Quotes on Kimi
David Robertson: I remember reading a book about how to stop worrying and start living and I thought after I had known Kimi for a very short time that he could have written that book himself. It just comes naturally to him.
Toni Vilander: I’ve known Kimi since we were part of a small gang of kids going karting around Finland…One thing that has always been the same is that I don’t think I have ever known him to get involved in politics or talking badly about other drivers. That’s an achievement when you are on the top and you have all these people picking up on every word you say.
David Robertson: We met when he was brought to our attention through that well known petrol head Peter Collins. Peter told us all about this kid who was in an inferior kart to the rest but was always there in the frame and that in the wet he was amazing. Steve and I then brought him over to test and he was awesome to say the least – he literally looked like he could make the car talk. I know that it sounds corny, but that is the truth.
Michael Schumacher: I saw him drive at Mugello. I observed him and evaluated his lap times and I could see that he can be a champion. He’ll make mistakes, but then again all of us do.
Jean Todt: He is a genuine and sincere lad. I have always liked him both as a driver and in terms of the way he is out of the cockpit; always remaining the same in what is the difficult world of Formula One.
Sergio Rinland: At our first meet I looked in his eyes and I thought I’ve seen this look before. And I know where I saw that look before. And it gave me goose bumps when I remembered that look. It was Senna.
Stirling Moss: Quite frankly, Kimi Räikkönen is the fastest driver in the world!
Peter Sauber: I saw that the same quality that attracted me to Kimi – his steely determination – was also the reason why I lost him.
Willy Rampf: During his first F1 season with Sauber he concentrated on what he was doing. Even if we lost some practise because of a technical problem he never panicked. It was clear from the very beginning that he was special…He knew exactly what he needed to make the car quick.
Chris Dyer: He tends not to be distracted by what else is going on and he focuses on the job we are doing. It is very much a perception from the outside that he isn’t focused – we don’t see that. When he’s in the car, briefings, debriefings, he’s always on the job and very focused.
Ron Dennis: Kimi is so incredibly cool that I think that aspect of his personality surpasses even Mika. He is not fazed by anything.
JJ Lehto: Being quiet is the way he handles the paddock. It’s different when he’s away with his friends or out on his boat. People get the wrong idea of Kimi because he doesn’t say that much, but he thinks a lot, has a big heart, and is very intelligent.
Felipe Massa: For sure he’s a very cold guy, he lives in his world. I think the good quality he has is that he never speaks about anybody. He doesn’t speak good but he doesn’t speak bad for anybody and this is also a good quality. Because he lives in his world where he respects people.
Juan Pablo Montoya: I remember that Ron loved him! He was very fast but he drove the car in a very different way from mine. Off the track we never talked too much really – he was always very quiet. We never had any controversy or anything.
Mark Slade: Here in Spain and in Germany Kimi may just have driven the best two races we’re ever going to see. You only have to look at him as he gets out of the car to see how much effort he’s expended. Here he gave it everything – and, you know, probably nobody noticed it apart from the guys close to it. He was driving only for points and he was driving for most of the race only against himself. He was sensational.
Norbert Haug: Reflecting on our co-operation which was five years, I think that it was positive. We should have won at least two world championships. I have to say we missed one with two points in 2003 but I think an engine failure was one of the reasons, so without that he could have done it. In 2005 he could have done it, in fairness. The engines at that stage were not as good and reliable as they are now. To have Kimi in our team winning two world championships would certainly have been a fair outcome for him. I have a good relationship with him and I’m sure he would say the same.
Luca Colajanni: With the press, Kimi is how he is. He is very honest – it’s hard to find a driver who admits to his mistakes as sincerely as Kimi does.
Stefano Domenicali: It has to be said also that Kimi is unbelievable. He’s so focused in his work. Nothing else than his work.
Martin Whitmarsh: I am a great admirer of Kimi and I can’t believe that he’s going to retire. People have created that speculation, and knowing Kimi a little bit, he’s not going to be fussed about correcting it. So it grows, doesn’t it? He’s a great world champion and in my opinion he’ll fancy his chances of winning a few more.
Alex Wurz: I always found him straight and direct – a very clean character who is often misunderstood. I think he does have a good focus. Because things aren’t going so well for him, you shouldn’t say he has lost focus. Kimi is still the fastest driver on the planet.
