Buon Compleanno Kimi, tra propaganda e verità–17/10/2013
Kimi lo spericolato: cross, motoslitte e un altro mondiale
Raikkonen è un appassionato di velocità a 360°: il prossimo anno il suo team sarà protagonista del Campionato MX1 di motocross e cercherà di strappare il titolo a Tony Cairoli. E anche il neo ferrarista non disdegna le acrobazie in sella.
Kimi Raikkonen è un personaggio che ama la velocità in tutte le sue definizioni. La Formula 1 ovviamente è la punta dell’iceberg, ma in passato il neo pilota della Ferrari ha cercato l’adrenalina anche nei rally, in Nascar, con il motocross e addirittura con le motoslitte,
Nel 2011, Kimi fondò l’Ice 1 Racing, team con cui partecipò al Mondiale WRC in partnership con la Citroen. Tornato in Formula 1, il finlandese decise di puntare sull’altro grande amore, quello del motocross. Guidato dal sette volte iridato in enduro, Kari Tianen, il team ha partecipato all’ultimo campionato del mondo MX1 con il portoghese Rui Gonçalves, che ha totalizzato 240 punti (13° in classifica generale), salendo anche due volte sul podio, e con il francese Xavier Boog.
Dalla prossima stagione però, Raikkonen farà sul serio. Grazie anche all’importante sponsorizzazione della Red Bull, il finlandese alza il tiro. Ice 1 infatti ha ingaggiato il sudafricano Tyla Rattray, già campione del mondo nella classe MX2, e il promettente australiano Todd Waters. I due saranno dotati di moto Husqvarna, una leggenda nel settore, per contendere il titolo al nostro Tony Cairoli.
Lo stesso Kimi non disdegna qualche acrobazia in sella alla moto da cross, come dimostra il video qui sotto, girato lo scorso aprile pochi giorni prima dal Gp di Cina. Chissà se a Maranello avranno inserito nel contratto qualche clausola restrittiva sugli hobby ‘spericolati’ dell’ex iridato…
An enigma known as Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Matias Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula 1 Drivers’ World Champion, evokes mixed response from people both inside and outside Formula 1. But, those who have known him closely have nice things to say about him, Jean Todt, The current FIA President has been quoted saying, “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 1″. The current Ferrari Team Principle Stefano Domenicali has this to say (some sarcasm mixed with praise), “It has to be said also that Kimi is unbelievable. He’s so focused in his work. Nothing else other than his work”. But, some have questions regarding Kimi’s commitment to give his 100% whenever he races.
In 2010, when Kimi “supposedly” contacted the then Renault Team Principle Eric Boullier for a racing seat, Eric had said, “I would have to speak personally with him first, look him in the eyes to see if I see enough motivation there for him to return to F1. It doesn’t make sense to hire somebody, even a former world champion, if you cannot be sure that his motivation is still 100%. Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing?
So, why does Kimi evoke such mixed response? Let’s take a look at his career in Formula 1 and try to find out.
Kimi started his Formula 1 career in 2001 with Sauber. His signing by the then Sauber Team principle, Peter Sauber came into critisim because of Kimi’s lack of experience, he had only 23 races to his credit at the time of signing the contract. Kimi had primarily raced in junior open-wheel category races.
He won the British Formula Renault winter series of 1999. In 2000, he won seven out of ten events in the Formula Renault UK Championship. But, this wasn’t enough for a F1 Super License, which every driver who wants to enter Formula 1 has to possess.
Nonetheless, he was granted the license, most likely by the lobbying of Peter Sauber who had immense faith in him. Kimi did not let Peter Sauber down, he scored his first championship point in his debut race at Australian Grand Prix in 2001 itself. Is is reportedly said that Kimi was asleep until 30 minutes before the race!
However, Kimi had a fruitful debut season, scoring points in four races and finishing in the top eight eight times. He along with team mate Nick Heidfeld helped Sauber to secure fourth place in the constructors’ championship, Sauber’s best result ever.
In 2002, Kimi joined Mclaren replacing his countrymen and mentor Mika Hakkinen. He would go on and race for Mclaren for four more years until 2006, where each season he was troubled by constant reliability issues with his car. In 2003 he came within two points of winning the World Championship from Schumacher. He lost out mainly due to unreliability of the Mclaren.
Again in 2005, he lost the championship to Alonso from 21 points, Mclaren’s unreliable package again playing the spoilsport. Raikkonen raised the possibility that he might leave McLaren when his contract expired in 2006 if reliability issues were not solved. 2006 continued in the same fashion, where Raikkonen had to retire from 6 races.
The only consolation being that Raikkonen was adjudged “Driver of the Year” from F1 Racing magazine and “International Racing Driver of the Year” from Autosport magazine. Even after facing so many technical problems with his car Raikkonen didn’t loose his focus, each time he was in a favourable position to win the race, he went ahead and won it.
