“I know who I am. I am Kimi.”

source: Sport Bild Magazine Nr. 1; 5. January 2022

SPORT BILD: Mr. Räikkönen, when did you last pee in your garden?

I don’t know the exact day, but it wasn’t long ago.

You revealed in your biography that you like to pee in the garden. As a retiree, will you be doing that more often again?

Sure, it’s normal for me. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a toilet in my parents’ house. Where else would you pee? Of course I’ll continue to do it. I have no problem with it. If I have to, I have to.

With 350 races under your belt, you’re the record holder in Formula 1. How much will you miss the pinnacle of racing?

Only time will tell. What I already know is that driving is the only thing I liked about it! I may never set foot in the paddock again. Formula 1 was never my life. There were always things that were more important to me. Nothing will change that. I didn’t quit because I lack the energy, but because I have better things to do than sit in airplanes and stay in hotels.

Do you already have plans for your retirement?

No, and I don’t want to make any. My children want a dog, but we haven’t decided on that yet. Maybe it’s enough for them for now that I’ll be spending more time at home again.

What are you most looking forward to?

That a vacation is once again a vacation. Otherwise, we only had the summer break. That was two and a half weeks in which you had to keep training and always had in the back of your mind that afterwards it would be back to normal madness.

What things will you take with you from Formula 1 into real life?
(thinks for a long time – and remains silent)
You are said to lie as if you were in a Formula 1 car when you’re driving in private, too.

That’s right. But it’s like peeing in the garden: It’s normal for me. I’ve gotten used to this position over the years.

Do you also adopt the driving style, or does that cause trouble with your wife Minttu?

She never complains, but I also drive very slowly and always stick to the speed limit.

You never get caught by speed cameras?

Now and then, yes. But in Switzerland you’re only allowed to drive six km/h too fast. That happens quickly. That’s why I drive very concentrated, so I can see the speed cameras and slow down beforehand. But I only drive rarely and when I absolutely have to.

You drove your first and last lap in Formula 1 in a Sauber. Was that the perfect farewell? Or are you frustrated because you only drove at the back of the field in your final season?

What is perfect? I’m just glad it’s over. Even the fact that I couldn’t finish the last race doesn’t matter.

What was your career highlight: the 2007 world championship title with Ferrari?

I don’t know. A victory is always a victory. You get 25 points for that. A few were very easy to win, a few were more difficult. Maybe the ones from 2007 are a bit more important.

What was the best advice you received?

A lot of people tried to give me advice, but I didn’t listen to any of them. I’ve always done my thing and have no regrets. I would do everything the same way again. Everyone has to know for themselves what is best for their life. The boss can’t tell you what to do.

Are you a legend?

People say that.

And what is your opinion?

I’m not interested. I know who I am. I am Kimi.

You said that it used to be normal to do everything on the car yourself. And about the new generation of drivers, that there are “assholes” who “sit down at the prepared table thanks to their fathers’ millions.” How much does Formula 1 today remind you still of your early days?

Today the cars are much more reliable. In my early years, every race was like gambling in a casino. You never knew what you were going to get that day and whether you would even get to the finish line. But it doesn’t matter if you like the development or not. We drivers don’t decide the rules or where we race. We’re just employees of the teams, just like mechanics. Formula 1 is not interested in our opinion.

Is it still the same sport?

Since it’s still about driving the car in circles as fast as possible: yes. We now race a few more times a year and also in new countries, but in the end it’s not about the stuff around it, but about 20 drivers in 20 cars.

Critics see it differently.

A lot has changed in the past 20 years. Especially because of social media. But that’s the case all over the world and not just in Formula 1. Fans can see virtually everything now. Tendentially too much. I can only repeat myself: The drivers are also just employees.

Are you the last Räikkönen we’ll see in Formula 1?

I don’t know. My son or daughter don’t need to be in racing. They should just do what they feel like doing. Just like I did.

“No fear of the new life”

source: AMuS, 17.12.2021

Kimi Räikkönen is ending his long career. Auto Motor und Sport talked to the 2007 world champion about his new life, his unusual career start, his rally adventure and his cars.

You decided to retire last winter. Was it the first time you had thought about quitting?

Räikkönen: No. I’d already been out of Formula 1 for two years, and even before that I asked myself from time to time whether I still needed the traveling and all the fuss, or whether I shouldn’t be doing something else. But that’s life. You have good days and bad days. One day you think enough is enough, and the next day everything is forgotten.

And what was different this time?

The traveling became too much for me. I was away from home too often. This is my place now. I hate schedules. I’ve lived my whole life according to them. Now I’m looking forward to going into the day without any fixed plans.

Whatever you do, it will be a different life. Are you afraid of that?

I don’t see why? No, I’m looking forward to it. Many people have already predicted to me: If you are at home for half a year, the ceiling will fall on your head. If that’s what happened to them or they feel that bad, then maybe they should find a new home or another family. I love being home and look forward to being able to spend time with my family and do normal things much more often now. My free time is more important to me than anything else.

So you’ve been able to practice this life before?

Yes, a little bit. But even in my rally days, I was traveling. There were fewer events, but they lasted longer.

You keep saying that you don’t have any definite plans yet. But basically, can you keep living from day-to-day, or do you need some kind of challenge?

No, I don’t need a challenge. I can be home for a week without stepping outside the door once and still be a happy person. I really have zero plans. Just the feeling that I don’t have to do this or that anymore gives me pleasure. For now, the focus is on family. Then we’ll see what comes up. There’s no reason to be thinking today about what might interest me in the future.

Mika Häkkinen said two years after his retirement that the hardest experience for him was being just average in normal life, while as a race driver he was always fighting for first place.

What’s wrong with being just average? I’m not the type who is always looking for a challenge even in normal life, or who absolutely wants to be the best in every discipline. Not anymore. Maybe it was like that when I was younger. Everything was a game or a competition then. That’s not my thing anymore.

You were never a man of big or many words. Did it surprise you that you were so popular despite that?

Yes, sure it did. I’ve always said that I do things the way they are best for me. You can try to be someone else for a year or two, but then you don’t enjoy your life anymore. For me, it was always important to give myself as I am. I never told people what they wanted to hear just to please them. Some people like that, others don’t. In my case, obviously some people liked that.

So why did you start opening up on social media platforms?

A friend of mine does that. Whatever appears on it is my decision. I also do it quite rarely. In fact, I thought about it for a long time. After all, it does no harm and can be used in many ways.

Is a career like yours still possible today? In your case, it was the stopwatch that decided at Mugello, not some junior program.

