We join Kimi as he turns on the charm in Turkey for a guest appearance on German television
In 129BC, the Romans took control of Anatolia, a land of several independent kingdoms covering the space we now call Turkey. Evidence of this occupation is still tangible, and it is at one of the more spectacular architectural edifices that Kimi Räikkönen finds himself on this warm, bright day in May. One wonders, then, what the Romans might have made of Wetten, Dass..?, a German television spectacular which has taken over the imposing amphitheater at Aspendos for one night only. The quarterly programme is as popular in German-speaking Europe as it´s possible to be, with some 30,000 people applying for tickets each month. The TV audience is estimated at a massive 50 million people, so Kimi can reasonably expect his appearance to make an impact. We arrive at the venue and it´s hot and dry. The Wetten, Dass..? team have already been there for a fortnight, setting up camp behind old Roman structure. This is no small logistical undertaking, and the number of diesel generators whirring away is testament to the amount of power required to keep the show ticking over – and it hasn´t even started yet!
The thought of guesting on a live show that will be watched by some 50 million Europeans doesn´t seem to be affecting Kimi, though. “I´ve done this type of thing before,” he explains. “So I don´t get too nervous.” Upon arrival, we are shown to the Green Room, which is in fact, a bare white-walled structure inside a cavernous tent. Here, the guests of the show each have enclosed areas in which to chill out before the show. Kimi relaxes: eating a banana while flicking though a batch of motorsport magazines. A number of production staff, clipboards clutched tightly underarm, knock from time to time to check that all is well. After Kimi has been afforded time to settle down, we are offered a tour of the vast and imposing amphitheater. Kimi, like so many here today, is taken aback by the sheer power of the venue. “It´s amazing,” he says, looking up at the ranks of worn-smooth stone seating. “It reminds me of when I visited Athens for the Olympics last year – so much history. Really impressive.”
For now, though, the place is taken over by the tools of 21st century television production, with lights, cables, cameras and monitors competing for space. Kimi is shown his marks´, that is: where he will stand, sit, be introduced and so on. He returns to his dressing room to kill a few hours before the live show gets underway. During this respite, Kimi records an interview for the show´s website before posing for photos with the other stars of the show, who include socialite Paris Hilton, Columbian singer Shakira and the popular classical singing quartet, Il Divo. The master of ceremonies is the energetic Thomas Gottschalk, a man clearly excited about having Formula 1´s latest winner as a guest. “It´s a bonus for Wetten, Dass..? to have Kimi on the show,” he says. “Grand Prix drivers are a special breed and the crowd will be really pleased to see him. Kimi is very popular in Germany, but I know that our audiences all over Europe are keen to hear what he has to say. He is very friendly and open-minded, a pleasure to meet.”
The format for the show itself is simple. Each guest is introduced by Gottschalk before joining him on the sofa for a chat. They are then invited to make a decision on the outcome of a, usually precarious, challenge that will be undertaken live by a member of the public. In Kimi´s case, the scenario concerns a Swiss lorry driver who has set himself the challenge to knocking over carefully balanced eggs with his truck and leaving them unbroken – believe me, it makes sense when you see it. Kimi will have the challenge explained to him by Gottschalk and simply has to use his judgement as to whether it will be completed successfully. Should the contestant fail, the celebrity who backed them will undertake a forfeit of the host´s choosing!
An audience of some 5000 people is expected to arrive, with all roads leading to the event chock-full of coaches carrying excitable groups to this ancient cultural centre. It´s relatively calm backstage, though, giving little impression of the organized chaos that is going on outside as the audience make their way in. With a couple of hours to go until showtime, the noise of the masses becomes audible, ramping up excitement levels by another notch. Dusk falls and the sky is grey-blue. Tension is rising like the bubbles in a local hookah pipe. The time seems to pass more quickly now, and it´s soon time for Kimi to make his entrance. He emerges from the back of a black Mercedes-Benz S-Class to make his way through the front of the venue onto the brightly lit stage. He is welcomed by the host and the crowd applaud wildly. There are even a few “Kimi” banners being waved.
