Icy, crazy, Kimi!
Kimi Raikkonen is back in Formula 1 again in 2012. At Lotus-Renault he can hardly win, but he brings color back into the championship. SPORT BILD describes the two faces of the Ferrari world champion from 2007.
Suddenly, the “Iceman” became talkative. It was cold in the winter of 2003. Kimi Raikkonen was staying at a Swiss shepherd dog breeder in the vicinity of Lake Constance. He spent hours playing around with the eight-week-old puppies, photographed them, and sent the pictures via cell phone to his wife Jenni. He finally opted for Ajax, who was the first jumped into his arms. On this day, he put the mask of the Iceman Raikkonen off and showed his true colors. After two years of vacation in the World Rally Championship the World Champion of 2007 is back in the next year in Formula 1. He signed for two years at Lotus-Renault team. The Lotus will not be the best car, but Raikkonen (32) does not matter. “I just wanted to go. Money is not important,” he says. On the contrary: the Finn earns no money, he even invested. Two donors from Saudi Arabia finance the deal, along with two private sponsors, who Raikkonen brings. It is led by the American Foster Gillette (35). The heir to the dynasty of razor got to know and appreciate Raikkonen in his NASCAR driving test six months ago in the U.S. The second-patron is said to be Prince Jefri of Brunei, brother of the Sultan of Brunei, who is considered as one of the richest men in the world.
One thing is certain: in particular the tabloid reporters are happy about Raikkonen’s comeback. They hope to see the other face of Räikkönen, the ex-champion had shown only too often in his first F1 career with McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari. Here is a short “best of” his scandals: He fell drunk headlong from the upper deck to lower deck of his yacht in the port of Helsinki. He disguised himself as a gorilla. He rioted in a night club in London, and unsheathed his little Kimi. He slept shitfaced on a sidewalk in Gran Canaria, with a pink rubber elephant as a pillow. Mercedes-employees on vacation found him and called the headquarters in Stuttgart: “I think we’ve just found your Formula 1 pilot.” And still a treat that has not yet penetrated to the public: his compatriot and F1-mate Heikki Kovalainen freethinker Raikkonen is said to demanded on a partner swap. Kovalainen will have to flee in panic seized.
Raikkonen is not interested at about that all. He clarifies: “Everyone has emotions, but each has a different way to deal with. When I am driving, I am highly focused, emotions are out of place, to this that I’m not a guy who likes to show what goes on in myself.” Therefore, he would never tell that his squeaky voice leading from a bicycle accident from his childhood. Kimi was five years old when he slipped from the pedals and slammed with the neck right on the handlebars. From the severe bruising to his vocal cords have never fully recovered. Even as a child Raikkonen spoke so less that his parents brought him anxiously to the therapist. And he sent him back home after half a day. With a letter in his pocket: “Your son is above average intelligence. That could be the reason why he chooses to remain silent…” A difficult task test, on which an adult needed in average three hours, the six year old had solved in 20 minutes. This had convinced the therapist.
Also in the car Raikkonen is always too cold. An experiment confirmed this: doctors wired him during a race with measuring electrodes. Result: In situations where other pilots themselves acknowledge the sweat had driven into the neck, Raikkonen’s pulse not even jumped in the height. For his former team boss Peter Sauber the fin is the pilot with the strongest nerves, he has ever experienced. “He almost slept through his first F1 race in Australien2001,” he recalls. Fitness coach Josef Leberer, then responsible for Raikkonen, said: “Kimi was on a case in the box and slept when I wanted to wake him up 40 minutes before the start so he could prepare for the start, and he turned around and muttered, “Give me five minutes”. He just went back to sleep.” In the race he won his first championship point in sixth. When Peter Sauber wanted to congratulate him, Raikkonen waved: “Have I won? So why the congratulations?” Sauber was completely perplexed.
Besides Sauber, two others are looking forward to the comeback of the”Iceman”. Sebastian Vettel is good friends with Kimi Raikkonen: “I like Kimi very much,” the double world champion said, “and certainly he is still a great racing driver.” The other is Gerhard Berger. The Tyrolean ex-chief of Sebastian Vettel grins: “To Red Bull Kimi would actually fit best, he could celebrate whenever he wants because even with hangover Kimi is still faster than most others…” Nice to see that he is back!