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.

Kimi Räikkönen: “All drivers are happy in March”

Blick

The family is in pole position for Kimi Räikkönen (40). After 312 races it is his strongest motivation – like the nearby Alfa-Sauber factory in Hinwil. The interview with the man who said on the radio in Abu Dhabi in 2012: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!”

We’re sitting in the Hinwil motorhome during a test break in Barcelona. Kimi has hardly changed since our first interview 20 years ago in a pizzeria in Wetzikon ZH. The man of few words has long since become the most popular F1 star. According to the motto: In tranquillity lies the key to strength.

How are you feeling as the oldest racing driver in the field?

In March all  drivers are still happy! The longer the season, the more the mood changes. By September at the latest, some of us will be grumpy or even angry. Everyone experiences his own story.

In the middle of the season you will replace Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who now has 322 races, as the longest-serving driver.

These are just numbers that are then included in the many statistics. That’s all it is.

You returned to Hinwil in 2019. Has there been any noticeable progress since then?

The team has been increased. And the new car feels better in all areas. But where we end up depends also on the competitors. So no forecasts can be made yet.

And how do you rate them anyway?

Testing is always one of those things. Nobody knows exactly what the others really do. If I take a quick look, I only see two Mercedes and two Ferrari.

You mean Racing-Point-Mercedes, which copied the old Silver Arrow, and Haas-Ferrari, which would hardly have a car without the Italians.

This is all very political.

And you’ve been staying out of it for years.

Right.

What was the weakest point of the C38 last year?

You can’t really say that. We just couldn’t make the tires work in some races. It slowed us down a lot. But several teams had this problem.

Alfa-Sauber now also has a race simulator, will you be seen there too?

Well, I’ve seen the simulator. It’s still under development. It’ll be a while before it can really help us. In all teams the introduction of a simulator was a long process. Okay, if you want to learn new tracks, it’s helpful.

But?

The little details hardly ever come out. Sometimes I think a lot of people trust the simulator too much. They are already testing suspensions for next season. Then you decide what is better. For me it’s crazy, because you can easily go in the wrong direction. No matter how much money you spend, you only get the truth and the right feeling on the race tracks.

And that’s why the World Championship start in Australia is so important.

Exactly. Many will be surprised there. And the Barcelona test results suddenly take on a different meaning.

In the midfield, it looks as if all hell will break loose in 2020 again. Is there often a lack of respect for the opponents?

I would say there were some wild scenes in 2019. But that will always be the case. We’re driving the fastest cars in the world.

In the past you had five collisions with compatriot Valtteri Bottas…

Yeah, but that’s what happens when you always finish the race close up with the same opponents (laughs). I don’t think we’ll meet very often this year.

Formula 1 is not spared from the coronavirus either. The Chinese GP has already been postponed. Are you now afraid of long travel because you might get infected and infect your family?

I have no clear answer. But if we all worry too much about these things, maybe we should all stay home. This topic is not to be underestimated, but we should also ask ourselves questions: How good are the hospitals near you, how old and healthy are you? There are so many aspects to the coronavirus. You can also die from an ordinary flu or something.

Räikkönen: “Hard to bet against Mercedes, if I had to put my money, I would put it there”

Marca, 2.3.2020

Finnish driver Kimi Räikkönen (1979) is a living legend of Formula 1. The driver of Alfa Romeo, World Champion in 2007 and runner-up in 2003 and 2005, lives at the maximum speed of a unique discipline after competing, in 2010 and 2011, in the World Rally Championship and NASCAR. Räikkönen highlights the qualities of Spaniard Fernando Alonso and considers him perfectly capable of returning to the racetrack. However, he recognizes to MARCA, during an event of the sponsor Carrera, that finding a place is the most complex part in this discipline.

Are you satisfied with the tests?

“We are testing, everyone is doing it these days. We still have many things to learn and we want to do it with the maximum possible guarantees. At the moment, we are seeing that it is a reliable car and this is good. It’s a great starting point for us.”

