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Raikkonen feels that F1 is on the wrong track
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Raikkonen feels that F1 is on the wrong track
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jan 2010   |  1:30 pm GMT  |  124 comments

Kimi Raikkonen has given his first interview since becoming a Red Bull Citroen rally driver and it reveals some interesting points about his views on the way F1 is heading and on his own future plans. Clearly he feels that F1 is not on the right track, not for him anyway.

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Speaking in the German language edition of the Red Bulletin, Red Bull’s in house sports magazine, he says that there are too many negative things going on which overshadow the racing in F1. This took away a lot of the pleasure for him of driving and he feels that even the challenge of the driving is limited, compared to rally,

“In F1 too many things overshadow the racing. There is too much politics, no one says what he thinks, because he is afraid that things are taken out of context. The atmosphere in rally is much nicer. It’s more about the performance of drivers, ” he says.

“Each lap in F1 is more or less the same. When it rains, it becomes more difficult, but otherwise this is routine now. In rallying every curve, every hill may be different than you thought. That makes it interesting. The most fun I had in the last few years when I have gone out with friends, on snowmobile, for example.”

Asked whether the 2009 Ferrari was difficult to drive, given the struggles Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella had with it, Raikkonen says,
“The car was not bad, it had very little grip. Okay, it was difficult to drive, but I liked the ’09 Ferrari even better than the ’08 car. I didn’t cope so badly with it. Fisichella, however, aged ten years in those five races!”

Raikkonen tips Sebastian Vettel for world champion in 2010 because he finds him the most likeable driver and reveals that he plays badminton with the German, which is an interesting image to conjure up in your mind,
“In general, I have little contact with F1 people. Vettel and I sometimes play badminton. Now he moves into my area in Switzerland, we will probably see more of each other.”

As for his future plans, the Finn says that he has options in F1, but isn’t sure about the way the sport is headed. He maintains the line that this is a sabbatical year, but one wonders whether he will really want to go back once he settles into an environment which is much better suited to his character. He has the money and the F1 champions’ title, what more would there be to come back for, especially as he can enjoy a long career in rallying now,

“Maybe I’ll go to the Grand Prix in Monaco. As it looks now, I can always get back a F1 cockpit. But do I want it? In Formula 1 some unpleasant things are happening now; one manufacturer after another is leaving. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about it at the moment. In a year we’ll talk.”

Meanwhile Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko has dismissed suggestions that Raikkonen might take Mark Webber’s seat at Red Bull in 2011 as “a pure rumour”.

“Raikkonen is going to drive the rallies in 2010, and what happens after that, we will see, ” he added.

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124 Comments
  1. Howard says:

    Kimi needs to be more specific in that he does not like the direction F1 is heading but then he should give a suggestion as to what developments he would like to see. And as for his leaving F1, the guy just got bored!! Hopefully he will find his spark again.

    1. Freespeech says:

      He sounds like a chap who doesn’t care less about F1 which is pretty much how he drove for a fair amount of his time at Ferrari, only really looked good after Massa was sidelined :!:

      1. Segedunum says:

        Given his performances after Massa was sidelined one can reasonably ask the question why. It isn’t a motivation problem because no driver suddenly turns it on like that. Martin Brundle has said that many times. He’s already alluded to the fact that the 2008 car didn’t do what he wanted and one wonders what political games will be played by Massa and Alonso on that front.

        You can rather say that Ferrari backed the wrong horse. As good as Massa might be a lot of people paint over the fact that Raikkonen is still the only Ferrari World Champion since Schumacher retired.

  2. Nikolai Currell says:

    I am a Finn so understand his mentality a little. He moved to Ferrari as McLaren either gave him a slow reliable car or then a fast car that always broke down (like 2005). In retrospect had he stayed at McLaren he could have had 2 world titles as the 2007 and 2008 McLarens were well up to the task and probably would have suited his style more than the Ferraris he drove. Southern Europeans do not really understand the northern European less emotional mind set, hence Kimi was never going to be loved by Ferrari even if he won 30 races. Alonso will give the Italians the flair and lion like passion they crave from their drivers.
    I will miss Kimi next year, but F1 will move on. However the real winner is the WRC and their sponsors…it may take a couple of years but don’t bet against Kimi fighting for that title too and taking it!

    1. Freespeech says:

      If he’d stayed Hamilton would have done th same to him he did to Alonso, that is beat him in the same car in his first season :!:

      1. Nikolai Currell says:

        Don’t forget it was Alonso’s first season at McLaren and Hamilton had been there for years. Also Kimi was immune to the politics and the team also loved him as much as Hamilton and would therefore have most probably favoured him for the 2007 title over the rookie.

      2. Amritraj says:

        I’ll tell you something, as much as I admire Hamilton’s talent behind the wheel, the one guy he hopes he never has as his team-mate is Kimi Raikkonen. He must have had very tense weeks before Button was announced as the 2nd McLaren driver.

