Kimi about Jenni, money and children. Seiska asked Kimi Räikkönen 77 questions in his home in Porkkala.
What kind of chances of success do you think Lotus has this season?
It’s difficult to say, nobody knows yet. We will see after the first tests where we are going.
Do you have hunger for another WDC?
Yes. You always have that as a goal. I will try a lot, let´s see if that’s enough or not.
You have said that Lotus has a homey atmosphere compared to your earlier teams, how do you see the difference?
Each team has always been different. Lotus has however a different kind of management. They are younger and racing-spirited and not any uptight people.
Is Sebastian Vettel your best buddy in F1?
Yes, I know him best and have spent most of time with him than with any other drivers.
Do you have any enemy or someone you can’t stand there?
No I haven’t but it’s difficult to say what other people think.
Have you already met your team mate Romain Grosjean? Is he a good guy?
I have met him and he is a nice normal guy.
Where do you see yourself after ten years?
Difficult to say but hopefully everything is still okay.
What plans do you have for your life after F1?
No plans. I have never had any terribly long plans.
In how good physical shape are you?
I guess in the same shape as before. I know pretty well in which shape one has to be.
They operated your wrist after the recent motor sledge-race. Has it healed well?
Yeah. It’s now completely okay.
They often talk about your money in public. You have a fortune of over 100 million euros. What does money mean to you?
I guess it means the same as it means to other people too. I get a certain amount of money for the job that I do. Some think it’s right, some think it’s wrong. I myself have however made all the work so it doesn’t make me ashamed at all. Money makes some things easier but it really doesn’t solve everything in life.
Has the big fortune made you out of touch with reality or do you even think about monetary matters?
*laughing* Definitely not! I’m just the same as I was before. It makes some things easier but it also brings a lot of negative things along.
Do you pay your bills yourself or do you use an internet-bank for example?
No I don’t. My mom takes care of quite many of my things.
How much money will you get for your next season in Lotus?
I get something.
How have you invested your money?
Well I have a few apartments and something like that… You have to live somewhere.
They have thought in public that you are part-owner in Lotus, is that true?
No it’s not.
Would you like to own your own F1-team someday?
I don’t have the passion for it. In the end it’s quite cruel business.
Have you ever donated a lot of money to charity?
I have done that every now and then. At the moment I have this small thing going on with SOS Children’s Village.
Then what is your biggest loss in poker?
I doesn’t come to my mind right now, but usually I lose rather than win.
Do you play other gambling games?
I guess I have sometimes played some pajazzo etc. if they are seen as gambling games, but nothing more.
They say that you are genuinely a laidback guy and don’t look like you would be nervous of any racing situations. What kind of situations make you nervous?
Hard to say. Sometimes normal things can make me nervous. It depends on the place but I am also nervous about races.
What kind of things are you afraid of?
There are no things that I would be afraid of. I don’t have fear for high places or things like that.
You have many houses but how many homes do you have?
This place in Porkkala is one home and I have another home in Switzerland. I don’t think that I have any more homes than anyone else has.
You travel a lot. How many nights per year are you here in Porkkala?
I can’t say at all. I spend more time here in the summer when the weather is good.
Is the place in Kaskisaari more of a partying place than home?
No. I use it when I have for example some job stuff in Helsinki.
How do you decorate your apartment? I doubt you go to IKEA by yourself.
No I don’t go to IKEA. This house has been designed by interior-people.
Is there something in the interior that Jenni likes and that you let her have with long teeth?
Well I don’t have terribly much that I would have objected to. I don’t pay attention to those kind of details. We have a pretty similar taste but interior is more a thing for women. I’m sure it’s more important to them than it is to me for example. We should just let the women take care of these things!
Which room is your favorite room?
I guess I spend most time on the couch in front of the TV.
What do you serve your friends when they come and visit you?
It depends of course on which day it is! *laughing* I don’t usually ask terribly much, they find their way to the fridge themself.
Do you go to the supermarket yourself?
I go there quite often. I like to go there but it also depends upon which time you go there. Sometimes there are many people etc. but I like to circle around there.
Do you clean your home yourself?
Yeah I clean sometimes. I do the normal cleaning myself, like wash my own clothes.
Do you have a housekeeper?
No. A cleaning lady comes twice a month to sweep the biggest thrash.
Do you make food yourself?
I make food if I’m home alone.
What is your speciality?
I guess it’s chicken pasta. It’s the easiest to make. I’m not any passionate cook.
What is your favorite drink?
I drink a lot of milk.
How do you prepare a White Russian the right way?
I don’t know since I haven’t drank White Russians for years. I’m sure I couldn’t make them the right way.
What about cranberry vodka?
I guess you mix vodka with some cranberry.
Is Jenni a good cook?
She is a bit better than me but if we would compete I think it would be quite an even competition.
Does she cook for you often?
Every now and then. We don’t have any rule book about those things, that someone would always have to cook. Often we go out for dinner and sometimes pick up something.
Do you have pets?
We have three dogs. My mom keeps two Jack Russell terriers and the German Shepard is in Switzerland.
What names do they have?
Reiska, Peppi and Ajax.
Is it true that you are allergic to Jenni’s horses?
I’m allergic to quite many things like cats and horses. I get a stuffed up nose if I spend a lot of time with them. I had more allergies during the army-time.
What TV-programs do you watch?
This and that. Mostly sport. Yesterday I was staring at something that my mom watched.
Your favorite movie?
What Finnish icehockey-league do you support?
I don’t personally support anything special. Of course I hope that Espoo’s and Helsinki’s leagues would do well. I don’t follow icehockey with clenched teeth and despite rumors I don’t own anything from Tampere’s Ilves. May the best league win.
