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

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

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

hs.fi and is.fi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end, it was their turn.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 years onboard Räikkönen’s ride

source: HS.fi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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