A proposito di Kimi

Kimi conosce: parla Aki Hintsa

Da ElConfidential.com traduzione Whatever

His personality, by: who knew him best


Doctor Aki Hintsa is one of the people who has been closest to Kimi Raikkonen. In his book "The Core" he unveils some of the hidden keys that define the Finnish driver.

Images circled around the world at that time. It was McLaren’s time and Kimi Raikkonen appeared completely wasted in a Canary Island hotel. He had a inflatable dolphin under his arm. As if the images didn’t already represented heresy enough for Ron Dennis’ personality, McLaren was sponsored by a famous alcoholic beverage that promoted a responsible consumption in their campaign. Ron Dennis called the Finnish doctor Aki Hintsa, who was responsible of all of McLaren’s medical services and who eventualy became a great personality in Formula 1 (with Hakkinen, Hamilton and Vettel under his sight and now also Carlos Sainz). "Hello, I’m Ron Dennis, McLaren’s maximum authority presented himself in his phonecall, "I got your message, but don’t understand how could you guess, in such anticipation, what will happen with Kimi". Hintsa was the first doctor responsible for the mental and physical training of Kimi Raikkonen in F1, a relationship that intensified itself during the Finnish driver’s time in McLaren. As one of the people who has had one of the closest and better relationships with the driver, in his book "The Core", he offers some of the hidden keys for the enigmatic Finn great audience.

"The team atmosphere was poison"

Kimi Raikkonen’s personality was put to the test with McLaren’s dinamic and corporative values, totally dominated by the singularity of Ron Dennis’ ideas. Discipline and control were the house rules. Every step was formalized and drivers were no exception. To the sporting pressure you could add the total availability to McLarens’ multiple PR activities. "For Raikkonen, such a regulated atmosphere was poison". Since the first time they met at the Hesperia Helsinki’s hotel, there was chemistry between Hintsa and a very young Raikkonen, about to make a Formula 1 debut. He got in contact with the doctor through his previous relationship with Hakkinen. The Finn also quickly recommended Raikkonen for the team to Ron Dennis. Hintsa started to see that something was changing in the driver’s personality. "At his arrival to McLaren he was someone balanced, concentrated in winning and doing what was needed for it". The Finnish doctor soon understood that "the best way to break his balance was to impose strict discipline".

"A strong attitude against authority"

Hintsa tried to pass on the message to Dennis through a letter, but it was filtered in fear of his reaction by it. Then it came the dolphin episode and it triggered all of McLaren’s alarms. In Dennis’ call, he was asking for an interview in a couple of days at McLaren. The doctor couldn’t because of his professional commitments. So Dennis took his own private plane and showed up in Helsinki. After the interview in which Hintsa explained his personal filosophy (about which we will talk soon in "El Confidencial" ), he offered to personaly take care of Raikkonen and all of Mclaren’s team. “He had a very strong attitude against authority and did not obey to anything or anybody unless he felt it was good or convenient. Not even his parents could offer him the best guidance once he left childhood.” But he also discovered that Raikkonen was “receptive, very disciplined and willing to go to the extraordinary, if he felt the instructions were useful”. Hintsa was among those people. “One of the best talent to arrive in Formula 1, a diamond of incredible potential”. The Finnish driver had something unique: “exceptional concentration power, and through that, he channeled all the energy”.

“An intimate and very small circle”

The key is in the “introvert aspects of his nature”. He loves to drive, “but needs a lot of moments of soitude to charge his batteries and concentrate”. “The strict rules, the formality and the jungle of norms got on his nerves, as did the meaningless conversations with people he didn’t know very well. To appear in front of media and to talk at press conferences was mandatory for the drivers, but this began to damage his performances on track”. You can imagine what McLaren’s marketing department sues did to him too. Raikkonen’s intimate circle was very small “and to spend time with his friends was crucial to balance his exhausting job and charge batteries”. “In a small group of friends, Kimi seemed different: relaxed, of nicer character and very talkative”. That balance between work and relaxation was destroyed at McLaren.

“He knew who he was and what he wanted”

Hintsa transferred the direct message to Dennis, that it was impossible to change Raikkonen. That he rather be a carpenter instead of a Formula 1 driver if he was asked to change his personality. “Kimi wasn’t born to be a star in the Big Circus” and Michael Schumacher’s or Fernando Alonsos’s intensity and dedication” wouldn’t work with the Finnish driver. Each had its own methods. “What media considered laziness, in Raikkonen was his unique ability to concentrate”. As a driver he was an authentic racer that “loved his job with all his spirit and his heart, his motives to compete were authentic and genuine”. Hintsa arrived then, to the real key in Raikkonen’s personality: “He knew who he was and what he wanted” and he wasn’t willing to quit being true to himself under any circumstance. “He could be very analytic when he talked about his career, but he never said a word about the man behind the driver” as he did not want to reveal a single thing about himself to the big audience.

“An agreement: we will behave well. Signs.”

Before arriving to the 2003 summer brake, Dennis was worried about Raikkonen’s possible behaviour. He asked Hintsa to make him sign a letter in which he would commit to behave well. Hintsa accepted, but in the inside he knew how difficult this task could be. After giving this a long thought, the doctor took a cigarette box, took off the cellophane wrapping and wrote a short phrase: “This is an agreement. We will behave ourselves during the summer brake”. Hinsta signed under it. When he met Raikkonen, he put the package in his hand: -“Sign”. -“What is this?. -“An agreement”. Ron wants you to behave during summer”. Kimi stood there staring at Hintsa, laughed and signed the box. There wasn’t the smallest problem that August. When Hintsa and his second wife lost at birth what would have been their first child, the doctor sent via SMS a general message to communicate he could not take care his professional commitments. Many replied through SMS. Others sent flowers. Only one called. “This is not fuc… possible. Of all people, why did it had to happen to you?” It was Kimi Raikkonen.


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