I think it’s still possible. Today, there are probably more young drivers trying to get into Formula 1 than back then, and places are still limited. Teams follow talents much more intensively today than they did in my day. If you’re fast in karting, you have a better chance of being discovered and accepted into a program than back then. Today, every team has a development program like that. But it’s still a long way from there. And a lot can still happen before you reach Formula 1.

To this day, you are the driver who entered Formula 1 with the fewest races. Today, you are the driver with the most Formula 1 starts. Would you ever have thought that?

I moved quickly from karting to Formula 1. It took me maybe two years. Of that, one full season. I drove 23 races before my first Grand Prix, so almost nothing. Today you can’t get a license for that. And you have to be at least 18 years old. So it’s impossible to do that again. Today they push you into a path that costs you a lot of money. So I was really lucky. Also that I had people around me who had connections to Formula 1. On top of that, the timing was right. Of course, I also had to perform when it mattered. All in all, a lot of pieces of the puzzle had to be put in place correctly. Without my managers, I would never have had a chance of getting a place.

You almost missed your GP debut in Melbourne. The team had to look for you because you didn’t show up in the garage. Have you always been this cool?

I was just tired. That happens to me often. When I was younger, I could sleep anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t work so well now that I’m older. It’s not that unusual actually. Rally drivers often sleep between stages, too.

Do you have any regrets? Should you have gone to a certain team earlier, later or not at all?

Not really. I wouldn’t change anything about my career, even if it meant winning more races or world championships. When you start thinking like that, it can go the other way. You change one step in your career, and the whole career changes. Maybe I wouldn’t even be sitting here with you anymore. I’m at peace with myself. And if something was bad in hindsight, I can live with it just fine.

Which of your many Formula 1 cars did you enjoy the most?

The good cars. Because you can race for wins in them.

Which one has been the most demanding for you?

No car is good enough that it doesn’t challenge you. If you stay one second under the limit, all the cars are easy to drive. There are no difficult tracks either. The challenge only comes with the limit. No matter in which car, on which track. I find it difficult to define what the word “difficult” means in the context of driving a car. Every car, good or bad, has its downsides.

In terms of fun, perhaps the cars of the mid-2000s were the best. But it may also be that in memory, everything was always better in the past. Sure, today’s cars are bigger, heavier and more cumbersome, but they also have more grip and are faster. To make a fair judgment, I’d have to sit in a car from the past for ten laps and then in one from today for ten laps. Then the choice might be different. Maybe I’d say: Shit, the car from back then isn’t as great as I remember.

Have you collected your race cars?

I only have the Ferrari with which I won my last race in 2018. But it’ s drivable. I would need help to start it, though.

Do you collect your trophies?

Most of them, yes. At the beginning at McLaren, I had to hand in the originals, but I got replicas. They are somewhere in a storage room in boxes. I think one of them is in my office. But now I have time. At some point, maybe I’ll get them out and put them somewhere.

Which teammate was the hardest to beat?

They were all difficult to beat. Each in their own way. I was certainly a bit faster at 20 than I was at 40. I think the overall package plays the decisive role. There were years when my teammate was faster, and then I was quicker. There’s no pattern there. I can’t say that anyone stands out completely.

Would you have competed for the rally championship if you had started your career there?

I’d like to say that’s what would have happened. When I drove my first 1000 Lakes Rally as a rookie in 2009 in a Fiat, I was in third place before I rolled over. I didn’t even do the pacenotes myself. I think experience is even more important in rallying than on the race track. There you know the tracks. In rallying, everything is always new. The track, the grip. You only have the pacenotes.

On a rally test track which you know inside out, you might be as fast as the best. But a real rally is a different story. I was close to the point where I could drive blindly by the notes. That’s the key. As a rookie, I always had to think first after something was read out to me. A mistake is punished very differently than it is here. Then you’re lying on the roof or hit an object. It’s also the case in rallying that there are many very good drivers who never became world champions.

What did you learn for Formula 1 from your rallying intermezzo?

Most of all, concentration. It’ s much more intense in a rally car. Because you’re always confronted with new things. It doesn’t matter what motorsport you do, whether it’s karting or motocross. It always helps and never hurts. Unfortunately, we have so many races, so there’s no time to drive anything else alongside.

When you switched from Ferrari to Sauber, it must have been clear to you that you would no longer be racing for victories. Was that hard to accept?

There were years when I didn’t win anything, even with the top teams. You always have to aim for what’s possible and make sure you have fun racing. When you’re younger, you might think about it a little differently. I had my wins and my world championship. If I had a problem with that, I wouldn’t have signed with Sauber. I’m not doing anything different than before. They give me a car and I drive it as fast as I can. For us, a sixth or seventh place is a victory. As long as you remain a realist, that’s not a problem.

How do you want people to remember you?

However they want. It doesn’t change what happened and what is ahead of me.

Kimi Räikkönen: “With Sebastian it was closer”

20 years after his debut, Kimi Räikkönen is calling it a day in Formula 1. “I’m very happy,” says the Finn in an interview with dpa. Räikkönen also talks about buddy Vettel and duels with Schumacher.

source: welt.de, 09.12.2021

Abu Dhabi (dpa) – Kimi Räikkönen exceeds the time limit. The agreed 15-minute interview with the Finnish Formula 1 driver turns into 16.5 minutes, which is unusual for the idiosyncratic 42-year-old.

But at the end of his career, the Alfa Romeo driver lets his taciturnity be forgotten. “There are people who like me, there are also people who don’t like me, that’s perfectly okay. I’m not here to please people,” says the racing original in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Räikkönen also talks about DIY, the pleasure of not having a plan, and badminton duels with Sebastian Vettel.

Mr. Räikkönen, thank you for your time.

Unfortunately, I have no other choice, don’t take it personally (laughs).

We have 15 minutes for the interview.

Hm.

Apart from Formula 1, I’d like to talk to you about crafts and DIY. Most recently, there was a video of you changing tires on your wife Minttu’s car. When you were still at Ferrari, you once fixed the toilet in the hospitality in 2017.

I don’t see anything abnormal about that. We were able to tinker a lot as kids, tried things out and tried to learn. My brother and I had the freedom to try out a lot of things at home, and by the time we were at school we were also tinkering with cars. For me, it would be even less normal if you couldn’t do something like that. It’s a simple thing, changing tires, for example. I don’t know why it should be so complicated. I understand that many people don’t dare to do it, it’s normal for them. In my case, I don’t understand why I should pay someone to do it (laughs). It’s much faster that way. You don’t have to take the car anywhere and it only takes ten minutes, which is nothing.

