Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen keen to try World Rallycross
Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen says he would like to try World Rallycross at some point in the future.
The 2007 F1 world champion previously dabbled in the World Rally Championship and NASCAR when he took a sabbatical from grand prix racing in 2010-11.
Rallycross has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity, attracting the likes of 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve and Audi DTM ace Mattias Ekstrom to the ranks of the new FIA world championship.
Speaking to reporters during the recent Austrian Grand Prix, Raikkonen said he would be open to sampling this branch of the sport.
"Rallycross would be very nice to try, it looks good fun – similar to rally but against each other," said the Finn.
"Obviously I enjoyed rallying a lot, it’s a very difficult sport and a good challenge.
"I think it’s good to do different things because you always learn something and it’s good fun also."
Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso said during the Austrian GP that he plans to race at Le Mans after his F1 career is finished, while Raikkonen, who tested a Peugeot 908 LMP1 car in 2011, said Le Mans would be "on top of the list" of other races for him to do besides F1.
"Obviously I enjoy racing and Le Mans is one of the things that would be on top of the list, because it’s a very famous race," Raikkonen added.
"We have to see what happens in the future, but for sure there is some interest to do that race."
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!
Rally made Raikkonen better F1 driver says Solberg
Kimi Raikkonen’s rallying foray made him a better Formula One driver.
That is the claim of 2003 world rally champion Petter Solberg, who got to know the ‘iceman’ during his two-year F1 sabbatical in 2010 and 2011.
Finn Raikkonen returned to F1 with Lotus last season, impressing the grand prix world yet again after his career had flat-lined in his final two years at Ferrari.
“I know Kimi and I believe that the rally made him a better Formula One driver,” Solberg told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG).
Like many observers, Solberg thinks Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari next year, where he will become current ‘number 1′ Fernando Alonso’s teammate, will be interesting to watch.
“Alonso will certainly not like it,” Solberg said of Raikkonen’s impending move.
“But Kimi is cool,” he added. “He drives the car, and that’s it.”
Former Ferrari boss Cesare Fiorio said last week he would not have signed Raikkonen.
“I admire his talent, but not his lifestyle or his technical work,” he is quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport.
But another former Ferrari boss, the current FIA president Jean Todt, backed the decision taken by the Maranello team’s current chiefs.
“Ferrari is a Formula One institution, and very strong,” he told the Italpress agency, “and I am absolutely certain they will also be at the highest level in the coming years.”
As for signing Raikkonen, “Ferrari has always known how to make the right decisions,” Todt insisted.
Kimi comes back to rallying
Kimi Raikkonen will squeeze in a rally in between the Spanish and Monaco grands prix next month – but sadly he won’t be competing. Or will he?
The 2007 Formula One World Champion – who competed full-time in the WRC from 2010-2011 – will be attending the start of the 15th anniversary Gumball Rally, which starts from Copenhagen on May 18th. After that, we’ll have to wait and see.
The Gumball Rally isn’t quite rallying as we know it: instead it’s all about a load of supercars driving around Europe – a bit like the Carrera Panamericana, but with better parties. As one team’s motto puts it: “we don’t drive fast, we fly low.” But as it’s all on public roads, officially there is no competitive element.
And while Kimi isn’t taking part, he has some very good friends who are: car number 34’s team description is simply: “four crazy Finns.” The Finns in question are the ‘Dudeson brothers’: four Finnish stuntmen with their own TV show, which is broadly the equivalent of Jackass.
The first stage is from Copenhagen to Stockholm, followed by a stage from Stockholm to Helsinki – and rumours keep persisting that car 34 might have an unscheduled guest driver on the opening leg…
Other confirmed drivers for the Gumball include the legend that is David Hasselhoff and a car crewed by members of the band Cypress Hill, as well as professional skier Jon Olsson.
The Gumball 3000 finishes in Monaco, after going via St Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Warsaw and Vienna.
Kimi Räikkönen keen to make ‘fun’ rally return after F1
Kimi Raikkonen is keen to return to rallying "for fun" after his Formula 1 career is over.
The 32-year-old Finn has no plans to walk away from grand prix racing and has impressed on his comeback after two years competing in the World Rally Championship.
But when his time in F1 does come to an end in the future, he wants to try his hand at rallying again.
"I will do it for fun," Raikkonen told AUTOSPORT. "The one reason why I wanted to do it in the first place was to see if I can do it or not.
