KR7 – The Last Emperor

At the Abu Dhabi GP, Sky Sport Italia did their last interview with Kimi Räikkönen as Ferrari driver.

video: KR7 L’ultimo imperatore


Q: Kimi, in your life you have taken many challenges. Today I will take a challenge in this interview. I will try to make you emotional. Is it going to be difficult?

Kimi: Good luck then!

Q: Was your team able to make you emotional with this t-shirt and the party?

Yeah it was a nice surprise. I knew just a bit earlier because we didn’t go directly from the airport to the hotel. But it was nice. I don’t think it’s sad that I go to another team. Obviously it will be different but there is nothing sad, we have had good times and that is why no one should be sad. I’m excited where I’m going and they are excited what they are getting. So I think it’s for both of us new challenges. And this is nice. And I was bit surprised to get such t-shirts.

Q: You were speaking of Sauber. Thinking about it, is it not like leaving a long-time girlfriend for a young one?

No, no. And I’m not planning to do that. Obviously I left Ferrari once before so it isn’t a new thing for me. Obviously it was different circumstances at that time, now it’s a different story. It’s time to do something else and I’m very excited. It’s part of life, go for new challenges. We have all got good memories, I won the championship with Ferrari, that doesn’t happen often. So I’m in a special group of people. We also won two times the team championship. I think we have great memories, also some not that great but that’s part of the game. I think after those [bad moments are gone], being there is even better. We will see what happens in the future.

Q: Thinking of that red shirt, what does it mean to you? Because more than once you told us what responsibility it is wearing it.

Yeah, I think it is. It’s obvious that Ferrari is different than any other team, people are very passionate about it, especially Italians. Wherever you go in the world, they know Ferrari. There is also a more political, more Italian way of seeing things.

Q: Are you saying that there is too much passion?

Not too much but a lot sometimes. Sometimes it could be a little bit less, sometimes it’s perfect. In a weird way we fit well together. I’m different than Italians but it seemed to work pretty ok. Obviously, the next years will be different but we all stay friends. I think this is more important than simply working together. We will still see each other in the paddock every race weekend so there won’t be much difference.

Q: Thinking about that special passion at Ferrari, do you think there is a negative point?

I don’t know. Like I said it’s different. Each team is different than the others. I have been lucky because I drove for Swiss, English and Italian teams. Each team represents a different culture, a different nation and a different way of living everyday life. Some are more passionate, Italians are more on that side. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing, just different. I think all of those teams where I have been, tried to achieve the same result in different ways because they have different nationality. Maybe sometimes there is a bit too much fuss around this team, but I don’t think if you try to run an Italian team like Ferrari in English way it would work. There are always good things and bad things, in everything in life. What’s different with Ferrari is the attention of the people, fans and the media, they are very critical. If we do well, it’s a great thing and everybody is a hero. But then if we don’t win, media can be very hard with Ferrari and I think that’s what creates the biggest pressure for Ferrari, more than any other team. For us winning is great and if we don’t win we are not happy but it doesn’t change the way we work just because we are in Ferrari. When other teams do bad they don’t get such a hard time from the media. But that is also special thing. It’s not something that happens to most people, it can be but you get used to it and that’s how it goes.

Q: Nobody else after you has won the driver championship with Ferrari. Are you proud about that?

For sure I’m proud about winning the championship and also being part of two constructors titles.  I would have wanted to win more but it didn’t happen. I wish them all the best and I’m sure somebody will win at some point, maybe in the near future. I think any result or record that you achieve is not made to last, there will always be someone who can beat it. That’s how life goes. I’m proud to be part of the Ferrari history and of what I have done in my career, it’s something I will always carry with me, also now I’m getting a bit older. It’s nice thing to look at but right now I’m not really thinking of those.

Q: You have experienced two different eras in Ferrari, Montezemolo, Todt and Domenicali and then Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne. Were there differences?

Yeah for sure there is always something. The team has changed, the way of doing things has changed but that’s normal. Looking back 15 years ago it was a different sport in many ways, not just racing and how to try to achieve the result but how it’s been evolving, we have to put more effort into small things. I really enjoyed obviously with Jean Todt, he was team principal when I came, it was great. He is a great guy and remains a friend. He is doing a different job now but luckily we see each other quite often during race weekends. That was great. Then I don’t know how many team principals I had, many you know (laughs).

Q: Maybe too many.