What are your expectations for this year?

“I really don’t have any because we don’t know exactly where we are, nobody knows in a concrete way. We will find out in Melbourne and it will be interesting. We will try to do a better job than last year. We must learn from the problems and mistakes of the previous year, although it depends on many factors.”

On a personal level, any motivation?

“My goal is to do my best.”

You have won everything and have been at the top. How do you maintain the excitement year after year?

“I enjoy racing, although I don’t enjoy events like these. You are always busiest in the first three weeks with tests and promotions. After that, when you start running, that’s when you enjoy being a driver the most.”

Who will dominate the championship this year?

“Mercedes have been the fastest and strongest for most of the time. It is difficult to bet against them and if I had to put my money somewhere, I would put it there. But you never know for sure and it’s a long season. I wish we could see some even fights at the races, it’ll be more interesting.”

Will there be any surprises?

“I don’t know, we’ll see soon.”

Let me ask you about Fernando Alonso. Do you see any chance of him coming back?

“I can understand that Alonso has wanted to try something new. I am sure it is not impossible that he will return. But there are many factors, such as timing and availability of team seats. As a driver you can do it, but finding a seat is a bit more complicated.”

You have competed outside of F1. Did you miss it?

“I didn’t miss it, I was very happy to do the things I did. I didn’t miss travelling or doing events like this.”

What is it about F1 that other disciplines don’t have?

“Every discipline is different, Rally, Nascar… They have similarities, but F1 is a different, unique sport, mainly because of the speed.”

How do you see Carlos Sainz jr.?

“He is doing a great job, I hope we can do better and be closer to them.”

How is the relationship with your teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi?

“We know each other well from when I was at Ferrari. He’s a great kid and he’s learning more and more. He’s improving a lot in racing and testing. He’ll do a good job.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of drivers?

“The most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing, it depends on many things. You have to try to be in the right place at the right time.”

Who is the best rival you have ever faced?

“There are many and I am happy to have faced them. Schumacher, Hakkinen… But it’s good that new drivers and new generations are coming.”

Are you surprised that you are the last champion with Ferrari?

“They have a huge history behind them and I will always wish them well. I hope that they will be able to solve the problems they have, that they will be able to improve and fight for a title. Who knows what will happen during the season, which is very long.”


Räikkönen: “I don’t feel as old as the numbers say”

as

Carlos Sainz: “I met him in 2010, he was not yet in F1 but we met in the program of Red Bull because I did rallies. He was already fast, it’s good to see this next generation. His father was in rallies and he is in F1, last year he had a very good season and hopefully this season will continue to progress.”

Young drivers: “I don’t feel any difference between the drivers, I don’t feel they should be more respectful of me for my career. For example, I have had a very good relationship with Antonio for a long time and honestly I don’t feel as old as the numbers say. We all get older every year, but as long as you are healthy and feel good, it doesn’t matter.”

Räikkönen: “If you tend to worry about stuff like that, it’s better to stay home”

collection of interviews over the last 2 weeks:

Kimi Räikkönen hasn’t got a trophy for a while – “He can look at the old ones”

Ilta-Sanomat, 20.2.2020

Kimi Räikkönen, 40, is already preparing for the 18th F1 season of his career, during which he will become the most experienced driver in the history of Formula One.

Räikkönen has started a family during his long career. Son Robin recently turned five years old. Daughter Rianna turns three.

– Honestly, it doesn’t change my job but it’s nice that at least Robin is definitely old enough to remember this time later. But that doesn’t change racing, Räikkönen said at a press conference of his team on Wednesday evening.

Rachel Brookes, a Sky Sports reporter who hosted the event, asked Räikkönen if he asked his father to bring trophies from the race.

– It’s been a little dry lately. He can look at the old ones, Räikkönen smirked.


Kimi Räikkönen explains his relaxed expression: “Would you like to see me limping?”

