2007 Columns

Kimi’s Column – Back to business in December

From KimiRaikkonen.com

img124/1598/454272xz0.jpgThe best news. Obviously it was the news I wished to hear. Finally it is all clear. We are the champions and nothing can be said about that anymore.

I can honestly tell I that I did not stress this ICA affair at all. Nothing had changed since the stewards went through it after the race at Brazil. One team just wanted to have a go at it.

Now it is over. I think it is good for the sport and obviously it is good for me and for Ferrari.

Earlier on, I had lost the title twice in the final stages of the season. I can still feel how it hurt. For me, winning is everything. Now I can say that it feels even better while you have lost it before you finally succeed to win it.

We did a great job as a team. We had a good plan how to deal with the season. We had some difficult moments, and we focused on doing our own things and the final results say it all. We showed to the whole world that you should always try your best until the very finish.

When you clinch the championship like this, you will never forget this great feeling. I have felt great the whole time since the Brazilian Grand Prix. Now that this last mess off track is wiped off, I can enjoy my holiday even a little bit more.

On Friday, I waited to hear the news at home in Switzerland. We have had a nice autumn weather. I have been working out, and of course, chilling out with my closest friends. It is good to have a chance to charge the batteries while it does not take that long to dash along again everywhere. I have heard that there is a lot of programme for me in the beginning of December.

The team has been working very hard. They tested in Barcelona, and from what I have heard, everything looks very promising. I am looking forward to start testing again. I will start in Jerez, in early December.

It will be very interesting to feel how the driving is while now the wheels will be spinning in every corner.

After the test, there will be the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Monaco. It feels great to be going there to get the championship trophy for the first time in my career.

I have never been so keen to go to these kind of gala evenings, but this time it is different. Obviously my festive spirit is sky high, as we have so much to celebrate with the team.

Kimi finally in The Hall of Fame!

From
Formula1.com/teams and drivers/hall of fame

img139/2613/kronhalloffame2eq9.png As expected due to the recent ICA court hearing, the official F1
website took their time in hosting Kimi his rightfully earned place in
the Hall of Fame. Nice one Kimi, enjoy sitting there in F1 history!
Also below, Formula1.com look back over Kimi’s career:

Fast-tracked into the sport with the shortest CV on four wheels, the
unknown newcomer who came from nowhere and said next to nothing
immediately proved he knew exactly what he was doing: driving a Formula
One car as fast as it could possibly go. The car couldn’t always keep
up with his talent and it took seven seasons for Kimi ‘Iceman’
Raikkonen to become World Champion. Notoriously inanimate and
uncommunicative, the silent speedster’s frozen expression in fact
masked the hidden depths in one of the coolest, most original
characters in the sport’s history…

Kimi Matias Raikkonen spent
his childhood in a house built by his great grandfather in Espoo, a
suburb of the Finnish capital, Helsinki. To provide for Kimi, born on
October 17, 1979, and his older brother Rami, their hard-working
parents Matti and Paula toiled, respectively, as a road builder and an
office clerk. Money was scarce but the Raikkonens were a happy family
and their humble homestead surrounded by open countryside was an ideal
environment for the two rambunctious youngsters to flex their racing
muscles. At first (when Kimi was just three years old) the brothers
tore around on miniature motocross bikes fitted with training wheels. A
move to karts paved the way for Kimi (who began competitive karting at
10) and Rami (who eventually became a successful rally driver) to make
rapid progress in motorsport, though it came at a cost. Matti had to
work nights as a taxi driver and nightclub bouncer and funds diverted
to karting meant plans to replace the outside lavatory with a proper
bathroom in the family home had to be postponed.

Kimi, a
reluctant student who used his schoolbag as a sled to slide down
snow-covered hills, enjoyed winter sports, especially ice hockey,
though he eventually gave it up because he hated getting up for
early-morning practice. At 16 he left school and enrolled in a course
for mechanics, believing this skill might be the only way to stay
involved in motorsport. Very soon his mechanical expertise, and the
need for family funding, became superfluous, as Kimi’s natural talent
for driving fast led to sponsored rides.

