Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Name: Kimi Raikkonen
Date of Birth: 17th October 1979
Place of Birth: Espoo, Finland
F1 Debut: Australia 2001
Kimi Raikkonen didn’t have the same “through the ranks” history of a lot of the drivers on the grid at the moment. In fact, he had competed in only 23 car races when ex-F1 team boss Peter Sauber spotted him and wanted him for his team of the same name. There were plenty of concerns from the FIA, especially from President Max Mosley, that Raikkonen was much too inexperienced to be allowed his super licence, but he relented and allowed the Finn to debut in Formula 1.
Clearly, this was a good decision and from his very first race, Kimi was impressing everyone, including Ron Dennis. With the impending departure of fellow Finn, Mika Hakkinen, Ron drafted in Raikkonen for the 2002 season. With Ron’s hard-working and clean-cut image, there were doubts whether the party going and arrogant Raikkonen would fit in. But he was fast, and that’s all that mattered. Over the years of his stint at McLaren, Raikkonen put in many stunning performances but unfortunately the car didn’t live up to expectations. In 2006, there were constant reliability issues, so much so that Raikkonen was dubbed “Kimi car-breaker,” by certain people in the paddock. With this slightly unfair title taking hold, Raikkonen decided that it was time to move on, and in 2007 donned the red overalls of Ferrari.
2007 has seen a new and improved Kimi Raikkonen. Previously thought of as cold, disinterested, unenthusiastic and often unintelligible, Kimi seems much more relaxed and happy at Ferrari. There were rumours of unsettled times at the beginning of the season, but as the time passes, Kimi seems to be fitting in at Ferrari nicely. He has more time for the media, and has been spotted working with the engineers rather than just storming out of the circuit as soon as his race is over. Now his nickname “Iceman” is more prominent than the previous car-breaker one, and that seems to be more about his personality on-track rather than his off-hand demeanour in the paddock. Whilst talk of his partying ways was thought to be a problem with his new bosses, Ferrari have been pretty tight-lipped about the subject, and Raikkonen appears to be keeping his personal life out of the papers.
Rumoured to be one of the highest paid drivers on the grid, Raikkonen will be looking to finally get to grips with a team that can offer him the chance of a world championship, rather than the unreliability he has previously experienced.