Helsingin Sanomat, 20.2.2020

Barcelona. Kimi Räikkönen is about to start his 18th season as an F1 driver. At the same time, the second and final year of the 40-year-old Finnish veteran from his current contract with Alfa Romeo will begin.

On Wednesday, Räikkönen was still on the sidelines when reserve driver Robert Kubica and teammate Antonio Giovinazzi began testing the new C39. In the morning, Kimi went with Giovinazzi to reveal the new car to the media.

“After all, quite a few new cars have been seen here along the way,” the Finnish star replied to the question, what kind of feelings did the presentation bring to him.

In an interview with HS in the afternoon sun, Räikkönen seemed very cheerful and liberated.

“Better to be in a good mood – or would you rather see me limping injured?”

Räikkönen will become the driver of the most Grand Prix races in F1 history in summer. And then, has he already considered a possible extension or retirement?

“It hasn’t changed in any direction. Same story as when you last asked. Now let’s look at some point. After all, I have no contract after this year. Then you see what’s going on. ”

So nothing has changed since Räikkönen answered the same question at the end of November in this way.

“These are things to think about in a year. Right now I still love racing. If my mind changes, I have no trouble staying home. The gang seems to think I’ll go crazy if I stay home, but the truth is, I feel very comfortable at home, ”Kimi said at the time in Abu Dhabi.

Last week, Räikkönen sent greetings to his Chinese fans after they were shocked by the news of the cancellation of the Shanghai GP due to coronavirus.

But where did that idea come from?

“Sometimes there are great ideas. It was just encouragement, ” Kimi smiled.

Are you worried about spreading the virus yourself?

“I can’t take care of it. I don’t know what the truth is in the end of the day. The papers can’t tell. Is it overdone or not. For the home team, I don’t worry because we as a family are not going there. And I have not heard that there is anything to worry about in Switzerland because of the virus. ”


Kimi Räikkönen goes to the same kart race every year – “Many of them are already driving the same pace as us”

Ilta-Sanomat, 22.2.2020

One of the news of the week was a follow-up agreement between Kimi Räikkönen and iLOQ, a Finnish lock company. The company logos now appear on both Räikkönen’s helmet and cap.

It is rare that the world’s most famous Finn has a Finnish company so prominent on display.

– There’s a good bunch of people, and with them is very easy to work. We have the same way of thinking. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t cooperate with them if it felt like forcing. I have to do enough things that I don’t like, so I don’t want to do anything else. They have nice people, Räikkönen said.

Räikkönen’s other personal partners are Original Long Drink from Hartwall and Singha, a Thai brewer. Räikkönen has already indicated in his book that he was interested in marketing and promotion, but not so much in the traditional form.

But for example, a karting competition hosted by a Thai company has been a favorite pastime for him. The child-loving Räikkönen has been helping the local junior academy.

There are really nice people there and it’s fun to see the kids drive. In the early years, they were mostly little guys. Now, many of them are already bigger and drive the same pace as us. Perhaps a bit stronger than Sami (Visa), Räikkönen teases with a smile.

– It’s fun to see that they have grown up and some have been able to drive to Italy. Nice that they got the chance.

The cooperation between the Thai company and Räikkönen began in 2015. The cooperation began when Räikkönen approached Singha’s management by email.


Kimi Räikkönen would like to try new WRC rally cars – praises Kalle Rovanperä: “Yes he goes fast”

Ilta-Sanomat, 23.2.2020

It’s Wednesday. Winter’s first F1 test day is underway, but Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen is not driving. The day will be split in half between reserve driver Robert Kubica and second team driver Antonio Giovinazzi, but Räikkönen has only other responsibilities in his program.

Obligations he is not known to like. Interviews and filming.

Räikkönen, 40, sits on the second floor of the team’s motorhome, however, in a good mood and relaxed.

– Nothing, the same. Nothing really happened here. These interviews I did here, says Räikkönen at the beginning of the Ilta-Sanomat interview.

So it might be the boring day of the week.

– Well, probably one of the most boring days of the year, Räikkönen laughs.