How often do you party?
It depends a lot. Now I haven’t had time to party because of having so much to do. Of course if I’m free and want to go, then I go. I don’t have any regulations concerning that. These things are related to normal life just like it is with everybody else too.
How is a good party made, a party where you enjoy yourself?
I guess it’s the good gang. That’s where it usually takes off.
Does it have to be karaoke?
It has been less karaoke although it’s usually been fun there. It’s not necessary but I rather go to a smaller and more quiet place than to some big disco.
How much and what do you drink during a bar-night?
Hmmm… Hard to say what I drink. There is no main drink. I usually order a lot of cranberry vodka because my buddies drink a lot of that. I often drink vodka and vichy if I drink.
Are you a person who likes to be comfortable?
Well not any more than anyone else is. I’m usually fine with everything.
The sea is here beside, do you swim a lot?
I swim in the summer. The last time I took a swim in that sea was just before the ice came.
Cold or hot shower?
It depends a little but I like a really cold shower too. It refreshes quite well.
How much time do you spend in the shower?
Well as long as I get clean I guess. I don’t have any stopwatch there for crying out loud!
Do you sing in the shower?
Do you wear a bathrobe or do you walk around with a towel over your hips?
With a towel.
Your favorite cologne/scent?
I only use the basic deodorant. You get it easy from the gas station!
Do you blowdry your hair?
What is your favorite music?
I usually listen to Finnish music from the radio.
You mean radio Suomi Pop?
I have been less now that people there have changed. It’s not as good in the morning as it used to be.
How many cars do you own?
Five I think. Audi, Fiat, Mercedes and VW. I guess I get some Lotus too soon but any luggage won’t fit into them.
How many tattoos do you have and do they have some meaning?
Two. I don’t think that they have any special meaning.
You have told that you would want to have two children. At which stage do you think starting a family would be actual?
Of course you want family. It doesn’t mean that there should be one or two children. Hopefully I get a family at some point and that all children would be healthy. I think that’s the main thing.
I heard that you are very fond of children. Is it true?
Yes, I like children. I don’t have any of my own but I like spending time with them.
What is the secret of your and Jenni’s lasting marriage?
I don’t think that we have any secret. Of course we have arguments and nagging at times just like in every other relationship but it’s normal life.
How often do you see Jenni?
We are about every day together at home unless we are on some trips. It has been like that ever since we met.
What mutual hobbies do you have?
I guess just being home since we both have our own hobbies. I do my own things and Jenni rides every day.
What is a good relationship like according to you?
I’m sure everyone have a different relationship and you can’t order what is good for anyone. For as long as both have fun and both feel good to be together is what defines it.
Which one of you are more jealous?
Hard to tell.
Are you jealous of each other?
I’m sure eveyone is. Even though you would say that you aren’t jealous I think everyone is.
Are you happy?
Yes. I don’t have anything to complain about.
Do you think that Jenni is also happy with you?
Yes. We wouldn’t be together if we weren’t happy. Like I said there are always arguments every now and then but I think it’s the same for everyone else too.
Do you read Seiska?
I read it every day now and then because we get it in Switzerland! Yeah, the bible comes to our home (laughing).
So you call Seiska jokingly a bible?
It is sometimes like that, yes!
From: Seiska Magazine http://www.seiska.fi/ Translation: Nicole
I guess it goes to show you have changed in recent times.
KR: Have I?
Six years of Formula 1 changes everyone.
KR: Not me. I continue to like the things that I liked six years ago: I enjoy myself with friends playing ice hockey. The difference now is that I don ’t have so much free time to do it anymore.
Looking at what certain newspapers write, maybe it ‘s better this way.
KR: Some papers are full of nonsense. Thank God I don ’t read much.
Have you ever thought of changing your attitude?
KR: I can’t change my life depending on what people like and what they don’t. Even more, on certain papers. I will continue to do what I love.
You talk as if your life is difficult.
KR: Well, it’s not all fun walking out of your house and seeing loads of people looking for sensational stories. But, I cannot call myself unlucky, obviously.
Do you see racing as a way to escape from that?
KR: It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always wanted to be a driver. When you go in the car and drive, stop and talk with the engineers, the rest of the world stays outside. The only thing that counts is going fast.
But, at McLaren Ron Dennis was watching things closely and kept things tight.
KR: Yes, but it’s normal for a boss to ask how things go exactly and where people that are working for him go. I have never felt surpressed. I just pushed my day forward, fighting in the way I liked. Of course, I could not be seen as a classic McLaren driver because of that. But when you let your head down you’re in trouble with Ron.
Have you ever feared that you could lose this independence going to Ferrari?
KR: It hasn’t happened. On the contrary, at Ferrari I’ve immediately understood that I have my freedom. The team has welcomed me very well, I feel well, everyone helps me in a constructive way and the atmosphere is how I like it: very friendly. Believe me, I haven’t found any difficulties in becoming part of the team.
You haven’t impressed in the way the fans expected you to.
KR: I am the first to be dissapointed. But there are logical explanations, I haven’t simply unlearned how to drive during winter. All the problems are technically related: learning how to drive the Bridgestone tyres, the way the tyres influenced the regulations. And then some driver mistakes of course.
What is so difficult using the tyres?
KR: That you can’t find the limit, you don’t understand it, as long as you don’t push to the limit and stay on track. It’s a matter of getting used to it, but I will.
Do you need more time?
KR: At the moment I feel very well within the team. Also now the team had to reorganize with new people in new roles. But we’ve only made mistakes in a couple of races. It’s enough to have two races spot on to be back in the game.