      3. GP says:

        Amritraj,

        I completely agree with your comments. I like Jenson but I really, really wanted Kimi to go to McLaren. It would have made life very interesting for Lewis.

      4. Kirsty says:

        I think Hamilton doesn’t even rate him as high as Alonso. Neither does Alonso think too much of him, at the end of the day, Alonso is the one who succeeded in beating Schmuacher and eventually took Raikkenon’s seat at Ferrari in a rather humiliating fashion.

      5. M.Walker says:

        “If he’d stayed Hamilton would have done the same to him he did to Alonso, that is beat him in the same car in his first season”

        LOL. Friend, you are lost in the fog!! Raikkonen might not have the robotic “flair” of hamilton. (Yes that is a oxymoron), but he sure could take him to the cleaners five times a race weekend on out and out speed… Peddle to the metal and Raikkonen is quicker.

        Yes, its true.

      6. Tom - Australia says:

        I could not agree more.

        I also can’t argue with Kimi’s comparison between F1 and rally. If I were a driver, I’d choose rallying every time.

      7. RON says:

        Kimi was replaced with Alonso at Ferrari, due to his constant failure to deliver real world results…

        His one and only WDC was a freebie from the FIA, and Ferrari fully understand this, which is why they booted him out.

        Hamilton would have made mince meat out of Kimi… Alonso was destroyed in 2007 – the final points standing do not paint the full picture of how Alonso was blown sky high out of the water by Hamilton…

        To me, Kimi and Alonso are pure hype baloons – it’s just Alonso turns to be exposed now…

        Kimi is no loss for F1, that’s for sure…

      8. Fuchsia says:

        Kimi will be missed in F1 for his amazing speed and bravery behind the wheels (e.g. driving while on fire in brazil.) He has the skills to pose a serious challenge for Hamilton. I don’t really like Hamilton. He lacks integrity as demonstrated by Liegate.

      9. Maria says:

        Freespeech, You wish dont you? but thats where it ends in wishes and pointless dreams.

      10. jose arellano says:

        the only one hamilton was really scared of having as team mate is raikkonen..

        on his day raikkonen would make hamilton look so baad.

    2. Peter says:

      Kimi would have eaten Hamilton in a McLaren as did with Montoya.

  3. Graham says:

    Hi James,
    I think Kimi was a victim of circumstances of the changes made in ’09. There is no disputing the guys speed when he was on it he was one of the drivers to watch (Suzuka to win from the back). The interesting comment that came out of Ferarri was that they went with Alonso as someone who could develop the car. Kimi didn’t seem to be interested in that mundane ‘donkey work’ he just wanted to drive the wheels off the car and when the testing/test drivers went that burden fell onto him and he was found out.
    Rallying should suit him as an opportunity to drive balls out – I would be surprised if he returns to F1

    1. Freespeech says:

      all depended on which side of the bed he got out of whether he was fast or not :)

    2. Amritraj says:

      That ‘donkey (development) work’ actually wins you the championships!!

      1. Maria says:

        And thats to say Alonso sits on the lathe machines and mils the parts all by himself? because if you are talking development thats what the real development people do. Design and build them. Driver development is over rated.

        Never saw any of that in Renault in 2008 or 2009 Even worse for a following year if this ‘development’ was so good.

        It wont be long before Ferrari blames something else on their drivers when they fail in their bids to make a title winning car.

      2. Amritraj says:

        The driver is not the aerodynamicist and the aerodynamicist is the not the driver. Their jobs are different and everybody understands that. The boffins design the cars and the drivers tell them how the car actually behaves on the race tracks.

        I am not saying that Kimi didn’t do the driver-car development aspect well. All I am saying is that the contribution of the driver to the development process is very important.

        Renault did improve markedly towards the second half of 2008, and they improved their positions in spite of an under-powered engine. So one has to assume that the feedback loop of the driver-engineer development work actually improved the car.

        No comments on 2009. They came out with a midfield challenger and then stopped the development post July, 2009.

      3. murray says:

        True that, Maria. Championships happen when engineers build a fast car that a particular driver is in sync with. Driver development is the driver understanding how to extract it.

      4. Erik says:

        Alonso is great with politics. Kimi stinks that way, he cannot defend himself. Alonso is not a better developer at all but he will bring the team to do it his way and they will back him. Did Alonso invent the massdamper who brought him 2 WDCs?

        Did he loose his capabilities after that when Renault went straight down the drain until Kubica showed up?