After answering questions from the host, who is keen to hear Kimi assess his chances of winning the 2005 drivers´ title, it´s time for Kimi to place his bet. A live link to Switzerland is established, and the protagonist explains his attempt before climbing aboard his substantial lorry. There is silence in the auditorium as he begins to crawl gingerly between the eggs. The challenge lasts for roughly a minute, but it seems that a few eggs have indeed been smashed by the truck. A final count is needed before Kimi´s fate is known. He loses the bet and has to take the forfeit. As the show winds on, more and more celebrities join Kimi on the large beige sofa. The laughter continues for another two hours before an explosion of light and sound brings the event to a carnivalesque close. The crowd make their way back onto their coaches and the riggers start dismantling their apparatus from the impressive old stone – a job that will last well into the next day. And then? 129BC doesn´t seem that far away at all.
From: RacingLine, July 2005
See here the Video of Kimi at Wetten Dass…? with english subtitels:
And see here the Interview before the show:
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
Seiska’s reporter Panu Hörkkö visited Kimi Räikkönen at his home and he was surprised – positively.
When I drove on Feb 3rd from Helsinki to Kimi Räikkönen’s villa in Porkkala I had butterflies in my stomach. I had actually had them ever since the night before and Kimi even visited in my few hours dream to be honest. So the unconsciousness pulled cruel tricks on me. I was however about to meet Kimi for the first time and I had heard that he hates reporters. I wondered which one of us is more troubled with the meeting – the one who was going to be interviewed or the interviewer?
Kimi’s expression was something completely different from what I had expected!
When the photographer and I arrived to Porkkala we were greeted by Riku Kuvaja. He informed in his kind way that he would go and walk around the villa with the photographer and I could soon interview Kimi in peace. Soon after that the glass door opened and a beanie-headed Kimi came out to shake hands with me. I immediately saw an expression on Kimi’s face that I hadn’t seen in one single magazine or TV-interview earlier. Kimi was unbelievably laidback and frankly put charming, if a man can say so about another man. Kimi’s boyishness and grinning continued all through our 3-hours meeting and the ice broke easily in the Iceman’s cave. Kimi answered my questions in a laidback way and used his witty sense of humour. His laughter was catching and the atmosphere was warm. As an example I could mention my question “How tough steam-man are you?” Kimi replied in his personal way: “I like to go to a sauna but just the normal steams. No Sauna-Timo-business for sure,” Kimi said. It wasn’t pretending from his side, I can say based upon my life experience that Kimi is genuinely a laidback person – and modest too on top of that – unlike many “heroes” I have met.
Lacking speaking skills, they say!
After we left the villa I could only think that dammit, that guy just hates cameras just like probably 99% of Finnish men also hate! Next F1-season I am going to concentrate on following only Kimi and his grips in Lotus. The guy did after all set the fastest laptime in Jerez testing! I will leave in their own league those who nag about Kimi’s poor skills of commenting or posing. Afterall I know myself that we Finns have an exceptionally charming hero in this man. And a man can say this about another man. Good luck to the upcoming season, Kimi!
After two days back in the cockpit, two things are clear – Formula One has missed Kimi Raikkonen and Kimi Raikkonen has missed Formula One. Yes, the niggles which drove him to rallying two years ago are still there, but – for now – the 2012-spec ‘Iceman’ seems suitably chilled. Another thing that hasn’t changed is his pace, which he proved in style on the opening day of this week’s Jerez test by setting the fastest time for Lotus. Raikkonen discusses progress…
Q: You clocked the best time on day one at Jerez. Was it because of a magic car or a magic Kimi?
Kimi Raikkonen: Ha, I don’t really know. On the first day the car was good, but I have to say that on the second day it was even better. If it only set the fifth-best time then it was down to the fact that we tried different things. But, for sure, coming back to the real Formula One world and immediately doing the best time on the first day of testing was not bad. It was a nice warm feeling for the ego. But, of course, to really classify what the time was worth you would need to know what program everybody else was running on. And don’t we all know that the times only really matter when we are in a real race? So, yes, it was nice, but don’t overestimate things! (laughs)
Q: So you feel comfortable in the car…
KR: Well, there are moments when the handling is easier than at other moments, but overall I am pretty happy with the car. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but I would say that it was not a bad start for Lotus and myself. At the moment the magic word is mileage – for all three of us: the team, the tyres and me.