Yeah but that’s how it went through and I think right now with Maurizio it’s great. I think he is absolutely the right person to bring Ferrari where it deserves and the people that are involved. Without the changes I wouldn’t be here. When I came back in 2014 Ferrari wasn’t the strongest place to be, I knew that when I signed. I expected that it’s going to be hard times. I knew what I would get myself into and it didn’t bother me at all. If you look from then to today, the team has come a long way. It was hard, not always the happiest times. It’s definitely going in the right direction. All the people in the team from Maurizio down have worked hard for this improvement. I’m happy to see, for sure it’s going the right way and better results are coming. It’s different every year.

Q: And thinking about your different team mates..

Yeah obviously I had. I had Fisichella, Badoer, many guys.

Q: Who was the most difficult?

They are all different. Taking one out of all of them is impossible. Sometimes they do better than you, sometimes you do better than them. They are all good drivers, there is no doubt, some are better than others but in the end the championship will tell where everybody fits in. If right or not, who knows? Everybody has their own opinion. I think in many ways I’m happy that I had so many different team mates, they all have been great people and I have no bad feelings about any of them.

Q: Do your kids already have shirt and cap from Alfa Romeo Sauber?

No, but I bought a suit, only one for now.

Q: Maybe you are not the right person to ask. But do you have an advice for a young driver like Charles who is about to wear that shirt and feel that pressure?

Obviously it will be different from Sauber but he knows the people already. When I came to Ferrari I had no idea on many things. He has been part of Ferrari for a long time so it will be much easier for him. Of course it’s a different team, more people but he knows what to expect and I have no doubt that he will do well. How well the future will show.

Q: If you had to choose one memory, one photo of your Ferrari career to show to Robin, which would it be?

I don’t know. There are a lot of pictures. I’m sure he will find out when he gets older.

Q: Maybe the photo of your title?

I don’t know, honestly. You can’t pick, there are a lot of pictures. Luckily he will remember a lot of things when he gets older. And he has watched me racing at the track and that’s the best part of it. There is also Rianna, we will see if she will also remember.

Q: Thank you for everything!

No worries.



Beat Zehnder: “It was sympathy at first sight!”

Beat Zehnder and Kimi Räikkönen 2001 in Montreal.

Beat Zehnder (52), the long-serving Sauber team manager, spoke with SonntagsBlick about his Finnish buddy.

Beat Zehnder and Kimi Räikkönen 2001 in Montreal. (© Antti Puskala)

When did you meet Kimi Räikkönen for the first time?
In September 2000 at his first test for us. In Mugello, on probably the most difficult test track in the world.

Your first impression?
Honestly, I can’t really remember. There was just a slim boy standing there and he was quick right away. That surprised everyone – and is very rare in Formula 1.

So it was sympathy at first sight with the racing driver Räikkönen?
You could call it that. We knew immediately that we had a great driver in the team. I had to talk to him a lot because he had no idea and the Formula 1 regulations are almost as thick as the Bible.

That was all?
No. Our physio Josef Leberer had to get him fit first. I mean really fit.

Kimi scored nine World Championship points in the first year, which would correspond to 52 points in today’s standings …
Yeah, that was sensational. And our relationship got better and better. Kimi could always trust me – until today. That’s why we are perhaps the best Formula 1 buddies.

So one reason why Kimi now wants to get rid of the Ferrari pain at Sauber …
Because of me, Kimi certainly doesn’t extend his career. He just wants to race and have fun. He believes in the team, sees that it’s going up, and an important point is technical director Simone Resta, whom he knows from Ferrari.

Where and when did the decisive talks take place?
I don’t like to talk about these things. But team boss Frédéric Vasseur and I went to Kimi’s house in Baar twice after Monza. Later, Fred made the contract with him.

Your sympathy for Kimi will last forever …
I hope so. We are often together privately, have a chat and we have never lied to each other. That is very rare in our sport.

How many Sauber people from 2001 are still at the race track?
Three. Physio Josef Leberer, the brake specialist Bruno Rohr and me.

Bruno Rohr and Jo Leberer
Bruno Rohr and Jo Leberer (© Lukas Gorys)

Your shock moments with Kimi in the Sauber 2001?
There was Imola, when he suddenly only held the steering wheel in his hands at full speed. Kimi didn’t brake, but tried to re-engage the steering wheel with the quick lock. And in Suzuka he had the worst accident when the rear suspension broke and he crashed into Alesi’s Jordan. Fortunately, he remained uninjured.


Gazzetta dello Sport, 10.11.2018Kimi interview Gazzetta dello Sport 11.10.2018

Kimi, eight seasons and a world championship in Maranello: “It doesn’t matter to me how I will be remembered, in life I have done what I wanted, that counts. And in Sauber I will have fun.