        Alonso is a great driver and champion but when it comes to development he is bad. Kimi was miles ahead. Unfortunately Ferrari choose to develop around Massa 2008. Schumacher saw to that and he had much to say. Kimi did not stand a chance in qualifying. Massas car was best in qualy and it vaned on lower fuel loads. Kimis style started to work in low fuel mode and hence the 10-11 fastest laps and MAssa 0. 2007 Todt saw that the car developed to his liking and 2008 when he left he was toast since noone was on his side after that(except Stella). Domenicali tried to save his face and blame something when results went down the drain. Kimi was the target. Alonso wont take that and Domenicali is sweating now.

        Domenicali doesnt know anything about racing, he is a politician and leader and pr guy that knows about economy. He does that very well but he hire the wrong people and take wrong decisions with his lack of knowledge. You cannot afford to many bad decisions during a season. Too many bad directions to go in etc.

        Ferrari will always challenge due to drivers and money but until they sort out their management and engineering plan they wont consistently create good fundamental F1 cars.

  4. Andrew Scadden says:

    Nice to hear/read the iceman speak without the shackles of F1 around him.
    I guess for him F1 is boring/easy unless it rains and to be honest with few exceptions the racing isnt that exciting – this season the off track stuff has made more headlines.

    I hope these comments dont damage a return to F1 in the future – assuming he wants to come back.

  5. Dex says:

    Kimi: “In F1 too many things overshadow the racing. There is too much politics, no one says what he thinks, because he is afraid that things are taken out of context.”

    So sad, but true!

  6. AK says:

    I can bet money that Raikkonen has signed for Red Bull to replace Mark Webber in 2011. The Ferrari pay-off allows him to take a break and make-up for his boredom of F1 and come back motivated.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Maybe he’ll partner Webber at Redbull with Vettel going to Mercedes after Schumacher realises that F1 is too much for his ageing body :?:

      1. AK says:

        I doubt that with Webber’s age and contract expiring while Vettel is contracted to 2012.
        Schumacher might just stay for a year depending on his car’s competitiveness and his own, but I don’t see Red Bull letting Vettel go that easily, as Mateschitz does not need any money, and the way Raikkonen is highlighting his friendship with Vettel, he seems to have been informed that he will partner Vettel. As long as Red Bull are in the hunt for the title, which they are very likely to be, I doubt Vettel will leave them. Webber will surely find another good seat because he’s not a bad driver at all. I think the main mistake in his career was to go to Williams when he had the option to partner Alonso at Renault and fight for the title.

      2. salty popcorn says:

        This is probably an example of what Kimi means when he says that comments in F1 get taken out of context – the man says he is friends with Vettel, plays abit of badminton with him, and people interpret this as a sign that he is paving the way for a future driving pairing!

        I’m happy to take the Iceman at face value – he is a mate of Vettel, happy to be out of F1 this year but is prepared to think about it again in 2011 (and no doubt will have a fair few options waiting for him if he does).

        On another note, what is it with his over-sized baseball caps?!

  7. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    I think that Raikkonen will find it very difficult to motive himself to want to return to the enforced diets, strenious training programs, and straight-jacket atmosphere of F1.

    His situation is similar in some ways to JPM…although Montoya left F1 with something left to prove. Raikkonen has made his money and has become WDC…he can afford to just go racing for fun.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Don’t think we’ll see him back in F1, his head belongs elsewhere.

  8. F1 Kitteh says:

    Looks like F1′s loss is WRC’s gain. Maybe if RBR finishes as the bridesmaid again in 2010, or if Vettel is stolen by MB, they will drag Kimi back into a F1 car ? Nice cap btw ..

    1. Freespeech says:

      Like Montoya was in to Nascar the States

      1. AK says:

        Oh I wish Montoya was back. He was quite a character. Maybe Ferrari should give him a chance if it doesn’t go well for Massa.

      2. F1 Kitteh says:

        Would love to see Montoya come back .. maybe it would be cool to see him go rallying too, he was pretty good at going sideways on ovals in the champcars

  9. Simon Pearce says:

    I agree James. Can’t see him ever returning to F1.

  10. Trixie says:

    To be honest, Kimi appears better suited to the Red Bull colours, even the stupid ‘hip hop/gangsta rap’ flat cap look sits cool on him. He certainly sounds more relaxed and reveals quite a bit of himself since his rally move, not previously seen in all his F1 interviews.
    It’s funny to read his take on Fisichella aging a decade soon after his move to Ferrari. Bless his sense of humour!

    To those who think Kimi has lost his F1 stock, it seems he’d have no problems getting an F1 cockpit if he really wanted it. But we all know it’d be a waste of his talent and he wouldn’t be true to his calling if he just drove for money or to make up the numbers. I feel he’s more at home in Rally with somewhat less corporate dictates.
    F1 has lost one of it’s great superstars.