So you think you can still win the championship?
KR: I will try it. I can’t imagine McLaren reaching the end of the year without a technical problem.
Is it a big advantage to have your teammate in front of you?
KR: I wouldn’t say so. Massa and I work well together.
If you remained with McLaren you might have led the championship now.
KR: I don’t think about that a lot. I am with Ferrari and don’t regret that. I wanted to change myself, I ’m happy to have done so. I knew very well that the two teams were at the same level. And that every once in two years McLaren is able to build a very fast car. I didn’t expect anything else than what has happened. Apart from a few results from my part.
And still, at McLaren there are people that say you would be faster than Senna, at Ferrari there are people that say you would be faster than Schumacher.
KR: I’m honored. But it’s not so unlikely to be the fastest and still lose. Success depends on a number of factors, the start of the season for instance.
The season has started better for Hamilton than for anyone else. Don’t you think it’s incredible a rookie does so well?
KR: He’s good. He started in an ideal situation, in an ideal year. Had he made his debut in 2006, he would have suffered. He has been testing a lot on the tyres we use now and hardly did any testing with the Michelins. It doesn’t happen normally with rookies but McLaren is a first class team and their car is very strong. No, it’s not incredible.
Have you ever heard someone in the team say: ‘Michael would have done it like this, Michael behaved in a different way’?
KR: No. The past is the past. I have my staff and I discuss the car and the races with the engineers that belong to me. Schumacher talks more with Felipe than with me. But it’s not a factor that has influence on my race results. From my part, I don’t even tell that I did ‘this and did that’ at McLaren.
Is it true that whenever friends come to visit you at your house in Switzerland, you can never resist to challenge them for whatever, be it swimming, karting, cycling?
KR: It’s true. The visit is a lot more fun this way.
Have you ever thought about having children?
KR: Certainly, even more than one. I love children. But it’s not the right moment for it. I want to be a serious father and as long as I fly from one capital of the world to another, that is not possible.
Will you learn Italian one day?
KR: I really hope so, but I am not rushing it. It’s a beautiful language but very difficult. I’ve always played hockey, you know. Being behind books for hours, it’s horrible.
What if you lose the championship? What about next year then?
KR: Next year will be a completely different story. New rules, no traction control. A different story.
Better or worse?
KR: More fun I suppose. And perhaps better for the drivers as there is a greater chance to make the difference. In case you have a good car obviously.
Once you’ve taken part in a race and won on snowmobiles under the name of James Hunt. Why was that?
KR: Maybe because I’m born in the wrong century. Had I been a driver many years ago, I wouldn’t be in the spotlights, my life would have been a lot easier.
Formula One journalists are used to seeing new promising talents show up in Formula One, racked up with trophies from F3000 or F3, hailed as the Next Best Thing, then only to vanish into the long list of “had potential” has-beens. But Kimi Raikkonen is different. He simply showed up out of nowhere, with little if any experience in open wheel racing. The FIA refused to give him a superlicense; the pundits in the paddock raised an eyebrow at Peter Sauber. Four races into the season, Kimi-mania is very much alive, and veterans of the press center are talking about the young Finn with enthusiasm rarely seen. Timothy Collings caught up with the endearing youngster, to hear from him about life in the fast lane.
Having overcome some pre-season prejudice caused by his inexperience, a team decision to ban his and his teammate’s girlfriends from the garage, pits and team hotel, and a cynical press with little faith in Peter Sauber’s ability to spot a rising star, Kimi Raikkonen will have enjoyed hearing the sound of words being munched with rare enthusiasm in the last few weeks. This 21-year-old open-faced, broadshouldered and straight-talking Finn is a rising star, has phenomenal talent and will almost certainly have a flock of females following him around for months and years to come, whatever anyone may try to do about it. In short, as Frank Williams has recently admitted, he is the newcomer to have made the biggest impression so far in the 2001 season.
Yet, to meet him is to meet a shy, bashful and endearingly unsophisticated young man with few cares in the world apart from the performance of his Sauber Petronas car. Speed, reliability and drivability are the keystones of his life. And the rest of it all is taken in his stride with a slow grin. He is not used to big crowds, noisy cities or polluted racetracks. He is used to wide open spaces and nature all around him close to his native Espoo in Finland. But nobody would ever know. He just eats it all up with a vengeance. “Formula One is easier than I expected it to be,” he said at Imola. “I was worried at first, more nervous than upset. But it is not so bad. I am getting used to it now. Maybe the worst thing was just the start and getting used to things. When we were told ‘no girlfriends’ it was a bit of a fuss, you know. But, I am not bothered now by the rules, they are not against me. If I want to bring my girlfriend here now, I can. There are no special races. And about the superlicence to drive in Formula One – I don’t think about it. It is not a worry. They will check it, they are just rules — not a problem.”
In speech, Raikkonen wastes nothing. Words come sparingly. He talks as he drives, with controlled precision. Speed is gained by the lack of fuss. The message is communicated and he is ready for the next question. It is not like talking to Keke Rosberg, not quite yet, but there is something of all Finns in this young man with his steady gaze, steady hands and outrageous level of ability. No wonder Peter Sauber is smiling all the way to Maranello for his next batch of customer engines from Ferrari. His only real beef, in the circumstances, will be that the new Finnish superstar may also end up in a scarlet machine, perhaps as Michael Schumacher’s next change of partner. However, confusion still reigns over the conclusion of Raikkonen’s probation period after the young Finn was voted into Formula One before the start of the season, despite his very limited experience, and he is currently racing on a provisional superlicence. Before the start of the season, Peter Sauber, manager of Raikkonen’s team, said that the young star’s superlicence would be under review after the fourth race of the season in San Marino, but with that over, the FIA have remained quiet on the matter, and no-one connected with the young star has been contacted.