A victory and another ten podiums, “just” 48 points gap to Sebastian Vettel whom Ferrari has elected since his engagement in 2015 as top driver.
At the age of 39, 2018 proved to be Kimi Räikkönen’s best season since he agreed to return to Maranello five years ago, where he had been removed to make way for Alonso. So why not confirm him? Because Ferrari has exercised the right/duty to think about the future which certainly cannot be represented by a driver born in 1979. And they (rightly) preferred Charles Leclerc, 10 years younger than Vettel.

But Ferrari has had for Kimi, who in recent years was asked for sacrifices (remember Monaco 2017?), a soft spot, favoring the agreement with Sauber, that for Maranello is in fact a satellite team.
It will be because of the victory in the US, the first after 5 years, or because Räikkönen is made this way, but we meet him in the paddock of Interlagos, in good mood, smiling, sometimes lively, talking about the past, present and future, of racing and also a bit of private Kimi.

Let’s start from the success in Texas: that victory has changed the perspective on your second adventure with Ferrari?

Winning is always a pleasure but it does not change my life or the perception how my time was here. I proved to still be able to win and it’s enough for me.

But you lost the title: there was talk of errors of the driver, the fault of the car and the team. What idea did you make?

Hamilton has got more points than us and therefore deserved the success. If you ask around here, everyone has their own recipe of what would have done differently, it would spring an endless discussion. I think the team understood how it should have acted, even if there is no certainty that the result would have been different.

How could you sum up your second experience with Ferrari?

Difficult. There have been a lot of changes in these five years and I think the right path has been taken in the last three. But now Ferrari is in good hands.

Are you referring to Arrivabene?

He’s the best boss I’ve ever had. He is the right man for this job and he is doing it well.

Certainly when you returned to Maranello, in 2014 you were perhaps the protagonist of your worst season in Formula 1.

I knew I would find an environment neither easy nor nice. And that it would be tough. So for me it was not a surprise.

Do you have something to suggest to Leclerc that will happen?

No, because I am convinced that there are already so many people doing it. I hope he can enjoy and get good results. Obviously he arrives in a different place but he will soon get used to it.

After Schumacher, you are the driver who has raced for the longest time in Ferrari, eight seasons in total (2007-09, 2014-18). You won only one title, but it’s still a great achievement.

It’s certainly a privilege because in any corner of the world they know what Ferrari is, they know its history, its tradition. Being part of it has made me proud.

Sauber, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus. You have driven for these teams.

And it was a great enrichment because I got to know closely the way of work of Swiss, English and Italians. The target to be reached is the same, but the way to get there is different.

Now at age 40 you return to Sauber in a midfield team. It takes a lot of courage.

Why? I wouldn’t bet now on who will be first or second next year. Why should I be afraid to go to Sauber? My intention is to try to help them do well and have fun. When I returned to F1 with Lotus, people said that I had made a mistake, that I would not gain anything, and instead things went differently. It could happen again, right?

So you are still not tired of traveling the world?

In fact I would be happier staying at home rather than locked in a plane. But I continue to like racing and it’s the only reason why I will do it again next year. And then at Sauber I will be able to concentrate more on what I really love: driving.

You are very active on social media, love posting family images. What kind of father are you?

Well you should ask my children! Certainly they are not happy when I leave for the races. Robin is used to it now, he knows that I’ll be back, little Rianna still not. But she will understand. I am happy to be with them when I can and they are in a very carefree phase of life.”

At the track you always look rather phlegmatic, at home you never lose patience?

For sure, it’s normal. Even here, not everything is as I would like it. But I see no reason to get angry at small things, it would just be a waste of time.

Your radio messages are often funny, “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” made you even more popular.
“Let’s clarify one thing: sometimes we seem angry when we talk to the team because we raise our voices, but in reality we do it only because we fear we are not being heard. Communicating by radio is not an exercise as easy as one can believe from the outside. Here, even in that case many saw something negative, while the team had understood well the meaning of those words (such as to make a t-shirt, ed.) and had acted accordingly.

How would you like to be remembered in F.1?

I don’t care at all to be remembered or not. I realized what I wanted to do in life and it’s the thing that matters, I don’t care what others think.

Is it true that you are fond of sweets?

Yes, in Finland we make very good ones.

Tell us what attracted you to your wife?

I met her for the first time on one occasion where there were several people, we started to joke, I made her laugh. We started talking and from there everything was born.