Let’s talk about another sport for a moment, the rally. It has been another passion of Räikkönen, 40. However, the Finn who have driven for two seasons in the World Championships 2010-11 has not driven a rally car for some time.

– I have the Fiat (Grande Punto that Räikkönen drove his first rally in 2009), but I haven’t driven in a long time. Should have tried it, but haven’t had time. The weather is what it is. There would be time in winter, but should be good conditions. There is no snow anywhere.

– It would be great, but there is always something else. It’s fun and the new cars would be nice to try. They go pretty fast. Some rally would be nice to drive sometimes, but let’s see now. I don’t stress or think too much about it, Räikkönen says.

Räikkönen is very familiar with Toyota’s team boss Tommi Mäkinen. There are also still many driver in the series that the Finn used to compete – for example, French champion Sebastien Ogier, who was Räikkönen’s teammate in Citroen’s second team.

The sport also attracts the viewer. The young hot name Kalle Rovanperä has also convinced Räikkönen.

– Yes, he goes fast. Drives well but that may not have surprised me. He has driven for so long, always been fast and stayed on track. The car is definitely good too. An interesting season can come, even though one team left, Räikkönen predicts.

– It’s going to be a tough race. However, there are so many drivers who can win. The points can be quite confusing and the situation for a long time is such that no one is clearly running away.

Räikkönen’s career in F1 advances towards its end. It may be that the upcoming season is the last of his career. Or not. He hardly knows that himself.

But are there any cars or other new vehicles besides the new WRC cars that Räikkönen would still like to get behind?

– No at least not in my mind. I’ve driven quite enough of all sorts of things.


Kimi Räikkönen about Robin’s karting hobby: “The main thing is that he likes it”

Ilta-Sanomat, 23.2.2020

At the beginning of February, Robin got a new kart, but of course it’s too early to say how long or real the hobby will be.

– We haven’t even driven yet fifteen times. That old Puffo car was so small that it didn’t go anywhere straight. It wasn’t that exciting to drive. Fortunately, there is a good sponsor in Italy, Räikkönen smiled.

The most important thing for Räikkonen is that the children enjoy what they do.

– Last week we went for a drive, could have been on Sunday. The boy really liked it and drove with others. The main thing is that he likes it.


Kimi Räikkönen told why he doesn’t worry about the coronavirus

Ilta-Sanomat, 5.3.2020

The world-wide coronavirus is a source of fear, even hysteria. Many worried people might be learning about the well-known life style of Kimi Räikkönen, a Formula 1 veteran.

The 2007 World Champion has two young children, firstborn son Robin and daughter Rianna. Räikkönen travels a lot, so basically the risk of a coronavirus infection is increasing.

– If you tend to worry about stuff like that, then it’s better to stay home. There are things you can’t influence, says Räikkönen.

It is in the current home country of Räikkönen, Switzerland, that more than a thousand public events have been canceled, striking the country’s football and hockey series. Räikkönen approaches the problem through reasoning.

– There are so many things that affect it (illness): what kind of medical care is available, what is your health status and how old you are, says Räikkönen in Barcelona during the winter tests.

The risk of coronavirus infection prompted the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to postpone the April F1 China F1 race. Räikkönen doesn’t comment whether the decision was hasty or not.

– I cannot say. It was not our decision (the drivers) but their decision (the FIA).

Motocross stayed this winter

The Alfa Romeo driver  is no longer under pressure of success, so Räikkönen talks openly about his family and his hobbies during the break.

– Winter has been normal. There has been time to lie low. I’ve been playing ice hockey three, four times, Räikkönen remembers.

Räikkönen also likes driving motocross, which he has practiced in Finland. This winter has not been the perfect opportunity for this hobby.

– We’ve been mostly in Switzerland. In Finland, we spent about a week, and when the temperature was zero and there was no ice, you could not use tires with spikes but also not normal tires. So you can say that choosing a tire was a problem, Räikkönen laughs.