Is there anything you can’t fix?

I’m sure there are a lot of things I can’t fix. But at least I try every time.

Is it important to you that your two children Robin and Rianna can also fix things themselves?

I let them enjoy life. It’s important that children can try things out and try to fix things themselves. Let them use their hands, whether they’re writing or painting or whatever. A lot of things in life you only learn by trying them out yourself.

Are there any major DIY projects coming up soon at your home in Finland?

I don’t know yet. In Finland, you have a lot of space, so you can live it out. In a house, there’s always something that needs to be done. I can take care of smaller things myself, but when it comes to bigger things, I can at least keep a close eye out on someone who’s pottering about.

Your former Ferrari teammate and buddy Sebastian Vettel used to love playing badminton against you and praising your skills. Did you ever let him win?

We haven’t played badminton against each other for a few years. I even tried to let him win a few times in the past. Probably his plan is for me to get so old that he can finally beat me (laughs).

Is Vettel one of those people from Formula 1 with whom you will keep in touch even after your career ends?

Definitely. We used to live closer together in Switzerland and also had more time together outside of racing. Today we live a little further apart. I’ll have more time soon, though, so I’m sure we’ll see each other from time to time.

Did you particularly enjoy your time with your buddy Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari?

We had a good time together, we knew each other before, so that makes things easier. I also get on well here with Antonio (Giovinazzi), it was actually okay with everyone, but with Sebastian it was closer.

Do you already know exactly what you want to do after you finish your career in Formula 1?

I don’t have any plans and I’m not making any plans. That’s the way I want it. We’ll see what happens in the future. I’ve always considered my life outside of Formula 1 to be much more important than Formula 1 itself. It demands a lot of your time, but Formula 1 has never been the most important thing in my life. Some people are already starting to tell me that I would be bored at home. I answer: If you have such a bad home and you’re bored yourself, you’d better change the house or the people you live with. I don’t have such problems (laughs). I was never a fan of traveling. I could just spend the week at home without leaving the house.

Are you actually just retiring from Formula 1 or from motorsport at all?

I really don’t know yet, honestly, I really don’t have any plans. If there’s something interesting, I might do something else, but if nothing comes up, I might just look after my son’s go-kart, if that’s what he wants. I’ll definitely keep doing motocross for fun, because I also have my own team.

Could you imagine taking on a role in the management of a Formula 1 team?

No, there’s too much nonsense and politics involved. I think it’s ridiculous. But that’s the way it is, it seems to be getting worse and worse.

Do you feel relieved that you are ending your Formula 1 career?

I’m very happy. Next Sunday, I’ll leave the Abu Dhabi paddock and be gone. I have always enjoyed racing – and only that. I was very open-minded about racing from day one, but there are just a lot of things in Formula 1 that have nothing to do with driving. Maybe I’ll miss the racing, but maybe I won’t.

You used to race against Michael Schumacher, and this season against his son Mick. Did it ever cross your mind that you’ve become old as a racing driver?

I don’t think it’s funny, I like it. After all, I didn’t just race against Mick and his father Michael, but also against Jos (Verstappen) and his son Max. I think that’s pretty nice, I don’t feel old. You only feel old when you’re old in your head. But I don’t feel old. At some point, I’m sure little physical problems will come along. But now? Fortunately, I feel normal, everything is fine.

When you started your career, not everything in Formula 1 was so closely scrutinized. Did you have more freedom as a driver back then?

Were there more freedoms? In any case, there were fewer races, but there was more testing between Grand Prix. Testing was generally always the harder story. We started at nine o’clock and finished at 6 p.m., with an hour’s break in between. A race only lasts about two hours. The types of interviews have certainly changed, too, but the whole world has changed in these 20 years.

You are unique. That’s probably why you’re considered one of the most popular people in the paddock. What’s your secret?

Honestly, I don’t care. I do things the way I think is right. I don’t care about the rest. Everyone lives their own life and shouldn’t worry about what others tell them. Of course you can pretend to be someone else, that goes well for a year, maybe two years. But in the long run it ruins you. People probably like that I behave the way I really am. There are people who like me, there are also people who don’t like me, that’s totally okay. I’m not here to please people. I don’t like all the people I meet either. It’s just a normal story.

The former Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri once praised you for showing as much respect to a toilet attendant as to a business boss. Was that important to you, to treat people equally?

I’m sure I didn’t treat everyone the same, because we all mess up sometimes. But at least I tried, I don’t have anything against most people either. We travel a lot, we meet a lot of people, but in the end we, most of us at least, lead a normal life.

Do you still most likely embody the style of the ’70s, when very special characters who also enjoyed life very much drove Formula One cars?

After all, I was born in the ’70s (laughs). Everybody is different. Today I’m racing against guys half my age. That’s a new generation, they’ll change during their lives, too. If I feel the need to drink a beer or smoke a cigarette, I do it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

“I wouldn’t change anything.”

source: rds.ca

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – A paddock figure known for his nonchalance and his famous lines, 42-year-old Finn Kimi Räikkönen will leave F1 on Sunday after 19 seasons of service since 2001, a world championship title and 21 Grand Prix wins. “I would not change anything” in my career, he assures AFP.

Q: You have driven 92,202 km in Grand Prix, that is to say 2.3 times around the Earth, what memories do you keep?

A: “Of course over the years you do a lot of laps and miles. Obviously, winning the championship… That’s why we’re all here, to try and win the title. That’s maybe the best memory, even if there are others.”

Q: If you could change anything, would you?

A: “No, I wouldn’t change anything.”

Q: What has been your best season?

A: “If you look at the results, 2007. Otherwise, every year there are good times and bad times, just like in normal life. Some days are not as good as others because you didn’t sleep well or because they just suck! If too many years had been more bad than good, I would never have stayed this long. It’s not always fun to leave home for a 10 hour flight. I never look forward to it and think ” oh shit!” every time. But when you actually get to do what you came for on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it’s okay! That said, I’m glad to see the end of it.”

Q: Who has been your most notable opponent?

A: “Michael, I think. I raced against him for many years and we had a lot of good fights.”

Q: Your favorite teammate?

A: “I’ve had a good relationship with everybody, although of course it can get a little heated sometimes for a lot of reasons… (laughs). Maybe Seb because we knew each other better. With Antonio, we also knew each other through Ferrari before we were teammates. That makes a difference.”

Q: What about the team you liked the most?

A: “All my teams were from different countries and it makes a change to work with different nationalities, Swiss, English and Italian. But, in most of the teams, I stayed for quite a long time, it shows that I was having a good time.”