Q: You did 117 laps on the second day. Did you start to feel it? Nothing compares to the G-forces when you drive a Formula One car…
KR: No, there were no problems whatsoever. That is why you exercise before.
Q: Topping the timesheets must have reassured you that after two years away you hadn’t lost it?
KR: To be honest it never entered my mind that I could have lost it. I knew when I drove the old car in Valencia that I would be okay. I could feel it immediately. Of course there isn’t 100 percent certainty, but it is coming close to that.
Q: When you left F1 for rallying you spoke about the monotony – the same tracks, the same hotels, the same people, and the same questions…
KR: …and nothing has changed. And believe me, I didn’t expect any change! (laughs) Sure, from that aspect rallying is much nicer, but that is a part of Formula One and if you want to race in this category you have to accept all aspects of it.
Q: So despite all these downsides you found Formula One so exciting that you came back?
KR: I found the racing so exciting. I missed the racing. And it is a fact that Formula One is the highest form of racing. So you would rather take it than leave it.
Q: But on a professional level…
KR: As I just said, if you want to compete at the highest level of racing you have to race in F1. That is what I enjoy. All the side affects you have to accept for the benefit of racing at the top level.
Q: You probably also missed winning…
KR: I don’t know if you miss winning, but of course every sound person would rather win than lose! (laughs) But it is not often that you can win all the time. It’s not that I’ve got used to winning.
Q: The team had a tough time last year but for you – in F1 – it’s been some time since you’ve raced a car not capable of winning a Grand Prix. Is that a worry?
KR: Ah, I didn’t have an outright winner of a car for many years. I would say that in 2009 I didn’t exactly have a winning car and people seem to forget that so easily. And how often do you win? Okay, I had some good wins in Formula One, but if you compare that with how long I have been in Formula One, then I haven’t won so often. But that is obviously part of a career.
Q: When did the idea of returning really take shape?
KR: That was during the summer when I was doing some NASCAR races. I enjoyed that direct fight with competitors again, the wheel-to-wheel fight. I realised that I was missing it. In rallying you also race against people, but not physically, and it was that physical aspect that I really missed. After that realisation, I spoke to my managers and they started to sort things out for me.
Q: Why didn’t the negotiations with Williams work out?
KR: We simply didn’t find a solution that would satisfy both sides. You know how it is – one side wants something and the other something else, so you drift apart. That’s how it goes sometimes in life. And sometimes the bad comes good. I am very happy where I am now.
Q: Lotus team Principal Eric Boullier said that when he told the team that you were joining it immediately boosted morale. Did you expect you would ever be a morale booster?
KR: I know that the team had a tough year last season, but they have great people and so far it has been a good experience joining them. I hope we can have a good experience together in the months to come – and that will be an even bigger morale boost! If you ask me what my goal is for this season then the answer is that I don’t know. You must wait until the first couple of races and then I will probably be able to give a hint.
Q: During your two-year sabbatical you didn’t once attend a Grand Prix. Why?
KR: Well, I went to Monaco twice, but not to see the cars, only for business. And if you want to see cars properly – as someone like me, who is really interested in how the cars change, does – then you come to a test. And if you want to see the race then you see it on TV.
Q: Do you think anything significant has changed over the last two years?
KR: Not really, except for the tyres and having a different manufacturer for the tyres. The cars haven’t changed too much and everything else is business as usual.
2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen makes his F1 race return with Lotus this March, when he will grace the grid for the first time since his Abu Dhabi outing with Ferrari at the end of 2009. Following the launch of his new team’s 2012 car, the E20, the Finn discusses his comeback and the year ahead…
Q: How quickly did the deal come about with the Lotus F1 Team?
KR: Everything came together quite quickly. We shared a common goal and everyone was happy. This was the only way to do it and everything went pretty well from there.
Q: What do you think of the team now you’ve completed two days testing?
KR: I’m happy with the team, they are very nice people, very easy going and it was nice to work with them for the two days I did in the R30. I think we’ll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.