See you on Twitter

The meager expression of Räikkönen would not be perceived as a social media user. However, Räikkönen has been on Instagram since December 2017.

At the end of January, he caught the attention of somebody by posting congratulations to his five-year-old son Robin on Twitter.

Kimi Räikkönen on Twitter?

– Of course … What did you think? he laughs.

– People often ask how good Robin is in karting. I’m not going to advise him how to drive, as long as he is careful. The main thing is that he enjoys it.

– The same goes for Rianna. When the children are happy, all is well, Räikkönen adds.

A good-spirited driver reminds us that during the long season, nerves sometimes tighten.

– Without a doubt, we all become more agitated as the season progresses. Everyone may be relaxed in February-March, but in September the situation is different.


Kimi on Twitter?? What did I miss?

Kimi Räikkönen: “I never do anything to please anyone”

source:  El Pais, 28 Feb 2020

The Formula 1 driver talks about his life, his family and racing two weeks before the start of the 2020 World Championship.

The driver is in a hurry. “Come on, we don’t have all day,” he says with that thin voice that urges you to speed up the pace as he talks about life. And racing. Kimi Räikkönen (Espoo, Finland; 40 years old), blue eyes, unmoved face – except when they are lying on his children Robin and Rianna – is in Barcelona. The Montmeló circuit hosts the last pre-season tests before the Formula 1 World Championship starts on March 15th in Australia. And he, the 2007 world champion, now the oldest in the championship, has the obligation to invest part of the afternoon in meeting one the main sponsors of his team, Alfa Romeo. For this reason alone, he puts on and takes off a pair of Carrera sunglasses without hesitation on the top floor of a shopping centre from where he can see the city at his feet.

At the end of the event, the Finn still has to spend a few extra minutes with three media outlets. And he gets restless. He was never interested in all that it takes to be a driver beyond the competition. “I like racing. Although there is much more than racing in F1. If I didn’t enjoy racing, I wouldn’t be here,” he concedes. Nevertheless, Räikkönen is always present in the media. “But I don’t do anything to get into the press!” he excuses himself. Whether because of his character or his eccentricities, the Iceman is one of the most popular drivers on the grid. “Obviously, it makes me happy that there are fans who like me, there are also those who don’t like me. But I just try to do the things that make me happy. As long as you do things that make you happy as a person that’s all that matters. If you are happy, that will help you in your work, whether it’s driving a car or anything else; it will help you in your everyday life. If people like it, great; if they don’t like it, good too. Everyone is the way they are. Besides, I never do anything to make anyone happy. I do what I believe in thinking about myself. ”

About him, about his friends and about the laughter that would be provoked was Kimi thinking when he dressed up as a bear – his wife, Minttu, looked like a circus tamer – for Alfa Romeo’s Christmas party. The occurrence appeared immediately in all the media. “I’m sure there are a lot of things, well, in general, much more important to write about. But that’s how the media works now, unfortunately,” he says. “I never intend to be in the news,” he finishes. The scarce six minutes he spends on the interview -the Alfa Romeo press team helps him to finish the job quickly- confirm this.

His life – also his biorhythm – and his priorities changed five years ago, when his eldest son was born. “Parenthood changes your schedule completely. Plus, you worry a lot more. In the end, they’re little kids, they need you. And there are other new things that are suddenly more important in your life. Family is much more important than racing now, even though I enjoy racing. I miss them so much when I’m away. That’s probably the hardest part, being away from home for so long. Because there is so much more boredom behind F1 than it seems,” he confesses, describing himself as a normal guy who has a completely normal life. Especially when the engines are turned off.

Räikkönen always knew he wanted to be a father. And he is clear that the change has been for the better. “I enjoy parenthood. The older they get, the more fun you have. I love spending time with them, it’s so nice to see them grow up,” he says. And, despite his decision to continue competing at 40, he adds: “It’s important for me to try to stay at home as long as I can and be involved in their childhood, spend time with them, play and help them.