    1. Cliff says:

      ‘But we all know it’d be a waste of his talent and he wouldn’t be true to his calling if he just drove for money or to make up the numbers’

      I think you’ll find that it was Kimi himself who placed such a high price on his services and that was one of the reasons for him not rejoining McLaren, so I’d guess that he was as motivated by money as the rest. He said that McLaren was where he would like to be in 2010, a deal could have been done if he had been realistic.

      1. F1-FAN says:

        Or maybe you are unrealistic and uninformed?

      2. Cliff says:

        I may be uninformed, but ask yourself why someone with such talent, who openly admitted he would return to Mclaren could not do the deal. Even Mercedes were intereseted, but they too were unable to do a deal. KR is said to have been looking for a salary similar to the one he recieved at Ferrari. I accept that it may just be the press speculation, but there is very little to dispute the statements. My guess is that he was looking for a champions salary or atleast one similar to LH. This was probably more about KR’S percieved value versus the value on which McLaren placed on him. He’s probably took less money to go rallying, but I suspect he’s happier than if he had remained in F1 at a reduced rate.

      3. Ha says:

        So how high a price Kimi wanted? Come on, tell us.

      4. Maria says:

        And your source for this exact info on how much Kimi was asking? The man himself states they couldn’t agree on small but important details. Its an openly publicized policy that Mclaren forbids their drivers doing any other sports that may pose a risk of their driver being injured and be out of action.

      5. Beka says:

        Toyota were offering him quite a lot of money. I think he could have gone there if was interested in some cash but he declined the offer because of Toyota’s non competitiveness

  11. James W says:

    I’d say Kimi is way wide of the mark on this one. The sport seems more stable than ever now, and I doubt we’ll see any further manufacturers pulling out. The sport seems to have bottomed out, similar to that in the 1990s.

    There are now plenty of personalities, good ones, coming into the sport for 2010, to join those positive figures already in it.

    1. Maybe you missed the constant turmoil in F1 over the last four years???

      1. James W says:

        I did not, but the sport is NOW more stable than it has been at any point through that period.

    2. lip_iceman says:

      I wouldn’t call it more stable than ever… We’re at the end of a year which lost (effectively) three manufacturers, and gained 3 unknowns. No tyre supplier for 2011? A new man in Todt running the FIA? (Although arguably a stabilizing force, he is still relatively unknown in the role). New FOTA chairman? New points system? New refuelling ban? No KERS? To me these things represents a sport which is changing rapidly.

      I think Kimi is playing the right game.

    3. Maria says:

      Personalities? good ones? Like the Ozzy GP liar? Or Crash gate Flavio and pat, Or spygate Mclarens?

      If thats ‘good personalities’ cant imagine the bad ones.

    4. Kirsty says:

      There’s always huge amount of politics and some scandals in F1. The manufacturers’ exit isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’d always prefer independent teams who have true passing for racing to car manufacturers who see F1 as a marketing tool. But for drivers, it’s bad news though, no more big fat pay checks anymore.

  12. Glen says:

    He’s a lucky guy; being able to choose either F1 or rallying.

  13. Michael Nichol says:

    We all love Kimi for his honesty. It is not always easy to return to F-1. Let’s hope we do see a return for him in 2011.

  14. “In a year we’ll talk”. An interesting thing to say in a Red Bull magazine…

    1. F1-FAN says:

      +1 But I still can’t see him back…

  15. Robert McKay says:

    “In Formula 1 some unpleasant things are happening now; one manufacturer after another is leaving. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about it at the moment.”

    Has Raikkonen bothered to follow WRC over the past few seasons? The disintegration of that category is just as bad, if not more so, than Formula 1, in terms manufacturer support and ability to put out competitive cars capable of winning rallies.

    Arguably WRC has lost its way much more badly than F1 has in recent times. It is a shadow of its former self.

    I don’t think that will bother Raikkonen, he wants to drive stuff fast, be paid for it, have fun and not really have to deal with the media/sponsors. WRC is perfect for him. Him going there is perfect for WRC, they need some names. Maybe it will be the turning point for them.

  16. CptZorg says:

    James, with hindsight it seems Raikkonen was on the level throughout his dismissal/McL negotiation saga – a very rare occurrence indeed in F1 circles.

    I think we’ve all grown accustomed to the double standards and smoke & mirrors in the sport to the extent that when someone actually is entirely honest, we start to interpret their words to find hidden meanings and conspiracy schemes on a grand scale.

    I’ve already been an admirer of Raikkonen so this doesn’t really surprise me, but I do think getting rid of the conspiratorial atmosphere would be very refreshing for F1. Unless obligated to deliver utter BS drivel and thank you’s to everyone from tyre manufacturers to cosmetics suppliers by clauses in their contracts, I think it would be fascinating to hear some honest views from other drivers as well.

  17. carlm21 says:

    Kimi Raikkonen is a legend.

    ‘Fisichella, however, aged ten years in those five races!’

