in the last two races, we’ve improved a bit, so at least we’re going in the right direction. We keep working to improve and we will find the top ten…

Are you still having fun?
Of course if the results were a bit better we would all be happier. Sometimes it’s more difficult, sometimes less so. But that’s how races are, and you have to accept it: you can’t think there are only good times. I like racing, the fun now is to try to improve.

In three races, in Sochi, you will equal Rubens Barrichello as a driver with more GPs. You have always said you are not interested in records, but here we are talking about the history of F1…
I don’t even know if he will be in Sochi or the Nurburgring… If no one had said anything, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of this record. I have never looked at the numbers and honestly at the moment it really doesn’t mean anything to me. Now I’m just focused on improving. But it’s true that maybe one day, when I am old and look back, I will think differently. But it will take a long time…

Speaking of Monza. It is one of the very few circuits where you have never won. Is there a particular reason?
No, I wouldn’t say. I tried many times, but something always went wrong. And I know how good it would be for Ferrari. Still in 2018 I came very close, but I had a lot of blistering on the rear tyres and I didn’t make it (he was 2nd behind Hamilton, ed). But there are other circuits like this: in Germany it has always been the same story. And also in Imola…

Imola, this year we’re back and you’re the only one who’s already raced there…
Yes, but I don’t have very good memories. Nice stuff going back to…
(In 2003 he was second, in 2005 he retired when he was in the lead.)

After more than a year together, how do you judge your team mate, Antonio Giovinazzi?
He’s very fast. He’s a good boy, and he’s a quick learner. I think last year it was hard for him to come in after so much inactivity, but you can see improvements.

On Instagram you posted photos of your son Robin in the kart, does he want to be a driver?
I don’t know. It’s not what we’re thinking about now, I just want him to have fun.

But if he does, will you be like Jos Verstappen, always present, or like Keke Rosberg, very detached?
I don’t know. I must say that I was already quite nervous when I saw him starting. And also when he tried motocross. We will see.

What was it like doing the Stelvio commercial? Do you see yourself as an actor?
No, no. And they also asked me. But no, it was fun because everyone put me at ease, even if it was about driving it was something completely different from what I do.

What will Kimi do when he leaves the racing?
I haven’t thought about it, and I don’t even know when I’m going to leave. I’ll be with my family and I don’t know if I’ll do any other kind of competition. Definitely some kart racing with my son. And I’m going to take my wife on honeymoon, I always told her that I would do it after I quit. And she’s still waiting…

Kimi Räikkönen “First sort out the mistakes, then look at the speed”

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen in an interview with SRF about his role in the team, his karting enthusiastic kids and future plans.

source: srf.ch – 07.08.2020

SRF Sport: Good to see you, Kimi. How did you spend the last three days after the race on Sunday?

Kimi Räikkönen: I went home, spent time with my family. Then I had to do the Corona test and now I’m already back in Silverstone. It was a pretty short time.

Did it help to see your family after the disappointing British GP?

Of course, it is always nice. I don’t see them too often. The children are always unhappy when I have to leave again. But that’s the way it is.

The mechanics of Alfa admire how much you push the team forward. Now that the car is not as fast as you would like, do you feel all the more obliged to push, to encourage?

We are always trying to go faster. I can’t feel any difference, it’s the same every year. With the speed we are not yet where we want to be this year. But we have to drive clean races as well. In the first race we lost a wheel, in the second the collision of the Ferraris slowed us down and in Hungary I got a time penalty because I took the wrong starting position. We must first eliminate these mistakes, then we can look at the speed.

Is the blame mainly on the engine?

Certainly not. Maybe we don’t have the strongest engine, but that’s not the only reason. Otherwise we would at least be on a par with Ferrari. The engine is not the whole story, we have to do better as well. The car is the way it is and we drivers have to make the best of it.

Your contract expires at the end of the year. But in Hungary one could see at the start that the fire is still burning inside you…

Yes, that’s the way it is with all of us – no matter what team we’re on. The better you do it, the more fun it is for everyone. That’s normal. Of course we suffer if we’re not as fast as we want. Nevertheless, the goal is always to get the maximum out of the car. It is part of the game, we always try to improve ourselves. The results alone do not dictate what happens. I haven’t discussed the future with the team yet.

At the Russian GP you will break Rubens Barrichello’s record of 323 races. Would you have believed it in Australia in 2001 if I had told you then: you will still be driving in 19 years?