He has also started to pass on his passion: just a few months ago he drove a kart with Robin – Aceman, as he called him – made a video, took some photos and uploaded it all to social media. As any parent would do these days. Because at home Kimi is not Iceman. “Not at all. I think we’re all different at work and in our private lives. We have a very basic life,” she says.

That simplicity is only broken by the competition. And the attempt to make the C39 a competitive car in its second year. “It works better than last year and that’s good. Although, at the moment, it’s impossible to predict where we’ll be this year. We’ll have a better idea after the first few races. Looking for improvements to the car is a never-ending story,” he explains.

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photo: Juan Barbosa

Asked about the feeling of invincibility that Mercedes radiates, Räikkönen offers a much broader view of the World Championship. “I don’t think they’re invincible. They’ve lost races, many of them, over the years. It’s true that in recent seasons they’ve been at the top of the championship more often. The rules have changed and they have been more consistent lately and the fastest most of the time. So it doesn’t look like we’re going to beat them tomorrow, but winning is not going to be an easy job for anyone either. ”

Although 12 years have passed, the Finn is still the last world champion with Ferrari, a team he returned to in 2014 and drove for until 2018, when he finished third in the World Championship. “They need more speed, basically. And be more consistent. Only then can they turn the situation around and fight for the championship. They deserve it for all the history they have. I wish them all the best,” he says.

He never imagined he’d be racing until he was 40. But he’s still there. “I don’t feel as old as the numbers say,” he says. Although every day he is a little less icy.

 


“For Alonso, the hard part will be finding a good place.”

Neither Kimi Räikkönen knows if Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1, nor does he want to answer for him when asked, but he knows that the hardest thing for the Spaniard will be to find a car that meets his aspirations. Like Alonso, the Finn also left F1 for a while. And, besides, he did it to drive the World Rally Championship. “It’s a different sport, more difficult, I think. But you learn a lot,” he reflects. He came back. He did it with Lotus. And he did not do badly. “Fernando is younger than me and it doesn’t matter if he has dedicated time to the Dakar or to another discipline, the fact is that he has kept in touch with a car. In my case, it wasn’t difficult to come back, but obviously this is a different matter. Finding a good place to come back is certainly the most complicated thing in Formula One, more than the driving itself.

In the ear of Kimi Räikkönen

source: F1i part 1 & part 2

In the Alfa Romeo garage, he is probably the man who knows the Finnish driver best: race engineer Julien Simon-Chautemps, who sets up the car and manages its operation during Grand Prix weekends, tells us from the inside about driver Kimi Räikkönen.

MAKE THE CAR AS FAST AS POSSIBLE

A man of the shadows, the race engineer plays a crucial role in the performance of his driver. His mission is to help the driver to get the most out of the car by adapting to a whole series of parameters: track conditions, driver preferences, the team’s development programme…

“My job is to operate the car so that it goes as fast as possible,” Frenchman Julien Simon-Chautemps told F1i. I work with a team of five engineers (performance, aerodynamics, systems, engine, tyres) and six mechanics. On a race weekend, part of my role is to give them work lists, such as the set-up sheet for the mechanics and so on. While the car is on track, I receive feedback from all these people and filter this information to pass on the essentials to Kimi. I attend the meetings before and after the race.”

“Once back at the factory, I spend between one and two days analysing the race we’ve just run, and three, four days preparing for the following weekend. It’s a more analytical job, interpreting the data we’ve collected over the weekend. Even though I’m a racer who prefers to be at the racetrack, it’s important to give feedback to my colleagues at the factory so they know what needs to be improved to go faster.”

The Saint-Raphaël native has been playing this role of interface between technology and people for the past ten years in Formula 1.

After studying engineering at IPSA and a stint in Formula Renault (where he worked with Robert Kubica), then in F3 and GP2, he began his Grand Prix career as performance engineer for Jarno Trulli at Toyota in 2007. After a stint with Caterham, he spent six years at Enstone, where he was notably the track engineer for Romain Grosjean and then Jolyon Palmer. In January 2017, he moved to Hinwill to work with Marcus Ericsson for two seasons, before working with Kimi Räikkönen from last year.