    He had some cracking battles with Fisichella and came out on top every time.

    Will start watching rallying this year now.

    1. RON says:

      Kimi is a failure…

      He was too scared to race against Hamilton in equal machinary, because it would have proved Hamilton was robbed in 2007…

      Legends are not rejected, as Kimi was, at Ferrari…

      1. Andy says:

        … that Prost, who even remembers him anymore, he was just a failure as well. ;)

      2. carlm21 says:

        No one in Formula 1 had the bottle and bravery of Kimi. Unlike Massa he got the job done.

        Kimi would of beaten Hamilton in a Mclaren no problem. Anthony his father was very worried about him having Kimi as his team mate. At the end of the day Hamilton is spoilt at Mclaren and Button will no doubt find out this season.

        Ferrari treated Kimi badly, but never the less he has had the last laugh. £17 Million in earnings for 2010 for not racing. With ferrari not selling cars that figure is worth twice the value.

        Ferrari must be mad as Alonso is no way near as fast as Kimi. Alonso will cause trouble there’s no doubt about that. They will need security guards to keep Massa and Alonso in tact.

    2. Silverstoned says:

      Spot on Carlm21.
      And how right the Iceman is about Fisi. That car sure was a cruel piece of machinery! No wonder Schumacher’s neck played up a bit when he faced the prospect of driving THAT Ferrari!

      I’ve no doubt, however, that Kimi will be back in 2011. He would have left sooner if F1 really was not for him.

  18. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

    I never thought Kimi was worried about manufacturer leaving or anything else while he was in F1. There is no question he brought an interesting character into the sport apart from being a very quick driver. However, F1 requires lot more than that.

    I don’t think Kimi ever had the right team suited to his personality. Probably Red Bull would have the right one for him. But Red Bull did not have the car to fight for the world championship while Kimi was in top form. As far as the politics is concerned, he is right on the money. Too much damage had been done to the sport over the last 2/3 years. But I believe Kimi left the sport when F1 is really on track to regaining its glory. I expect 2010 season is going to encourage Toyota & Honda like teams to comeback sometimes in near future. Probably one or two of the new teams will benefit from this & will be able to remain in F1 for many years. USF1 is one of those teams in my opinion. Now as far as Kimi is concerned I believe he did demand too much more money than he should have. If he really was looking for a competitive car I believe he could’ve come up with deal with Red Bull, McLaren, Brawn or even BMW Saubar. Yes he does have plenty of money, yes he has a world title under his belt, but F1 is not all about just money even if it seems that way sometimes. Mark Webber & Jarno Trulli earned enough money to not do anything ever again. They still raced for many years without coming close to winning world championship because they have something Kimi does not have. You need serious commitment and passion for it as well if you are lucky to get a chance to compete at that level. Think about all the comebacks in of the great champions like Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell and most recent Michael Schumacher. Kimi lacked passion and commitment both a little with McLaren as well as Ferrari. He is one of my favourite drivers of the decade. Hence, I’d personally like to see him return to the sport because he is a terrific driver after all & brings a very different character to the sport.

    James, how would you rate Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber on your list as F1 driver of the decade? They are not on your top ten I saw.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, didn’t achieve enough results, as both would admit themselves. Both very fast, not terribly consistent, both better qualifiers than racers on the whole, but they can certainly get the job done in races. Not great fans of each other.

      1. mskoentjoro says:

        “not great fans of each other”?

      2. Albevo says:

        James, if Webber doesn’t beat Vettel this year, do you think he’ll struggle to find a competitive seat for 2011?

      3. James Allen says:

        Depends how closely matched they are. It’s a big year for Mark. Vettel will be stronger in 2010

  19. Peter says:

    A year in rally will do well for Kimi, he will see how F1 evolves this year and will have the door open with Red Bull F1 for 2011. I think the key is the Red bull partnership that would provide him a different environmant even in F1. Lots of money, F1 titel, immaculate image in the sport and all options for the future. He will be fine. However he will miss the level of competitiveness he reached in F1.

  20. Adrian says:

    I very much doubt Kimi will return to F1, unless he’s way off the pace in WRC – which I don’t see happening either…

    …and for the first time this year I have Freeview+ so can series link all the WRC coverage and keep up to date with it..!!

  21. monktonnik says:

    He has just become a red bull driver and his new best mate is Vettel.

    I’m not saying it isn’t true, and yes I am quite cynical, but doesn’t that smack of being a bit convenient for his first press release.

    1. Andy says:

      Except that Vettel has been his best buddy on the garage for years, and they’ve been playing badminton together for a long time (the citation about this on James’ text reminds me of something that was said already a couple of years ago, when Vettel moved to Switzerland).

    2. Ha says:

      Kimi and Vettel have been friends before as well!

      They are clearly on the same page and understand each other.

