Kimi Räikkönen turned 39 yesterday. The Finn, the last world champion for Ferrari (2007), will leave the Scuderia next year to return where he started in 2001, at Sauber. Laconic, ironic, icy as his nickname: Iceman. At Suzuka, where he talks to us, the new sponsor of the Cavallino Mission Winnow (initiative of Philip Morris) has published a booklet turning his sentences into verses of Japanese haiku style poems.
Were you surprised by the announcement in Monza that Ferrari would not renew the contract?
Frankly, no. Also because I’ve been in Formula 1 for so long, I’ve learned that nothing is certain. As it’s not in life. It was not my decision to leave Ferrari. But things go like that, they happen, period. And this is something that happened, that’s all, it does not change my life, my life goes on. And I’m not so sad.
Also in Monza: you finished second after pole. Do you have any regrets for your race or for not helping your team-mate Sebastian Vettel win?
“None, if not that neither I nor he have won. Going back, I would not do anything different. I ran my race, then what people say and think about what I should do is not my concern.
Then in Suzuka the incident with Verstappen. The situation for Ferrari has become very complicated.
After the contact with Max, my car suffered a lot of damage and from that moment it was all pretty difficult. It’s impossible to know what our performance would have been without the accident. A difficult and disappointing weekend. We hope to face Austin in a more normal condition to fight.
You are known for not loving the obligations that you have in F1: press conferences, interviews, the chatter.
I confirm. Always same faces, always same questions: you change country continuously, arrive in a place and it is as if you didn’t move, they ask you the same things from the previous week: the reasons why a race went as it went seven days before and expectations for what you have to do. Boring and tough after twenty years. I just want to race.
You who are so reluctant to talk about yourself, why did you write an autobiography?
The book was written by a very good author, Kari Hotakainen, not by me. In fact, to be honest, I have not even read it. I helped him for two reasons: the first is that it is a story that has nothing to do with racing, it’s about my life in general. The second is that however, even if it had not been written, people write things about me and believe it anyway, if they are right or wrong, they talk about how I live or how I should live my life, so might as well do it ourselves.
To tell the whole truth?
You know, the truth is another: I don’t care if people will appreciate the book and the things written there.
You never deny your proverbial dryness of words, is that why you are one of the most loved?
For me, I would talk even less than I do now.
Iceman, you are really that icy?
Probably not. But people like to have an opinion about everything. I don’t.
You are the last world champion for Ferrari, in 2007, who will be next?
I think Vettel will have his chances, even though now it has become very hard. But this does not concern me anymore, I will be a driver of another team.
Antonio Giovinazzi as team mate while at Ferrari Charles Leclerc will replace you.
I know little both of them, they’re young and good guys. I spoke with Charles a couple of times, I hope he does well.
What did you love and hate the most about being in an Italian team like Ferrari?
Hard to say, because I’ve been there for most of my career, eight world championships all in red, and for me it has become a normal world even if it’s a special place. Above all for the passion you feel, inside and around, for better or for worse. Probably when I’m older and I’ll look back, I’ll understand how special it was.
You will advise your children Robin and Rianna to be drivers?
My wife Minttu says we have to take Robin to karts. Let’s see, he’s only three years old and the baby girl one. My parents did not have so much money, my children have it definitely better than me and my brother. But I want them to grow up with simple and normal things. The thing that scares me is that if they want to be drivers, I would one day return to the circuits. I would avoid it.
What will you do when you retire?
I have no idea. F1 forces you too many hours on a plane, too many flights and for me for many years. Always the same story, so I think I will spend time with my family, I will travel, without schedules, calendars, appointments. I will wake up in the morning without having to rush to leave. I’ll do anything, except going back to the paddock and on the tracks.