Certainly not. I’ve dropped out of Formula One once before. I never had long-term plans for the future, I always looked from year to year.

Speaking of the future, your wife Minttu posted on social media that Robin was already faster than you in karting. Is that true?

Well, in my defense: I had a rental kart (laughs). I’m not the coach, I’m the father first. I don’t try to coach really, I want him to have fun. If he wants my help, he will ask. He drives his own line so he drives the right line, for me it makes no difference. Maybe in some years time, if he still wants to race when he’s older, we can work on certain things. Right now, fun is what counts.

And what about your little daughter, Rianna? Has she shown any interest in karting yet? We need more women in motorsports!

She can drive on my lap. She enjoys it very much. When she grows up, she can drive Robin’s old kart. I’m sure she’ll like it a lot. She also has a lot of fun on the motocross bike.

Beat Zehnder: “Results unacceptable”

source: Blick

Beat Zehnder (54) has been working for Sauber as a Formula 1 team manager for 26 years. But the Zurich native has never experienced a year like this with an existence-threatening crisis and an immense amount of work for ghost races.

Mandatory masks, no fans, a bunch of corona tests, locked up in a hotel and slow Sauber cars on the track: is Formula 1 still fun for you?
Beat Zehnder: You can complain for a long time. But above all it was important that Formula 1 could set an example. Including Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup, there are several thousand people on site. But so far there hasn’t been a single case of Corona, everything is running smoothly. You can be proud that we even managed to get it up and running.

Now all that remains is for the Sauber cars to perform …
We realized early this year that our overall package did not meet our expectations. We now have to work better than the competition. Our performance so far, especially in Budapest, is unacceptable.

Kimi Räikkönen started from last place in Hungary for the first time in his career. Will Formula One put him off like this?
Kimi is a racer. He works just as hard as always. Of course, he has no pleasure in starting last. But nobody on the team does. We all want to improve as quickly as possible.

Is it the weak Ferrari engine?
It’s the whole package. What we don’t quite understand yet is the difference between qualifying and the race. We can’t get the car ready for one lap, but in the fastest race laps in Hungary Giovinazzi is eleventh and Kimi twelfth. We are capable of setting good midfield times even on old tyres. It was similar in Spielberg. We are intensively analysing why this is the case.

Because 2021 will also be driven with the 2020 cars, the next season threatens to go downhill as well, with the C39.
We have to stay positive. Of course we’re aware that there may be two difficult years now. But some development is possible. You have a certain number of tokens (a kind of voucher, i.e. editor) available for the different technical areas. You use them when you want to change something. The wind tunnel hours have also been greatly reduced. But I’m very happy that all teams have agreed to postpone the introduction of the new car generation until 2022.

Why?
Because there is no other area of a team where more savings are possible. Fortunately, even the big racing teams have realized how badly the Corona crisis is hitting us all financially. We are losing a lot of revenue. The GP promoters don’t earn anything without spectators, so we get less too. In addition, television and sponsors also want to talk about reductions because the season only started in July.

Is the crisis threatening Sauber’s existence?
The owner (the investment company Longbow Finance, the editor) signalled very early on that he wants to manage the crisis together with us. This was important and gave the staff a lot of assurance that their jobs were not threatened.

Otherwise there would have been redundancies?
One should have been more worried, but that is the same in countless SMBs in other sports and many other sectors of the economy.

The Federal Council put together a million-euro rescue package for professional sport. Is Sauber making use of it?
Among us only the two drivers are professional sportsmen and one of them lives abroad… (laughs). We are an SMB with around 500 employees, and we have gradually applied for short-time work for all companies in the Sauber Group. That was an extreme financial relief. We were on short-time work from the end of March to 25 May and have been gradually ramping up again since then.

Then the new racing calendar appeared and you had more work than ever before.
The administrative workload is insanely high. There are many regulations, not only from F1 and the FIA. But also from the respective national health authorities.

How big is the fear that a forgotten detail could have a major impact?
It’s always present with so many lists and forms. And every new piece of information brings with it a rat tail of changes. If you forget something, it may result in being refused entry to the country or banned from the race track.

An example, please!
At the first race in Spielberg, some of our people were at the track on Wednesday, on Thursday they were suddenly banned. It was said that they had not been tested. It then took me a few hours to prove the opposite. But I understand that there can be problems when information about thousands of people is merged and Excel lists are sometimes typed in manually.

You had to replan the many trips for the whole team. Did you have to pay a fortune for the cancellations and postponements of hotels and flights?
The cancellation fees amount to a few thousand francs.