Are you jealous?

Who? Me? I would not say I am, why should I be? If those who are with you want something else in life, you can have it.

You have a motocross team: when you stop, will you take care of it yourself?

Ah, but that is already happening, I’m involved six days a week. I divide the tasks with some friends but I know everything and I take most of the decisions. For sure when I will stop, I will go more often to the races but I won’t fly everywhere. I will want to stay more with my family, even if my son really likes motocross, to the point that he is already driving.

You have a lot of cars and motorbikes at home. Which one you love more?

It’s not like I have so many. In Finland I have a few old ones that I have restored. I own a Ferrari but I do not use it very often, I usually use the Jeep. But I use the car basically to go to the airport and to go to the supermarket. But if I have to go for a walk in the city, I use the bike which is faster. I’m no longer interested in cars like I once was.

“I, Vettel and Ferrari, their World Championship does not concern me anymore”

Kimi Räikkönen turned 39 yesterday. The Finn, the last world champion for Ferrari (2007), will leave the Scuderia next year to return where he started in 2001, at Sauber. Laconic, ironic, icy as his nickname: Iceman. At Suzuka, where he talks to us, the new sponsor of the Cavallino Mission Winnow (initiative of Philip Morris) has published a booklet turning his sentences into verses of Japanese haiku style poems.

Were you surprised by the announcement in Monza that Ferrari would not renew the contract?
Frankly, no. Also because I’ve been in Formula 1 for so long, I’ve learned that nothing is certain. As it’s not in life. It was not my decision to leave Ferrari. But things go like that, they happen, period. And this is something that happened, that’s all, it does not change my life, my life goes on. And I’m not so sad.

Also in Monza: you finished second after pole. Do you have any regrets for your race or for not helping your team-mate Sebastian Vettel win?
“None, if not that neither I nor he have won. Going back, I would not do anything different. I ran my race, then what people say and think about what I should do is not my concern.

Then in Suzuka the incident with Verstappen. The situation for Ferrari has become very complicated.
After the contact with Max, my car suffered a lot of damage and from that moment it was all pretty difficult. It’s impossible to know what our performance would have been without the accident. A difficult and disappointing weekend. We hope to face Austin in a more normal condition to fight.

You are known for not loving the obligations that you have in F1: press conferences, interviews, the chatter.
I confirm. Always same faces, always same questions: you change country continuously, arrive in a place and it is as if you didn’t move, they ask you the same things from the previous week: the reasons why a race went as it went seven days before and expectations for what you have to do. Boring and tough after twenty years. I just want to race.

You who are so reluctant to talk about yourself, why did you write an autobiography?
The book was written by a very good author, Kari Hotakainen, not by me. In fact, to be honest, I have not even read it. I helped him for two reasons: the first is that it is a story that has nothing to do with racing, it’s about my life in general. The second is that however, even if it had not been written, people write things about me and believe it anyway, if they are right or wrong, they talk about how I live or how I should live my life, so might as well do it ourselves.

To tell the whole truth?
You know, the truth is another: I don’t care if people will appreciate the book and the things written there.

You never deny your proverbial dryness of words, is that why you are one of the most loved?
For me, I would talk even less than I do now.

Iceman, you are really that icy?
Probably not. But people like to have an opinion about everything. I don’t.

You are the last world champion for Ferrari, in 2007, who will be next?
I think Vettel will have his chances, even though now it has become very hard. But this does not concern me anymore, I will be a driver of another team.

Antonio Giovinazzi as team mate while at Ferrari Charles Leclerc will replace you.
I know little both of them, they’re young and good guys. I spoke with Charles a couple of times, I hope he does well.

What did you love and hate the most about being in an Italian team like Ferrari?
Hard to say, because I’ve been there for most of my career, eight world championships all in red, and for me it has become a normal world even if it’s a special place. Above all for the passion you feel, inside and around, for better or for worse. Probably when I’m older and I’ll look back, I’ll understand how special it was.

You will advise your children Robin and Rianna to be drivers?
My wife Minttu says we have to take Robin to karts. Let’s see, he’s only three years old and the baby girl one. My parents did not have so much money, my children have it definitely better than me and my brother. But I want them to grow up with simple and normal things. The thing that scares me is that if they want to be drivers, I would one day return to the circuits. I would avoid it.

What will you do when you retire?
I have no idea. F1 forces you too many hours on a plane, too many flights and for me for many years. Always the same story, so I think I will spend time with my family, I will travel, without schedules, calendars, appointments. I will wake up in the morning without having to rush to leave. I’ll do anything, except going back to the paddock and on the tracks.

