Rebel with a cause
What does Kimi Raikkonen do away from the track? One minute he’s Peter Fonda in Easy Rider, the next he’s Bill Murray in Stripes. But the character Kimi really wants to be is Captain Jack Sparrow. He talks to Adam Hay-Nicholls about his life at home, his big screen alter-ego and his maverick spirit.
Kimi Raikkonen is different to most other racing drivers – and certainly different to most Formula One World Champions. Michael Schumacher may race bikes these days and Jacques Villeneuve may occasionally strum the guitar, but neither has anywhere near has the breadth of extra-curricular interests that the Iceman has. Nor do they have as many toys…
Q: You’ve got two amazing Walz Hardcore motorcycles that were custom-made for you. How involved were you in designing them?
Kimi: I was quite involved with the first one, the black one. The new one looks similar – I just told them to paint it red and put some Ferrari logos on it. There are some subtle differences under the skin too. I love them to bits, otherwise I wouldn’t have bought them. They’ve been exhibited at a few shows, but they’re for riding. I take them out to Switzerland and I ride to Monza every year with my friends. They have similar tastes in bikes to me.
Q: Both bikes have “Iceman” written across the fuel tank. If you park one of them outside a shop don’t you worry that there will be a crowd of fans standing around it when you get back?
Kimi: No no, I never just leave they because they’ve got no key so anyone could just take them! I have to park them in gated or guarded car-parks or else they will disappear. Besides, I don’t use them to go shopping, I ride them simply to ride. So we’ll go off on a road trip for a couple of days and I won’t leave the saddle. I like to go over the mountains in Italy and let rip along lakeside roads. You can’t get better than that.
Q: At the Amber fashion show charity auction you paid 200,000 Euros for Sharon Stone’s Corvette Stingray. What other toys do you keep in your garage?
Kimi: I’ve got some other bikes, probably 10 in total. Mostly motocross bikes. I have some other cars, including a Ferrari Enzo – my only Ferrari – and skidoos. I have a Hummer and a few Cadillacs including an Escalade pick-up. I’ve just got a new Fiat 500, which I really like. And when I went to see a DTM race a while back I took a fancy to the Mercedes DTM car and bought that.
Q: Your first car was a Lada right?
Kimi: Yeah I sold it a long time ago to a friend. Ladas are good cars – they never break down.
Q: Did you ever try to take it racing?
Kimi: No, but I did something similar with a Beetle. I did some racing with cars you can bash into eachother – not banger racing exactly, it was on sand. I had this Beetle kitted out with a roll cage, then I rolled it four times or something and it didn’t work anymore! Yeah, I pretty much killed it.
Q: And you own a Mini don’t you?
Kimi: Yeah, a very old one. I’ve been meaning to fix it up for years, but I just haven’t found the time.
Q: What’s missing from your garage?
Kimi: Nothing. Instead, I need to be getting rid of some stuff! The thing is, I don’t want to get something and not use it. I use all of these toys all the time, especially the motocross bikes. If I find I don’t need something, I’ll sell it. And often it’s easier just to rent.
Q: Do you get to play ice-hockey much these days?
Kimi: I play every winter. I grew up with ice-hockey, played it all the time as a kid and I like to keep in practice. I don’t have one team who I’m support massively but I have a lot of friends who play in the NHL and in Finland.
Q: Don’t you just watch it for the fights?
Kimi: Well those are of course a bonus! You don’t see so much of it in Finland because they penalize you heavily for it. But the fights are part of the game, I think, and it spices it up a bit. I went to see the Olympic finals when they were in Turin and I’ve been to see the NHL in the States. I wish I could get over there more often, but it’s just finding the time. I try to see the matches on TV, but in Europe they’re shown at 3am. That’s not a problem if I’m at home and I’ve nothing to get up for, but on a grand prix weekend I can’t really stay up. And a lot of the hotels we stay in don’t have the channels.
Q: You say you played a lot as a kid. But what were you like at school? Teacher’s pet?
Kimi: No, bad! Not good, I hated school. I was interested in different things. I only liked sport and lessons where you did practical things.
Q: Aside from F1, what sport do you most enjoy?
Kimi: Definitely snow-mobile racing. But this winter it was tough because there was no snow except in Lapland. And it takes a while to get there. If I could do it in Switzerland, I could do it every day, but it’s illegal there.
Q: Why on earth do you live there then?
Kimi: No, I like it, but for sure, if you talk about motor racing it’s difficult. It’s very strict there but they let you do motocross and it’s the same in Italy where, in a lot of places, skidoos are banned. For some reason, it’s a difficult sport to do. Finland is one of the only places where you don’t get shit for it.
Q: It’s pretty dangerous though. Have you ever broken anything?
Kimi: I’ve been injured many times, but not so bad that I couldn’t walk afterwards. For sure, I have had massive bruises on my back and everything, but so far I haven’t broken anything. As long as I can get back up and jump in a Formula One car, that’s the important thing.
Q: You’ve done a year of compulsory military service too. I’m guessing you weren’t so keen on all that discipline.
Kimi: Yeah I did a lot of things there that I shouldn’t have, and I didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t do this and had to do that…
Q: Sounds a bit like Mclaren…
Kimi (Laughing): Yeah, when I look back on my year in the army it was a good time, but when I was there I hated it because I couldn’t go where I wanted and I’d get shit from people. I still laugh with my friends about some of the stuff we got up to.
Q: What mischief did you get up to? Were you like Bill Murray in Stripes – the joker of the regiment?
Kimi: Yeah something like that. I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail! Anyway, I was 21 then and I was still in the army when I did my first F1 test with Sauber in 2000.
Q: What did you shoot?
Kimi: Nobody so far!
Q: I remember at the Red Bull party in Sao Paulo last year, you celebrated your title by getting behind the bar and making everyone drinks. So what cocktail do you most enjoy making?
Kimi: Not really cocktails. I’ll choose shots, thanks. Or maybe a Vodka and cola.
Q: Have you seen that YouTube clip where you fell off your yacht?
Kimi: I’ve probably seen all of my YouTube clips. I’ve been involved with all of them certainly! Yeah, well, there are a lot of things that don’t end up on there, and that’s a good thing!
Q: If you could be any character from any movie, who would you be?
Kimi: Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean (Kimi roars with laughter). He seems to know how to have a good time. I might need to drink a lot of rum to get into the role! I love movies like this.
Q: If a time machine were invented, where would you travel to?
Kimi: If you’re talking about racing, then a time that was more fun, like the 1970s. I could have enjoyed it. And before that, maybe the Wild West.
Q: Finally, do you think you’re an easy person to interview?
Kimi: I don’t mind what people think too much. If they ask nice questions then yes, but for sure if they ask stupid questions I won’t answer and they will think I’m a dickhead. But it goes both ways. If everyone’s nice to each other it’s much easier.