Q: What is the best advice you have received during your career?

A: “I’m sure a lot of people tried to give me advice but I didn’t listen that much! (laughs) I’ve always felt that you should try to live your life in the best way for yourself and not for others. At work, if I had an option, I wouldn’t do most of what is asked of me, but in the way you live your personal life, you live it for yourself. If you try to do what other people want, it may last a year or two but it won’t end well. I’m happy I’ve lived my way. Good or bad, I can live with it because those are my decisions.”

Q: You’re known for giving such terse answers in interviews that they become funny. What is the secret?

A: “I don’t know. That is how it works in my head. I tell it like it is.”

Q: Many drivers are afraid of life after F1. Are you not?

A: “No, I’m looking forward to it. I left F1 for two years (in 2010 and 2011). Okay, I was doing rallies but I’m happy at home doing normal things, so I’m not worried.”

Q: What will be your schedule?

A: “F1 takes up a lot of time but it has never been the main thing for me. My life has always been outside of it. There are other things that are more important. Now my schedule affects my whole family and I look forward to having nothing planned and doing what they want.”

Q: Your son and daughter seem to love engines. Are you going to be one of those dads who hit the track with their kids?

A: “No idea, honestly! Time will tell. Whatever they decide, we’ll try to support them as much as we can.”

Q: Your fans still have “Kimi for president” signs. You’ll have time, what could you become president of?

A: “That would be fun! Not F1. That would be harder than Finland. Not F1, too much politics. Look at what we’re doing here (in Saudi Arabia), it’s the money talking.”

Räikkönen. Everything, and more

A (hopefully) bit different portrait of Kimi who says goodbye to F1

by Alberto Antonini, 2. September 2021, formulapassion.it

“Don’t give me options!”. If there is one phrase that has stuck with me, of the few that Kimi Räikkönen has uttered intelligibly, it is this. Don’t give me options, don’t make me choose. We were at the beginning of our joint adventure in Ferrari and, while preparing an event, I had proposed to him, as a trivial form of courtesy, to choose between different possibilities (I wish I could remember what it was about, but it is not important). He pronounced the phrase – one of his trademarks, along with “more worse” and other very personal interpretations of the English language – in a peremptory, but not annoyed, tone. We were measuring each other and he wanted to make things clear. Choosing never appealed to him when it came to these things. At the launch of the 2018 single-seater, the SF71H which was also his last Ferrari, we had prepared a series of short descriptions to introduce all the circuits of the season. He read his texts like a dyslexic robot and at one point he said to me: this stuff doesn’t make sense. I replied that since I was not a driver, I had asked Marc Genè, who knows a lot about tracks, to collaborate with me; but if he didn’t like what was written, he could improvise on his experience. The answer was obvious and immediate: nah, let’s get on with it. Don’t give me options, indeed.

At some point it’s life that leaves you with only one option. Maybe after twenty years, perhaps, including those spent trying to convince himself that rallying was his way. This is not one of the many goodbyes of Kimi-Matias to Formula One: this is the definitive farewell. And I don’t think it’s by chance that nowhere in the world has anyone said ” thank goodness”. With his way of doing, his askew personality, the absolute idiosyncrasy to accept compromises as well as options, Kimi has managed to be loved by practically everyone. When he left Ferrari, in November three years ago in Abu Dhabi, there was the classic farewell party at the hotel. He, Minttu, Robin, Rianna, the nanny and the whole racing team were there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so serene, a wonderful father affectionate towards his children. His engineers had prepared a surprise for him: crossing the finish line of his last GP in red, a greeting and thank you message should appear on the steering wheel display. For one of those cases in which life really seems to do it on purpose, an electrical blackout knocked him out after just six laps and turned off the entire car, steering wheel included.

The guys in the box felt terrible. And I’m talking about people who didn’t hesitate to tell you how Iceman, in technical briefings, was sometimes grumpy and surly to the point of offense. The fact is that his armor was too transparent not to let you see what was behind it. Namely the desire to close himself off from the complications, the hypocrisies that fill a paddock more than the noise of the engines. Each of us wears an armor, more or less robust, more or less obvious. His was so obvious that you ended up forgiving him for everything. Especially when you found out that far from a circuit (or rather: far from everything that surrounds a circuit) he was, or rather is, a different and definitely interesting person.

Who knows how many times he had already thought about quitting. Even if in the end he didn’t disdain the Alfa Sauber contract, initially worth about ten million a year. Once, back in his Ferrari days, he confided to Stefania, his faithful companion of many years in many paddocks, about the fact that sometimes he didn’t feel as fast as he used to. “Maybe I really should retire,” he grumbled. He didn’t that year or the next. In the summer of 2018, Sergio Marchionne would have liked to sideline him right away to make room for Charles Leclerc. Instead, Kimi stayed for the whole season, won fantastically in Austin, started boozing in the hospitality and continued throughout the evening, deserting the party in his honor for the simple fact that he couldn’t stand on his feet. Perhaps, with the years, he had lost a little speed (or rather consistency), but certainly also the habit of alcohol in industrial quantities. He had changed a lot, compared to the taciturn kid with the bespectacled girlfriend (the one at that time) who told me one day “I did military service, like everyone else, but I didn’t like it. I didn’t like people telling me what to do” (if you can find it, though, enjoy the video of Kimi as a soldier teaching recruits). He was also different from the disheveled, listless young man they had dragged out of bed one morning, forced onto a plane, and flown from Switzerland to Woking to meet with a group of journalists. Punctuality has never been his strong point, not even in the days when his boss was Ron Dennis at McLaren. The days when he was a young up-and-comer and ruthlessly fast, able to come back from the bottom at Suzuka 2005 as I’ve seen only few other drivers do. The time when he already had a contract with Maranello in his pocket and, although he couldn’t say it, he couldn’t help but make us understand, one afternoon in Stuttgart.

I remember an interview with Andrea Stella, his race engineer for years. He told me about when he got out of the car at Interlagos 2007, at the end of an incredible race. He started as an outsider and became world champion. When he took off his helmet and balaclava, there was an unmistakable glint in the corner of his ice-coloured eyes. His emotion, the sign that is worth more than a billion words. That’s the way he is, Kimi, with his gestures, his grimaces and his monosyllables. That is his way of communicating. For years I tried in vain to convince the sponsors of the Prancing Horse not to make him speak, and I’m happy that, in the end, Alfa Romeo understood this too. The gesture with which, in the commercial that we have all seen, he signals to the driver in the black coupe to pass is a masterpiece of body language. At times his personality would take on unintentional but still very effective comic turns, as after a victory in Spain: “Yes, I saw your king… He’s a nice king”. Other times he would vent in team radios that aren’t even worth talking about, so iconic have they become. In a few months, Kimi Räikkönen will definitely be exiting the scene as an active driver. I’m sure he’ll still be able to enjoy life. He’ll be with his family, he’ll go around barefoot, maybe with the electric bike that has also conquered him. He will do motocross, see his old friends, and every now and then, after a training session or any race, he will jump into the tub full of ice to regenerate.