The FIA regulations state that every new driver receives his superlicence on a probationary period of one year, but Raikkonen received his license under exceptional circumstances. The governing body have confirmed that this means he will have his performance reviewed after every three months during his first Grand Prix year, but could not reveal when the superlicence was issued. However, a spokesperson confirmed it is extremely unlikely that the license would be taken away considering Raikkonen’s superb performances during the season so far, and added that the probation automatically continues unless there are any problems. But at this time of his career, Raikkonen is not concerned by the supposed uncertainty of his future and he is more interested in learning circuits, people’s names and other drivers’ good and bad habits. “Yes, this is my first time here, I’ve never been here before,” he confirmed in Imola, at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. “I think it is quite a nice circuit. And for me it is nice to be back in Europe again. The circuit is good. Uphill and downhill which is interesting. I like it. I liked Brazil quite a lot. But they are all different. So far, I have liked them all and they have all been new!
“It makes no difference to me that we have Ferrari engines. It means nothing with me or the Italian crowd. I am just driving the same as anywhere. I feel better, now, of course, than at the beginning of the season. I have more confidence. Then I was unsure what it was going to be like in Formula One. Now, I know. There are no surprises I think. I know a little bit now. You always learn something every time you go in the car and you go quicker every time. Now, for me, it is getting better because I am learning more things all the time. I am more used to it and I am getting faster and better, I think. “Of the 17 circuits for this year, I have only driven at Barcelona, and at Spa, Silverstone — but only on the half circuit, and Magny-Cours in testing. No others. Not Monza. But I think I learn quickly. I have no special system. I just go easy at first and the best thing is to have someone else that you can go behind for a while. But of course you don’t always get any help. I haven’t asked anyone for help at all. I slow down if someone is coming and they are quicker. Also I find the in-car camera is a big help when I watch the other drivers. “I have done a few races now, yes, but I still don’t really know anybody. Not personally. Not the other drivers. It is not like that. I know Mika a bit, of course. He talks to me sometimes at the drivers’ briefing. We have a little talk. I didn’t follow him particularly, but of course I remember well when he started in Formula One. When I started to go racing, I had no idea that I wanted to go to Formula One.
That only started for me in the last two years. And I have been very lucky to have good management behind me — my main manager is Steve Robertson. “I have always enjoyed motorsport. When I was five or something, I was doing moto-cross and things like that. I liked it. Yes, I could have gone to rallying, but I didn’t because my brother was in rallying. I was not going to do the same as him. My older brother and me, we were both in karts and doing OK. I didn’t want to copy him. He is nearly two years older than me and his name is Rami. I don’t get home much. I have just moved to Switzerland to live in Hinwil. I have been there for four days now. It is good. I have my own place and I like it. But it is difficult to be there very long as we are always away somewhere. It is something I have to get used to…” Like racing among the big boys, showing people that he deserves not only a superlicense but to be among the Formula One front-runners, and that he has the talent to go all the way to the top.
How much fun does a world champion have in the midfield of F1?
You always have to fight more in every race when you don’t have such a strong car. And especially this year were we all are closer than before. That makes it exciting. But we all have more fun when we fight for the win.
Your last win is more than a year ago…
Of course it would be nicer if it wasn’t that long ago. But I’m sure we will win again this year. But it’s not easy to catch someone when you are behind.
How can you help as a driver in this situation?
I tell my engineers what I need. But they are still the same engineers who have built winning cars before so they know also without me. Everybody knows what he has to do.
No Italian chaos?
There is a lot of talk. The atmosphere is good. Sure, it would be better, if we win. That’s normal. But differently than some say are we working hard. And there is no conflict inside the team.
Also not in Barcelona, where you couldn’t get into second qualifying?
I thought I would come through. A silly mistake.
In Monaco the qualifying is very important because you can’t overtake…
Actually Monaco isn’t a good place to work. There isn’t much space. But the atmosphere is great for the fans. And also for us drivers it is a nice challenge to get the perfect lap. If you manage that, it’s a great feeling.
What is the most difficult spot?
The whole track is tricky. And this year we have to take care to not touch anywhere with the big front wings.
Do you have your yacht again in the harbor?
Probably not. And I have never slept on it but in the hotel. The yacht was for the guests. And it was mostly rented.
Would you prefer to race in the wild 70s?
Definitely! (laughs) That would have been much easier! There it was more about racing. That I would have liked. Driving is the relaxing part of the race weekend for me.
What bothers you the most in current F1?
If I could only drive, nothing! That is what I love the most. I’m here to drive races.
For how long? Fernando Alonso should replace you 2010…
Yes, I now that rumor. I have a contract for next year. So I will definitely be here. What happens then, I don’t know. I have options to continue. But nobody knows what happens with F1.
Your buddy Sebastian Vettel is also under discussion for Ferrari. Would he suit the Scuderia?
He gets along with everybody. Sure he also wouldn’t have any problems at Ferrari.
Does he have a real chance for the championship?
Sure! I mean, he has a good car. And until now the Red Bull drove without double diffuser. I’m sure he will be quicker in Monaco when he has one. So Sebastian has every chance for the title. Because I think he will fight for the win in most races.
You beat him all the time in Badminton. Doesn’t he want to play something else?
We have already some other games…(laughs)
Is it true that you move nearby him?
I move, but not to be close to him. But now we are just 10 minutes away. Before it was 25. Now I can beat him more often in Badminton.
