London, 6th May 2009 – Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen today officially opened the
UK’s first Ferrari Store at 193-197 Regent Street in the very heart of
London. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by Räikkönen and Dany Bahar, Ferrari Senior Vice President, Direzione Commerciale & Brand.
At the Ferrari Store inauguration, Kimi Raikkonen spoke about the upcoming race weekend: “We’ve got some updates for Barcelona, especially as far as the aerodynamic is concerned. This weekend we’ll see if we managed to make a step ahead compared to our competitors. We know what we have to do to get back on top, but it takes some time.
“It was a very difficult start to the season, that’s true, but we’re a team: you win and you loose together. We all want to win. I know that we will, but I don’t know when. This is racing, sometimes it happens that you get stuck in a difficult period. I’ve been in Formula One for years and I know that a year like this can happen: it’s difficult to win all the time.
“There were many rule changes and the big teams were in trouble, but they will get back on top. We have to be realistic: as
far as the Championships are concerned the situation is difficult, but we’ll give it everything to catch up, to improve the car race after race. We have to start winning and then we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Check out The Mole’s perspective of the event with Kimi, from the BBC. This is hilarious, The Mole reports:”…A particularly ardent fan amongst the pack that turned out to catch a glimpse of Raikkonen was so pleased they repeatedly shouted out, “You are still our number one world champion, Kimi!” That was my sister who said that, and not even me! Hopefully there’s a video of that, coming soon! I’m so very happy that I got to see Kimi in person and thank him so much for coming to London (even if it wasn’t his choice!) Keep Flying!
Evenstar’s Story of What Happened Yesterday…
Hey guys! It’s now the day after I got to see Kimi and I’m going to tell my story how everything went. I’ve also uploaded all my photos here and I’ve put together a clip of the videos we took, at the end of this post! Here are some photos (the last photo shows Kimi signing my calendar – picture courtesy of Joanne from the Facebook Kimi fanclub, thank you girlie!)
I went to bed the night before around 1am. I was so tired anyway so I thought I’d drop off to sleep very quickly. But I couldn’t sleep at all! I didn’t feel nervous but I just couldn’t sleep. I guess it was the nerves then! I was awake before my alarm even went off at 6am. My sister Sonia and I weren’t exactly well prepared – the night before I quickly made a DVD of a selection of the Kimi movies that I’ve made. The videos were a mix, some from 2007, 2008 and also this year’s Bahrain highlight video being the most recent one before seeing Kimi. I also included the first tribute I made in 2005 (The Rising of Kimi), the 2007 Brazil highlight video, the World Champion 2007 tribute and the 2008 season review. Sonia, and also my brother, told me to make cards to hand out at the shop, and these were KRS cards just promoting this website. I only printed 30! This DVD and handouts were really a last minute thing. For the autograph, I decided to take my Kimi calendar. There are actually 3 extras left and I wish I brought them too because lots of fans were interested outside the shop!
We left home at 7.40am and despite a little delay on the trains, we got there at 9.15am. We were delighted to see that there was no crowd at all, apart from a few fifteen to twenty people or so. And some of you guys were worried that arriving there at 9am would be too late! Haha! We got there at just the right time I think. Any time later and I would have been very nervous and intimidated. The red carpet was being laid outside the shop while we were waiting. I kept a look out because I knew one or two fans I know were coming. I didn’t recognise anyone there at that time. But I did get a few looks and I felt slightly uncomfortable. Luckily for me, I’m not Kimi! Hahaha! That’s when my sister decided to hand out the website cards. I was so shy…and I felt bad that my sister was doing that by herself for me! But thank God she was there because she really made everything that was to happen later possible.
We continued to wait, and we checked around the corner of Regent Street to see if there’s any back entrance we could sneak in. Obviously, we knew there’d be security and we were right because they were also around the back and so we were disappointed, haha. It was just after 10am and my calendar was getting serious interest. Sonia was asked by a woman if she could buy it there and then but unfortunately I was going to get that one signed! And I had no other calendars with me. As more website cards were handed out, Sonia said she heard a girl say something like “Is that the girl from the blog?”. So I went over and said hello and this girl was actually a member on the Official Forum. That’s where she recognised me from! Fran (angel_of_music on the Forum) and her friend came to London from Brazil, and were superb company. We were chatting the whole day and it was fun! They’ll be going to the British Grand Prix this year then they’ll be back off home to Brazil. After the whole presentation, I met Chiara who visits this blog and she joined us and Fran for lunch. We were starving after the event, having been standing all morning, so we had fun talking about it and also other things F1 related over our burgers and chips. Thank you guys!
The store was getting more and more busy and though we couldn’t see much inside, we knew Kimi was there and we were so excited. I had my DVD and calendar ready and the crowd still wasn’t that big. There was no queue so we were right next to the gates outside the shop entrance. The media began to grow, a couple of cameramen here and there and so many photographers were waiting with us. One guy kept eyeing my calendar and I was getting so paranoid and embarrassed that I told my sister to put it away! Then she kept taking it out! Hahaha! More people were interested, I got chatting to an Asian man and he was saying his wife is such a big Kimi fan and she’ll be coming later with their little child who was wearing a Ferrari racing suit. So cute!