Heikki Kovalainen: Kimi is a really nice guy. He is very honest and fair and never gets involved in things that aren’t his business. People in F1 like him because what you see is what you get. He’s never been the chattiest guy in the world but that’s how he is. He’s got a really good sense of humor. I get on very well with him and he can be very funny. Whatever people say about him, he’s a very smart guy. I see things said about him and they make me smile, but he never gets involved in a war of words or anything. Sometimes, he says things in a clever way and it shows his intelligence.
Ross Brawn: I was particularly pleased for Kimi because he struggled a little at the beginning to adapt to the new team, car and particularly the Bridgestone tyre characteristics. What impressed me was that he worked with his engineers, understood the issues, got on top of the situation and importantly and in the style of Michael, he did it in a quiet way within the privacy of the team. His performance in the second half of the season was exceptional.
Steve Robertson: He wants to win his second world championship as much as he wanted his first. We’re all aware that to win two takes you to a different level – there are a lot of world champions, but not too many double world champions, so Kimi is just as eager to win another one. He’s just as motivated as ever before.
Chris Dyer: Kimi is more relaxed than Michael, and less concerned about technical details. If we turn up with a new part, Kimi will say, “Let’s throw it on and see what happens”; Michael would have wanted to know what the simulation tests said. What you see is what you get with Kimi: he never plays games. But on the track, he is very strong mentally. He is not affected by pressure.
Stefano Domenicali: He should know that behind him and together with him there’s a team that’s capable of exalting his talent, which, believe me, is unique in the world.
Andrea Stella: They say he’s a cold person but when he won the World Championship in 2007, at the last race, I saw him cry.
Felipe Massa: He’s not the kind of guy who easily gives you his friendship, he doesn’t offer intimacy. But with Räikkönen I had a very good relationship, very professional. We always helped each other at work. I concede him another thing: he was WDC in 2007, but in 2008 never changed his behaviour, he didn’t pretend anything.
Jonathan Noble: One team insider suggested that, looking at the data, Raikkonen has once again been doing things in the cockpit of a very difficult car that they can hardly believe. He is going beyond what, theoretically, the F60 would be capable of in normal hands as though the Finn’s last great act of defiance is to prove to his former bosses that they were wrong.
James Allen: His performances were astonishing. Even the Ferrari engineers don’t fully understand how he managed to get some of the podiums he did.
Luca Colajanni: Kimi is a very straightforward person. Of course, he isn’t the best lover of communication and interaction with the media, but he knows it’s part of his job and he does it with professionalism and respect.
Heikki Kulta: All his life he hasn’t cared what people think about him. One of the best things he can do is to overcome bad things very quickly. It can take just up to five to 10 minutes, then he forgets it and concentrates on the next challenge. That’s unique.
Felipe Massa: Kimi is a great, great pilot, a pilot who does not speak much but that top of the car of running, knows everything.
Jean Todt: Kimi fits better than Alonso in the philosophy of Ferrari, is the product of his personality, his way of being, is modest and nothing arrogant.
Fernando Alonso: Spa only earns the best!
Damon Hill: I understand that the public want flamboyant characters in sport and it’s very important to have that, but I do think also that there has got to be a space for someone who has talent and does not want to become flamboyant. One of the greatest racing drivers of all time was as shy as anything; Jim Clark. Kimi Räikkönen has every right to keep himself to himself and not be outspoken and to just get on with his driving. That’s what he is and we should respect that.
Christian Danner: Ferrari put a superior car at Kimi’s disposal, but even then, it’s up to the driver to put in a good performance. He is a worthy champion. It always means a lot to know you’re the fastest man on the track. And true racers always want to be the fastest, which means clocking the fastest lap time.
Andrea Stella: Kimi was able to do so many things behind the wheel that our engineers’ advice wouldn’t have been of help there. In that sense Kimi is better than Michael Schumacher. When I was working as Michael’s data engineer we always had to tell him accurately how he could drive faster in different corners according to the computer. With Kimi you don’t need this kind of advice. He finds the solutions himself.
Martin Whitmarsh: Kimi is a fantastic driver and I like him and know him well. He was with the team for five years. He is quick, he is committed and I think he probably would be very committed to beating Ferrari in the future – knowing him. All these are attractive things with Kimi. He is not political. He is absolutely straightforward – what you see is what you get with Kimi. And on top of that everyone knows that he is a winning driver. I think he has been underestimated technically. He is a very good racing driver and I think he would fit well in this team, if we choose to go down that route.