      And they have lived something like 30 minutes from each other in Switzerland and have done fitness training together.

      Vettel has a Finnish physio who probably helps quite a lot if they want to train together. Vettel even speaks a little bit of Finnish!

      Surely their friendship and Kimi wishing Vettel to win the WDC in 2010 has nothing to do with Kimi becoming a Red Bull driver.

    3. Peter says:

      It is nothing new in it, they have been mates for a year or two.

    4. snownrock says:

      Excellent point!

  22. Bec says:

    Kimi has to say those things to justify (not least to himself) why he is rallying now and not racing.

    1. Baktru says:

      Well… Rallying is racing. If it weren’t for the dominance of Loeb making it a bit boring (as F1 was in the Schum years) and rally not porting to TV as well as F1, I would be watching WRC and IRC, not F1.

      But, F1 is better on TV, rally is better at the actual stages.

      Also, I wouldn’t dare say that Rally is ‘easier’ than F1. Rather than tracks that everyone knows by heart, you get 30 km long special stages that are driven twice a year only, with limited reconnaisance, various surfaces from track-style tarmac to rocky gravel and snow etc. It’s a whole different cargame and a very competitive one as well.

      1. Maria says:

        You have to be very misinformed to say F1 is even comparable to WRC, F1 is nothing in terms of difficulty WRC poses.

        Neutral and good F1 drivers all agree WRC drivers are the best in the world.

        F1 has glamor and vast investments compared to WRC, Otherwise F1 is a weak technology dominated sport now.

    2. RON says:

      Yup – being beat regularly by Massa should kill your motivation real fast…

  23. F1ART says:

    Well all i can say is that he looks ridculous with that red bull plant pot on he’s head!!

  24. Freespeech says:

    Don’t think he’ll be missed, was never the same after he left McLaren and only lucked his championship because of the goings on at McLaren.

    1. Peter says:

      You can tell the same about Hamilton, he won only by 1 point, too, because what was going on at Ferrari. Maybe he won`t be missed by you but he will be missed by many.

      1. Maria says:

        Dont bother Peter, judging by the rest of his posts he is one of those standard kimi-bashers

    2. Flintelli says:

      Are you snowed in or something ‘Freespeech’? [mod}

      Kimi diserved to be F1 Champ on his talent alone, yes luck played a part, show me a championship were luck hasn't played a part! 'You may wish to google that one!!!' [That's enough bashing of other readers. Please read the rules of the blog - you can argue, but we don't get personal here - Mod]

  25. Ginger says:

    He will be back. Let’s hope so anyway and in a good car.

    1. Silverstoned says:

      imho Kimi’s year off comes at just the right time for him. I think there are a lot of unpredictables about 2010. It promises to be a year of turmoil and controversy more than any other, esp with the return of a certain former champ. I think Kimi is well out of it and by the end of the season we’ll see who is up and who is down among the teams. It won’t look like the forecasts, that’s for sure!

  26. Eric Weinraub says:

    Any suggestion about Kimi’s speed and performance this past season are misplaced. Kimi did what every driver should do which is do your best with machinery you have and spare the whining for retirement. We’ll miss the iceman.

  27. Smellyden says:

    Having read the full article (you can get the magazine free with today’s Independent) you get the feeling that Kimi, wont be ever coming back to F1. It would seem like he is fully committed to joining the WRC, and motivated to become the first driver to win both World Championships. You get the impression that he was riding a wave into F1, but is now beating the drum to his own tune. Good luck to him.

  28. Chuck says:

    Never been a big Raikkonen fan, but I think he is right from start to fin(n)ish in this interview. F1 is no longer a driving matter. It is all about politics and strategy.

    Personally, I do not see anything wrong with a driver that wants to drive and not being involved in this big circus of the current F1.

    And, for sure, now he has proven in F1, I really wish him all the possible driving joy in his Rally career.

  29. Dermot Keelan says:

    Initially I was horrified to learn that Kimi wouldn’t be staying in F1 but reading this interview I’m for him that he’s made this decision to go rallying. He’ll be going somewhere where his character will be more appreciated and where he feels he’ll enjoy his driving more.

    He’s given the fingers to modern F1 and maybe i’m just being romantic/nostalgic but I agree with his outlook.

  30. Hi James
    One thing that was really noticeable – we all know what Kimi’s F1 interviews were like, very stilted, usually seemingly awkward. On the other hand, I saw him interviewed on a rally programme a couple of months ago, and his demeanour was totally different – when talking about rally, his eyes lit up, his English suddenly seemed so much better and his sentences flowed. You could really see where his heart was, at least for the moment.
    I think it’s great for us motor-racing fans – we should get a thrilling F1 season with Lewis/Jenson/Schumi etc, plus the chance to see Kimi rallying!

    1. Silverstoned says:

      any chance of a link to said interview?