Q: When did you decide to finish rallying and to go back to Formula One?
KR: When I did the NASCAR races, I enjoyed the racing and I want to do more racing. I still want to do rally and if I could I’d do them both at the same time – but this isn’t possible. For sure I will do rallying again in the future. I want to do racing as I had a really good time in NASCAR racing against other people and I realised that I was missing this – that’s when I decided that if there was a good chance to return properly that I would do it.
Q: If you’d been in rallying with sufficient time could you have been as good as Sebastien Loeb?
KR: I don’t know! I don’t think anyone is as good as him right now! For sure I could have improved, but I don’t know how far. I’d improved last year from where I was in 2010. I went to rallying to see how well I could do and I still think that it’s one of the most difficult sports that I have ever tried. It’s not easy! The guys at the front are very fast, but equally if you put them in a Formula One car they would probably have a similar story to me in rallying. I think I would need another couple of years with testing. With rallying there are so many different surfaces and it’s completely different from Formula One.
Q: What are your thoughts on how F1 has changed since you last competed?
KR: In 2010 I didn’t really follow Formula One but I saw more races last year. It doesn’t really look different, but there is overtaking in some different places where people can just drive past by opening the rear wing and the driver in front has no chance to defend himself – so is this really overtaking? I don’t think it counts all the time. But for sure the show is better. The tyres make a difference too, as there is a big speed difference between when the tyres are new and when the tyres are old. In the old Formula One, you had to be so much faster than the guy in front of you to have any chance to overtake, but now with the tyres and the DRS, it’s different.
Q: Do you have anything to prove with your return?
KR: I think people expect things from me, but as long as I know that I’m giving 100 percent and I’m happy with my driving then I’m happy. If those aspects are true and it’s not enough, then it’s not enough.
Q: How’s your motivation?
KR: There’s always talk about my motivation, written by people who don’t know me and couldn’t have an idea on how strong my motivation is. If I didn’t feel I had the motivation, I would stop. My feeling is that I probably drove some of my best races in my last season in Formula One and I was very happy with my performance. I’ve never had any issues with motivation.
Q: What are your thoughts on KERS and DRS – you didn’t have them when you tested the R30.
KR: I’ve driven with KERS before and DRS is just a button. Once you’ve done it a few times it will become automatic.
Q: How well do you know your new team mate, Romain Grosjean?
KR: I think we will have a good relationship. I met him before Christmas and I raced against him in 2009. He seems a very nice and normal guy, so I don’t see any problems there.
Q: How is your fitness for Formula One’s challenges after two years rallying?
KR: For sure, the G forces are different, but you get pretty good G forces in some tarmac rallies. The steering is probably a bit heavier in rallying too. You sit in different position and you use different muscles. Rallying overall is probably not as physically tough in short bursts like Formula One but it’s pretty mentally tough as you spend the whole week for about 12 hours a day in a car driving. In this way rallying is much more tiring than Formula One. The driving itself is more physical in Formula One, but I’m looking forward to getting more sleep.
Q: Lotus F1 Team is fighting to be back at the front, how can you help in this battle?
KR: In my last year at Ferrari we weren’t always at the front but I’m a good racer and I want to get to the front. Lotus started well last year and we hope that the new car will be strong.
See all pics of Kimi of the E20 Presentation in the Forum:
After two years of absence the Finn returns with a Lotus F1, the last to win the World Championship with Ferrari. But without nostalgia. “The Reds? Not feel anything… Do not end well.” I’m back because I was tired of racing against the clock: I wanted to race in front of real opponents. To think that someone has dubbed to see the Iceman thrown on a sofa while drinking latte in front of a tennis match makes you laugh. Certainly the Husky stare and the almost albino colors look promote misunderstanding, however, only takes a few seconds of conversation with Kimi Raikkonen to understand that the image of the boy coldly and without emotion is the result only of superficial considerations. Of emotions, passions and things to say, Kimi has in abundance. It’s only the way to express it what’s different, but in the end there is more truth in his answers than there are in the “strategic lies,” Alonso has said in a hundred press conferences. The truth about Ferrari, for example, with which he opens in his first interview since returning to the wheel of a Lotus Formula 1 car: “It will not make an impression to see the Ferraris, I feel nothing. It was a beautiful page of my career, but it’s over. And not so good. ”
And so no thrill when you see – or in front of your mirror – the profile of the machines of Alonso and Massa?