Sauber team boss Frédéric Vasseur about the Räikkönen deal: “It’s a milestone”

source: NZZ 18.9.2018

Frédéric Vasseur, for you it has to feel like Christmas – getting a world champion into the team without looking for him.

It’s not a gift but that Kimi Räikkönen is driving for us for the next two years is a milestone. Since twelve months we’ve been doing everything we can to get Sauber forward and driver line up is one of the most important components for the future. That Kimi comes, gives a huge boost. To have with us in 2019 one of three world champions in the field, is great.

Apart from the name, why exactly is the Räikkönen deal great?

It’s not just about his race pace and that he is able to get pole position. I also rely on his technical understanding, which will bring us forward. We know that in our current constellation, we are a relatively young team, so we need someone with great experience who can take us forward. Of course Räikkönen will also bring us more attention overall.

Did Ferrari ask you to take over Räikkönen?

No, no, that has nothing to do with Ferrari. When it was clear for Räikkönen that he would not be driving for Ferrari in the coming year, he used his connections to our team, that he still has. There was a phone call from him, then we met. The talks started only after the race in Monza. This is a very late time, and therefore everything had to go very fast.

How was the coup clinched?

We have arranged a meeting, and Räikkönen is very similar to me – he gets straight to the point. We discussed very animated, very openly. I was convinced very quickly that he is the right person for us because he was only interested in topics that are directly related to racing: How is the technical department developing at Sauber? What about the new car? Who will be his engineers? The more we talked, the more he was convinced that Sauber is the right team.

And then?

I only knew one thing: We have to retain him. In less than four days, we made the deal perfect. This is very, very fast for Formula 1 conditions.

Are there still team members at Sauber who have already experienced Räikkönen at Sauber in 2001?

There are a few, yes. They came to my office and said: Great that Kimi is back. But I don’t even want to see it as a return, I want us to think about the future, not the past.

But your other plans were probably a bit confused by the transfer.

Part of my job as team principal is to always have a few drivers at hand who are potential candidates for us. But if you suddenly can have the best that is on the market and also the best for us, then you have to act.

Do you decide that alone?

Of course, at that dimension the members of the Supervisory Board are involved, and I have also included the shareholders. Their reaction was the same as mine. You just have to see where we stood just over a year ago, and now that a driver like Kimi Räikkönen is considering coming to Sauber is more than just an honor – it’s also a first reward for all of our efforts. In the F1 paddock it is recognized that we have taken a big step, they trust us, they believe in Sauber.

Are you afraid that with a former world champion, the pressure on the team will get too big quickly?

You know what: I like being under pressure. And we need the pressure. After all, pressure is one of the basic elements for success in motorsport. If Räikkönen does not put pressure, then I take over.

Did Kimi Räikkönen get a win bonus defined?

I’m sorry, I have to keep silent.

Does he get the same salary at Sauber as at Ferrari?

No, certainly not.

What does the Räikkönen decision mean for the second cockpit, which is still available for 2019?

In the last few days we were all busy getting Kimi on board. But this week we will take care of the second driver. It happens soon. We have a shortlist.

Which probably only includes two names: Marcus Ericsson and Antonio Giovinazzi.

The list is short, that’s right. (Laughs)

What would speak for Ericsson?

He’s doing a good job and his results will matter when we decide. There are different driver profiles, which we have looked at, also with different experience.

Kimi Räikkönen’s commitment is intended for the longer term, does that also apply to the second driver?

We are not in a position like Ferrari or Mercedes to pursue long-term strategies for talent. I can not afford to think about 2023. We have to plan rather short term. For me, the most important thing is that we get successful quickly. The more successful we are, the more attractive we are not only for sponsors but also for drivers.

Can Ferrari decide freely about the second place?

No. But of course we have discussions with Ferrari because Alfa Romeo is our partner.

Did Sauber lose its guardian angel in the Fiat Group with the death of Sergio Marchionne?

Sergio was much more than a guardian angel to us, as much as he dedicated himself to Formula One. I can not say much about the new Ferrari management. We had our first meeting in Monza, but they have a long list of tasks, also outside Formula One. My first impression is good, we need to get to know each other and develop a bond of trust.

Is it planned that Sauber gets even closer to Ferrari?

It works quite well, right? The technical cooperation is working and my personal relationship with Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is also right. We talk to each other every day.

How hard will be the departure of Charles Leclerc for Sauber?