Because that, more than anything else, is the habit that has earned him his enduring nickname, Iceman. Did you know?


Ten unforgettable things about Kimi Räikkönen

Leo Turrini’s blog, 1. September 2021

Now that Kimi Räikkönen has formalized his retirement from Formula One at the end of the season, I will mention in no particular order ten things about him that, in twenty years!, have caught my imagination.
The first would be the last. It is the whatsapp text that KR7 sent me last night. Here it is: life is much much more important and has always been for me.
I don’t think a translation is needed.
The second is the 2009 victory at Spa, with a Ferrari whose second car on the track finished in last place. A gigantic feat, carried out knowing that he had already been fired, not for demerits (Maranello had won three world championships with him in two years) but in the name of a business wanted by many and then resolved in an epochal failure.
The third. In a very long career, Kimi has never once been suspected of having voluntarily committed an impropriety on the track. Never once.
The fourth. That day in 2001 at the barriers of the Paddock in Melbourne, he was at his absolute debut, he had forgotten his pass and the staff didn’t want to let him in because they didn’t know him and I was behind the line laughing like crazy.
Fifth. The pole at Monza in 2018, a crazy lap in record time to an unheard of roar from the crowd and it was the final burial of the detractors on permanent duty.
The sixth. 2007 Interlagos. A lot, why am I telling you?
The seventh. Leave me alone, I know what I am doing. His team radios have become a cult, especially when he was in Lotus, because Räikkönen also won with Lotus, eh.
The eighth one. The cell phone thrown into the sea when he finally had the certainty, one summer day in 2013, that Ferrari had realized they were wrong about him.
The ninth. The victory at Spa in 2004 with an unpresentable McLaren. Because on the Ardennes there are also those who have never won.
The tenth. The story of a man who was able to fight his demons, including alcohol. In Hotakainen’s beautiful book, published in Italy by Minerva, he has accepted to tell about his faults, mistakes, existential disasters.
Kimi Räikkönen is my brother.

Kimi Räikkönen: “No longer my problem”

source: SPORT1

He is the driver with the most Formula 1 races. But Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t yet know whether he will continue. A conversation about cars, Kimi’s children and Mick Schumacher as a potential successor.

SPORT1: Mr. Räikkönen, we know that you are also interested in road cars. You recently tested an Alfa Giulia GTAm. The car is being released as a special sporty edition to mark Alfa Romeo’s 110th anniversary and has 540 hp.

Kimi Räikkönen (laughs): It wasn’t really a test drive. I drove ten laps. But of course, the car is lighter and has more horsepower. But it’s not a race car, it’s a car for everyday use. You can take it for shopping, but you can also take it to a race track if you feel like it. It’s a very nice car, that’s for sure.

SPORT1: You’re currently also appearing with your wife in TV commercials for Alfa-Romeo, which already have cult status. You seemed very relaxed about it and also seem to be having a lot of fun.

Räikkönen: The shoot lasted about three days, so you need a lot of time for that. Yes, I had fun doing it, even though it’s definitely not going to be my main occupation to be in films.

SPORT1: A juicy question: Do you like Italian cars more or German ones?

Räikkönen: To be honest, I’m not as interested in cars as I was when I was just getting my driver’s license. When I was driving every day in Finland, having fun, especially in winter, on snowy roads. Today I use the car only as a commodity. To get from A to B. But of course I have a special relationship with Italian cars – I drove for Italian manufacturers for most of my career.

Räikkönen sees Vettel’s opinion on the environment positive

SPORT1: Are you also concerned about e-mobility?

Räikkönen: Not so much. It’s not just about cars. We’ll see a lot of things with purely electric drives in the future, including bicycles or motorcycles. The end product is certainly best for the environment, but whether the path to this end product is as well, I’m not so sure yet.

SPORT1: Your friend Sebastian Vettel is committed to a green future. He’s also calling for Formula 1 to set standards there more quickly. He even made it public that he’ll be voting for the Greens in Germany’s federal elections in fall. Do you think it’s good that a racing driver is so open about it?

Räikkönen: Why not? He has a clear opinion and environmental awareness should concern everyone, also because of their children. In racing, you can develop things more quickly so that they will be accessible to everyone later on.

Räikkönen’s children already enthusiastic about engines

SPORT1: We have Max Verstappen, we have Mick Schumacher. When will we see your son Robin Räikkönen in Formula 1?

Räikkönen: I don’t want to go that far yet. At the moment, though, he drives go-karts passionately and loves everything that has an engine. Sometimes he spends a whole afternoon doing laps, sometimes less because he feels like doing something else. The same goes for my younger daughter, by the way, who is also slowly starting to get interested in anything that moves. I will definitely encourage anything they enjoy. No matter what it is. But I won’t force anything.

SPORT1: Can you already tell whether Robin has talent?

Räikkönen: I haven’t looked at that yet. He’s six years old. He has to enjoy what he’s doing first. It could be soccer or another sport. But I think until he’s twelve years old, you shouldn’t think about talent.

Räikkönen on Mick and Michael Schumacher

SPORT1: How do you rate Mick Schumacher’s F1 debut?

Räikkönen: It’s difficult for him to shine because the car isn’t really fast. On the other hand, it’s also good for him. Because people know that the car is not good. If he still drives strong races and shows his speed, that’s positive. With the name, of course, he has a lot of pressure. The worse car gives him an easier start because expectations are low. It gives him more time to learn things.

SPORT1: Do you feel old because you’ve already raced against Max’s and Mick’s fathers?

Räikkönen: No, not at all. I sometimes feel old when I wake up in the morning, but not in a race car on the track.

SPORT1: Was Michael Schumacher as special as many say?

Räikkönen: Yes, of course, because he was fast and successful with every car. I always had good races against him, it was nice. Even later, when I had my comeback and so did he. We always found a good balance.

Räikkönen: Future? Still open

SPORT1: How happy were you for your friend Sebastian Vettel when he finished on the podium again in Baku? After many people were already saying that he had forgotten how to drive.

