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:
See here Lotus´s amazing Video of the E20 Launch!
Here are some screenshoots:
See all pictures at the Forum´s picture Gallery: http://kimiisland.xobor.de/g137-Lotus-Launch-E.html
Kimi Raikkonen is set for more intense running on the second day of his comeback Formula 1 test with Lotus on Tuesday.
The Finn completed just over 300km in a 2010-specification Renault R30 at Valencia on Monday using three sets of Pirelli’s very durable demonstration tyres. He has four sets of Pirellis available for Tuesday’s running and is scheduled to complete more laps than on the first day as the team is hoping to give him more long runs as part of a wider-ranging programme. “We’ll do some more high and low-fuel runs,” Lotus track operations director Alan Permane told AUTOSPORT on Monday. “And there will be a few more set-up changes as we did some basic ones today. “There will also be some procedural stuff like starts that will be subtly different to what he experienced at Ferrari, just to get him up to speed before he drives the new car.” Lotus has structured its running around Raikkonen’s needs, with re-acclimatising to F1 his priority ahead of the first pre-season test at Jerez, which starts on February 7.
As Raikkonen left F1 before refuelling was banned in 2010, giving him experience of varying fuel loads is also key. “It isn’t a traditional test, it’s more about doing what he wants and getting him up to speed,” said Permane. “We wrote a run-plan and pretty much stuck to it [on Monday]. But I said to Kimi in the morning that the test is really for you and that if you want to do something different, that’s fine, let us know. “But he just got on with it. We did a few little set-up changes and ran the car on a very high fuel load because that’s something he didn’t do as he left F1 before the refuelling ban came in. “So it gave him a feel of the car on 150kg [fuel levels] when there’s a difference of four or five seconds a lap. The plan is for more of the same on Tuesday.” Raikkonen is looking forward to the extra mileage on what is his first experience of an F1 car since November 2009. “Obviously you get more into the zone with the more laps you complete as you discover more about the car and the tyres,” he said.
Official Video from Lotus about Day 1 of the Test:
Kimi Raikkonen thinks it will still take him some time to fully return to his best in Formula 1, despite quickly settling back into the cockpit of a grand prix car at Valencia on Monday.
The former world champion has begun a two-day test in a 2010-spec Renault R30 in a bid to reacclimatise himself with F1 machinery prior to his first run in the team’s 2012 machine at Jerez next month. Although the age of the car, plus the fact it is running on Pirelli demonstration rubber, means that lap times are meaningless, initial feedback from the team suggested that Raikkonen was showing well already. Raikkonen said he had little problem learning to drive an F1 car again – but said that understanding how to get the best out of the team and tyres was not going to be the work of the moment.
“It was nice to get back in the car,” explained Raikkonen. “It was quite a few years since I have driven last time, [and] of course it takes a little while to get used to it. But the main driving, braking, turning, that doesn’t take many laps. But of course to start learning about the car and team and tyres, that will take time.” Raikkonen also suggested that he never took it for granted that he would make a return to F1 after he had embarked on a career in the World Rally Championship. When asked if he had expected to be back in F1, he said: “Not really. I didn’t have any plans for the future. “There were different choices to do this year and I really wanted to do racing. We did some NASCAR stuff last year and I enjoyed it a lot, racing against other people. “That is where I decided to do racing, and [if you are] doing racing, F1 is the highest level and probably where most people want to be. I found a good chance to come back and do racing with Lotus.”
See Kimi´s full Interview here:
Here I have several Videos from Kimi´s first run in a F1 car after over 800 days! The Videos are not my capture!
Kimi on the track:
Driving out of the pits for a lap:
Kimi in the garage:
Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane said Kimi Raikkonen proved on his first day back in a Formula 1 cockpit that his return to grand prix racing can be a success.
Raikkonen is spending two days testing a 2010 Renault at Valencia this week as he settles back into F1 after two seasons in the World Rally Championship. No times were released from today’s test, and Raikkonen’s pace would not be representative as he is using demonstration tyres and an older car, but Permane said his quality had shown through. “From the first run he was pretty much there,” Permane told BBC Sport. “It’s very difficult to know where he should be but he was pretty much on the pace on the first run. He didn’t find a whole lot of pace during the day. “I don’t see any reason why he won’t be on the pace – you can tell he’s a very, very experienced driver.