Following a rapid
series of successes in Finnish, Nordic and European karting, he jumped
into a racing car and promptly won two British-based Formula Renault
championships. In the fall of 2000, despite having just 23 car races to
his name, he was given a test by the Sauber Formula One team. Impressed
by his immediate pace and assured approach, Sauber shrewdly signed the
21-year old to drive for them in 2001. His having short-circuited the
conventional route to the top provoked fierce debate over his right,
let alone his readiness, to race at the pinnacle of motorsport.
Raikkonen rapidly silenced his critics (he finished sixth in his Grand
Prix debut) and attracted the attention of McLaren, who saw him as a
likely successor to the retiring two-time champion, Mika Hakkinen.

One
Finn after another proved to be a good thing for McLaren, for whom Kimi
the ‘Iceman’ never gave less than his maximum, always driving to a
personal limit that at least equalled, sometimes exceeded, the best of
his peers. Experts endlessly praised his seamless, straightforward,
mostly mistake-free style. “I never really think about what I’m doing,”
Kimi said in a rare outburst of self-analysis. “I just do it.”

His
five seasons at McLaren coincided with a period of unevenly performing,
often unreliable, cars. Yet he finished second in the championship
twice (2003 and 2005), won nine races and finished in the top three on
36 occasions. His podium appearances and subsequent TV interviews
exposed him to public scrutiny under which he tended to squirm and
fidget, tugging his ears, rubbing his nose and trying to hide beneath
his baseball cap. He seldom smiled, spoke sparingly in a mumbled
monotone, then all but ran for the nearest exit.

Yet in his
private life the poker-faced enigma’s icy reserve was prone to
spectacular bouts of thawing out. ‘Drunken Race Ace Kimi Bounced Out Of
Lapdance Club For Fiddling With His Gearstick!’ shrieked a headline in
a British tabloid newspaper. Spanish media gleefully reported that the
vodka-loving Flying Finn was found lying fast asleep outside a bar
embracing an inflatable rubber dolphin. In Monaco he was filmed
cavorting on a yacht, swaying unsteadily on the upper deck then falling
onto a lower level where he landed on his head.

“What I do in my
private life doesn’t make me drive any slower,” the free-spirited
speedster insisted. In truth, the Iceman’s private life was running
smoothly and he was well-settled on the domestic front, having in 2004
married Jenni Dahlman, a gorgeous Finnish fashion model and former Miss
Scandinavia. At their sumptuous Swiss home there was plenty of room for
their two dogs and Kimi’s car collection. Asked to name his most prized
possessions, he replied: “My wife and my Ferrari Enzo.”

In 2007
he began driving a Ferrari Formula One car for a living, having been
hired (for a reported $41 million a year) to fill the considerable void
left by the departing seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher,
whose unrivalled work ethic and team leadership qualities were not part
of a Raikkonen repertoire that seemed more akin to another past
champion. A week before his debut with the team, Ferrari’s new recruit
was in Finland, winning a dangerous snowmobile race he had entered
under the alias of ‘James Hunt.’ When the same ‘James Hunt’ later
competed in a powerboat race dressed in a gorilla suit Kimi said he
invoked the name of his hero as a riposte to the media
sensationalization of his private life.

He got off to a fast
start with Ferrari, winning the season-opener from pole position,
though by the penultimate race he was third in the driver standings,
behind the McLaren team mates Fernando Alonso, seeking a third
successive title, and Lewis Hamilton, the record-breaking rookie.
Though Raikkonen had won more races, five to their four apiece, he
remained the long shot among the trio of contenders at the final race,
in Brazil. The phlegmatic Finn delivered sensationally, winning the
race and the 2007 World Drivers’ Championship by a single point.

On
the podium the new champion swigged as much champagne as he sprayed
and, grinning at last, the Iceman broke his silence with a veritable
torrent of words. “I’m very happy. I came from pretty much nothing but
my family, friends and sponsors helped me get here. People will
probably look differently at me and make up more stories about me. But
I am going to lead my life as I want and that’s it.”