Räikkönen: Yes, I was happy for him. As far as the criticism is concerned, that’s how Formula 1 works: You’re the hero, you’re the loser, then you’re the hero again. I don’t give anything to that.

SPORT1: You’re the driver with the most races of all time. Do you want to extend this record next year – or will it end in 2021?

Räikkönen: To be honest, I don’t know yet. But it was the same this time last year. We’ll see. In any case, I’m not interested in extending my record. All records are broken at some point. That’s why it doesn’t mean anything to me.

SPORT1: If you retire, would you like to see Mick Schumacher in your car? There is speculation about that.

Räikkönen: If I decide to stop, I really don’t care who drives the car (laughs). That’s no longer my problem then.

“The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen”: the man beyond the legend

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.

Marathon man

source: Autozeitung, Nr 25, 11. Nov. 2020

At the Formula 1 race at the Nürburgring, Alfa Romeo star Kimi Räikkönen equalled the record for the most GP entries. Reason enough for us to take him for a befitting spin through the region.

by Gregor Messner

Actually not a good idea from the boss: “Mr Messer, on Thursday you have an appointment with Kimi Räikkönen at the Nürburgring. Make a nice story out of it.” Interviews with Formula 1 drivers are challenges, they can be real divas, but Räikkönen is feared. Listless, taciturn, monosyllabic, annoyed – these are the characteristics attributed to him. Make a nice story out of this meeting? Let’s see. The prerequisites for a cool story are basically given: I’ll travel to the Eifel in the befitting Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio. He will come with a Stelvio Quadrifoglio, they say. Sporty high-performance limousine and its counterpart as a noble SUV, both driven by the same power source: pleasantly grumbling six-cylinder technology with biturbo, plus a smooth eight-speed automatic, which together provide outrageous acceleration and a great top speed.

But the cold steady rain is lousy, plus Räikkönen’s press adjutant immediately blocks off: “Kimi will stay in the car. And he won’t take off his mask either. He’s serious about the corona virus.” Ten minutes later, the Finn arrives at the car park on Ring Boulevard. No sooner has he parked his Stelvio than he gets out of the red luxury SUV. Without a mask! That’s how Räikkönen is, that’s how he’s always been: the cult driver has never seemed really predictable.

Without having talked, we get back into our cars, take the usual car-to-car shots, stream along the small country road next to the Döttinger Höhe, his Stelvio on the right, my Giulia on the left, then venture down the steep serpentines to Breidscheid and up again until we park at the Brünnchen.

After the distant greeting – “Hi, Kimi” – and some small talk from the long ago early days of his career, we immediately go in medias res: “A mega car, the Stelvio, isn’t it?”, I ask, and he nods silently.  Great conversation, I think, but then his always unagitated, rasping voice kicks in – and the otherwise reserved Finn reveals himself to be an easy conversationalist: “I like the Stelvio, it’s a very nice car. I always have one available at the races, and I also have one privately.” Besides the SUV, fast up to 283 km/h, Räikkönen has parked three Formula 1 cars from his long career in his garage, a McLaren and two Ferraris: “It was very nice of Ferrari to give me my last winning car from 2018.” Speeding, however, is not possible for him in Switzerland – because of the strict speed limit. “Never mind,” he says, grinning mischievously, “I don’t drive the car much at home anyway. To the airport and back, sometimes to Hinwil to the team. Often I take the bike.”

It’s the shape, the design and the lines of the two Quadrifoglio that excite him: “Very nice,” Räikkönen says, “the design makes the biggest difference to other manufacturers. Alfa Romeo has always made beautiful cars, hasn’t it?” Räikkönen even falls slightly into the philosophical in his praise: “I have been travelling around the world for over 20 years now. And I always have the impression that the cars that come onto the market look more and more alike. You can hardly tell them apart. But Alfa Romeos have a clear design language.” And what about the power in the 510-hp macchina? “It’s good,” he says, a typically reduced-to-the-point Räikkönen response. The 41-year-old is one of the great characters of Formula 1, so cool and hard-boiled that he has taken such a liking to his nickname “Iceman” that he has had it tattooed as a word mark on his left forearm.

On the track, the 21-time GP winner is one of the hard workers. His contract with Alfa Romeo was extended for another year. At the Ring, he equalled Rubens Barrichello’s record of 323 Grand Prix starts to date. Räikkönen only says: “So what? All records are broken at some point.” The age of 35 is considered the sound barrier for Formula 1 drivers. Now he is 41, but his fire is still burning. Wasn’t the one title in 2007 with Ferrari too little? “No,” he insists, “I’m happy.” Räikkönen wouldn’t be the “cool sock” that he is if he didn’t look back with Finnish equanimity: “That it was only one title didn’t change my life.” Maybe his kids could. Son Robin, 5, is already practising karting. “Today it’s karting, tomorrow he likes motocross. It changes every day,” says Räikkönen and chats on and on: about Formula 1, career and future. Maybe it was a good idea to meet the great silent man at the Ring after all …

The entire interview was published on autozeitung.de :

“Mostly I cycle”

In this Formula 1 season with 15 races, you complete around 12,000 kilometres on the race track. How much do you drive on public roads in your private life?

Significantly less, that’s for sure. I do most of the driving to and from the airport. When I’m at home in Switzerland, I don’t use the car that much. Well, when the races are in Italy, like three times this year, I drive these distances by car. It’s shorter for me to get to Hinwil, where the Alfa Romeo team is based, than to the airport in Zurich. In my normal life, most things happen within a radius of two kilometres. In other words, short distances. I cycle most of them.

In Switzerland, but also in your home country Finland, there are strict speed limits. How do you cope with that?

It’s no problem for me to keep to the limits. I’ve lived in Switzerland for a long time, I’m rarely in Finland. Of course, there are lots of cameras here, too. But in the past, sure, we all drove faster, we were younger, we drove with a heavy right foot. Today it’s different. 

What is your favourite car at the moment?

I also drive an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio privately. I also have a van, which I love to drive. At the race tracks, Alfa Romeo always gives me a Stelvio. It’s a mega car.

How many cars do you have in your garage?

There aren’t that many any more. We had more, but I hardly used them. When I was younger and had just got my driving licence, I drove a lot more. We drove around at night, small, narrow roads, there was a lot of fun going on. But that hasn’t been the case anymore for years. Someday you get over that point. Today, if I have to go somewhere further away, I quickly take the car.

For many years you drove for Ferrari, now for Alfa Romeo. You know the road versions, of course. What makes Italian cars special?