Jonathan Legard: For pace, bravery, judgement and self belief, he has the lot.
Kimi leaving F1
David Coulthard: It would be a loss if Kimi moves out of F1 to rallying. He is a character, even though he is quiet. Kimi is an introvert. He is a great, great driver but he is not going to go and motivate a set of 600 employees. McLaren would be the best place for him because he is quick but not commercially. Lewis Hamilton is there for that, and I want to see Lewis against Kimi.
Stefano Domenicali: I consider Räikkönen, in absolute terms, at the same level of Fernando, Felipe, Lewis. So, why this change? Because I’m sure our team, Ferrari, needs a man more similar to Schumi, as for the relationship with the team. Kimi is very fast, very competitive but also very closed, introvert. It’s not a limit and not a guilt: it’s his temper. With a winning car, he was and he is perfect. With a car to fix and a team to direct, I believe Alonso is superior. This I explained to Räikkönen: he wasn’t happy but he understood.
Andrea Stella: I won’t miss Kimi only because of humane reasons but also because I know how fast and achievement-oriented driver he is. Brawn has dominated this season with the best car but since summer Lewis Hamilton and Kimi have collected most points. It’s not because of the cars but it’s based on the fact that Lewis and Kimi have been the best drivers of the series.
Felipe Massa: Kimi has only showed that he’s a good driver. I have known that since our first year together. This year we had a very difficult car. Before my accident we were both once on prizes. It’s not like Kimi had done a bad job in the beginning of the season. He has just been able to utilise the few chances that were possible with that car to drive for prizes. There’s no reason to critisize Kimi’s driving. He is always the same fast driver. Kimi has been a really good team-mate. We have had great three years together. I hope him good things for the future.
Adrian Sutil: Coincidence or not, driving against him was always great. He’s a tough fighter and our sport needs drivers like that. I needed that kind of competitor because I wanted to test myself against the toughest. I’m proud of our duels, but of course they could have turned out better for us.
Jean Todt: For me F1-champion Kimi Räikkönen’s arrival to WRC rally is more revolutionary than Michael’s comeback! It is a really bold move from him. How competitive is he compared to special men like Sebastien Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Dani Sordo? It will be interesting.
Sebastian Vettel: I’m sure Kimi had his own reasons for going to rally. I’m sure that he made the best choice when thinking from his own point of view. I really like the guy and it’s a shame that he isn’t in the GP’s this year. Kimi is still one of the best drivers and it would have been great to race against him. On the other hand at the same time all us F1-drivers’ interest towards rally grows more than ever. Now we can see for ourselves if it’s possible that a F1 driver can also be successful in the top of rally. I still hope that this wasn’t Kimi’s final choice.
Marc Gene: I want to take this advantage and thank Kimi Räikkönen for his phenomenal work during the three years he has been with us. He will leave Ferrari after the season ends but will leave so that everyone is in a good mood. He is not just only a top driver, which is a clarity, he is much more: a unique driver. He drives really well at the moment. As a person Kimi is very special. He has always been the way he is and being a driver in F1 hasn’t changed him a bit. I have a really good relationship with Kimi. We often go to eat together. He is one of those persons to whom you can talk about all kinds of things, not just our work. I for one will be missing him when we start working next season. It would be a great loss to F1 if Räikkönen wouldn’t be on the starting grid in 2010.
Nico Rosberg: It’s totally unbelievable that the team throws Kimi out even though he has a contract. There has to be a lot of money in the game when Kimi wins races and still his contract is terminated. You have to pay the salary and the fine plus whatever else along that. It doesn’t seem to have shaken Kimi up. For someone else it would have been a really tough place to accept that the team no longer wants you and is ready to pay big bucks for that. Kimi doesn’t seem to care at all. That’s his strength. If it would happen to me it would be really tough.
Petter Solberg: He’s a very, very good driver, and once he’s learned the basics, like how to work with pace notes, I think he will surprise many people. You have to be on the case and you need some balls. I think it’s all about understanding how to push and Kimi has proved he can do that. I think he could adapt very quickly.