“No, nothing. Besides, I already saw the success of McLaren” from outside “.”
But in recent days how you felt when – after two years of absence “due to the rally” – you climbed aboard a F1?
“It was like coming home.”
What you missed in F1?
“The competition against a true, visible and present opponent. In Rally you race against the clock, you do not see any other throughout the race. Only the road. And the difference is huge.”
When did you decide to return?
“Last year. In the pauses of the rally season. I was able to do some ‘of experience in NASCAR. And there you have forty rivals per race … it was the first time that I found someone on the track since I left F1. As soon as the race started I felt within me the old appeal of the competition. I called my manager to ask around to see if there was something. We talked a lot with Williams but not if it has done nothing. When we got in touch with Lotus we had no doubt and we reached an agreement very quickly.
How did the first few laps of “rehabilitation” in the Lotus went? two years ago, when they did Schumacher in 2009 to prepare for the injured Massa was a tragedy …
“Well, it hurts my neck. But not any more than it hurt me when, a few years ago, started to drive after the winter break. I thought it will be worst.”
And from a technical standpoint?
“Even there I thought it will be worse. Of course I drove on exhibition tires and its performance is not those of next season tyres, but from that point of view, the new Pirelli will be a first for everyone.”
What goals have you given yourself for this season?
“Pushing as much as possible.”
You will have as team mate Romain Grosjean, previously you have “crossed” Heidfeld, Coulthard, Montoya and Massa. If you were to put them in order of skill?
“I have no reason to do so. They’re all good boys and good pilots. And so is Grosjean.”
Massa, who was your last team-mate at Ferrari, it’s having a tough time, and seems to suffer from Alonso’s arrival and it’s at his final year on the Reds (except for a miracle). They would have done better to keep you and let go of the Brazilian instead?
“Massa is a very fast driver. Bad periods happen to everyone.”
The next year, the grid will be full of world champions, besides you there will be Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Vettel. In your opinion who is the strongest?
“My opinion that is completely irrelevant. It will be good for F1. But in the end we will not change anything, we all start from scratch. Perhaps those who have a global bulletin board should handle a little ‘more pressure, a little’ more expectation from the fans, but for those used to drive an F1 car is nothing. In the end, I think that whoever has the fastest car, wins. ”
What do you think of “Vettel phenomenon”?
“It is very fast. But there are also three seasons that he has the best car.”
Have you ever thought to stop driving?
“Well, in those days, after the end of Ferrari I did. To completely change my life, perhaps to do motocross, or something else. But it did not last long. The time to hop on a car again.”
2. What do you expect from the next tests?
Difficult to say. We’ll see then what the new car is like. I don’t think that it’s terribly different. I don’t know about the tyres. They say that they have changed a bit.
3. What kind of season would you yourself be satisfied with?
I haven’t really thought anything concrete. I see in the tests what the car is like and how good it is. That decides. How it feels, that’s a thing you notice right from the first test. At least I have noticed it immediately earlier.
4. You are used to really big teams during your F1-career. Does it show in the operation of Lotus that it’s slightly smaller than McLaren and Ferrari?
No, it’s just the same. We have all the same equipment here and hence we also have a chance to make a good car. The same gang who earlier won championships is still here. And physically the team is located in the same place. Maybe it’s smaller in the sense that Lotus doesn’t have a car factory behind them like Mercedes or Ferrari had.
5. During the last months a few motorbikers have passed away due to an accident. Does a professional driver think more about the sport’s dangers and risks when hearing these kinds of news?
Those are never nice news no matter if you know them or not or if they even are from your own genre’s circle. Those just happen. Sadly it’s part of many other sports too. Of course anything can happen and happens. Sad things but part of life.
6. You have already won your WDC in Ferrari. From where do you get motivation to continue?
I have never had any problems with motivation, although everybody always colors things. I have always liked to race. Back in the time there were quite many factors why I started to rally. Now I got a reasonably good chance to drive in F1. I get to race against others again. I guess that’s the biggest reason.
