Remember Mark Arnall? He was Kimi Raikkonen’s trainer on the World Rally Championship for two years from 2010-2011, responsible for keeping the Iceman fed, watered, happy and in tip-top shape
It wasn’t always an easy job as Raikkonen is a demanding taskmaster. Plus, Mark knew very little about rallying before Raikkonen made the jump, although he’s been in Formula One since the days of Mika Hakkinen.
After Hakkinen retired, Mark swapped one Iceman for another. And last year, Mark returned with Raikkonen to Formula One, helping him to achieve the fitness and frame of mind that instantly took him to third in the championship last year.
This season, Raikkonen is aiming to go even better. And Mark will still be alongside him – except with not so many early starts and roaming around the countryside as his rally days. But he’s certainly not ruling out coming back if Raikkonen wants another go…
Because it doesn’t matter what Raikkonen drives. The more Mark has got to know his world champion boss, the more he realises that he can drive anything. He’s watched him drive Formula One cars, rally cars, NASCARs, Le Mans cars, snowmobiles, powerboats…the lot basically.
“He can adapt exceptionally quickly to whatever he is driving or riding and has a phenomenal feel for what’s going on underneath him,” points out Mark. “You saw that in rallying and you can see it when he drives on a new circuit for the first time and picks it up quicker than team mates who have spent hours on a simulator. Or when he comes back to Formula One after two years away from the sport and performs the way he just has done in 2012.”
Those two seasons in rallying clearly kept the Iceman sharp: and he’s keen to be back at some point, as soon as his Formula One contract allows (he asked to do Finland last year, they said no). Expect Mark to be right behind him.