Another hobby of yours is rally…
In the beginning of this year I drove a rally in Finland. When you do a job for years and then can do something where you learn anything every day, is that always more interesting. Rally is totally different to F1. You can’t compare it.
Does it appeal you to drive with 200 through snowy forests?
Probably rally is more dangerous than F1. There is no safety road. But the risk is not the point why I love rally. It is simply something different than F1.
Is that your biggest passion now?
There are a lot of things I like. But that doesn’t need to know the whole world. How boring life would be if you wouldn’t have any passions? I enjoy my life in any case.
Iceman is a nickname given him by Ron Dennis, patron of the McLaren. Well suited to Kimi Räikkönen, a such cold, icy, essential driver that when he ran for the English team he used to answer to the questions of his engineers moving the head, to agree or say not, while he was passing at the 300km/h in front of the box. No surprise.
The Iceman arrived in F1 from the Finnish birches forests where he played slalom between the trees and on the creaking ice. He was 8 years old and he was a tiny but decided fair haired young man. On a very small car he skidded, he hit trees, he straightened and he started again. When he grew he made the same thing with a Lada, an old and in bad conditions Soviet car, bought with little money. It had a red body that he black painted. In the slalom between the trees it was much damaged. But it was the engine that betrayed him, not the blows. His father Matti put it in order. However his childhood and adolescence were serene lived near Espoo, in an old house builted by his grandparents. Sure, he didn’t have a rich family, but his parents gave him everything also to cost of strange “sacrifices”. His dad asphalted roads with the road roller. Mother Paula worked at the post office. Rami, his brother, who now runs in rally, was the adversary to beat. The house where they lived had an external bathroom and the family was saving money in order to built one inside. But the guys were so passionate for racing that parents thought the toilet could wait for and they bought two karts.
It was not easy for Kimi to go on the top, fighting against more competitive chassis, more powerful engines. A fifth place was a success for him. Kimi also desired a lot playing sport, hockey on ice specially, a real passion, like that one of Michael Schumacher for soccer, but he was not in the mood for studying. When he was 16 years old, in fact, he stopped his course for mechanics at the professional school and as soon as he was 18 he decided to leave the family in order to try his luck in United Kingdom, with the Haywood Racing, that gave him a Ford car to drive. His dad, when he said goodbye, put in Kimi’s jacket pocket 500 dollars and told him in brief: “Nobody of us wants to hamper your career, go and live the life you like, but be careful and don’t get you into troubles. And remember: this money is for your eating.”
Matthew (at the registry office) Räikkönen, Kimi for all, played his cards. After some time, in a cold morning in 2001 he arrived at the Mugello circuit to drive a Sauber F1, with all the expert to look at him, like Schumacher or Piero Ferrari, and they said “oh!”, and they ask from where that splendid rookie came from. Today he is a big of the F1. He will be 28 aged on 17th October, he earns about 30 million euro per year, he has bought a new house with many bathrooms and three years ago he married Jenni Dahlman, ex Miss Scandinavia. There are things to which he couldn’t give up. For example, an evening with his best friends: “During my free time I do what I like”, he says. He likes to have a drop (but the reputation attributed to him born from metropolitan tales). Or going to his gymnasium to lift weights because he says that physical exercise relaxes him.
His style of communication is very original. It could be defined: “Not, I do not know, it does not interest to me”. So, in the age of the drivers who want to attract attention, he is the most nonconformist. And, in fact, he’s the only one who evades from the rules of the image-man driver and great communicative man. He wants to go fast and to remain himself. And if you ask opinions, comments, backstage about his arrival in Ferrari, his relationship with Schumacher, the acclimatization in Italy, he answers frankly, but he doesn’t go over ten words, conjunctions included. Then, it seems Kimi has one extraordinary gift: the awareness of himself. To such a degree that he has been able to erase, since the beginning, the insidious trap of the misunderstanding. Without haughtiness he simply said: “Schumi is incomparable, if we begin to draw parallels between who was and who is here, we don’t go anywhere”. As result, Ferrari and the supporters of the scuderia of Maranello will learn to know a driver who refuses any comparison with the master of Kerpen, one who says calmly: judge me for what I am and for what I am worth.
Q: Who wins the World-Championship?
KR: It’s early to say it. Obvious, I hope to win it.
Q: Are you sure?
KR: Yes, I am, but the things in F.1 can change very fast, even if this year with the same tyres a parameter that made difference has been erased.
Q: What do you think you need to win it: more the car or more luck?
KR: More the car.
Q: More quality/style or charism?
KR: The style is a part of you, the charism can be acquired.
Q: Who has charism?
KR: Who can express some moral qualities and, with these one, he is able to motivate people.
Q: McLaren and Ferrari: which differences?
KR: Technically it is difficult to make comparisons because many things are changed this year. From another point of view I can say that at Maranello there is “a more warm” atmosphere.
Q: How was your first meet with Ferrari?
KR: Very positive: people received me very well, trying to put me in the best conditions to express myself.
Q: Does a Ferrari style exist?
KR: Yes, sure, even if I am discovering day by day.
Q: From what can you recognize it?
KR: By the attention they put into the details, they put the person in the middle of the project.
Q: Someone says that you don’t respect the mechanics of the car, that you are hard and you break a lot. Is it true?
KR: No, it isn’t.
Q: What did your Ferrari engineer ask to you?
KR: Chris (Dyer) is an excellent technician and a nice guy: when we met for the first time he didn’t ask me anything in particular. In the winter test days we have spoken a lot, as it’s normal. We are going to know better, as we will spend much time together on the track.
