Part 1: Raikkonen Revealed
| Source: lotusf1team.com |
This feature contains some old and some recent quotes from Kimi’s mother and his brother Rami, still a nice read…
There are few more mysterious men in the Formula 1 paddock – or indeed the sporting world – than Kimi Räikkönen. So, just who is the Iceman? We spoke to some of his closest companions to dig a little deeper…
Iceman – the nickname given to Kimi Räikkönen by Ron Dennis at the beginning of the 2002 season – suits the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion perfectly.
The Finnish star is most likely the coolest guy in Formula 1… ever. There is nothing that really makes him upset, angry or happy for more than fifteen minutes or so. Kimi is quick to put everything behind him. The cool nature is innate.
Kimi’s mother Paula remembers him only once being very nervous and losing his cool outlook. He was six years old at the time.
Paula took her son for a regular check-up with their doctor and Kimi had to wait in the corner with toys to keep him occupied as mother and doctor talked. There were many toys, but suddenly Kimi became agitated, biting his finger nails and acting very nervously.
“The doctor started to think that Kimi perhaps had a concentration problem,” Paula explains, “but it was only a question of the toys!
“In those days Kimi was interested in jigsaw puzzles and felt that the jigsaw puzzle available in the surgery was too easy. He saw the puzzle for older children – for 10-15 years old – but could not reach it. The doctor’s assistant refused to give it to him and told him it was meant for older children, not for him.
“Finally Kimi got the more difficult jigsaw puzzle, put the pieces in place and smiled. The doctor was laughing; convinced now that this kid did not have any kind of problem with concentration,” Paula says with the pride of a parent in her voice.
Kimi learnt to drive around that age and – as with putting the pieces together in a jigsaw puzzle – so he started to become the master of putting pieces right in his racing, without losing his concentration in any circumstances.
Paula confirms that Kimi’s willpower has always been tremendously strong.
“He is always going his own way. Whatever you do, you cannot change his mind if he has decided something. As a small kid, if I wanted him to help me in some household chores – let’s say like taking a trash can out – if I saw he didn’t want to do it, i had to ask in an opposite way. I’d say to him: “Don’t you take the trash can out; I will do it myself.” Usually that way Kimi did it,” his mother recalls.
So when did his parents find out that their younger son had the talent to become a world-class motorsport star?
“The closest people – like parents – never see those kind of things themselves,” says Paula. “I think we noticed some promising signs for the first time when Kimi was about ten years old and started in the junior classes of go-karts in Finland. It was a father of one the competitors – who had a lot of experience as a mechanic for his own son – who started to ask; “who’s that boy in car number 104?” [which was Kimi].
“He said that with that attitude and that speed he would go far; and he was right” Paula smiles.
His mother also knows the strengths of her son.
“An absurd will to win every time and a never give-up attitude; that’s Kimi. From the time he started racing, he kept turning the steering wheel as long as the wheels kept rolling. I think it is that Finnish-style of tenacious fighting spirit we call ‘sisu’ in him.”
How surprised was Paula when Kimi decided to make a comeback to Formula 1?
“To be honest, I was amazed. Kimi never talks about his work with me if I don’t ask first, but I heard some rumours of his negotiations with Williams and I asked him about that. He answered that he would go to Lotus, because it was a better option for him.
“It was a surprise. His friends had been saying to me that Kimi was so tired and finished with Formula 1 and then suddenly he went back. I think it was very good for him to have his break as he seems to really be enjoying racing again” she emphasizes.
The closest people – relatives and friends – know a totally different Kimi Räikkönen compared to the one race fans see. He is far from lacking emotion, far from being blunt and tough. Quite to the contrary, he likes to help, he likes to be around, he likes to take care of his family.
Kimi’s brother Rami has two sons, Justus and Tiitus. Kimi is a godparent of the elder, Justus, and continually brings presents for both of them.
“The boys are in a way like I was with Kimi; competing with each other in every possible way. Kimi likes to keep them well equipped with all kind of racing stuff for kids. This Christmas he bought them tablets; or should I say Santa Claus brought tablets for them” Rami reveals.
But how close are the ever-competing Rami and Kimi nowadays?
“Kimi is my brother. I think it’s a very normal brother-to-brother relationship. We talk almost every week, we play ice hockey and do some other sports together. We both have our own work and that takes time; especially Kimi who works and travels a lot.”
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll be finding out more about what really makes the Iceman tick…