Of course that’s a big loss. He is incredibly talented. For me, the loss is even greater because I know him since his kart times. But I’m happy for him that he can go to Ferrari. This is also a compliment for the Sauber team, we did our job. That’s part of the deal with Ferrari: promoting the drivers.

Can Charles Leclerc become world champion with Ferrari one day?

He has everything that is needed for that.

How has Sauber developed since you took over in the summer?

We get closer to the others. Last year in Singapore we were five seconds behind the leaders, now it’s only two. That is already a huge leap in performance in this sport. But for me it is even more important that the structure in Hinwil has changed. And that affects all areas. We got a lot of new people, there are more to come, we could win new sponsors.

What was a key experience in your time at Sauber?

The partnership with Alfa Romeo. Without them we would hardly have been able to get Räikkönen, also not the Ferrari technical director Simone di Resta. It was the step from a 100% private team to a racing team associated with a manufacturer. Nevertheless, we will remain independent.

Peter Sauber on Kimi’s return «Something like this I have never experienced again»

Peter Sauber, what do you think about the return of Kimi Räikkönen to Sauber?

I’ll say it now in the words of Adolf Ogi: Joy prevails. That this possibility exists, I already found out during my visit to Monza. That it worked, is a great signal. Kimi has an excellent reputation in Hinwil and is also very popular with the fans. His commitment will give the whole team a huge boost.

Does Räikkönen get his bread of charity in Hinwil?

Anything but that! Kimi is very ambitious and feels that Sauber is going uphill. A year ago he probably wouldn’t have taken this step. With his experience he will help the team in every respect. He has considered this step very well and will not want to lose his reputation.

You have discovered Kimi Räikkönen. How did that happen?

The English manager David Robertson came to Hinwil in winter 2001. By the way, his son Steve still looks after his Räikkönen today. Robertson told me about a prodigy in Formula Renault. A man without races in Formula 3 or Formula 3000, as Formula 2 was called then. My gut feeling told me: we test this man. Since that always costs money.

And then?

Then we went with 2 cars for three days to Mugello. Kimi was shy and taciturn. He barely spoke English. Well, he almost did not speak at all. But his body language was unique. When I first met him, I felt like he was walking through me. I never forget this impressive encounter. He just gave the impression of total determination.

And he was fast.

Yes. He has never used the clutch or changed gears on the steering wheel. But he drove out to the pit lane as if it was nothing. His lap times were very fast right from the start. And he was incredibly consistent. When we put him on track with 30 kilo less fuel then he was one second faster. And with new tires another second. Like a clockwork. I have never experienced something like that again. We were fascinated and signed him.

With a provisional super license.

Yes. In a plea I had to convince the other team bosses that we give this newcomer a super license. I asked them: Go and watch him driving. Then you will understand me.

Has there developed something like a father-son relationship?

Not as with young drivers like Karl Wendlinger. Räikkönen was too aloof for that. But up to this day he has a close relationship with team manager Beat Zehnder.

And in the first race of 2001 it worked right away.

That was in Australia. Kimi drove straight into the points and finished sixth. Nick Heidfeld finished fourth. At the end of the season, we finished fourth in the constructors’ championship. It was the most successful season for Sauber. It was better only with BMW, when we were once second and once third.

Will the return of the lost son Räikkönen give Formula 1 a new boom in Switzerland?

I hope so. A world champion returns to his second home. That’s a nice story and a great signal for the Sauber team.

Kimi Räikkönen’s biography was presented in Helsinki: “I almost fully read it”

Collection of translated articles about the launch event of “The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen” on 16 October 2018 in Helsinki:

Räikkönen laughed in the middle of the fans – “Even friends do not call me”

Kimi Räikkönen attracted hundreds of fans to Kamppi to listen to what he has to say about the book.

– I almost fully read it, Räikkönen made his audience laugh.

A good-natured Räikkönen, told for example, that he has not encountered many toadies during his long public career.

– I don’t get many calls anymore. Basically, even my friends don’t call me when they know I don’t answer the phone, Kimi said and the audience again chants.

– There are a lot of questions and suggestions. But I’ve never experienced that it was a problem.

Kimi Räikkönen thinks the date of publication of the book is correct

Many athletes will only release a biography after the end of their career but Räikkönen, who is racing for Ferrari, has Formula 1 races left at least this season and, according to several sources, also next season.

– Now it was a good time and perhaps such a good writer found that it’s not known if he would have been able to do 10 years later, if he even would be interested. It’s a small recapitulation so far, Räikkönen said in an interview with MTV Sport at the publication of the book.