Q: Have you spoken with Michael Schumacher?
KR: Sure, sometimes.
Q: Has he given you some advices?
KR: No, why should he do?
Q: Press says that the men of the scuderia compare you to Niki Lauda for your character instead of Michael Schumacher…
KR: I had not ever heard it. However I think it’s early to say to who I look like.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from some special driver?
KR: Nobody in particular.
Q: Is it true that your love for the Ferrari comes from far away? That you had a Ferrari in your garage?
KR: Yes, I had and I still have an Enzo, a very beautiful car.
Q: Every kind of motorbikes: for water, ice, cross, road. A passion that cannot be given up?
KR: Absolutely: I like the speed, on every type of surface.
Q: What have you got in your garage? Have you got also some great motorbikes which cost 100.000 euro?
KR: I have a lot of motorbikes and cars, but the most expensive, the most precious is the Enzo.
Q: You live in Switzerland but you are still very affectionate to your home in Porkkala. Is Finland important for you?
KR: Yes, it is my country and I go back as often as I can.
Q: When you come back what do you do?
KR: It will seem boring, but I’m a simple person. I do exactly what boys of my age like to do: to go around with my friends, to listen to music, nothing of “sensational” that can attract the attention of the paparazzi.
Q: When did you feel that your life would have been to be a driver?
KR: It’s what I have always desired to do.
Q: With wine, beer or pineapple juice?
Q: A dinner with Flavio Briatore or Ron Dennis? With Jean Todt or Frank Williams?
KR: Sure with Jean.
Q: Have you more pleasure when you beat Felipe Massa or Fernando Alonso?
KR: I don’t run against someone, I only try to win.
Q: Have you a book in your suitcase or on your bedside table?
KR: I don’t read very much.
Q: Your favourite song?
KR: I don’t have one in particular, but I often love to listen to music, above all the Finnish POP.
Q: London or Helsinki?
Q: Is it true that you are searching a house in Milan?
KR: No, it isn’t.
Q: Your greatest passion?
KR: To be a driver: could I be luckier? I already have this job.
Q: Do you like family?
KR: A lot: I love my family, my parents.
Q: Do you desire to have some children?
KR: Yes, but not now.
Q: The most romantic thing you have made?
KR: I don’t like to speak about these things very much: it’s a part of my private life.
Q: Is it easier to please or to displease all?
KR: Sure to displease: it’s difficult to find something on which everybody agrees.
Q: What don’t you like about what press says about you?
KR: When press writes false things, and unfortunately, it often happens.
Q: Everybody has a dark side. Have you already discovered it?
KR: Honestly I haven’t ever thought about it.
Q: Are you superstitious?
KR: I’m not superstitious.
Q: What do you think before a race?
KR: I try to relax me and to think in a positive way.
Q: And the night before the race what do you do?
KR: I sleep!
Q: How is an engine made?
KR: I know well how an engine is made! Since when I was young I did like to work on my cars, and I still do it when I go in motoslitta; for example in F.1 I prefer to give this work to the technicians and the mechanics, but because there is little time: I like to know the details of what they do on the car.
Q: A surprising gift you have received?
KR: All the gifts made by my wife and my family: they are given with the heart and I feel it.
Q: Travelling around the world, what are you collecting?
Q: Which watch do you prefer?
KR: The Tag-Heuer.
Q: Your clothing?
KR: Casual: jacket, jeans and t-shirt is my uniform.
Q: Your favourite brands?
KR: No brand in particular.
Q: The first time have you wear a smoking?
KR: When I was 14 or 15 years old and I was invited to a prize-giving of a kart championship in Finland.
Q: If a driver overtakes you on road in a wrong way?
KR: I know well that the road is not a race-track where I can run or overtake at the limit, so I think the others should make the same with me but if it happens I certainly don’t react.
Q: Driving style of men and women: Which do you prefer?
KR: For me there is no difference, because when I’m in car I always want to drive.
Q: SUV or wagon?
KR: With two dogs, I prefer the SUV.
Q: The most beautiful moment?
KR: The day of my wedding.
Q: The unhappiest moment?
KR: There have been various bad moments, but I can’t say that there has been a situation worst of all in absolute.
Q: Are you sorry for the losers?
KR: For me winning is all.
Q: What are you afraid of?
KR: I’m afraid of something bad that could happen to my family.
Q: What do you desire to do in your life?
KR: I don’t like thinking too much about future, I try to enjoy the moment.
Q: Why do you desire people will remember you?
KR: Because I have been a winner.
Kimi Räikkönen moved to Switzerland shortly after starting his career in Formula One.
Q: How are you enjoying your new country?
KR: I really enjoy my living in Switzerland compared to my third home in Monaco and I feel very much at home here. In Monaco the houses are very close to each other, but in Switzerland there is so much private space and it reminds me of my own country Finland. Also I like Switzerland because of the high level of living and it is like feeling at home! What I do not have in Finland are the high mountains and it is really beautiful! Also it is quiet and nice here and that is good for relaxing. Up till now I have tried some different winter sports and winter toys.
Kimi has plenty of time enjoying the Swiss Alps as it currently is a long winter-break in Formula One. Since childhood Kimi Räikkönen has always liked extreme sports involving anything with an engine, like skidoos, Jet-Skies, Moto-X. That is what he likes to do for his free time, anything that has a challenge! Seeing the way he pushes everything from the snowboard to the skidoo to the limit it comes as no surprise!
Q: How do you look back at your Formula One career so far?
KR: Well, I never really expected to come into it so quickly, especially not into one of the best teams. It has really gone the right way so far and I hope it will continue! It is great to be able to drive in the top teams, as you would have the possibility to win the races and also try to win the championships.”