“It was very clear we were working with a former world champion. It was a good day.” Permane added that he could not understand why Raikkonen had a reputation for being uncommunicative, as he had got on well with the Lotus team so far. “He must have two faces – one for [the media],” Permane said. “He’s perfectly normal. “He was very happy to sit and talk about the car for as long as it takes. He’s very open.”
Watch here Kimi´s Interview:
1. Well-dressed Kimi
In a bid for anonymity, Kimi likes to conduct his business in a gorilla suit. He chose to wear the costume for a speed boat race, entering under his nom de guerre, James Hunt. Raikkonen and two friends competed in the Hanko Poker run, a society event where crews speed around the Finnish port, collecting poker cards that they play with. However when the ape tried to moor the boat, the skipper yelled “Kimi, don’t tie it like that,” and proceeded to give him a lesson in knots. Cover blown.
2. Inappropriate Kimi
It was meant to be the glorious swansong of the man Kimi would succeed at Ferrari. Michael Schumacher’s last race, at Interlagos in 2006, saw the German presented with a trophy by Pele. All the drivers turned up to watch – apart from Kimi. Moments later, ITV’s Martin Brundle found the Finn hanging out beside his car. Why had he missed Schumi’s farewell? “I was having a shit,” he disclosed. Well, he was number two on the grid.
3. Gambling Kimi
The Finn’s performance at the 2005 European Grand Prix left all his rivals in the shade. But one small mistake flat-spotted the right-front tyre, and it would cost him dear. With Fernando Alonso close behind, Kimi and his team faced a tough decision: pit and settle for six points, or stay out and go for broke. Sadly, that’s exactly what the McLaren suspension did on the very last lap when the tyre failed spectacularly. Kimi very nearly hit Jenson Button’s BAR as he spun down the straight in a shower of carbon and rubber. No points, but no regrets either.
4. Knife-throwing Kimi
German TV executives realized that, if they were to get Kimi on their programme, they might need to rethink the standard sit-down chat show format. Instead, they set up a circus big top-tent and gave Kimi a motocross bike to ride infront of the audience. But the piece de resistance was when he attempted to throw a set of stake knives at a member of the audience – almost. He may have been a great shot in the Finnish army, but his knife skills are a bit rusty.
5. Kamikaze Kimi
Suzuka 2005 saw Raikkonen’s most impressive performance to date. He started 17th on the grid and fought his way through the field. Giancarlo Fisichella thought he had 10 points when he started the final lap. But Kimi had been planning a dramatic finale. As they raced down the straight to the first turn, Kimi got a good tow, went as far to the outside and he could, rode the rev limiter, flickered right and shot right cross the front of the Renault, snatching the lead with less than a minute and a half to spare.
6. Party Kimi
Raikkonen first gained tabloid notoriety when he showed a London lap dancer the real reason he wears a six point harness. He lost his driving license in Budapest in 2006, but this had nothing to do with a road traffic incident. Kimi had been a Red Bull boat party and was swinging his bag above his head, showering the VIP room with cash and cards. Fortunately everything, including his passport, was returned the next morning. But Kimi’s finest drunken moment was the yacht party where our hero tried to throw something at the crowd below, but lost his balance, falling off the fly deck and onto his head.
Kimi and I wish all Fans Merry Christmas!!
Lotus Renault GP says Kimi Raikkonen has a sore wrist after falling off a snowmobile during a race.
But following the competition in Austria, Raikkonen’s Formula 1 team wrote on Twitter that “there’s nothing to worry about … he’s absolutely fine.” Lotus says the 32-year-old Finnish driver “only has a sore wrist. He might have it checked again on Monday, but that’s all.” The 2007 world champion, who quit in 2009 and switched to rallying, signed a two-year contract last month to return to F1. Raikkonen won 18 races, finished on the podium 62 times and took pole position 16 times in F1.
Here is a Video of Kimi´s accident and also an interview of him. The other drivers said he had a few drinks before the race. =)