Kimi on Instagram, not speaking Italian and his motivation
SAO PAULO, Brazil — Kimi Raikkonen has added some more quips and one-liners to the growing list of memorable quotes from his career.
Raikkonen appeared on a Facebook Live with the official F1 account ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Unlike his usual form during media engagements, when he appears agitated by questions and keen to get back to the motorhome, he was in a laid-back mood and answered a range of questions from fans on a variety of topics. The Finn is preparing for what will be the penultimate race at Ferrari ahead of his move to Sauber in 2019.
The full video can be viewed here but below is a summary of his best moments.
It didn’t take long for Raikkonen to cultivate an image that he didn’t care too much for pressure — he was found sleeping in the Sauber garage 30 minutes before making his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. His laid-back persona has led to suggestions in the past he is not motivated enough for F1 but he made light of this subject in Thursday’s interview.
“[It’s] as bad as always! I always struggle with it. I think I’m never going to get it back. I don’t think I ever had it…”
On speaking Italian
Across two stints (2007-2009 and 2014-2018) Raikkonen is one of Ferrari’s longest-serving drivers. Ferrari is like a religion in Italy and Raikkonen joked that his failure to learn the langage in all that time might explain why he will be driving at Sauber next year.
Asked if he speaks Italian, he laughed and said: “No I don’t! Maybe that’s the reason I’m going, finally! They gave me like eight years’ time to learn it…
“English comes pretty easy to me these days to me. It’s not like I have to spend time to first wondering in my home language and then… it comes pretty normally. English here is normal language everybody uses in teams.”
On his contract:
Raikkonen has been known to take part in snowmobile races when not competing in Formula One, while he also enjoys motocross. He doesn’t let the terms of his contract dictate what he does away from the confines of the F1 paddock.
Asked if he read the terms of his contract, especially the parts relating to what he is prohibited from doing away from F1, he laughed and said: “I don’t care! You need to do what makes you happy in life, and they know [about it].
“I never had any issue. If the day comes when I get hurt then we’ll deal with it that time but that’s part of life. I think it’s more dangerous to go and do many other sports, cycling or something, you can fall down on the stairs by accident and get hurt. I’ll do it, I don’t really care — I never really care what the contract says.”
On who’s idea his new account is: “Nobody’s, really. We’ll just see what happens, dunno.”
There has been speculation that the plain, short sentences which accompany his picture or video posts have been done by someone else, but Raikkonen said it’s all his own work.
“There’s not really much ideas. There’s no planning whatsoever. It’s just taking pictures or whatever it is. I do everything, don’t you know?”
He then added, sarcastically: “No, I hired 10 people to do it. The filming, the lighting. At least six, four, hiding [cameras]…”
The Iceman persona
Raikkonen has gained a cult following since his debut in 2001 and is regularly voted the most popular driver among fans. The 2007 world champion insisted he does not play up to the image.
“No, I don’t. I always try to do and live my life the way that’s right for me. If I try to live it how someone else likes it I think it would be a pretty miserable time.”
Raikkonen has delivered some of the most memorable radio messages in the history of F1 race broadcasts. Most famously, he told his race engineer “Leave me alone, I know what to do!” while leading the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and launched into an epic rant about being given his gloves and steering wheel while being pushed back to a restart at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
He thinks the fame he has cultivated over the airwaves has has grown in recent years.
“I think it’s always been the same, but recently they start putting them live on TV and all those things. In the past they had that option but we had buttons to cancel it. I think that’s the only… it’s always been the same but now it’s in the open. It’s so easy to make stories out of those and how we talk because it’s a different story listening to it from outside — ‘why do they shout to each other?’ — but it’s not the easiest thing to hear from the outside.”