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BUILDING A COMMON DATABASE

However, the Finn was not a complete stranger to our interviewee, who had been his performance engineer for two years at Lotus.

“I had worked with Kimi back in the Lotus days when I was his performance engineer. We kept in touch afterwards, which helped a lot when he came here.”

“Usually we have a first technical meeting at the factory with the driver to get to know each other, but in this case it wasn’t necessary, because I knew what kind of driver he was.”

“Nevertheless, we always go through the winter testing stage, which is necessary to create common references. During the tests in Barcelona, we usually try out several set-ups, with different settings, each of which produces particular effects. This allows the driver to get an idea of what effect a particular setting has on the car.”

“Depending on the intensity of the problem he is experiencing, he knows that he has to change more aero or more anti-roll bar, differential, etc. We scan a whole series of settings, and we build up a common database, which evolves throughout the season according to the changes we make to the car.”

“The transition from Ferrari to Alfa Romeo went very smoothly. Besides, with his experience, Kimi knows exactly what he wants. It was very clear in his head what he wanted for the driving position, the steering wheel, the set-up, etc.”

“He wants a very special driving position. Last year, he worked on his seat himself during the tests, simply because he could see that we were all very busy. And he said, ‘Give me the seat, I know what I want, we’ll save time.’ Classic Kimi! (Laughs)”

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IN A SPECIFIC DIRECTION

Räikkönen, who drove his first Sauber at Mugello in 2001 without assistance (it was only ready for the Italian Grand Prix), is very picky about the level of assistance he wants on his first impulses:

“We had a lot of reliability issues between different parts of the steering at Lotus when Kimi was at Enstone. He is so precise and fine on his driving that he wants a very particular steering.”

“It must meet his demands. He doesn’t want too much assistance, even if he wants it anyway. In a fast corner like Eau Rouge, it’s important to have a lot of assistance, and Kimi agrees on that, he doesn’t want to drive a truck!”

“You have to know that on a Formula 1 car, you can modulate the assistance very finely according to the angle of the steering wheel. Kimi is very specific about what he expects in terms of assistance and how he feels about the first movement he makes behind the wheel.”

“This winter, when we knew he was going to join us, we quickly started working on the steering. Since we knew what he wanted, our first draft was the right one. But it took a lot of hard work.”

The Finnish driver appreciates a steering system that gives him as much information as possible about the variations of grip on the track. He is also left-handed, but drivers often feel the level of grip with their strongest hand, which drives the steering wheel movements.

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SELECTED ADVICE

With 17 seasons in Formula 1, 313 Grand Prix and 21 victories to his credit, the 2007 World Champion is no longer a rookie. He therefore needs less advice than the younger drivers with whom Julien Simon-Chautemps has worked previously (Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson, Romain Grosjean).

“I offer Kimi a starting set-up, developed at the factory based on simulations and historical data, which he accepts in 98% of cases. During the practice sessions, we improve and fine-tune the settings.

“Hundreds of sensors are installed on the car, which collect a lot of data, which can be consulted live and downloaded when the driver returns to the box (the degree of precision is then higher). Based on this data, the driver is usually told, ‘You do this on this corner, you should do this on that corner, you should do that, and so on.'”

“Kimi isn’t too keen on this kind of feedback, he’s receptive on the condition that it makes him go faster. To a young driver, you give more information.”

“You can, for example, know the lines of all the drivers with GPS data, and that can be instructive for a beginner. With Kimi, we don’t provide that kind of information, of course. It’s more about tips on how to optimise the car and, as a result, improve cornering speed.”

“Younger drivers want more data, which is sometimes a danger because you can be swamped with information.”

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A DISTORTED IMAGE

Because he prefers the right word to long sentences, because he never describes his work precisely to journalists, Kimi Räikkönen gives the impression of a dilettante, with little interest in the analysis of telemetry graphs.