Kimi’s Column – Post Brazillian GP

From www.kimiraikkonen.com

krcolumnbrazil071.png picture by SaimaAzam 472425s.jpg picture by SaimaAzam

23rd October – Kimi Raikkonen landed at Zurich airport in the afternoon. These are his first words as world champion back in Europe:

I am so happy it almost hurts. This is THE BIGGEST THING that I have been dreaming of since I was a small boy – to be the champion of the world. I was seven years old when I first saw a race track: it was an old, small kart circuit called Bembole; just five kilometres from where I lived. It was like a second home for me.

Now, 22 years later, I have many favourite race tracks, but the most important one is Interlagos, more than 5,000 kilometres away from home.

I’ve always said that the aim of my career is to become world champion. I came very close a couple of times and in the end everything turned out fine. We have always given our best to try to win. Doing that in sport you have to always push to the max until the end. You never know what may happen in a race; you only have to look at the last three races and you know what I’m talking about. Fuji was really terrible for us: we were at the back of the pack and our race was over almost immediately.

krcolumnbrazil072.png picture by SaimaAzam

We left Japan and were 17 points behind, without the possibility to fight back. I think I can say that not more than ten people outside of the team would have bet on us. But we didn’t give up. In a certain sense we believe in miracles. China was our joker: we won and the driver on the top of the standings didn’t make any points. That gave us some hope, but there weren’t many chances for us left.

The last race was really emotional. The first four drivers in the field didn’t retire, but there was a tough fight for positions between us and our competitors. Maybe I had the best start of the season and maybe I could have passed also Felipe at the first corner, but I had a plan and it didn’t involve a fight with my teammate. I could see in my mirrors that Hamilton was next to Alonso in turn 3 and that he had a problem. I realized that we had the chance we had hoped for: this first lap seemed to be decisive for the whole championship.

It was a great race and I think that I’ve never experienced such emotions in the cockpit. Everything worked perfectly fine. It was like a birthday present from heaven! We could have had more pace and I want to thank Felipe again for his support: he did what he could do, just like a perfect teammate. As a team we couldn’t do more than a double-win, but when I had crossed the line the most important thing to know was what Hamilton had done. I asked for information over the radio but there
krcolumnbrazil07.png picture by SaimaAzam
was just silence for a couple of seconds: finally Chris told me that he came in seventh and my heart nearly went into flames due to happiness! This is it: now we’re world champions!

 
I want to thank all those who have been close to me over all these years, all my fans. I love you all – truly. Thanks to the team: it is fantastic being a part of the greatest team of all times. This year I really enjoyed Formula One more than ever before. I dreamt about winning the title with Ferrari and I bet that this is every driver’s dream. This team never stops: they work at the max and never give up. We had some difficult moments, but we always managed to come back. And this shows the quality of the people working there. Thanks again! But I also want to thank the sponsors and partners: together with them we really have the package of a world champion.

Now I go to the Finali Mondiali at Mugello, to celebrate with all of Ferrari: it’s my first time there and it’s the perfect moment to get there. And then it’s time for a holiday, the first as world champion.


The IceMan Rules Them All

img523/2070/354622sel1.png
The Ice Age: Raikkonen came to Ferrari in hope of a better future and now he has it

Kimi’s comments from www.kimiraikkonen.com
– "It is very diffcult for me to explain in words what I am feeling at the
moment – it is an incredible emotion," Kimi said after winning the race and
the 2007 Championship. "I want to thank the team for everything they have
done this year. Even when we went through some difficult times and it looked as
though there was no way to fight back, we never gave up and this work produced
its reward today.

Thanks also to my parents, to my wife Jenni and everyone who
believed in me. I have achieved what I have been after for a long time. Now
everything else will be an extra. Today, Felipe’s help was vital and he was
amazing. We had to get a one-two and then see what the others did. This time,
things went out our way and the unexpected did happen. This has been a very
nice year for me during which I have enjoyed Formula 1 like never before. In
Ferrari, I have found a great family and I am proud to have won the title with
them".