While we were so busy talking, all of a sudden Kimi came out! I stuck to the gate and my camera was snapping away, without flash. I didn’t say a word – I was calm and not exactly bothered like most were. So my sister, knowing I wasn’t going to get anything at that rate, grabbed my DVD. She moved so fast that she was nowhere in my sight. I concentrated on Kimi and he was wearing his big fat hat and his shades on. But he was glowing! He just seemed to be shining, literally. Just like a star. Before it was overcast and windy, but the sun came out and made it even better. It’s weird, but its probably all that water he drinks and his skin was very well hydrated. Haha! He looked in great shape and although he’s quite small in height, he can still move fast outside an F1 car! He rushed and he signed some autographs further away from us. This is when my sister got his attention. She was in that area where Kimi signed autographs before walking to the Ferrari cars around the corner. While the other fans were calling “Kimi! Kimi, Kimi…Kimi!” my sister was the only one talking to him, saying “Hi Kimi, this DVD is just for you, the videos are created by my sister just for you and for Kimi fans all over the world. Here you go”. I don’t know the exact words she said. and he was saying “yeah” and she was close enough to give it to him and he said “okay” and took it with his right hand. Then he sped off around the corner!
So, Kimi has some of my videos for his own and he can watch them. Yay! Well, I flipping hope so! I didn’t realise Steve was there until I came home and looked through my photos. I’m glad he was there, because I think Kimi was really happy and comfortable for this event and not too irritated by the media, despite them being like a swarm of flies wherever he went. Luca Colajanni was also there, I didn’t see him before but suddenly I saw him stand infront of me! I took a picture of him, although it’s not very good! Luckily my Kimi shots were awesome.
The crowd was really persistant because the media and photographers were taking all the damn space and we couldn’t see much near the cars. Then I got so excited anyway that I shouted “woo, Kimi! You rock!” and “you’re the best!” and my sister joined in and that’s when she said what the BBC’s Mole noted in his article: “You
are still our number one world champion, Kimi!”. And Kimi looked back at us! We were the only two fans who actually cheered for Kimi. I thought…”wow, these are a boring lot! that’s F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen there!”. We weren’t yelling or
screaming at Kimi, you know, not like that constant screaming “Kimi Kimi Kimi!”
you hear at other events. It was nothing like that, not from us anyway. But I know there’d be some people making something negative out of it. So we said “Kimi you rock”, “You’re the best”, “you’re still our world champion”. What’s not ‘dignified’ about that? Isn’t that part of being a fan anyway? There’s nothing wrong in being cheerful for the one you support.
I avoided trying to barge through the crowd and get into a messy situation, and I went around right to the end and took my photos there. I don’t know how I got there so fast, but I’m a pretty small and skinny person so I whisked myself through these tiny crowded gaps. I was somewhat bewildered at how many cameramen and photographers there were, compared to the overestimated crowd. I kept snapping away, sliently observing Kimi. I just wanted to watch him and enjoy that. Kimi was casually dressed in his favourite Evisu jeans and he was just no normal. I mean, here’s this big Ferrari driver, a world champion, and he was so humble. He wasn’t waving to everyone like “hey, this is me, I’m awesome!”. He’s just so modest and shy. I stood less than a metre from him where he had photos taken behind the cars. I looked at his shoes…those red and white trainers. I saw his tattered jeans and he was holding his hands behind and I took a photo of this. I also took one photo of his butt. Forgive me…Kimi. I was thinking of all the fans especially at our forum because I knew they’d be thinking of me and if I got to see him and etc. I couldn’t wait to get home and show you the pictures and videos and my autograph which was coming next….
My sister was still so persistant and tried to get Kimi to see the calendar. She was waving it like a mad woman everywhere, it was hilarious but I was so embarrassed! Haha! Some people were going “ahhhh” and “isn’t that nice” when they heard Sonia saying “This calendar is just designed for just Kimi Raikkonen, by a crazy fan who just loves you so much”. I was so happy and so annoyed at the same time. Happy that my sister was making an effort unlike me but annoyed that she was putting me on the spot and embarrassing me! Sonia was nervous for me, so she kept having those hilarous repetitive-word moments. Kimi continued looking at the cars and took pictures with some officials, I had no idea who they were at the time but I did recognise Nick Mason from Pink Floyd and Kimi posing with his arms crossed like he was thinking “Mmmm…this is alright!”. Having your arms crossed is usually negative body language but Kimi’s body language was mellow and relaxed! The cars looked great, all lined up. I was surprised Ferrari didn’t organise a proper drive to the location though, the cars were mixed in the road with the traffic and they could hardly floor it and make a sound.
After the Ferrari car presentation, Kimi began walking back to the store and so me and my sister legged it back to the entrance before everyone else could. That’s when Sonia got the opportunity to show him my calendar. He saw it and signed it and signed a couple more autographs and then rushed back inside the Ferrari Store.