7. You have always been an excellent track-racer, but your attitude towards the media has been a bit questionable. On the scale from 1 to 10, how much do you hate these kinds of media-days?
I don’t hate them but they always ask the same questions. They won’t change to anything else. If I could decide I wouldn’t come here. It’s definitely not the first thing that comes to my mind when waking up or something that I would be excited over. But I think it’s the same for everyone else too. They probably would rather drive than do other things. If someone claims that they like these things, then I guess he is lying. Of course driving is always the number one thing. I don’t have anything against these. Maybe they have made the matter a bit too big.
8. Has Jenni already healed from her riding accident?
She is better now. She is still in pain but that’s normal. It wasn’t any serious matter.
9. You have probably without any cause been in the publicity because of alcohol. What is your relation to alcohol now?
It’s just the same as it was before. If I want to go out and have fun, I go. I don’t have any problem with it. Nobody forbids me and I don’t have to ask anyone for permission.
10. Do you think that you have changed during the years?
I’m sure every person changes, but I don’t think anything bigger has happened in me.
11. In public there is also the understanding that this Lotus-deal would only be a step to Red Bull in either 2013 or 2014. Is it correct?
I don’t have any plans. Lets see how this goes. In F1 everything can change reasonably fast. I hope that we can have fun with the team. At least I have had fun so far.
12. Do you have a two-year deal?
Yeah, in principle.
Kimi about his new team: There is a more homey atmosphere here
Kimi Räikkönen gave MTV3 an exclusive interview in Switzerland. Kimi Räikkönen is after the first tests assured of his new employer Lotus-team’s atmosphere and action. “There is a clearly different working atmosphere here than there has been in my earlier teams. Here there are no uptight people, the atmosphere here is much more homey,” Kimi Räikkönen said to MTV3. The man has raced in three teams earlier: Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari. “There are as many people here as there are in other teams also. Everybody is working for the same matter, everybody is trying to do their best. The next tests tell what the car is like,” Räikkönen said.
Kimi Raikkonen primed for Formula One comeback with Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen says he had no trouble re-adapting to a Formula 1 car in his first test this week after two years away from the sport. The Finn, world champion for Ferrari in 2007, completed two days of running with his new team Lotus in Valencia. “I was expecting it to feel faster than it was,” said the 32-year-old, who has spent the last two years in rallying. “OK, Valencia is not the fastest circuit, but it was still pretty normal.” Raikkonen, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with the BBC’s new F1 commentator Ben Edwards, said the car did not feel especially fast. “I was expecting it to feel fast when you really go with the throttle but I had the sensation maybe once,” he said. Nor, he said, did he suffer any neck pains, despite the high G-forces of an F1 car – which can reach 5G during braking and around the fastest corners. “I don’t feel in the neck any stiffness,” Raikkonen said. “I probably expected to have more problems in the neck but I didn’t really have any.” Raikkonen was driving a two-year-old car because F1’s testing restrictions forbid teams running current cars outside official tests. That meant the team was unable to establish definitively whether he was on the pace, although trackside operations director Alan Permane told BBC Sport that “from the first run he was pretty much there.”
Raikkonen will make his debut in the team’s 2012 car at the first pre-season test in Jerez on 7 February. He refused to set any targets and ambitions for his first season with his new team, who finished fifth in the constructors’ championship in 2011. “We try to do as well as we can of course in every race, but it’s very difficult to say,” he said. “We have to see how the car is in the testing and go from there. Hopefully we can have a good car to challenge in front and that would be nice, but if not we try to improve it and go to the front. The team has everything we need to produce a good car. We are not missing something that’s the reason we don’t have a good car.The people are very keen to have a good year. The atmosphere is great, it is a bit more family like than in other big teams, very nice people to work with and I’ve been enjoying it so far.” Raikkonen said the main reason for his return to F1 was that he was missing wheel-to-wheel competition. “Racing is the biggest thing, that’s why I’ve probably come back,” he said. “That’s really the main thing.”