That little? No wonder BLICK Formula 1 legend Roger Benoit would like to award you the Nobel Prize in Logistics.
(laughs) That’s my life, I’ve been doing this job for 25 years. Over time, you get to know a few tricks. Without decades of relationships with hotels and airlines, where we have large order volumes, that’s obviously not possible. But since 2002 I have had pandemics as force majeure in my hotel contracts anyway.

You also organize the corona testing in the team. How often is the testing done?
On Wednesday and Sunday. I have set up Wednesday to have enough time for follow-up tests. Because about 5% end up in the lab without a conclusive result, neither negative nor positive. The effort is massive. But it is worth it. Because we can race.

In addition to the many tests, there is also the strict life in the bubble.
That is a huge challenge. To work for three weeks in a row and only travel back and forth between the hotel and the track was something we had never done before. Against the cabin fever, we organized a day in Spielberg with activities like karting, badminton or Segway tours. All in small groups, who are also otherwise together.

What if someone gets infected with Covid-19 though?
Sooner or later we will have a positive case in Formula 1. Not among us, I hope. This is pure probability calculation, because we have contacts, especially at the airports, where we have made a mask mandatory for us. We now fly with our own charter planes. This costs more money, but we want to minimize the contacts to the outside world.

But now the mechanics and engineers were at home for a week. Were they subject to a curfew?
I cannot and will not control everything like in a school camp. It would be negligent if someone didn’t play by the rules and therefore tested positive. But I have full confidence in our people, we have sensitized strongly for the topic.

Kimi Räikkönen about quarantine days, his Lada and his only victory in Hungary

Currently, the children and his training are filling Kimi Räikkönen’s everyday life, but in the meantime, the Finn is also fully prepared for the start of the F1 season: if it starts in July, he will be ready, but if it doesn’t, it’s still fine for him. Räikkönen gave an exclusive interview to F1Világ.hu!

Interview from 26th May 2020

During the forced rest period, Räikkönen and his wife, Minttu, also frequently post on Instagram so fans can keep track of how this non-competitive period is going for them.

The family is not bored at all, Räikkönen himself confirmed this: they go karting, they jump trampoline, but they often go on trips, in fact, the Finn even gives his daughter ballet lessons.

“We are fine, we enjoy the time we spend together – this is something we did not expect to such an extent before the start of the season,” Räikkönen told F1Világ.hu. “But still, the days are pretty packed, we do many things together, we’re out with the kids, I train and we just try to recharge.”

It is especially important for F1 drivers to be in continuous training during the rest period so their physical condition doesn’t deteriorate. Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton is also paying close attention to staying fit during the coronavirus epidemic, and Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo believes he has been able to develop a much more intense and meaningful training program in recent months than ever before.

Räikkönen said he also trains continuously, but unlike Ricciardo – who quarantines with his personal trainer – he doesn’t need to have a regular, daily relationship with his coach, Mark Arnall.

“I’m lucky to have a place here where I can be safely out,” the Finn said. “I can do sports and we have a gym in our house, so staying in shape is pretty easy. I talked to Mark before the start of the epidemic, but my current training program is no different to what I do during the off-season.”

On the other hand, he talks more to his team boss as well as his race engineer: but the 40-year-old driver revealed that there is little talk about work at such times.

“Sometimes I get in touch with the team, most notably Fred Vasseur and my engineer, Julien. Rather, to know that everyone is fine – not to talk about work. Everything is going smoothly, so I’m ready for it whenever we get back to racing.”

According to current news, the 2020 F1 season could start with the Austrian Grand Prix in July, but there is no official information on this yet. Räikkönen said he didn’t really care when they start – if the situation was safe enough, he would be ready.

“It depends, ultimately it doesn’t matter,” Räikkönen replied to the question of whether he thought there could be competition in July. “There are a lot of factors involved and we need to be prepared so that if the situation gets safe, we can go. If it happens in Austria in July, okay, if later, it doesn’t matter either.”

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, rule changes scheduled for 2021 have been postponed to 2022, so drivers and teams will have to wait another season to start with a clean sheet.

However, Räikkönen’s contract expires at the end of the year, and although the new rules could have given him further motivation to stay, the Alfa Romeo driver said his decision was not affected by the postponement of the introduction of the rules.

“Postponing the rules doesn’t change how I feel. I’ve always said we’ll see how this season turns out, and then I’m planning for the future, and that’s what’s going on now. There’s still plenty of time, ” the Finn said.