Once he went back inside, we waited for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. We met more fans and had a lot of fun. A tall, blue-eyed and blond-haired guy from Latvia noticed me ecstatic with my autograph. He had the F1Racing Ferrari Issue magazine and a video camera in his hand. We also got talking about the event, he said he was a Mika Hakkinen fan before. I told him about KRS, so hopefully we’ll see him again too. He was really nice. He also took a lot of footage of everything and said he’ll upload it onto YouTube, including that moment where we were cheering for Kimi. I regret forgetting his name. He took a video of me with my calendar and autograph as well. We heard a photographer nearby speaking fondly of Kimi as he got his press badge signed too, saying that he’s quiet when he’s got the cronies around him but when you’re alone with him he’s such a great guy.
We were buzzing! I was so proud to be a Kimi fan and with him taking my DVD I was just…happy. I wanted to document the whole day really. I didn’t want to try and talk to him or whatever. My sister did all that! Everytime she kept showing off the calendar I’d be moaning to her to “stop it!” Hahaha! And I already got hooked on Kimi’s latest greeting style. I found myself doing it a couple of times. Funny…you’ll see it in the video. You’ll also hear a very happy guy showing off the Kimi signature he got onto his Ferrari cap, with me. The on the road we saw a truck in the traffic and you know what it was carrying? Lapin
Kulta! I wonder who they were arriving for? Hehe! I took a photo of that too.
Soon afterwards, Kimi came back out for the ribbon-cutting and he was so cute. I mean, innocently cute. He was so shy, I just wanted to cry! He kept asking Dany Bahar, who stood next to him, about the scissors and when to cut. Just like a kid. Kimi smiled, he made the photographers happy, cut the ribbon and my sister and I cheered for Kimi. Again, we were the only ones to make an effort and cheer for him opening the store. What was wrong with everybody?! Then the rest also cheered. Anyway, that was over pretty fast, and Kimi went back inside and the store was filled with other famous guests and rich people. Then the security said that the store won’t open for the public until 5pm. But we couldn’t want to stay another 4 hours and so we never got to see the Ferrari Store inside unfortunately. I will definately go again though, the store looks great.
We waited around still. Just incase Kimi would come out again. By chance, I turned my head to the entrance again and then Kimi walked past and I screamed and then Fran, who was still with us, screamed too. It was so funny. It was almost automatic. About 10-15 mins later, the security then told the fans still waiting for autographs that Kimi has left the building. I felt really bad for them, they had their pen and things ready for an autograph. I knew it would’ve been hard to get close to Kimi let alone getting an autograph, because he moves so quick and there’d be security and the media in the way. So that’s why I count myself very lucky! Sonia did a great job. Everyone thought she was a Ferrari agent or something, as she was getting looks from the Ferrari staff and officials too. That was so funny! At one point, I was suddenly given a Ferrari badge by the Asian women I met earlier, those are those chains that only VIPs can wear to enter the store. She didn’t explain to me how she got it or why she gave it to me. I was like “er….oh my God!” but then before I could even look at it a security woman saw it and swiftly took it away. I was laughing. I dunno what all that was about!
There were still some cameras still outside the store, and a camerawoman decided to record us and asked me a few questions! I don’t know if this will be uploaded anywhere though. I was standing with my sister, and also Fran and the others. The woman asked me “What do you think about the Ferrari Store?” I felt stupid being asked this because I had never visited it before and they weren’t allowing the public in till later! Duh! But I said something like “I haven’t gone inside yet! But it really does look the part – the long red doors are already iconic and it makes quite an impression”. Then she asked “Are you a fan of Ferrari?” And I felt stupid again. “No, I’m a Kimi fan” I said. “But I do love the Ferrari culture and they’re amazing at what they do” I continued. I hope that was good enough for her video! hahaha. I wonder if they’ll use it.
Anyway, I was still in shock. But later on our way home we just kept laughing, mostly at how ruthless my sister was in making the day successful for me. I did think about going around the back and find Kimi but I was too tired, hahaha! After he left the store, he went to Kensingston Old Brompton Road for the BBC interview. I didn’t know this at the time, you see, otherwise I would’ve gone there to try and see him again. But I was so happy anyway. Thank you Kimi…you’re the best! Just go and whup some ass this weekend in Spain now!
The only bad thing of the day was coming home to hear on tv news the death of Max Mosley’s son. My condolences go to his family and friends.
So here’s the video then, I quickly put it together today. Most of the camera footage is by me, and some of it isn’t very good but that’s what happens when you’re short! The part where Kimi is approaching me as he signs autographs is just before he goes back inside the store before the ribbon-cutting. Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Here is a video from FGEAR.tv – after months of searching, it finally appeared onto YouTube – with plenty of footage of Kimi at the event and also you can see when my sister gave Kimi my DVD (@ 2.11mins into the clip). Thank you to the person who uploaded this video!