"I’m a big fan of it and I always thought it was so difficult that I wanted to see what happens.
"I still want to improve in it and try to do well. It’s something that, when I’m a bit older, I can do and have fun with. I will definitely do it when I have more time.
"I enjoy both [rallying and F1]. I would like to do both of them at the same time but because of timetables, schedules and other reasons it’s not possible."
Raikkonen denied the suggestion that his return to F1 was indicative that he has lost interest in rallying.
But Raikkonen did admit that he missed the wheel-to-wheel aspect of racing.
"It’s not that I lost interest in rallying," said Raikkonen. "It’s just that I’ve always raced in my life and when you race against each other it’s different to just doing times.
"I enjoy racing against people. It’s why I came back, to have a fight against others.
"It’s completely different to last year in rallying. When I did NASCAR [in 2011] I enjoyed it a lot and even though it is very different to F1, it’s still racing against each other.
"I had a good time. I kind of missed it [racing]."
Raikkonen and rallying: Why it’s not over yet
It was a cold, crispy day in Andalusia: not a sentence that you read too frequently about a region that is nicknamed ‘the frying pan of Spain’. And suddenly, it got a lot colder: icy cold in fact.
What had caused the chill was the arrival – or to be strictly accurate, the return – of the Iceman. After two years of the World Rally Championship, Kimi Raikkonen was back in Formula 1 – and straight away he topped the timesheets at the very first test in Jerez. In fact, Raikkonen was one of only two drivers to go fastest during two of the 12 days of pre-season testing.
What does this tell you? Firstly that in terms of raw talent, there is no one out there faster than Raikkonen. Secondly, that rallying is an even bigger technical challenge than circuit racing – but one that still prepares you perfectly for the split second demands of F1.
The reasons why Kimi decided not to continue in the WRC this year were largely financial (but born out of economy rather than avarice): in F1 he is earning money – and enough of it – rather than spending in the WRC. In many ways, it’s easier to get a paid drive in F1 than the WRC at the moment, ridiculous as it sounds. But this only underlines the quality of the drivers who make it to the top of the sport.
For Kimi, rallying is very much unfinished business. Far from turning his back on rallying, Kimi is very keen to come back – and he may even do a few events while he is driving in F1. There are no grands prix on during Rally Finland weekend this year after all…
And Kimi, being the free spirit that he is, will only have signed a deal with Lotus (formerly Renault) on his own terms – allowing him to do what he wants, exactly when he wants to, just as he has always done. For a taste of that, people in the UK should watch Top Gear this weekend. It’s the Iceman at his brilliant best, demonstrating that he can be just as quick in a Reasonably Priced Car as he can in a 500,000 Euro World Rally Car.
"I really enjoyed rallying and I know that I always will," he says. "The decision I made to go back to Formula 1 was not because I didn’t like rallying anymore. It’s the biggest challenge that I have ever done. From when I was growing up, I always had a lot of respect for rally drivers. And now, I think that respect is even bigger."
Let’s just be thankful that Kimi turned down the lucrative offer he received to drive in NASCAR, which would have made it practically impossible for him to sit in a rally car at all (because of the 30-plus weekends of racing a year, rather than the oversized burgers).
As it is, we’ve not seen the last of the Iceman yet. Expect him back sooner rather than later…
Räikkönen avrebbe dovuto proseguire nel WRC
Mikko Hirvonen pensa che Kimi Räikkönen avrebbe potuto avere successo nel campionato del mondo rally se avesse perseverato. Il finlandese crede che il suo compatriota avrebbe potuto anche diventare campione del mondo col tempo.
“Nel giro di qualche anno, forse sì”, ha dichiarato Hirvonen al canale finlandese MTV3 durante la preparazione del rally di Montecarlo con Citroen, l’ex squadra di Räikkönen. “Ho parlato con gli ingegneri che si occupavano di Kimi e mi hanno detto che lui era veloce quanto i migliori piloti. Il suo punto debole non era il talento al volante ma piuttosto la stesura delle note. Avrebbe dovuto proseguire”.
Si sa poi cos’è accaduto: Räikkönen ha finalmente scelto di tornare in F1 con la Lotus Renault GP.
Mikko non ha potuto poi risparmiare una battuta quando gli hanno chiesto se userà una vecchia DS3 WRC guidata da Räikkönen nel 2011. “Ah sì? Credete ne sia rimasta qualcuna che non abbia distrutto?” ha scherzato il pilota finlandese.