Changing the rules doesn’t guarantee that the errors in Formula 1 will disappear and we can see exciting races – Raikkonen thinks, which is why he believes that the rule change doesn’t have to determine whether to remain in Formula One or not.

“It’s hard to say [whether F1 would become more exciting due to rule changes – ed.] until we see the cars on track. It doesn’t matter what the data says, because it only becomes clear at the moment that this will change.”

In the meantime, they need to focus on Alfa Romeo to get the most out of the car and themselves this year. However, the team also has a more specific goal for this year: they want to finish higher in the midfield.

Last year, Alfa Romeo finished in 8th place in the championship with 57 points, while McLaren, which finished in the middle, scored a total of 145 points.

“As always, the goal for the season now is to do the best job possible and fight at the top of the midfield,” Räikkönen said. “We need to stay on the ground of reality, we know the order won’t change significantly compared to last season, but we’ve made some progress. We will only know what this means when we go out on track.”

During the conversation, we also went from the present a bit to the past: Räikkönen recalled some memories, such as his first car, which was a Lada.

“It was a perfect first car,” the Finn said. “There wasn’t enough power in it to drift, but there were a lot of problems to solve!”

His first street car was a Lada, and his first F1 car was a Sauber back in 2000, when Peter Sauber noticed his talent, invited him to his team for a three-day test, and was quickly convinced by the performance that he was facing a talented driver.

Räikkönen was still quite unexperienced with his only 23 formula car races at the time, so we wondered if he had any concerns about the first test, such as his fitness.

“No, I wasn’t worried about that, but I was excited to drive for the first time, and the test went pretty well.”

Then soon the news came that he would get a racing contract for the 2001 season…

“Of course I was happy about that. I targeted a seat in F1 and it worked, ” said the Finn.

As far as memories are concerned, Räikkönen is fond of recalling the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix, when he got his first and so far only victory at the Hungaroring.

“That 2005 race was good. We had a good strategy, we knew that if we stick to our plan, we would have the performance of the car to be ahead,” said the Finn about the race, which he started from 4th place. “It was key to have a good start and I managed that, and then we stayed out of trouble and did our job. It was a good team result.”

In the 2005 season, Räikkönen won a total of 7 races, but fell short of Fernando Alonso in the championship, finishing only in 2nd place at the end of the year.

“The season could have turned out a little differently, but in the end we have no reason to regret anything – we can’t change the past.”

Kimi Räikkönen: “If I don’t keep enjoying racing this year, I’ll retire”

source: infobae

One on one with the last Ferrari champion in Formula 1. His way of being, which colleagues he would invite to a party and why he’s still around at 40.

Far from the young man who had some excesses and even admitted in his biography that he had problems with alcohol that he managed to overcome, today Kimi-Matias Räikkönen enjoys his family life with his wife and two children (the boy, Robin, has already started go-karting). He is one of the Formula 1 drivers who has the best time during this break because of the coronavirus pandemic. He looks relaxed and very happy on social media, tools that he started using a couple of years ago. Before starting the action that will return on July 5th with the Austrian Grand Prix, the current Alfa Romeo driver and last champion with Ferrari accepted to talk to Infobae. He made an exception because he does not usually give interviews.

Iceman, as the Finn is known, is 40 years old (born on 17/10/1979) and in 2020 will start his third decade in Formula One where he started in 2001. He surprised in that season with the humble Sauber team and in 2002 McLaren signed him. He was a winner with the English team and fought in the 2003 and 2005 championships where he was runner-up. In 2007 he moved to Maranello and won the title with the Scuderia. It was then that he beat the drivers of his former team, the Briton Lewis Hamilton and the Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who were ahaid of him in the championship before the final race.

He then had two years of absence in 2010 and 2011 when he competed unsuccessfully in the World Rally Championship and tried his luck in the American NASCAR. In 2012 he returned to F1 with Lotus, which was not one of the best teams. However, it did not cost him his return, he came to win and even finished 3rd in the championship. Along with the late Niki Lauda, they are the only champions who were out for two years, came back and were winners. Although the Austrian had the added bonus of having been inactive during that period, he returned and won his third title in 1984.

Kimi, for his good performance with Lotus in 2012 and 2013, returned to Ferrari in 2014 where he was until 2018. In 2019 he moved to Alfa Romeo, which is the Scuderia’s satellite team. The link with his current team expires at the end of the year. In order to have a reference of his extensive career in the category, in his beginnings he raced against the Dutchman Jos Verstappen and today he has in front of him his son, Max Verstappen. For his almost two decades in the category, he has a lot to tell.