Räikkönen bangs: Of course my goal is to win the WDC
Kimi Räikkönen doesn’t make his F1-comeback with the tail between his legs. The man who is known as a silent hero told on Thursday in Zürich that he returns to F1 only to win his career’s second WDC. “Of course the championship is my goal. You always go after it but another WDC is not any obsession for me,” Räikkönen said. They have predicted Räikkönen a difficult season in Lotus-team after his rallying adventures, but the Iceman refuses to take the role of someone who is cooling off. Räikkönen has often stated that as a racing driver he was only interested in the victories. That thought is still strong although Lotus isn’t one of the top teams based upon preliminary estimations. “I don’t drive just because it’s cool to drive. It’s abnormal if you aren’t reaching for victory. One can’t be terribly happy over 2nd or 3rd positions. But it isn’t possible to always win, one has to learn to relate to other things than just winning,” Räikkönen said.
Tests in Jerez tell a lot
Despite his tough goal Räikkönen is not starting the season bragging. He was away for 2 years and one can’t say much anything about the competitiveness of Lotus before they have tested the new car. “It’s possible that we are behind the lead. But the car wasn’t terribly good on my last season in Ferrari either. In Lotus they know approximately what went wrong last season. Let´s hope they have learned from their mistakes so we get a good package.” Räikkönen thinks he is wiser about his chances to succeed after the tests in Jerez. “Usually the first tests with the new car tell what the pace is compared to others. If the car feels good right from the beginning then it’s often also the most competitive car.”
Lotus won’t let Kimi on rally paths
In rally Kimi Räikkönen went to ditches but also flashed his speed. He didn’t achieve the sharpest top which wasn’t any big surprise. Mikko Hirvonen for example stated when Räikkönen’s rally-career began that Kimi can’t get in the top-speed just by snapping fingers, because he lacked the required experience of the roads and driving to notes. People took Räikkönen’s adventure in WRC a little bit too seriously. Of course Räikkönen drove at times with a goal, however rally became a hobby for him. Still a part of those following Räikkönen also expected podium positions from him in rally too. “I never wanted to try rally as anything else than just a hobby. I didn’t have many expectations. At times I drove in the forest and the ditch but I’m still satisfied with my achievements in rally. I paid myself for my hobby. Hence I could decide myself if I would go to some rally or not. I didn’t want to take it too seriously,” Räikkönen said. Despite his F1-comeback Räikkönen is still a passionate rally man. “If I could continue driving rally at the same time as racing in F1, then I would do so. However now I have to wait for a while until driving rally again.” Lotus has bad experiences of their driver’s rallying hobby, hence Räikkönen has to control his passion. Robert Kubica’s accident is fresh in the memory. “The team is now quite on guard with these things. But the same seems to happen in other teams also,” Räikkönen thought.
Räikkönen revealed his favorite for President
F1-star Kimi Räikkönen can’t say if Finland would get a better president of Sauli Niinistö or Pekka Haavisto. “I guess I would wish that Niinistö becomes president. But this matter isn’t really on the top of my mind,” Räikkönen said in Zürich about the second round of the president election.
“In F1 everything can change damn quickly”
They have speculated with Kimi Räikkönen’s comeback to F1 ever since he left the series in 2009. Yet part of the audience was astonished when the comeback with Lotus was finally confirmed. They pondered why a WDC makes a contract with a team that according to preliminary estimations has no chance of fighting for victories. However the decision to come back was very Räikköish. He is used to making his own decisions without caring what others think. And now Räikkönen felt like going back to F1. “Now was a good chance to drive in F1 again,” he said on Thursday. “The coolest thing about the comeback is when getting to race against the others.” Räikkönen assures that his motivation is top class. “I have never had any problems with motivation. Still many seem to color that matter.” It has been speculated that the Lotus-seat would only be a temporary seat for Räikkönen on his way up to the top teams. Räikkönen doesn’t admit or deny this. According to him the Lotus-deal is “in principle 2-years”. “I don’t have any long-term plans. Let´s see how it goes with Lotus. But in F1 everything can change damn quickly,” he said.
From: www.mtv3.fi – Translation: Nicole and miezicat
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.