  31. Henry Manney says:

    It’s nice to hear a driver speak plainly, instead of only saying what will please sponsors.

    It speaks well of Red Bull that they don’t seem to want to control Kimi’s behavior in this regard. This is good branding strategy, and some of the other teams would do well to reshape their image along less “politically correct” lines. It would do a lot to make F1 more colorful, as it once was before all the money ruined the show.

    Oh, and I see Red Bull doesn’t mind Kimi’s hair growing
    out a bit :-)

  32. Robert says:

    Vettel to Mercedes in 2011 and Kimi to Red Bull? Rosberg’s career blown away by the return of MS and he returns to one of the midtable teams

    1. James Allen says:

      Vettel cannot go anywhere until 2012 earliest

  33. dstaisey says:

    He’ll be back.. And back with a vengeance!

    By politics in F1 he meant all the driver alignments happened behind his back. He showed how great person he is by giving a way to Alonso (if he wanted to stay or played harsh he could have stayed at Ferrari – his contract was rock solid). Only a truly sportsmans can do that and shows great northern people mentality. If somebody doesn’t want you why to stay and bother everyones life. He said that few times last season..

    About driver politics few more things..
    Maybe Button move to Mclaren was done by Mercedes/ whi knew for Schumacher plans log before and wanted to keep nr 1, for media purposes on one of its teams).
    How Niko is turned in to a mega talent of future with media / when he’s not ( Someone stronger would just overrun Schumacher).
    How Massa enjoyed support from Ferrari (Schumacher and his management did everything to stop Kimi cruising to wins like in Melbourne 2007. (after that Ferrari were found illegal floor… all the other things lot of people talk about..)

    Kimi was too good F1 driver left in the open by his team. He didn’t played politics nor wanted to do harm to others for its own well.

    F1 biggest loss is not him as a individual but all the politics that happened with him as an example.

    1. carly says:

      I absolutely agree

  34. Mario says:

    Good old Kimi. He made my bells ring with those comments.

  35. Chaz says:

    Kimi’s quite a little diva. He’s not prepared to build a winning car but just want to sit in one and win. I won’t miss him…

    1. Maria says:

      Really name on driver who ‘built’ the chassis and engine all by himself. Wonder what the engineers where doing in factories serving the said driver his meals?

      1. Cakes says:

        Alonso. He builds Ferrari’s F1 cars on weekdays and Ferrari’s road cars on Saturday.
        On Sundays, he repairs shoes.

      2. Fuchsia says:

        LOL. well said… and in his spare time, he does a bit of industrial espionnage 2007 style.

    2. salty popcorn says:

      It is also a sad reflection of modern F1 – to win races, drivers need to be in a car capable of doing that, regardless of how good they are. I don’t think Kimi has any desire to be trundling round the mid-field just for the sake of being in F1 (unlike, say, Alonso for these last two years).

  36. The Limit says:

    Its a little rich of Raikkonen to come out with some of his comments. Especially the remarks about ‘teams leaving F1′, which to be honest, I found laughable.
    During his years at Ferrari, Kimi was on a reported $45 million a year, which brakes down to around $2 million every time he raced for the Scuderia. To be fair, Raikkonen was being paid willingly by Ferrari, it was not as if the Finn had a gun to their heads, however, when you look at the money these teams spent on drivers in recent years, its hardly surprising that they want out of F1.
    So, although Kimi was not the only driver on mega money, he did have an obligation to atleast show some interest whilst raking in millions to spirit off to his Swiss bank account. His other remarks, were all spot on!
    He is exactly right about how drivers are not allowed to express themselves, which has
    damaged the sports image as the personalties of old were what made the sport great. To this I blame the corporate invasion of all the big car manufacturers to F1 a decade ago, as much as I do the FIA under Max Mosley.
    On this side of things, with three of the big companies out for lunch for awhile, the introduction of all these small independant teams may not be such a bad thing.

    1. Maria says:

      You are talking of yourself there when it comes to being a ‘little rich’. Have a good look at his Ferrari career, 1 WDC, awesome 2nd half of 2009 in car that was no longer developed beyond mid season, 1 win and atleast 4 podiums. All this with Felipe out of the way and Ferrari finally focusing on Kimi for a change.

      Or let me take a wild guess, you are a Ferrari fan? That would explain it.

    2. CptZorg says:

      Or even better, why don’t we get the drivers properly unionized and affiliated to their local communist party to ensure there aren’t any variations related to performance or remuneration!

      Wouldn’t make for good racing but my god imagine the sense of solidarity with the working man. I wonder, does Bernie give it all away to charity or do you suppose he keeps a few bob for the odd super cider?