Is this your last year in Formula 1?

I’ve always said I’ll do this season and then decide. If I still enjoy racing this year, I will continue, if not, I will retire.

Besides your two-year absence, how did you manage to get 18 seasons in F1?

It’s very simple, I love racing. I don’t really care about all the rest, the interviews and all that, but I really like the feeling of racing wheel to wheel. I missed that feeling and that’s why I came back.

What was the most difficult thing for you when you went to the rally? What did you think of motor racing in the United States?

In the rally, maybe adapting to driving with the pace notes. As for the United States, I liked the competition, it was a lot of fun.

At Monza 2018, Kimi took pole position and broke the record of Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004 with a time of 1m19s119. The Scandinavian was 406/1000 faster than the Colombian, who 14 years earlier had achieved it with a V10 combustion engine of over 900 hp, similar to the power of current V6 hybrids. Räikkönen, on that lap, on the straights comfortably surpassed 300 km/h and reached the fastest average lap time in the history of Formula One with 263.587 km/h.

How does it feel to drive an F-1 car at over 300 km/h?

It’s a pretty normal feeling, I’ve done it most of my life. It’s fun, especially when you’re pushing the limits.

The final of the 2007 championship was dramatic. -How do you remember that race in Brazil?

The race itself was not so remarkable for me. I didn’t feel much pressure, as I wasn’t very likely to win the title without first winning the race (he did). I had a good start, a fairly quiet race and everyone in the team did a great job. We did what we had to do. Of course it was a great joy. We raced to win the title and we did it.

The Finn is also the only one of all the current F1 drivers to have raced with three types of engines: V10 (2001 to 2005), V8 (2006 to 2013) and V6 hybrid (2014 to present). As a result, he was familiar with various types of technologies and developments.

You raced with V10, V8 and V6 engines. What is your favorite period?

I don’t really care. Each engine formula has its own characteristics and it’s up to the drivers to make the most of it.

He has a particular personality, with few words, but concrete when answering, many times he broke the schemes in the F1 environment. For example, on the day of his debut in Australia in 2001 he was woken up to go to the circuit and without being anxious about that instance he asked to sleep a little longer. Or he even revealed in his biography (“The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen”) that in 2012 he spent 16 consecutive days celebrating before the race in Spain, something that did not prevent him from being third.

On some podiums you were seen to be very serious, like at Brazil 2018. Is that part of your personality?

It’s hard to say, it’s just me and I react the way I feel at the time. There’s no point in pretending or being fake.

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If you were throwing a party, which current F1 drivers would you invite?

I don’t think I’d invite many! I’d probably just invite my friends.

Iceman is very popular in F1. In 2017 his retirement in Spain brought a little fan of him to tears in the stands. He was caught by the TV cameras and then invited to the Ferrari pits. The boy met his idol and could not believe it. Today Kimi is still one of the most wanted people when it comes to a photo or autograph. After four decades, he is still in force and did not disappoint in his first year in Alfa Romeo, a not very competitive team, where in 2019 he finished 12th in the championship among 20 competitors.

In Formula One he achieved a total of 21 victories, 103 podiums, 18 pole positions and 46 fastest laps. He competed in a total of 312 Grand Prixs and is 10 behind Rubens Barrichello, the one who started the most races in the 70 years of Formula One. Eight races have been confirmed so far in the reduced 2020 season. If races are added, it is possible that the Nordic will surpass the Brazilian.

This year you could be the driver with the most races in history. Are you aware of this statistic or don’t you think it’s important?

I really don’t care much about them. In the end it’s not what will make me happy or not about my years in Formula One. I think there are many more things I will remember about my career than the number of races I have done.

What would you change about this Formula One?

It doesn’t really matter, since it’s not up to us, the drivers, to change the rules. In the end, we are able to drive any car that has been built for us and we have to adapt to it and try to go as fast as possible.

The day you stop racing, do you think you’ll miss F1?

I don’t think I will. There are good people in the sport and I’ll keep in touch with them, but that’s it. I have spent many years in this environment and when I choose to stop, I am sure I will find many things to keep me busy.

There is no doubt about that. Kimi Räikkönen looks very entertained and happy with his own. He made it clear that his family is the most important thing and that there is life after F1.

Räikkönen: “In isolation I never get bored. I don’t think about stopping racing.”

