Kimi Räikkönen: “All drivers are happy in March”


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.


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.


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”


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.

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.