Cedric Mazenq: He sees many details because he is used to doing a detailed work in F1. He can help the team to improve the car. There are a lot of differences between rally and F1 but he has taken this with an open mind.
Steve Robertson: I’m certain that he will become super-competitive by the middle of the season and he is an entirely different Kimi than he is now. It’s not easy for Kimi, but the learning phase has to be gone through. But it’s certain that this kind of set-back does not make Kimi any less determined about the fact that he will become very competitive also in WRC.
Keke Rosberg: We haven’t seen in many decades a top driver from F1 going to the rally world and vice versa. In that sense this is unique. I believe that’s why Kimi is trying it – winning a championship in both F1 and rally.
Sebastien Ogier: This is very good news for rally-racing. Because of Kimi a lot more people will get interested in rally. It is only positive for us. He will certainly have a learning-phase in the beginning which of course won’t be easy. However he is a top driver, who has won a F1 championship. I believe that he can adapt quickly. I have never met him. I’m eager to get to know him. On the basis of what I have seen and heard, he seems like a little bit closed guy to the outside. The nickname “Iceman” doesn’t come from scratch.
Dani Sordo: Kimi seemed to be quiet first, but it turned out he’s funny and not like his public image at all.
Steve Robertson: We know that Kimi always aims for the top. We know that he is the kind of 100% talent that whatever he does his target is always to win. We must keep our feet on the ground though. In rallying experience matters enormously. Kimi is faced with top professionals who have been driving these cars for years. I believe that Kimi will surprise everyone with his capabilities and quick adaptability but driving for victories is his utopia.
Tomi Tuominen: Driving on tarmac isn’t the same in F1 and rally. Kimi has been playing with every possible vehicle that runs on gasoline all his life. He can drive on any element, driving on tarmac just happened to become his profession. This is a great thing for rally but this is an even greater thing for Kimi because his style suits rally better than it suits the cold F1 world. It’s a really cool thing.
Marcus Grönholm: The truth is that when Kimi has drove for a year he doesn’t want to go back to drive in a circle anymore. He will stick with rally. I think so. Of course it’s a big difference but he can drive any car. When he gets the rhythm good and the pace notes in place, his speed with WRC-car will also grow. He is a big star here. The big audience maybe expects him to race with Loeb and Hirvonen but I don’t think he will do that. We will have to see how close to them he gets. If some rally on tarmac goes really well then he can get on the podium. Let Kimi drive first and look after that.
Kaj Lindström: Of course it’s a tough challenge to drive a series with his experience. Kimi isn’t yet a ready rally driver but he showed in Jyväskylä that he goes to WRC-rallies from a completely different level than other newbies.
Sebastien Loeb: It’s easy to see he can drive the car, there’s no doubting he’s a very good driver. He is a natural driver. Look at what he achieved in Formula 1. For sure, he will be able to drive fast on the road he knows. He’s a Finn, he has been brought up on slippery surfaces and I’m sure he was playing around on them for a long time, it’s natural that he will be good like the other Finnish drivers.
Carlos Miguel: Personally I would have wanted to see Kimi as Fernando Alonso’s team mate in Ferrari. When thinking of Kimi’s merits in driving he is the kind of a driver that F1 desperately needs.
Jonathan Legard: If Kimi would be in F1, there would be five WDC’s in the series. That hasn’t happened in ages. Kimi has a big fan base in UK so if he had stayed in F1 it would have increased the interest even more.
Livio Oricchio: Kimi’s F1 career is definitely over. I had a chance to visit his own roots in Finland and I understood his cultural background much better after that. The mandatory F1 promotions were such an agony for Kimi that I’m sure he doesn’t want to go back to that again. I believe Kimi is at home in the rallying world. On top of that it offers him a challenge F1 can’t offer him anymore since no driver has won the WDC in both F1 and WRC.
Andrzej Borowczyk: The going is much more laidback there and Kimi will see much more friends and countrymen there. It’s clear that Kimi is now starting a three-year period in WRC. You can’t grow to a winner in any less time. I think Kimi will stay there and F1 will be over for him.
Joe Saward: Kimi has been in F1 for nine years but the whole man is still a complete mystery for me. It was a surprise that he went to WRC but that’s just why Kimi can surprise again and do what is least expected from him – meaning return to the grid with Red Bull in 2011.