I think, above all, the design. That makes the biggest difference. For years, I’ve been travelling to countries for the races. The cars I see on the roads there are becoming more and more similar. That may have its reasons. The Italians, on the other hand, you recognise immediately.

Some racing drivers collect their racing cars. What about you?

I own three cars from my Formula 1 career. Two are not ready to drive. They are just show cars: a McLaren from 2002 and a Ferrari from my world championship year 2007. They look nice. But earlier this year, Ferrari gave me the car with which I won my last Grand Prix in Texas in 2018. The SF71H is fully functional. At some point I will bring the car to the track. But I will have to call in the mechanics from Italy to start it. I have never been one to care about my former cars. But I felt it was very nice of Ferrari to give me my last winning car.

Another topic: How do you see the mobility of the future?

Electric mobility is the direction everything is going in at the moment. But it won’t happen as fast as the electric people imagine. It’s more likely to be a mix of everything. Who knows where we’ll be in 20 years. If it were that easy, everyone would switch to e-mobility. And on the other hand, electric cars are not as clean as they appear. Okay, these cars drive green. But what about the batteries when they have to be recycled? And where do you charge these cars, how often, are there enough charging stations?

Finns are known for their driving talent. You have a five-year-old son, Robin, who has already done his first kilometres in a kart. Will he continue the tradition of the fast Finns?

To be honest, I have no idea. If you ask him today, he wants to drive a kart, if you ask him tomorrow, it’s something else he wants. That’s just the way it is. He enjoys it. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time together. When we ride motocross, he says he enjoys it more. So far, it’s all just a hobby. If it stays a hobby, it’s okay. Time will tell. Let’s see how it is in two years.

You broke Rubens Barrichello’s race start record and have now competed in 325 Grands Prix. Does this record mean anything to you?

Actually, it’s just a number. Here at the Ring, it’s just a normal race weekend for me. I’m sure all records will be broken at some point. It doesn’t matter to me. Maybe one day I will be happy about such records when I have finished my Formula 1 and professional career.

Your contract was recently extended. You will continue to drive for Alfa Romeo for at least another year. You enjoy driving in Formula One.

Yes, I still have great fun and enjoy racing. It’s like in every sport, every hobby, every job: some days are better than others. Just like in normal life. I like the challenge, I always want to improve. If I didn’t enjoy racing anymore, or if it was a nightmare every day, I wouldn’t be here at the track today.

In the current field of drivers, you are the only one – and currently last one – who made it into Formula 1 without big sponsorship and junior programmes, but with pure talent. How do you see this development with drivers from academies or even those who bought their cockpits with large sums of money from their family businesses?

Motorsport has always been a very expensive sport, even when I was young. But now I hear that professional karting is about as expensive as Formula Renault was 20 years ago when I raced in that category. That’s crazy. It makes it all much harder to get into motorsport as a young person. The good junior teams today all have support from big manufacturers, teams or sponsors. On the other hand, even in professional football, the clubs have junior teams and junior academies. But that’s just the way it is in professional sport, and actually it doesn’t matter if that’ s now good or bad.

Between 2011 and 2012, you interrupted your Formula 1 career for two seasons to compete in the World Rally Championship and even in the US Nascar series. What is still on your list after your Formula 1 career?

I don’t have any plans yet. Let’s see what happens in the foreseeable future. Maybe there are some rallies I could do, maybe not. Maybe I won’t do anything, maybe I’ll look after my son in karting. At Peugeot, I once tried out the Le Mans prototype years ago. A nice car, but that wasn’t for me. I was very interested in the Dakar Rally. But this competition is no longer the same. It has changed a lot.

Kimi Räikkönen: senior and recordman of modern F1

source: automoto.it, 16. November 2020

The Alfa Romeo driver, former world champion with Ferrari, talks about his life outside the circus and the future: still on the track.

328 times Kimi Räikkönen and he doesn’t show it. The senior driver and recordman of F1 seems to be living a second youth with Alfa Romeo, which has extended his contract also for next season, bringing his presence with the Biscione team made in Switzerland to three years. Yet another year and the attendance record is set to lengthen, perhaps to become something unique on the world scene. Kimi is a very particular character: he is the most social among the unsociable. He speaks in monosyllables, but one is enough to make a complete speech. Kimi Räikkönen is the paradox of modern F1.

Nevertheless, he has the spirit of the drivers of old times, of those who speak little but communicate a lot. The track record is remarkable: an F1 world title with Ferrari in 2007, 21 GPs won, 103 times on the podium, 46 fastest laps, 18 pole positions. And the desire to try again. Married since 2016 to Minttu Virtanen, two kids, Robin (5 years old) and Rianna (3 years old), the unscrupulous F1 “playboy”, the one who presented himself at the official FIA awards ceremony completely drunk, put his head in place. It’s enough to watch a video on social media, put on by his wife, of when he came back from a Grand Prix and his two children met him. As often happens in normal families, with normal lives and not with a job at 300 per hour.

Since you became a father, has anything changed in your life, in the way you do and in your work? “Yes, as I think it is normal for everyone who becomes a parent, even if you don’t expect it. It happens. Others may change the lifestyle thinking about taking care of their children, worrying about them, changing something in their lives, but I haven’t changed anything as far as my attitude on the track is concerned. What I did before I still do. Then, in everyday life, it’s another story, something different happens for sure in the handling of the family, of the children. In this I am very normal.”

We meant to say that before becoming a father, F1 was the most important thing in his life, now maybe it is subordinate to other interests… “Actually F1 has never been the most important thing in my life. Certainly it was the activity that took up most of the time of my day, for the travels, the tests, the commitment it takes to race in F1, but it was never the priority of my life, it took me a lot of time without a doubt, but it was never the most important thing of my life. I repeat, even though it took up most of the time in my life it was not my priority. I never thought and believed that if I couldn’t race, everything else would be meaningless or that it would be shit, I never lived it this way. Obviously I always tried to give my best and do the best when I was on the track, obviously I was disappointed when things went wrong, or when I did something wrong. Then, as soon as I got home, I had a normal life, followed my passions, my family, the things I like and feel good about. With this I am not saying that F1 is more or less important than in the past, certainly now in my everyday life, the normal one let’s say, I certainly have something more important like my children and my family.”