It’s been great to read so many articles and reports of praise on Kimi Raikkonen, however, it does feel weird to hear it all of a sudden especially when they mostly wrote negative things about not only his style on the track but his lifestyle. The carbreaker, the playboy, the drinker – they’re all exaggerations of the F1 circus. Hence, why he is called the new James Hunt of F1.

Now, the media are now giving positive appraise but it’s exactly what we (the fans) have been thinking of Kimi since he joined Formula One back in 2001 with Sauber, who is now team BMW-Sauber. Moving towards McLaren just after his debut year, he was a shooting star never to fall. It had been a long partnership at McLaren Mercedes, but those five years with the silver team were ridden with reliability bugs and Kimi was always getting close to the title, but never reaching it. He had been fighting single handedly in the last three years and becoming vice-champion twice, in 2003 and 2005, it was becoming clear that his man has been let down. Amidst the times of gloom were also times of glory – but one thing remained clear, he never gave up.

He was compared to Stirling Moss – a fantastic and fast driver never to have won a championship. It seemed for a moment in his career that Kimi would remain in this shadow. But the Scuderia Ferrari was his next step, a leap infact, as he was taking on the task of becoming the Red team’s new Michael Schumacher and proving his critics wrong. And he has done it. Six wins, six podiums, six fastest laps, and three pole positions on his debut season with Ferrari is not half bad.

Here are some snippets of those admiring Kimi for what he always was – they just didn’t realise it until Sunday!

BBC Review: Raikkonen The Playboy KingWhile his rivals were in Australia preparing for the first Grand Prix of the season, Kimi Raikkonen was back home in Finland taking part in a snowmobile race.

To ensure no-one found out about it, he entered the event under a false name – James Hunt, a choice of pseudonym that says much more about Formula One’s new world champion than the man himself ever will.

Hunt, the 1976 world champion, is the man who most personifies the image of the Formula One playboy lifestyle, and Raikkonen is the modern driver who comes closest to following the model.

So it is in some ways a surprise that, despite his elevated status within F1, Raikkonen has virtually no profile with the public at large.

In other ways, though, it is not.

He answers the media’s questions with as few words as he can get away with, in a metallic monotone of a voice, refusing to reveal almost any part of his real personality to the media.

ITV: Kimi’s career in pictures - Kimi Raikkonen had just one full season of car racing behind him when he made his Formula 1 debut, but he soon proved that he belonged at the top level. Winning the title, however, would take a little longer… We chart his route to glory.

Quick learner – After a handful of races in 1999, Raikkonen contested the 2000 Formula Renault UK Championship and swept to title victory.

First F1 test – With the FRenault title clinched several rounds early, Kimi skipped the final races and started a Formula 1 testing programme with Sauber instead. The Finnish novice stunned the team with pace, and Sauber resolved to bring him straight into F1 in 2001…

Kimi fully deserves it, says manager – “He’s become the champion of the world – it’s what he’s always wanted!,” he told ITV Sport’s Louise Goodman.

“And bless him he really deserved it. He has kept his mouth shut, has done the job and up pops the championship.

“For me he is by far the best driver, the coolest kid in the world and today is an example of what he is about.”

"To be honest, yes I did [think he could do it], I have felt very positive all weekend, as has Kimi,” he said. "As with every race he steps into and it spreads onto me.

“I have got to tell you that a lot of the press around here are pretty happy that he’s pulled it off from what looked like a pretty slim chance, he went and done it. Fantastic.”


KRS’s Season Finale Preview| Kimi’s Column – Pre Brazil

Here is my own preview video about the season finale of the 2007 F1 World Championship. I already showed RTL’s preview,
but I felt like making KRS’s very own one. Hope you like it. But it
seems as if FOM have had it removed on YouTube, for no good reason,
despite it actually promoting the damn sport’s final! They never cease
to amaze me!


         Download it here!