But the Finn spends the necessary time with his engineers, if not more:

“The image portrayed by the press does not reflect who he is,” explains Julien Simon-Chautemps. He lives half an hour’s drive from the factory. After all the GPs, he spends an hour and a half at the factory for a technical debriefing. It’s easier because he lives nearby, of course, but he doesn’t have to come. It shows his level of involvement and motivates the whole team. Despite 20 years in Formula One, he’s still hungry!”

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LISTEN AND OFFER

Intermediate between the driver and the rest of the team, the race engineer identifies the points on which his driver is satisfied and those on which he is less satisfied. He also interprets the telemetry data and synthesizes the two feedbacks.

“As Kimi’s race engineer, I am his main contact and I communicate his wishes to the different technical departments. This is important for the driver (who would otherwise have too many people to talk to), but also for the race engineer, who centralises the data to get an overall view.”

“Put simply, my job is to come up with a list of options based on the problems he encounters. For example, if you have understeer in fast corners, you can change the aerodynamic or mechanical balance, depending on whether the problem is on the entry, middle or the exit side.”

“The level of accuracy of the technical feeling depends on the driver’s experience, but not only that. Guys with the same number of seasons will never achieve his finesse. Even though he’s old by Formula One standards (we’re only a year apart), Kimi is, for me, at the top of his game.”

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AN EXCEPTIONAL TECHNICAL FEELING

Usually, it’s not the driver who finds the technical solution, it’s his race engineer who decides to change the differential settings, replace the springs, add a little bit of angle to the front wing… With Räikkönen, things are a little bit different:

“Kimi has exceptional technical feedback. Not only is he very precise, but he also knows the solution to correct this or that problem. In a way, he has passed a level: he describes with finesse what happens on the car, but he is also able to explain very precisely what he wants to change on the chassis to improve it. Which simplifies my job, in a way.”

“Kimi could be a really good race engineer. OK, he doesn’t have the basics of an engineer in terms of simulations, technical tools, but in terms of feeling and solutions, he would make a great engineer.”

“It may happen that I don’t entirely agree with the solution he proposes. In such cases, which are rare, you have to be able to argue solidly, because he has a strong character and strong opinions.

“But if we prove to him, through simulation or other means, that what he wants to do is not the best solution, he simply accepts it. Since driving time is limited, simulation tools allow us to anticipate, to clear the settings.”

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RADIO SILENCE?

It is especially during radio exchanges that the interdependence between the driver and his engineer is most palpable. On Sunday, Julien Simon-Chautemps’ mission is to optimise Kimi Räikkönen’s race by following telemetry data from the pits: tyre temperature, Ferrari V6 performance, oil pressure, brake wear, etc.

Busy fighting on the circuit, “Iceman” can’t be kept up to date with all the parameters. So it’s up to his engineer to sort out, according to the degree of urgency or according to strategy, and to inform him by radio at the most opportune moment.

“I’m the only one accredited to talk to him on the radio, for the simple reason that at 300km/h, the driver doesn’t want to hear several people giving him advice.”

“His way of responding to radio – which television often broadcasts – may seem dry (the famous ‘Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’), but it’s never personal. It’s his way of expressing himself.”

“I don’t talk to him too much on the radio. Not because he’s opposed to it on principle (because it would distract him, for example), but because the information transmitted must teach him something he can’t know by himself while he’s driving: the strategy of the other drivers, for example. He wants to know what the three cars behind him are going to do, the two in front, to know how he should manage his tyres, for example.”

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If Kimi Räikkönen is a man of few words, it is probably precisely because he considers words to be precious.

By an astonishing paradox, he is one of the most popular drivers in the paddock. Behind the mask of “Iceman”, which allows him to protect himself from the outside world, hides an involved driver, mistakenly casual, gifted with a very fine technical feeling and always passionate about his sport.

Wouldn’t appearances be tastier than reality?