The Finn and his days with the family: “Virtual races? I’d rather wait to get back on the real track. Vettel and Giovinazzi two real friends.”

Corriere by Daniele Sparisci

Kimi Räikkönen has always thought about keeping some distance with the world. Especially towards that part of Formula 1 that never went down well with him: interviews, appearances, press conferences. The days of wild parties are far away, the latest Ferrari world champion is a role model dad. His wife Minttu, little Robin and Rianna who are racing on tricycles, lockdown in the family. In the Finnish woods, on his estate, where he also had a motocross track built. Mud and jumps, he shows no cracks after weeks of isolation. On the contrary, he says he can enjoy the children more and that little has changed since before. At the age of forty he is the oldest driver in F1, the forced stop has interrupted the hunt for the race record: he is at 313, Rubens Barrichello is at +10, the pass may be completed if the season starts on July 5 in Austria. But he doesn’t give importance to numbers.

Kimi, how are you spending this period? Are you bored?
Pretty normal, pretty much the same as before. I spend all my time with the kids, we are lucky enough to be outdoors most of the time. We do a lot of hand work and a lot of activities. My days pass very quickly.

Let’s go back to two months ago, to the chaos of the Australian GP. You were on the plane back before the race was officially cancelled. Did you really not know if you were going to race?
Maybe I did or maybe I didn’t. But what does it matter now? It’s gone now. I just think canceling the race was the right thing to do. And so it was.

How do you feel about racing on circuits without spectators?
We will resume when the F1 and the FIA decide that it is possible to do it safely. It’s not our decision, I’m sure they will evaluate the picture very carefully. We will race at the right time, even without an audience.

Can this situation change your plans for the future?
No. Let’s wait until we find a way to start the season and finish it. At some point, I’ll see what’s going on and I’ll sum it up. Nothing changes for me at the moment.

How long do you want to continue in Formula 1?
As long as I have fun and motivation. Now I feel more motivated than ever.

You returned to the team with which you started in 2001 (Sauber, now partnered with Alfa), how is the atmosphere?
Good. In the second year we know each other better: they know what I want and I know what I want from them.

What do you think about online racing? A lot of drivers take part.
I don’t care, I’d rather wait until I can get back to a real track.

Neither did you like to drive the Ferrari simulator.
It’s not that I didn’t love it. Let’s say that flying to Italy to get in front of the simulator wasn’t exactly why I chose this job. It’s a different thing to drive around the track. And anyway, those simulators are completely different and extremely more complex than the online racing ones.

For a driver it must be strange to think of a season without the Monte Carlo GP, isn’t it?
It’s not up to us, and it’s not just that race that’s cancelled. We won’t be racing in Australia or anywhere else we would have liked. Unfortunately, that’s the situation.

With such a long break you don’t risk getting rusty in your body and mind?
I don’t think it’s much different from the traditional winter breaks since we’ve been back at the tests in Barcelona. This time I think we’ll go straight to the first race, I don’t see any particular problems.

Is it possible to make friends among the other drivers?
For me Sebastian and Antonio (Vettel and Giovinazzi) are friends. Apart from them I don’t have many.

You have been a protagonist of the last twenty years of F1. If you could travel back in time, in what era would you compete?
You can’t go back. I’m happy with where I am, when I started and what I achieved. But if you could, I would take a look at the F1 of the 70s and 80s.

Kimi Räikkönen: It’s a rude awakening for everyone, not just Formula One.

The 2007 world champion chose to live in his home in Porkkala, southern Finland, where he lives in isolation with his wife Minttu and children Robin and Rianna. A family life that he was kind enough to share with AUTOhebdo for the time of a phone call.

Interview by Jean-Michel Desnoues, in AUTOhebdo Magazine No 2260, 1. April 2020

Hello Kimi, how’s your isolation in Finland?

Pretty good under the circumstances. We’re fortunate to have this house with a large garden. Except for the fact that we’re staying at home, it’s a pretty normal family life.

Not too hard with two kids at home?

Not ideal, but we are lucky to have this big space outside where they can get some fresh air and let off steam. We play a lot of games. They’re also happy to have their dad a little more available than usual.

Do you remember the last time you spent this much time at home?

It hasn’t been that long, actually, since the winter break was only a few weeks ago. We were just getting out. We live the same way. We probably would have seen more friends if it wasn’t for this outbreak, but there’s not much difference.

Does this experience give you a chance to make things that weren’t so important to you anymore?