Q: How do you feel about your new teammate?
KR: Well, Felipe Massa and I get along very well, but of course he will try to beat me and I will try to beat him! He has a lot of experience and it is too early to speculate the outcome. Anyway, I feel very much at home with the new situation, the Ferrari team and my teammate etc and I really look forward to the new season!
Q: Which car was your first one?
KR: Well, there is a car in Finland which is very popular and it is called Lada. When you see it you will probably smile, but as my first car I enjoyed it very much because it was my very own!
Q: How were your skills at school?
KR: It was quite normal, but at the same time I was a lot into racing.
Q: What ambitions do you have outside racing?
KR: I would like to have a family in the future.
Q: What is the negative side of Formula One?
KR: Most of it is good and people are mostly nice and friendly. There is one thing that I would like to change however and that is the break during the seasons. Right now there are very few breaks and I think it would do me good and the team to have some more breaks.
Q: Are you the only one driving in the family?
KR: No my brother drives in the Finnish National Rally Championship, but he does not take that seriously as I do with my racing. It is more like a hobby for him.
Q: Did you ever plan to be a Formula One driver when you were younger?
KR: No not at all. I never even thought of it. Those thoughts started first to come as a dream when I went to England for racing, then I just dreamed “maybe it would be possible….”
Q: Do you know the former Formula One Champion Mika Häkkinen?
KR: Yes, he has become a good friend of mine and we see each other once in a while. I do not have so much time, but he does! However, when we meet, we do not talk very much about racing.
Q: Does Mika Häkkinen give you any good advises?
KR: Well, in my opinion you cannot learn from somebody else how to drive the car, you have to do it yourself. If you are not good enough now you should not be in Formula One.
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.
From: Red Bulletin
What record did Finnish ice hockey team the Espoo Blues set during the 2007/2008 season? How many Grand Prix did James Hunt win during his Formula One career? How many times has Kaj Lindström competed in Rally Finland? And when did snowboarding become an Olympic sport?
These are just some of the questions we thought Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia test, ‘Ask the Expert’(from formula1.com, August 2009).
Q: Just after you started in Formula One racing, which of your fellow drivers was quoted as saying “I am not afraid of Kimi, but he is definitely one of the strongest rivals I have come up against”?
Kimi Räikkönen: Michael.
Correct – it was indeed Räikkönen’s predecessor at Ferrari, Michael Schumacher.
Q: You were born in 1979. Which driver and which team took the F1 title that year?
Incorrect – it was Jody Scheckter and Ferrari.
Q: How many races did Marcus Ericsson win for your Raikkonen Robertson Formula Three team this year?
KR: He clinched two wins.
Q: You won the Formula Renault series in 2000. Can you remember by how many points?
Correct – Räikkönen scored 316 to Ryan Daziel’s 260.
Q: You’re a fan of Finnish ice hockey team, the Espoo Blues. During the 07/08 season they set a new team record. What was it?
KR: 12 wins in a row.
Q: On your Formula One debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, you crossed the line seventh but were classified sixth. Why?
KR: Wasn’t it Panis who got a time penalty?
Correct – following the race, BAR’s Olivier Panis was handed a 25-second time penalty for a yellow flag infringement.
Q: Why was the 2003 European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring so special for you?
KR: My first pole position.
Q: How many world rally championship events has Marcus Grönholm won?
Incorrect – it’s actually 30.
Q: If the newspapers are to be believed, who is the only other sportsman to top your earnings?
KR: Tiger Woods.
Q: You made your World Rally Championship debut recently at Rally Finland. Who won the rally last year?
Correct – it was Sebastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena.
Q: In 1998 another Räikkönen made headlines in Finland. What for?
KR: I think his first name was Ville. But no idea what he did.
Call us generous but we think that deserves half a point – Ville Räikkönen won a bronze medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics for the sprint event in the Biathlon.
Q: You drove Rally Finland alongside Tommi Makinen’s former co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. How many times had Lindstrom previously competed in Rally Finland?
KR: Ten times?
Q: In 2008 Finland’s postal service celebrated your world championship by issuing a special sheet of stamps. They were released as part of a series to commemorate the postal service’s birthday, but which birthday?
KR: I don’t know.
Incorrect – it was the service’s 370th birthday.
Q: One of your favourite charities is SOS Children’s Village Finland. In which district did the charity set up its first village back in 1965?
KR: In Tapiola.
Q: You’re a firm fan of Walz Hardcore motorcycles. How long did it take to build your bespoke Iceman II bike?
KR: I think nobody has the right answer for that. I guess that normally it takes one year, but I got mine in 10 months.
Q: You have been known to use the pseudonym ‘James Hunt’ when entering non-F1 events. How many Grand Prix did Hunt win during his F1 career?
Q: You are one of eight Finns to have competed in Formula One racing. How many of the other seven can you name?
KR: Heikki, both Mikas, Keke, JJ, Kinnunen. One is missing, right. I have no idea who that was.
Correct on six counts – it was indeed Mika Hakkinen, Leo Kinnunen, Heikki Kovalainen, JJ Lehto, Keke Rosberg and Mika Salo. The driver Raikkonen couldn’t remember was Mikko Kozarowitzky.
Q: You are a keen snowboarder. When did snowboarding become an Olympic sport?
Q: Only one other Finn has raced for Ferrari – Mika Salo. What was his best result for the team?
KR: Second in Hockenheim in ’99.
Correct – at the German Grand Prix, deputising for Michael Schumacher.