It was important for Räikkönen that the book not only focus on his driving habits, but the colorful stories off the F1 tracks.

“We agreed that no one is interested in the results, but that there is a bigger story, Räikkönen said.

Would Räikkönen be able to win even more in F1 without alcohol? “Certainly not”

In the biography of Kimi Räikkönen, a wide range of drinks are opened from the Finnish driver, even during the F1 season. Räikkönen himself does not see his alcohol consumption special.

Would Räikkönen be able to drive even better without alcohol?

– No, certainly not. Maybe even worse, I could imagine, the F1 star said on Yle Sports.

– It’s probably hard for people to understand, it seems pretty intense. It’s a normal thing for me. People in motor sport are a bit extraordinary. I can understand that someone reads it and goes wow, what is this story about?

Räikkönen emphasized at the presentation that he’s been training so hard, that the celebration trips didn’t influence the results.

– Maybe it has brought me to get a clean mind and go to new challenges, towards new things, Räikkönen reckons.

– Then you have to focus on what you are doing.

In addition, such books are often written after a career, but Räikkönen is still an active Ferrari driver.

– I don’t think it needs any reason. Maybe it’s confusing the media pack more, Räikkönen grinned at the question of the reasons for the release.

He admits that book reception is of interest. According to publishing company Siltala, the first edition of 50,000 copies has been sold out.

– It is interesting what people think about the book itself. What feelings they have.

In Räikkönen’s book, he opens up on the importance of family and how much time he has to spend away from his wife Minttu and his children, Robin and Rianna.

Still, the driver has continued his career with Ferrari year after year. What still motivates to be at the track?

– I’m not there for anything other than racing and driving. It’s still interesting. It’s fun and I dig it, Räikkönen says.

– With the family I could be more but it’s all about organizing aspects. There are always a few compromises in life. Somewhere in the future I can be home from day to day.

Now Räikkönen is acquainted with Hotakainen’s production, namely by reading a self-written book about him the previous night.

– I read yesterday in the evening and last night about this work. I have not read anything else, and I probably will not read. Nothing personal, Räikkönen grinned at the publication of the book in Helsinki on Thursday.

– I’m generally so bad at reading anything. Of course, audio books are coming, so you can listen to them, the F1 star sums up.

Kimi Räikkönen appeared differently than usual although he thought familiar: “If I had to decide, no one would sit here”

Finland’s most famous sports star appeared differently than the public image from the F1 paddock.

Kimi Räikkönen is even talkative, cultivating a lot of humor, warm, likes to celebrate properly, takes other people into consideration, and so on.

Approximately like this, Räikkönen, 38, is often depicted over the years, when friends and relatives have come to talk, who know more than just the Iceman of the F1 paddock.

The unknown Kimi Räikkönen (Siltala), written by Kari Hotakainen, supports in many ways the image of the “real” Kimi Räikkönen which has not been publicly seen.

It tells of warmth and loyalty, always giving priority to his family and a man who gives value to dry humor and speaks of his adventures with the most colorful words.

Räikkönen does not like publicity or giving interviews. Although you can notice that often, you couldn’t notice yesterday. Or you could, but only when he answered the question related to the subject.

– If I had to decide, no one would sit here tonight but I don’t have so much against it. Now I sit here for a moment. This is not so terrible now, Räikkönen said with a smile.

He also flashed several times his humor and joked, sitting beside Hotakainen. It was easy to perceive why Räikkönen chose Hotakainen to write his story. The co-operation worked well.

When Räikkönen and Hotakainen were asked what they knew about each other, both responded with the same words:

– I knew the name.

When Hotakainen complained about Räikkönen’s driving style and speeds on civilian rails, Räikkönen responded:

– I’ve certainly given you also the possibility that you can walk.

As the general part of the press conference ended, there were still private interviews with magazines and TV channels to do with Räikkönen and Hotakainen.

– They have been canceled, Räikkönen said in jest.

Kimi Räikkönen tells why Kari Hotakainen wrote a book about him – the duo joked like old friends: “You would not fit however!”

Kimi Räikkönen and Kari Hotakainen sat in front of media on Thursday after the end product of the year-long co-operation, the Unknown Kimi Räikkönen book (Siltala), appeared on store shelves.

One of the biggest questions in the book was the reason why Räikkönen, a man who is notorious for not talking – now wants to talk and make a book.

Räikkönen didn’t seem to know a direct answer to the question.

– It’s hard to say why. This is not a biography anyway, hopefully it’s not such a short life. There is probably not a single reason for that. The interest became the largest part, Räikkönen said.

