23 June 2008

Is he that 'icy'?

An article about the Iceman that I took from a website –dunno what the address was, somewhere in 2007


The Ice Man on the Hottest Seat of the F1. Iceman is a nickname given him by Ron Dennis, patron of the McLaren.

Well suited to Kimi Räikkönen, a such cold, icy, essential driver that when he ran for the English team he used to answer to the questions of his engineers moving the head, to agree or say not, while he was passing at the 300km/h in front of the box. Nothing surprising.

Iceman arrived in F1 from the Finnish birches forests where he played slalom between the trees and on the creaking ice. He was 8 years old and he was a tiny but decided fair haired young man. On a very small car he skidded, he hit trees, he straightened and he started again. When he grew he made the same thing with a Lada, an old and in bad conditions Soviet car, bought with little money. It had a red body that he black painted. In the slalom between the trees it was much damaged. But it was the engine that betrayed him, not the blows. His father Matti put it in order.

However his childhood and adolescence were serene lived near Espoo, in an old house built by his grandparents. Sure, he didn’t have a rich family, but his parents gave him everything also to cost of strange “sacrifices”. The dad asphalted roads with the road roller. The mother, Paula, worked at the post office. Rami, his brother, who now runs in rally, was the adversary to beat. The house where they lived had an external bathroom and the family was saving money in order to built one inside. But the guys were so passionate for racing that parents thought the toilet could wait for and they bought two karts.

It was not easy for Kimi to go on the top, fighting against more competitive chassis, more powerful engines. A fifth place was a success for him. Kimi also desired a lot playing sport, hockey on ice specially, a real passion, like that one of Michael Schumacher for soccer, but he was not in the mood for studying.

When he was 16 years old, in fact, he stopped his course for mechanics at the professional school and as soon as he was 18 he decided to leave the family in order to try good luck in United Kingdom, with the Haywood Racing, that gave him a Ford car to drive.

His dad, when he said goodbye, put in the Kimi’s jacket pocket 500 dollars and told him in brief: “Nobody of us wants to hamper your career, go and live the life you like, but be careful and don’t get you into troubles. And remember: this money is for your eating.” Matthew (at the registry office) Räikkönen, Kimi for all, played his cards.

After some time, in a cold morning in 2001 he arrived at the Mugello circuit to drive a Sauber F.1, with all the expert to look at him, like Schumacher or Piero Ferrari, and they said “oh!”, and they ask from where that splendid rookie was come. Today he is a big of the F1.

He will be 28 aged on 17th October, he earns about 30 million euro per year, he has bought a new house with many bathrooms and three years ago he married Jenni Dahlman, ex Miss Scandinavia. There are things to which he couldn’t give up. For example, an evening with his best friends: “During my free time I do what I like”, he says. He likes to have a drop (but the reputation attributed to him born from metropolitan tales) or going to his gymnasium, to lift weights, because he says that physical exercise relaxes him.

His style of communication is very original. It could be defined: “Not, I do not know, it does not interest to me”. So, in the age of the drivers who want to attract attention, he is the most nonconformist. And, in fact, he’s the only one who evades from the rules of the image-man driver and great communicative man. He wants to go fast and to remain himself. And if you ask opinions, comments, backstage about his arrival in Ferrari, his relationship with Schumacher, the acclimatization in Italy, he answers frankly, but he doesn’t go over ten words, conjunctions included.

Then, it seems Kimi has one extraordinary gift: the awareness of himself. To such a degree that he has been able to erase, since the beginning, the insidious trap of the misunderstanding. Without haughtiness he simply said: “Schumi is incomparable, if we begin to draw parallels between who was and who is here, we don’t go anywhere”.

As result, Ferrari and the supporters of the scuderia of Maranello will learn to know a driver who refuses any comparison with the master of Kerpen, one who says calmly: JUDGE ME FOR WHAT I AM AND FOR WHAT I AM WORTH.

Oh… KIMIku…. ^^

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Interviewer: The helmet has a special meaning for many drivers. How important is it to you?_________ Kimi: It protects my head.