I haven’t been confined long enough to begin asking myself these kinds of questions. It may come, but for now, really, we’re living the way we’ve always lived. We’re doing things the way we’ve always done them. Of course, what’s going on in the world is anything but normal, but at home, nothing has changed. There are no things that I thought were unimportant yesterday that suddenly become essential.

What kind of confined person are you? Worried, who’s permanently connected to the news channels, or rather fatalistic?

I don’t watch a lot of TV news, I don’t read many newspapers either, but I check the news on my phone during the day to keep myself informed about the spread of the Coronavirus. I’m not obsessed with it, if that’s what you’re thinking. Besides, even if I wanted to watch more TV or read some more newspapers, I couldn’t do that so much, the kids are hogging me. It’s a full-time job. At night, I watch TV. It’s pretty terrifying everything that’s going on and nobody wants to get this virus, but the worst thing you can do is panic. We have to do what we’re told: stay home!

How do you stay in shape? Do you have a gym at home?

Yes, I’ve set up a small room, but there’s enough room around the house for me to do my daily exercises. As it’s away from everything, I can also continue to do my motocross! So it’s not a problem. I do more or less what I do in the pre-season or between races. It hasn’t really changed.

Are you in regular contact with your engineers?

I have been quite a lot in the week after I got back from Australia, but now that the factory is closed and we are on “summer break” until mid-April, there is no need. We went through everything after the winter tests, and since then we unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to drive. We send each other messages to check up on each other, but nothing work-related.

Do you talk with other drivers via a WhatsApp group or something?

No. I haven’t spoken to any of my colleagues. I don’t usually do that anyway. I got a message from Antonio (Giovinazzi) who wanted to know if everything was okay for me and my family, but that’s all.

Did you support the decision not to drive in Melbourne?

There was no other solution. I just regret that in view of what was happening in Europe, it was more than likely that such a scenario would happen. Perhaps the decision could have been taken earlier. All the people in the paddock, and that’s a lot of people, are travelling from Europe, and there was a good chance that someone would be contaminated in an airport, on a plane or whatever. That’s what happened. We should not have gone, but it was not our decision. We drivers follow what the FIA and F1 decide. If there is a race, we go. Even at this late stage, it was better to cancel rather than take risks for the F1 staff and spectators.

Before the crisis began, what was your state of mind when you arrived in Australia? Did you think you were in a position to fight for points?

It’s always difficult to estimate where you really stand in relation to others after the winter tests. You try to guess, basically. For our part, we’d done everything we had to do and we were ready. We were going to fight for points at the top of the midfield, but it wasn’t guaranteed. I wasn’t optimistic or pessimistic, I was just waiting for the first qualifying to find out a little bit more. The situation means that I will have the answer at some point in the season. As soon as possible, I hope.

For F1, which often lives in its bubble, isn’t this pandemic a rude awakening?

It’s a rude awakening for everyone, not just for F1! What happens is… For the moment, the most important thing is for people to stay healthy, but once the pandemic is over, it will be time for questions. I hope that something positive will eventually come out of all this, but for the moment we can only endure and protect ourselves.

Are you worried about the increase in postponed or cancelled Grand Prix?

There’s no point in worrying about something that’s out of control at the moment. Everyone is working hard to try to put together the most solid schedule possible, with a return as soon as possible, but the reality is that no one knows when we will see the end of the tunnel. The situation is different in different countries and we are travelling around the world to drive. There is no alternative but to leave it to the FIA-FOM to decide when and where we can race safely for us and the spectators. I am not worried. I hope like everyone else that the championship can start as soon as possible.

The second half of the year is going to be extremely intense with 15 to 18 Grand Prix in the space of a few months. Is it going to be an even more complicated period for the midfield teams?

We’ll take a look at race 1! Only then will we have a better idea of how many Grand Prix will finally be possible and at what rate. I hope we’re going to be busy because that would mean the situation is much better everywhere. As for whether medium-sized teams like Alfa Romeo will be more impacted than others, the best thing to do is to ask Fred (Vasseur), although I don’t know what the answer is. With more resources and personnel, the big teams will be in a better position to meet the demand in terms of parts and will be able to continue to make upgrades at each Grand Prix, even if there are three in a row. I’m sure we will also be able to bring upgrades, but probably not at every race. With less money and fewer people, we will soon be overloaded. We’ll have to do the best we can under the circumstances and see what can be done. Nor should we underestimate the reaction capacities of small teams that, even in normal times, are struggling on a daily basis. They are familiar with the exercise.