Size – 8MB

Duration – 1.03mins


Kimi’s Column – Pre Brazil GP

iuxqwpvbhnkqjpiolios.jpg picture by SaimaAzam

Down to the wire. The fight for the championship has gone right down to the wire. I’m still an outsider to win the title, but as we saw in Shanghai two weeks ago, anything can happen.

I have a very competitive car, so that helps. Obviously, the driver who has the most points must always be the favourite in normal conditions. But it’s going to be exciting.

We go to Brazil in position 3. The main thing is that we still have a chance to fight. We will give it our all, that’s for sure. I’ll fly to Sao Paulo on Tuesday. There, I’ll have my 28th birthday on Wednesday. I have no plans to celebrate. It’s better just to focus on the weekend. I hope for just one present for my birthday and I hope to get it after the race on Sunday.

I decided to take a few days off in Dubai before flying to Sao Paulo. It helped with the training and there is great weather at this time of year.

It is nice to get on going after the Chinese Grand Prix. I had a very good feeling with the car and the team in Shanghai. There was no time to make miracles. We have just done some simulations in the factory so that the car is ready to roll on that bumpy Interlagos track.

I guess the boys at McLaren have done their job as we did. There is a lot of pressure on both sides. They are the favourites yet they fight against eachother too. Hopefully we benefit from that.

To do well in Sao Paulo, we  need to have a very strong and solid weekend without problems. Obviously the front row is very important.  So is a good, strong all round package. Also, the engine is important, pulling up the hill.

I will treat the final race the same way as the last two. My aim is to win and the rest is not up to me. For me it is a similar position to 2003’s season final. Then, I lost the title to Michael. But looking back at the race, it was a close call and at one point during the race it looked possible.

Hamilton has seven points more than us. It is not easy to go to the last race to just get a couple of points more. We cannot calculate. We must win. For us, it is a straight forward race.

I have been reading stories, that the tyre choice from Bridgestone – super soft and soft – should be better for McLaren, like it was in Monaco and Hungary. It is true that the supersofts did favour McLaren early in the season.  But since then, Ferrari have improved the set up. So we will just have to wait and see, how it goes in Brazil.

I have been close to winning in Sao Paulo, but it has never quite paid off. To have finished there 3 times in second place is not bad. Once I already had the trophy at my home, but two weeks later I had to give it back (to Giancarlo Fisichella).

Two weeks ago I said the same about Shanghai and then I won. Let’s hope it is the same result again.



In other news ahead of the Brazillian GP:

Ferrari to squeeze extra performance from engine – For Brazil, Ferrari’s two F2007 cars for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe
Massa will be fitted with fresh engines. Under current regulations the
engines must last two race weekends, but with only one round left this
season, Ferrari will be pushing as many of the tolerances as possible
to gain extra performance according to the team’s track engine chief
Mattia Binotto.

This is what McLaren did very often throughout the 2005 championship, and it ended in tears basically. Despite winning 10 of the 17 races and claiming 10 fastest laps they didn’t win the championship. I hope Kimi isn’t let down in this final race by an engine that can’t handle it’s power.

Massa to stay at Ferrari through 2010 – Ferrari have announced that they have extended Felipe Massa’s contract until the end of the 2010 season.

There had been rumours that Massa would have to leave the team to
make way for Fernando Alonso if the Spaniard split with McLaren after
this year, but Ferrari boss Jean Todt dismissed this speculation last
month and insisted that the team were committed to Massa and Kimi
Raikkonen.

Massa’s new deal is also set to end continued suggestions that
Alonso could join Ferrari for 2009, when the Brazilian’s previous
contract would have expired. Raikkonen’s Ferrari deal runs to the end of the 2009 season.

That’s great news! Because I didn’t like the thought of Alonso joining Ferrari and ruining things there too with Kimi, like he has done at McLaren. It would be an awesome line up for sure though, considering how Massa will probably do very badly without traction control in the next few years.It’s the perfect chance for him to mature more and even better with a pro like Kimi alongside him despite not being very friendly with eachother. Go on Felipe, make friends!