Kimi Räikkönen’s biography “The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen”, written by Finnish writer Kari Hotakainen, will finally be released in Italian in May and it will be an encounter with the true essence of the “Iceman”.
source: ilmattinodelladomenica, by Silvia Giorgi
It’s 1981 in Karhusuo, Espoo. It’s night time; the boy is restless, he can’t get to sleep. His mother is trying to soothe him, picks him up again; the boy has always liked being held. He’s very different from her other son, who is two years older; he’s more sensitive, with his feelers out. At last the boy falls asleep in the early hours of the morning.
The next day, on her way to work, the exhausted mother thinks of what she and her husband have already been concerned about for a long time: the boy doesn’t speak, not a word, even though he’s nearly three.
The parents take the boy to be examined. There’s nothing wrong with him; he performs all the tasks quickly, actually more quickly than is average for his age. He just doesn’t speak.
So begins the biography of Kimi Räikkönen, the last World Champion with Ferrari, a driver known for his few words and many deeds, so composed that he is called “Iceman”. Yet, there is no ice in the man depicted by Finnish writer Kari Hotakainen in 2018 and finally available in Italian thanks to Minerva Edizioni (with a foreword by Leo Turrini) this May. This book is an intimate and pure narrative of Kimi’s life, it contains his true essence and allows you to discover who Kimi is, the man beyond the legend: a direct, shy and outspoken person who does extraordinary things. The Finn talks about racing, determination and the difficulties he has faced but also about his loved ones so that the reader passes through his icy gaze and meets a genuine man, fascinating in his humanity and always true to himself.
Kimi, you are known as “Iceman” but here you have melted away: how did the idea of a biography come about, what prompted you to do it?
I had this idea in mind for a while and talked to several people. Then I met this writer, Kari Hotakainen (he’s a writer, not a reporter as many people say) and we started to collaborate.
Between F1, your family and various commitments, where did you find the time to talk to Kari Hoitakainen?
Actually it wasn’t difficult: we met in Finland, he came to Switzerland to see me and we met several times, so it was quite easy to find the time.
What was the most difficult part to write? Is there anything looking back you wouldn’t do again or would do differently?
No, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. I think everything happens for reasons and if I had changed something I wouldn’t be here today. The hardest part was talking about my father’s death but these things happen, unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do.
What was it like retracing all the steps of your life? What emotion did it give you to see your book finally finished, full of your story?
I didn’t think too much about it, I mostly talked about races, then you can like the book or not, you can choose to buy it or not.
And writing about your loved ones, like your wife Minttu, your mother and your friends?
I don’t like to think much: I like to live in the moment and enjoy life, watch my children grow up, I try to spend as much time as I can with my family.
Who is the book dedicated to?
It’s not dedicated to anyone. It’s my life, it’s what happens and I’ve focused particularly on racing.
From Finland to the roof of the world, with the title you won with Ferrari in 2007: what emotions did it give you to think back to those moments, did you always think you would make it?
I had already come close a couple of times and I drove for Ferrari for many years. I love Italy and I often go back there on holiday with my family. Ferrari is a special team for the whole world, not just F1, and I’m very happy to have won with them.
Reading through the pages of your biography, a very interesting point becomes clear: self-confidence. How did you develop it and what advice would you give to young boys and girls who say ‘I want to be like Kimi’?
Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone would want to be like someone else, it doesn’t help, it’s not good for you. It’s normal for kids to look up to someone but I focused on myself. You just have to be yourself, don’t try to be like someone else. Improve for you, you have to learn from experiences what is good for you and what makes you happy.
What is the most important lesson you have learned that has helped you through difficult times?
The hardest part of my life was losing my dad, it’s not easy for anyone. It sucks in the beginning and it will suck for a long time but you have to learn to accept it and move on. Also in racing, some races go well and some go badly but as you get older you learn to value what is most important. It depends on the situations but I can tell you to always go forward.
You’ve lived in Switzerland for a long time and you drive for a team with a strong Swiss component, Alfa Romeo has the Sauber heritage: What made you decide to live here, what do you like most about Switzerland and its people?
For me it’s home, I’ve lived here since 2001. I have always loved Switzerland, it reminds me of Finland because of the countryside, even though we don’t have mountains in Finland. I love to visit the wonderful places Switzerland has to offer. I would like to send my children to school here, we come from Finland but our home is Switzerland.