“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.

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.

Kimi Räikkönen “I like racing, the fun now is to try to improve”

source: Gazzetta dello Sport, 05.09.2020

Eighteenth time in Monza. Only Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello drove more than him (19). Forty years, zero points in the standings and a face to make us go to hell. But not in the sense that he doesn’t care any more, quite the contrary. If Kimi Räikkönen is still here it’s because he loves racing more than anything else. It’s the other side of Formula 1, more relaxed, without obsessions. He never gave the idea that he was ever particularly stressed when he was fighting for the title, let alone that his only goal is to get his Alfa Romeo back a little bit further from the rear where it crashed.

Happy to be in Monza?
Very. It’s close to home and I’m always happy to come to Italy.

Seven GPs without points. You never had seven races without points, not even in your debut season, even then at Sauber, when the scoring system rewarded the first six. Is it frustrating?
How could it not be? Obviously we’d like to go better, but we’re not giving up. Lately, in the last two races, we’ve improved a bit, so at least we’re going in the right direction. We keep working to improve and we will find the top ten…

Are you still having fun?
Of course if the results were a bit better we would all be happier. Sometimes it’s more difficult, sometimes less so. But that’s how races are, and you have to accept it: you can’t think there are only good times. I like racing, the fun now is to try to improve.

In three races, in Sochi, you will equal Rubens Barrichello as a driver with more GPs. You have always said you are not interested in records, but here we are talking about the history of F1…
I don’t even know if he will be in Sochi or the Nurburgring… If no one had said anything, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea of this record. I have never looked at the numbers and honestly at the moment it really doesn’t mean anything to me. Now I’m just focused on improving. But it’s true that maybe one day, when I am old and look back, I will think differently. But it will take a long time…

Speaking of Monza. It is one of the very few circuits where you have never won. Is there a particular reason?
No, I wouldn’t say. I tried many times, but something always went wrong. And I know how good it would be for Ferrari. Still in 2018 I came very close, but I had a lot of blistering on the rear tyres and I didn’t make it (he was 2nd behind Hamilton, ed). But there are other circuits like this: in Germany it has always been the same story. And also in Imola…

Imola, this year we’re back and you’re the only one who’s already raced there…
Yes, but I don’t have very good memories. Nice stuff going back to…
(In 2003 he was second, in 2005 he retired when he was in the lead.)

After more than a year together, how do you judge your team mate, Antonio Giovinazzi?
He’s very fast. He’s a good boy, and he’s a quick learner. I think last year it was hard for him to come in after so much inactivity, but you can see improvements.

On Instagram you posted photos of your son Robin in the kart, does he want to be a driver?
I don’t know. It’s not what we’re thinking about now, I just want him to have fun.

But if he does, will you be like Jos Verstappen, always present, or like Keke Rosberg, very detached?
I don’t know. I must say that I was already quite nervous when I saw him starting. And also when he tried motocross. We will see.

What was it like doing the Stelvio commercial? Do you see yourself as an actor?
No, no. And they also asked me. But no, it was fun because everyone put me at ease, even if it was about driving it was something completely different from what I do.

What will Kimi do when he leaves the racing?
I haven’t thought about it, and I don’t even know when I’m going to leave. I’ll be with my family and I don’t know if I’ll do any other kind of competition. Definitely some kart racing with my son. And I’m going to take my wife on honeymoon, I always told her that I would do it after I quit. And she’s still waiting…

Kimi Räikkönen “First sort out the mistakes, then look at the speed”

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Räikkönen in an interview with SRF about his role in the team, his karting enthusiastic kids and future plans.

source: srf.ch – 07.08.2020

SRF Sport: Good to see you, Kimi. How did you spend the last three days after the race on Sunday?

Kimi Räikkönen: I went home, spent time with my family. Then I had to do the Corona test and now I’m already back in Silverstone. It was a pretty short time.

Did it help to see your family after the disappointing British GP?

Of course, it is always nice. I don’t see them too often. The children are always unhappy when I have to leave again. But that’s the way it is.

The mechanics of Alfa admire how much you push the team forward. Now that the car is not as fast as you would like, do you feel all the more obliged to push, to encourage?

We are always trying to go faster. I can’t feel any difference, it’s the same every year. With the speed we are not yet where we want to be this year. But we have to drive clean races as well. In the first race we lost a wheel, in the second the collision of the Ferraris slowed us down and in Hungary I got a time penalty because I took the wrong starting position. We must first eliminate these mistakes, then we can look at the speed.

Is the blame mainly on the engine?

Certainly not. Maybe we don’t have the strongest engine, but that’s not the only reason. Otherwise we would at least be on a par with Ferrari. The engine is not the whole story, we have to do better as well. The car is the way it is and we drivers have to make the best of it.

Your contract expires at the end of the year. But in Hungary one could see at the start that the fire is still burning inside you…

Yes, that’s the way it is with all of us – no matter what team we’re on. The better you do it, the more fun it is for everyone. That’s normal. Of course we suffer if we’re not as fast as we want. Nevertheless, the goal is always to get the maximum out of the car. It is part of the game, we always try to improve ourselves. The results alone do not dictate what happens. I haven’t discussed the future with the team yet.

At the Russian GP you will break Rubens Barrichello’s record of 323 races. Would you have believed it in Australia in 2001 if I had told you then: you will still be driving in 19 years?

Certainly not. I’ve dropped out of Formula One once before. I never had long-term plans for the future, I always looked from year to year.

Speaking of the future, your wife Minttu posted on social media that Robin was already faster than you in karting. Is that true?

Well, in my defense: I had a rental kart (laughs). I’m not the coach, I’m the father first. I don’t try to coach really, I want him to have fun. If he wants my help, he will ask. He drives his own line so he drives the right line, for me it makes no difference. Maybe in some years time, if he still wants to race when he’s older, we can work on certain things. Right now, fun is what counts.

And what about your little daughter, Rianna? Has she shown any interest in karting yet? We need more women in motorsports!

She can drive on my lap. She enjoys it very much. When she grows up, she can drive Robin’s old kart. I’m sure she’ll like it a lot. She also has a lot of fun on the motocross bike.