Various authors have shown interest for years. So also Hotakainen who remembers that he had approached the Räikkönen camp for the first time in 2011.

According to Räikkönen, Hotakainen was ultimately a natural choice as a writer since he has been repeating from the beginning that he does not know anything about Formula One.

– Sometimes I have thought about it, that if a book or else is done, the author should be one who does not have any idea of any kind of me as a person. Then the picture and the story become more real. Kari is a pretty great writer, Räikkönen said, although he confessed that he knew only Hotakainen’s name in advance.

– I’m bad at reading books. Sami (Visa) has told me, wife and mother also.

Ignorance was anyway mutual.

– I don’t know anything about writing a book, Räikkönen said.

– There are quite a few differences between writing and F1. Kimi could change to my field, but I could not change to Formula One. I don’t fit into the car because of the abdominal obesity, Hotakainen joked.

It was tried out.

– Kimi said, “You would not fit however!”

Despite the lack of a common background, the two got along very well. Both Räikkönen and Hotakainen talk a lot about the fact that they were on the same wavelength.

– Suddenly we discovered that we understand each other very well. Then it went pretty on its own. I did not have awful lot to do other than remember, Räikkönen said.

– The description is what it is. I do not wish for anything. I have lived my life, in my own way. I was as honest as I could be. I do not really care whether someone likes it or not. The story tells you what happened.

Kimi Räikkönen speaks about drawbacks of publicity – sharp blurted benefits made the audience laugh: “There is probably nothing!”

– When you think about it quickly, then I’m sure nothing! said the 38-year-old Ferrari driver on Thursday at a public announcement when asked about the benefits of publicity during his career.

The audience in the area was very amused until Räikkönen became serious.

– I’ve never really done anything to get attention and publicity. The lesser the better. It has not felt right for me.

However, the years have taught. And when the rest of life is in balance, we have seen in recent times a much more good-humored Räikkönen.

Or so at least appeared to the outside.

– Of course you get used to everything. At first it was a bit strange, but nowadays it’s already quite normal.

– I have not been interested in anything else than driving. This has not changed much over the years. I understand what things are related to my job, and some I can’t influence myself.

Räikkönen denies that over the years he would have been angered by the fact that he has been interpreted in public through his professional role, the Iceman.

– Basically, it does not annoy me when I don’t really care what everyone is writing. And even if interested, so is the author’s own view. Everyone can freely say their own opinion, there is nothing wrong with it.

He also does not believe that the book and a new image painted by it will affect how Kimi Räikkönen will be treated in public in the future.

– But terribly they (journalists) will have to correct their old writings, if their opinion of me changes all the time, Räikkönen grinned.

Because he is famous, Räikkönen has to do many leisure activities in a very different way from “ordinary” people.

However, everything is not possible.

– Maybe the kids would benefit if nobody knows. You could go to Linnanmäki and spend some free time and nobody would be asking for a picture or anything.

– Of course there are countries that I can go and won’t be recognized, but it is a limitation living with children in a certain way.

But most importantly, Räikkönen sees the ability to be as good a father as possible.

– There is no A4 paper that tells you how to be and what not to do. The most important thing is that I am present and spending time with the children. Hopefully the end result is good. It will be seen later how things turned out.

Kimi Räikkönen, what was your first thought, when you heard, someone wants to write a book about you?

“It’s a little tricky to say. Quite a few times there has been the desire to do so. The answer in the past has always been no. One big factor was Kari [Hotakainen]. It could be different than many would have thought. ”

You did not want the biography of your life so far?

“I didn’t. I liked the fact that Kari was someone who doesn’t know Formula One and we did not know each other. It became even more honest.

What is it like to be the protagonist of the book?

“It does not change anything. I had to put my face on so many magazines, wanted or not. I do not feel this different.”

You do not like anything about Formula One apart from driving. Has it changed over the years?

“I don’t think it’s changed. It has never been the reason why I wanted to drive. The main thing has always been driving and I’ve said from the beginning that I don’t dig other things. I understand that it’s a big part of the whole thing and it’s okay to take care of it. There [in F1 world] are 80% the same people. It is so useless and the same repeat and talk.”

In the book, you wonder that Nico Rosberg came back right after leaving. You obviously will not do the same?

“I won’t. When I wasn’t in F1 a few years, I was once in one place, but not because of the race. I don’t see myself there. Yes [after retirement] I want to spend my time somewhere else.”

What are you doing next year?

“I don’t know yet.”