Kimi Raikkonen
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017
 
 
Interview with Kimi Raikkonen
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Q&A with Kimi Raikkonen. Kimi talks about the recent races, his qualifying performance, life without F1, etc.

Q: Why are there so many ups and downs ?
Raikkonen: ''It depends on the circuits. Some suit us better, some suit McLaren better. Last year though that was a lot more distinct still. This year there were no longer tracks at which we were completely off target.''


Q: Sometimes you struggle heating up the tyres for the flying laps in qualifying. Is that worse compared to last year ?
Raikkonen: ''A lot depends on the characteristics of the track, the nature of the tarmac, the ambient temperature and the tyre compounds. Under certain circumstances McLaren has an easier time warming up the tyres. Therefore they more often get the maximum out of the tyres over the first lap than we do. But sometimes they pay the price for that in the race because their tyres wear off more quickly. So this evens out. Of course I would most like to have a car that can do both: heating up the tyres quickly but preserving them during the race. But that can't do. You have to decide on either of them since you can no longer chance anything to the car in between qualifying and the race.''

Q: But you can also notice big differences between one qualifying attempt to the next...
Raikkonen: ''One set of tyres can be very different to next, also when you don't chance anything to the car. Two years ago, when the tyre war was still going on, we didn't have fluctuation in quality. But with only one tyre supplier left Bridgestone is obviously keeping an eye on the costs. This has an effect on the production processes. The differences between one set of tyres to the next is what makes it difficult to get a good qualifying lap together. You never know what's awaiting you.''

Q: How difficult is the process of warming up the tyres ?
Raikkonen: ''Very difficult, especially when you already have difficulties getting heat into the tyres anyway. At some tracks there are only slow corners before the finish line, it's bascially impossible to work on the tyres there. Or you have bad luck with a driver slowly driving in front of you because he's willing to create space for himself. In that case you're not able to drive through the decisive corners at the speed you would need to have to warm up the tyres. Then you go into the first two corners of your flying lap with cold tyres. It's extremely difficult for the team to send you out without hitting traffic on the warm up lap.''

Q: How important is it for you that Ferrari leaves you a lot of freedom ?
Raikkonen: ''That is very important to me and that was also the reason why I left McLaren two years ago. I got along well with the people in the team but there have been one or two incidents that I didn't like.''

Q: Would you live differently if you weren't a racing a driver ?
Raikkonen: ''Not a bit. I do what I want. Some people like that, others don't. I don't care what others think about that because I don't care what others are doing.''

Q: Could you imagine a life without Formula 1 ?
Raikkonen: ''I would be driving in another racing serie. Perhaps rally. I've spent my whole life in motorsport. The thought of doing something else never occurred me.''

Q: When was the first time you believed you could actually make it to Formula 1 ?
Raikkonen: ''Not before I was 18-years old, gone to England and having met the right people that could help me along. In the period I was driving karts I never dreamt of Formula 1. We simply had no money.''

Q: What advice would you give to kart drivers ?
Raikkonen: ''I'm not a good adviser. The important thing is to meet people that have contacts and promote your talent. The rest is about being lucky. You have to be at the right place at the right time.''

Q: Is your relaxed approach to your job one of your strengths ?
Raikkonen: ''I don't want to be worried, I simply want to lead a very normal life. Up till now the succes has proven me right. For me this model works. I always try to think positively. After the races at Silverstone or Magny-Cours I could have been angry about missed chances. But that doesn't help. I'd rather say: 'at least you collected some points. It could have been worse'.''

Q: Sometimes your collegues give the impression as if they'd be thinking about their job 24 hours a day...
Raikkonen: ''I think that's an invention. Each one of us is happy when he can think about something else, when he's out of the paddock. It would be counterproductive to continually be thinking about your job. The difference between me and other drivers is perhaps the fact that I don't want to test too much in the winter time. Then I do certain things that have nothing to do with my job. I need that. I would loose my interest in racing If I wouldn't be able to forget about it for a while.''

Q: What's the worst part of your job ?
Raikkonen: ''If I could choose I would only focus on the driving aspect. But I've been in this business long enough to know that everything that comes with it is important.''

Q: Do you have more fun now than two years ago ?
Raikkonen: ''Today I enjoy it a lot more. Ferrari takes care of me perfectly. They know what I like and what I don't like and they grant me enough space to breath.''

Q: Alonso would love to know if you will still be driving in 2009...
Raikkonen: ''I have time.''

Q: What are you waiting for ?
Raikkonen: ''Why would I hurry up ? I have a contract for 2009 and I will actually fullfil it, regardless of what people are speculating. I've always honoured my contracts.''

Q: Perhaps Ferrari would like to know what your plans are after 2009...
Raikkonen: ''I don't think Ferrari is in a hurry either. A contract extension isn't something that is decided about quickly and easily. Many things need to be taken into consideration. I don't really want to reveal more about it. I will take a decision when it's the right time for it.''

Q: Could you imagine having Alonso as your teammate ?
Raikkonen: ''Why not ? I just don't think it will happen.''

Q: Are you afraid of your life after racing ? For Hakkinen it became too boring...
Raikkonen: ''I won't be bored. When I quit Formula 1 I will certainly take part in other races. Sometime I want to try out rally racing. I'm interested in it because you have to be good on tarmac, gravel and ice.''

Q: Would you be able to drive rally cars on WC level ?
Raikkonen: ''Hard to say since I've never seriously taken part in a rally race. On asphalt I would probably do pretty well. I have no experience on gravel. The most difficult thing for me would be to drive in accordance with what the co-pilot is telling me. I'm not used to that.''

Q: Are you faster than your brother Rami who's driving the Finnish championship ?
Raikkonen: ''He doesn't want a comparison to take place.''

Q: Is it true that sometimes your bored in the car ?
Raikkonen: ''Only when I'm in front by a country mile, like in Melbourne last year. Then you're thinking about other things or you're playing with the buttons on the steering wheel. Then I suddenly missed a braking point. This year unfortunately we haven't had such races.''

Q: Are the current Formula 1 cars offering you the greatest fun to drive ?
Raikkonen: ''I had the most fun in my first year. Everything was new for me. The car, the circuits. From last year to this one not much has changed, although the electronic aids have gone. But the cars have become better. You only still notice the lack of traction control in certain corners.''

Q: What do you rather do: being behind the playstation, driving your bike, or go out with friends ?
Raikkonen: ''Go for a ride on the bike. And go out with friends afterwards.''

Q: Do you know Italy ?
Raikkonen: ''I've been a lot in Italy in my period of karting, I've been through the entire country by car. But I didn't see much more than fuelling stations, hotels and circuits.''

Q: What do you do with the Corvette from Sharon Stone that you've bought in Monaco ?
Raikkonen: ''I don't have the car yet. To be honest I don't know at all where it is at the moment, whether I have to pick it up or they send it to me. It wasn't a impulsive purchase, instead it was for charity.''
 
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