Once you fought for victory and world titles, now the situation is different: how do you find the motivation to do your best with such different goals? “I honestly can’t see the difference, every race I go out on track to fight. I have won 21 Grand Prix and I don’t see any reason for not winning any more in the future. In addition, I would have won more if I hadn’t had mechanical failures and cars that were not always competitive. When I debuted in F1, Ferrari dominated, not as they do now at Mercedes, and I was in another team. Winning at the time was not easy. Now it’s Mercedes that dominates in an impressive way and surely you could have a better chance of winning without this dominance. In 2005 and 2007 I fought to win the world championship, but it’s not that in the other years, when I was at McLaren, I had the chance to do it often, so from a certain point of view I don’t see the difference with today.”

Your son Robin, five years old, has started trying out karts and is racing them, so much that you even joked saying that he’s faster than you are with rented karts: would you be happy if he became a professional driver? “Actually, I’ve never asked myself the question, but if he should, why not? If he wants to… We usually practice when I come back from the GPs, but now the weather is bad in Switzerland, where I live, and in Finland it’s even colder, so we’ve suspended kart practice. I’d say that in a couple of years we’ll have clear ideas about what he wants to do when he grows up and which way to go. If it will remain a hobby or if he wants to do it as a professional and in that case I will give him the support I can offer. Then maybe he will want to play football or tennis, the most important thing is that he does something he likes, without constraints, if he wants to race on tracks, on the road or do motocross. He has to be free and do what he feels.”

If it were up to you, would you prefer to point him to rallies, where you raced in the World Championship, or to the track? “It’s not a problem, he has to decide what he wants to do. I will give him all the help I can. Whether he wants to do motocross, or dedicate himself to dance instead of racing, or if he just wants to have fun with karting. Maybe he could learn to play ping pong, he would have a simpler and less complicated start! For me the most important thing is that my children are happy.”

But of course we remember his beginnings, he was not very talkative with the press, and he remained so for decades: at Monza during private tests, he answered to a precise question: yes I know and he left us with the notebook in our hands. It’s rather difficult to have a chat with him, he seems to enjoy avoiding the press or he doesn’t like it at all… “Ah ah, I remember well, but I can guarantee that I have improved in the meantime. After all, we’re here to talk about it. Also because I can’t do without it today…”

Joking aside, surprised by Ferrari’s current situation? “Well, I really don’t know what to say. I’ve been a Ferrari driver for many years, it’s not the first time that one year they’re very strong and the following season they’re not competitive. Let me take 2008 as an example: we were fighting for the world title and in 2009 we were behind and not at all competitive. I seem to see similarities with the current situation after Ferrari had a winning 2019. This also happened in my time at McLaren, one year you’re competitive and the following year you’re out of the game. These things happen very often in F1. There are things that impact and annoy and some problems they have also affected us in Alfa Romeo with the engine, for example, but I’m sure they will improve. There’s no reason not to do it.”

A zoom call with Kimi Räikkönen

by Umberto Zapelloni, source: Il Giornale & topspeedblog.it

The champion recounts twenty years of his career on the day of his renewal.

“Formula 1 has never been the most important thing in my life”. It is a good starting point to chat with the man who has just signed the renewal of his contract with Alfa Romeo Sauber, which will keep him on the track until he is 42 years old.

But Kimi Räikkönen is like that. He still doesn’t have enough of the 324 Grand Prix races he’s already raced in his 18-year career. Covid’s cursed season, with few contacts and very few interviews, probably helped to extend his sporting life.

But what made you do it?

I have fun.

Will it be your last year?

I don’t know. Who can say. Even when this season started, I didn’t know if I would keep going. If I’m still having fun I might as well continue.

What do you like about F1?

Driving, racing.

What else?

Enough. Nothing else. But who would like all the rest.

When you debuted in 2001 in Australia, did you ever think you would still be here twenty years later?

At first I didn’t even know if I was going to finish the season, I had a temporary super licence… then at McLaren a three-year contract… I was planning it case by case.. I never thought I could still be here now.

What’s different between then and now’s F1?

I always do the same things. There’s not much difference. The cars, engines, tyres, tracks, team mates are changing. But then when you get behind the wheel you always have to try to go as fast as possible.

Which you did very well on the first lap at Portimao. From sixteenth to sixth. Excited?

It was great to overtake so many people in one lap, but I’m not excited about just one lap. It’s fun to pass so many people because in Formula 1 it’s not that easy to overtake. But more than getting excited about what I had done, I was worried because I knew they would then overtake me again. It would have been better to pass them all on the last lap and not on the first one. In Portugal the magic moment lasted three laps, then I couldn’t do anything against the others. Our performance improved, but we still lack some speed and in races like those, where there are no retirements, it’s difficult to finish in points. I managed to take the chance, to take advantage of the slippery track conditions, but it was slippery for everyone. I don’t know if there were others with soft tyres or if they were all struggling with the medium. Sometimes the situation turns in your favour, sometimes it doesn’t. It also depends a lot on how you can warm up the tyres during the formation lap… if you find the right feeling in the first few corners you are able to push…

What convinced you to stay at Alfa Romeo Sauber?

Simple: because this team is more than a team to me, it’s almost a second family. Don’t get me wrong, my family is at home waiting for me and it’s irreplaceable, but here I look around and I still find many of the people I met when I made my F1 debut with them in 2001.

Speaking of family, did you have fun shooting Alfa commercials with your wife?

Do you think I can have fun being an actor? It’s not really for me. But I liked doing it with my wife, we had a good time and a lot of good people worked around us.

And your son Robin is going to be a driver? What do you advise him?

I don’t push him. If he likes it, I’ll help him. Sometimes we go karting. Some days after 5 laps he gets fed up and wants to go home, others after 50 laps he wouldn’t want to stop.

Who knows where he gets it from… It seems to me that you are doing with Antonio Giovinazzi what Ibrahimovic is doing with the young people of Milan. And so the Italian is improving race after race.

I know Ibra, but football is different, it’s a real team game. I don’t hide anything from Antonio and if he learns by watching me I am happy, but when we get in the car everyone thinks about himself. But if a young guy asks me to help him, I am not jealous of my data, I am happy to help.

You said that Antonio and Seb are your only friends in Formula 1. Did you have fun with Antonio on the Nürburgring with the Giulia Quadrifoglio, a video not to be missed?

Did you see how scared I made him? He got really afraid, I didn’t expect. I had fun. But I understand him, I do this too when my wife drives..

Speaking of Seb, surprised how things are going in Ferrari this year?

I don’t think he’s very happy about what’s happening to him. But in Formula 1 nothing really surprises you. For everything to go well, a lot of little things have to work and it doesn’t always happen.

It sounds like a story he’s already lived through. Even though at his last chance in Austin in 2018, he managed to do it.

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”

mtvuutiset.fi

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”

mtvuutiset.fi

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”

mtvuutiset.fi

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)