Perhaps, this quality of his led Mclaren Team Principle Ron Dennis to famously call him as the “Iceman” for his steely determination and for his ability to stay cool headed during tense situations. In all he had retired an astounding 31 times out of 88 races during his tenure with Mclaren. This roughly translates to a situation where Raikkonen had to retire once in every three races that he competed! Naturally, in search of a reliable car, Raikkonen switched teams and joined Ferrari in 2007.
Finally in 2007 Raikkonen joined Ferrari replacing the retiring Schumacher on a three year contract. Raikkonen had negotiated a deal with Ferrari with a base salary of $51 million annually which made him the world’s highest salaried star in any team sport. The first season with Ferrari was fantastic for Raikkonen as he beat Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in a scintillating Brazilian Grand Prix to clinch his first Drivers’ World Championship. But the subsequent two years were not as good as Raikkonen would have hoped for.
In 2009 he came under heavy criticism from Ferrari for his passive behaviour, Ferrari felt that Raikkonen was not committed in giving his 100% to achieve the objectives of the team. The best example for this would be the Malaysian Grand Prix, where due to a technical glitch Ferrari called Raikkonen into the pits to try and workout the issue and send him back on track again.
But Raikkonen, being the guy is he is went straight into the garage, took off his race gear, hit the shower, grabbed a coke and an ice cream! In the meanwhile in an uncoordinated effort and a PR person’s nightmare, Ferrari President Luca Di di Montezemolo was addressing the press at the same time stating that they might get Kimi’s car ready for the restart!
While the images of Kimi relaxing in his shorts were rolling over the screen! Ferrari were deeply embarrassed over this incident and by that point had pretty much decided on bringing Alonso into Ferrari for the 2010 season and dumping Raikkonen by paying his contract out (he still had a contract for 2010 with Ferrari).
It is here that, if I may say so, a “grumpy” Kimi Raikkonen came out. He was perceived to be careless, not wanting to be surrounded by reporters, not wanting to give interviews, even when he gave interviews his answers were robotic and monotonous . He even was not comfortable attending the events organized by the sponsors, which is so critical in Formula 1. No one would dare to disappoint the sponsors, but this was Kimi! In short, he just wanted to be left alone!
No one knows why Raikkonen felt this way. So, the “Iceman” we had here was not the one described by Ron Dennis, but was the one who was cold and snobbish, giving the impression that he had lost his desire for the sport. There were reports that Raikkonen had discussions with some teams for a possible race seat for 2010, but nothing really materialized. Later, Raikkonen announced that he will not be taking part in the 2010 season of Formula 1.
Raikkonen then went on to try his luck with Rallying. But fared miserably there. He even competed in NASCAR debuting for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But he couldn’t replicate his success in Formula 1 in any other motorsport.
Finally in 2012, Raikkonen came back to Formula 1 by signing a two year contract with Lotus. Lotus Team Principle Eric Boullier must have felt Raikkonen was really committed this time! (Pun intended, in reference to the quote from him mentioned in the first paragraph). In his come back season, Raikkonen was highly successful, scoring seven podiums including a win in Abu Dhabi. He ended third in the Drivers’ World Championship. 2013 has been even better so far, where Raikkonen achieved the feat of having finished in the points for the 25th consecutive race, breaking Schumacher’s record.
Clearly, Raikkonen has got his “Mojo” back. Whatever was bugging him when he left Formula 1 is not bugging him anymore. Ferrari who forced him out of their team in 2009, welcomed him with open arms with a two year deal, which he accepted gladly, making it a grand home coming of sorts for Raikkonen. However, it will be interesting to see how he cops with Fernando Alonso as his partner at Ferrari in 2014.
We all knew what kind of a person Raikkonen was since he came to Formula 1. It is just that when his form dipped, his bizarre antics were highlighted. Raikkonen is basically a person who comes, does his job to the best of his ability and then just does whatever the hell he wants!
One major example is the Monaco Grand Prix where after he retired from the race, unlike other drivers’ he didn’t head back to the garage to explain what happened, he just simply walked off the track and onto the dock in his full race gear to get on a yacht, then a couple of minutes later was pictured in the hot tub, drinking beer!
To finally conclude, isn’t this “I don’t care!” attitude what attracted us fans towards Raikkonen in the first place? We loved it when he said, “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” to his team over radio. We love his answers in interviews even though it looks as if he’s answering just because he to! He has a personality that’s rare in Formula 1 and draws fans in large numbers. If a popularity contest is conducted among the current drivers’ in Formula 1, Raikkonen may well top it!
Stay the way you are Kimi, we love you that way!