Seasons with 16-17 races, that was your annual lot when you started in F1. Staying positive, the slightly shorter seasons also had their good side…

In any case, we weren’t any worse off (Laughs)! If we can get to a calendar of 16-17 races, that would already be fantastic. Perhaps, and it’s in relation to what we’ve just been talking about, the sustained rhythm will give rise to new ideas. We’ve been talking about two-day weekends for a long time and everything suggests that we’ll probably have to test them. This unprecedented situation, which requires us to review all of our plans, will perhaps bring to light some new solutions as well. That would be good.

Abu Dhabi 2019, it’s getting out of date. Are you starting to feel the lack of competition?

Of course, four months is a long way off and it will be six months or more when we can race again. Now it allows me to spend more time with my family and that’s not bad either. At least we had the opportunity to drive in the six days of pre-season testing. It’s not much, but it’s something.

No way to do a little go-kart racing around your house?

I haven’t had time to look at where it’s possible… and if it was possible. Before we came here, we went go-karting with Robin in Switzerland, just before everything closed. To be honest, it did cross my mind, but you have to be reasonable and follow the recommendations. It’s much better for yourself and for others to stay home.

Robin discovered karting last year. Does he still like it?

Before, he used to do mini motocross, which was more of a problem for me. I prefer to see him on four wheels. I don’t have to worry anymore. If he goes off the track, it’s no big deal. On a motorbike, the fall is rarely innocent. Even on a minibike. Yes, he likes it, and I’m glad to see him driving it, too. When he drove a motorbike, I used to spend all my time telling him to slow down, to be careful. With the kart, the message is different: enjoy yourself!

For lack of being able to blow off steam on a kart, have you considered the Esport Grand Prix organised all over the net?

No. It’s just not my thing. We’ve known each other for quite some time and I doubt it’s yours too. Right? (Laughs)

When you started in 2001, could you imagine for one moment being here almost 20 years later?

Certainly not! I thought I was going to stop much sooner. I did stop anyway, but I came back. I never had the slightest idea how long it would last. I was hoping for at least a year, maybe two. Things turned out differently, but I never had a plan. I still don’t. As long as the fun is there and I’m able to do good things, I’ll keep going.

Given the extremely competitive nature of the sport, are you proud of this longevity?

Proud? Well, not really. As long as I feel that I can drive at the level I hope to be and I can do things right, I’m happy to continue. As long as racing is more important than all the other nonsense in life, I’m not going to be like, “Okay, you’ve raced so many races, and that’s awesome!” For me, it’s all about the result. Maybe one day, long after I quit, that number will mean something. Right now it won’t.

What would you like to say to your fans at this difficult time?

I’m really sorry, because for them, F1 is a party. It’s sad, but I would like to tell them that they are already taking good care of themselves and their loved ones, and that we will see each other again soon. It’s just a matter of time. It’s terrible what’s happening, and the only useful thing we can do is to stay home.

If they want to watch some Grand Prix from the past, which ones would you recommend?

I’ve raced a lot of them, and I’m starting to get them confused. (Laughs) I’m sure they’re better informed than I am about which Grand Prix are worth watching.

Perhaps they should focus on your biography, the unknown Kimi Räikkönen, by Kari Hotakainen?

If they want to (Laughs)! I’ve often been offered to do one, and I thought this time it was the right time. I hesitated, but the result is ok.

Even the chapter where it is explained that once you drank 16 days in a row without a break?

I was younger, and I was fitter. (Laughs) Seriously, I lived my life, I enjoyed it, but there’s a time for everything. I’m a family man now. I still have a drink sometimes, but it never goes very far.

What’s left of the Kimi from early 2001?

Plenty! I’m the same actually, but more experienced. As I just said, I’m also a married man and a father now, with all the changes that implies.

Does the father of the family think like his boss Frédéric Vasseur that there will be a before and after Covid-19?

I haven’t thought about that, to be honest. There’ll be an impact, that’s for sure. I’d say there’s no point in trying to guess what’s going to happen because it only amplifies the worries. I’m more likely to face problems when they come up. Let this epidemic stop already! Now I understand why Fred is thinking about this. He’s got a team to keep going, employees with families who rely on him. It’s complicated.

If I say to you: “See you at Paul-Ricard”, will you answer me maybe a little earlier or certainly a little later?

I’d like to say Montreal, but I don’t know. No one knows anything about it. I feel like saying to you: “We will see each other when we see each other!” As soon as possible. Until then, take good care of yourself and your readers.