Q: You have set the fastest race lap an amazing 35 times during your F1 career. Only two men have bettered that total. Can you name them?
KR: Michael and Prost.
Correct – Michael Schumacher (76) and Alain Prost (41).
Final score: 22.5 points from a possible 28
Ask the Expert rating: 80%
Current leader board:
1. Heikki Kovalainen – 86%
2. Mark Webber – 84%
3. Lewis Hamilton – 80%
3. Kimi Raikkonen – 80%
5. Kazuki Nakajima – 73%
6. Sebastien Buemi – 72%
7. Robert Kubica – 70%
8. Jenson Button – 69%
9. Giancarlo Fisichella – 68%
10. Nico Rosberg – 66%
11. Sebastian Vettel – 64%
11. Rubens Barrichello – 64%
13. Jarno Trulli – 58%
13. Timo Glock – 58%
15. Nick Heidfeld – 57%
16. Adrian Sutil – 54%
Kimi Räikkönen´s quiet confidence on track and party-friendly reputation away from the paddock makes for an interesting combination. We caught up with the Finn to find out a little more…
Q: Tell us something we don´t know about you?
A: I´ve got two dogs, Ajax and Pepe.
Q: Your favourite song for karaoke?
A: I´m not the best singer in the world, but I do like a couple of Finnish singers and bands.
Q: What´s the most unusual request you´ve had from a fan?
A: There have been so many weird requests that it would be better if we don´t print them.
Q: Funniest thing you´ve read about yourself in the press?
A: There have been many. Especially things where they say I was somewhere, doing something when in reality I was at the other side of the world.
Q: When you´re at home, what do you listen to when driving?
A: Mainly today´s hits and Finnish music.
Q: Best part of being a Formula One driver – apart from the driving?
A: The competition.
Q: Your most prized possession?
A: My wife and my Ferrari Enzo.
Q: What would you be if you weren´t a racing driver?
A: I would probably be a professional in hockey or some other sport.
Q: Person you most admire?
A: My parents.
Q: Last good deed you did?
A: Charity things in Finland.
Q: Who would you want to play you in a movie?
A: Somebody who stars in action films.
Q: Do you have any bad habits?
A: Biting my nails.
Q: How old were you when you first became interested in cars / speed / racing?
Kimi Räikkönen: Right from when I was very little, I was interested in anything that had an engine. If I had not become a driver, I would certainly have been a mechanic.
Q: Growing up, which drivers do you remember watching and who were you impressed by?
KR: I never had a hero or an idol. My friends tell me I should have raced in the Seventies when maybe Formula 1 was less formal and I would definitely like to have known James Hunt.
Q: When did you think you might become pretty good yourself and why?
KR: That’s not for me to say. I always wanted to be a racing driver and I gave it everything I had to do that. From then on, it’s my results that speak for me.
Q: Wouldn’t it make sense if all testing was banned? More time for snowmobiling, less expensive for the teams and still the same for everybody!
KR: No, I’d be asked to spend more time on the simulator! But joking aside, I think the current situation is pretty well balanced. We don’t test as much as we used to a few years back and we work more efficiently.
Q: But that’s unlikely, so what do you find most useful about testing, personally?
KR: I just love driving a Formula 1 car, which means I even like testing.
Q: While you’re testing and racing, how aware are you of the part you play in helping develop new technologies, like Shell V-Power, for example?
KR: In a sport as finely honed as Formula 1, where the difference between first and last is measured in tenths of a second, you have to push to the limits in terms of car development, in all areas. As far as the engine is concerned, we are currently in a particularly special stage, where development on certain components is frozen for a few years. This means we can have a fuel or an engine oil that gives us a few horsepower more, a gearbox oil that improves lubrication and makes such an important component more reliable and that is a really vital point.
Q: What was your most satisfying Grand Prix win ever?
KR: Hard to say as all the wins are great. Of course, the first one and the one in Interlagos last year which meant I was world champion will always stay with me.
Q: What were your main reasons for joining Ferrari from McLaren?
KR: Simply a desire to change after so many years with the same team. I felt comfortable at McLaren, just as I feel comfortable at Ferrari. The two teams are different because of their different character, but both share a common desire to get the very best results.
Q: Is Ferrari just another team for you or does the immense history and list of its previous great drivers ever cross your mind? Does Ferrari feel different in this way?
KR: There is definitely a special atmosphere at Maranello and you can feel the special appeal of a marque that is part of racing history. It’s nice and I’m proud to be part of this history.
Q: Many fans don’t understand how much the driver does during a race. Can you talk us through some of the things you have to do while racing – brake adjustments, driving around problems etc…
KR: That’s true, from the outside it is difficult to understand all the details of what happens on track. First and foremost there is so much work that one does along with the engineers when the car is in the garage: defining the set-up, the day’s work programme, strategies. Then, when you are sitting in the cockpit, there are so many parameters you can control: the brake balance, some engine and electrical parameters, the gearbox. Then there are unexpected situations such as the arrival of the safety car and specific moments that require you to go through complex programmes such as the start. This year, with the introduction of a standard electronic control unit, there are slightly less things to do, but next year, new parameters will come into play, such as the electronic control of the flap on the front wing and the boost switches linked to the energy accumulated through the KERS system.
Q: What makes a great driver, in your view?
KR: In the end what matters are the result, but one has to take into account that in the current Formula 1, the car remains the dominant factor. Without a competitive car, you can’t win, no matter how talented you are.
Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
KR: Driving and racing to win – there’s nothing else.
Q: And the worst?
KR: Speaking in public? Honestly, it’s not a strong point of mine, but I know it’s part of my job and I have to accept it as such.