  37. yos says:

    What a waste of talent for F1, Kimi could have been a chamionship material for yet some years to come if he his showed some interest to the fans and to the F1 sponsorts. He was one of a few drivers that make a Grand Prix watchable not like most drivers who do a marry go round…

  38. Steve Earle says:

    I think it’s a sad indictment of the state of F1, when 2 of it’s most talented drivers in recent years (Kimi & JPM) leave the sport way before their careers should have ended because the racing is too boring and the frustration with the amount of politics involved!

    I think the sport takes itself way too seriously, drivers should be allowed to be themselves and to speak their mind. The powers that be need to remember that at the end of the day F1 is supposed to be about entertainment. Maybe I’m wearing rose tinted specs but I loved it back in the day when on the slow down lap Senna would wave the Brazilian flag after he’d won a race and I loved it when Mansell gave Senna a lift back to the pits on top of his car at the end of another race. Even small things like these aren’t allowed now because of safety reasons. It’s mad! Compare this to Moto Gp and what Rossi gets up to when he wins. I swear in recent years I’ve only stuck with F1 out of some misplaced sense of loyalty. At least 2010 is shaping up to be a more interesting year.
    Anyway rant over, good luck Kimi, I for one will miss you!

    1. Maria says:

      You’ve said it mate, you said it.

    2. Nikki says:

      Totally agree. It’s very sad that F1 drivers, with all their talent and experience, have to censor what they say about the sport they compete in, for fear of having a sponsor pull out.

      Puts what Anthony Davidson was saying recently about pay drivers into perspective really. Don’t say anything we won’t like, don’t do anything we won’t like.

      Funny really, because as far as the public are concerned Hamilton lied, Alonso blackmailed, Schumacher cheated – and they’re still the three highest profile F1 drivers, with sponsors clambering to get all over them.

  39. ASF says:

    As Kimi always says : “Wait and See”!

    Here’s how I see things… a 30 year old F1 WDC gets paid more than any of the drivers currently on the F1 grid to drive one of the best Rally cars in the world for the best Rally team in the world. And all he has to do is drive, get to know the car, the team the tracks; see if the lifestyle suits him. If he likes it, he can use the year he’s just had in JWRC (driving for ‘free’) to negotiate a seat in the WRC Red Bull team. If he decides that F1 is more fun, then he’s got Webber’s seat in a Newey-Designed F1 car with Seb Vettel as his team mate.

    Sounds pretty near perfect. Well played that man!

    1. Maria says:

      Or shall we say well played Robertsons.

  40. carly says:

    Kimi will be sorely missed ! What a season it could have been…. if only he was driving for Macca or Mercedes !

  41. Jon says:

    I miss the 2005 McLaren Kimi, but sadly that Kimi doesn’t exist anymore. He didn’t have his mojo with Ferrari. F1 in 2010 will be one of the most exciting seasons ever. Even if Kimi was there it’d be with a team that won’t win anything, similar to Montoya, so it’s a good choice to leave. It’s just a shame he finally found some balls to say something honest, only after he left F1. There are plenty of drivers in F1 who say what they think, Webber, Massa, Alonso and Rubens are four easy names. It was Kimi who was too uncomfortable to be honest. On track he was pretty aggressive though, got to give him that.

    I also laugh at the thought of Kimi walking back into Redbull, like it’s no big deal. Only a Kimi fan would think that’s possible. First thing is how Webber performs. Redbull stayed loyal to DC, and he was alot worse then Webber is/was/will be. Secondly, Kimi has some major motivation issues which he admits to in these comments. Thirdly, his speed only appeared good once Massa was out of the picture. For the last 18 months, his pace hasn’t been what it was in the past. For me, I was expecting big things when Kimi joined Ferrari but unfortunately he dissappointed and is now out of F1. I hope he can be happy in rallying, it probably suits him more anyway.

  42. RON says:

    Kimi proved that bad communications, bad attitude and bad performances can earn you millions, but eventually you get found out and booted.

    At least Kimi won’t have to do any overtaking in rallying… that must be his main motivation.

    1. Silverstoned says:

      It’s a really funny theory this about “bad communication” with all due respect to James and his recent article.
      Yet It must be enough for any serious F1 team to have a driver who is able to drive their car faster than anyone else. Period. It is their job to ensure that WHATEVER it is that will make him feel happy and motivated is provided for him. Hardly rocket science.
      For good communicating you have to look elsewhere: Larry King, David Frost, Bob Hope.

    2. Andy says:

      Funny how any discussion section of an article that deals with Raikkonen fills up with comments that accuse Kimi of being a lazy, greedy non-performer, and then replies to those from his fans (of which I am one) refuting them. However, as this article was not about Kimi’s performance, one wonders is it really necessary to go over all this yet again.

      Kimi’s views on what F1 has become are not a secret, he’s been saying this for years, and his decision to leave F1 is a natural continuation of those thoughts. WRC has gone through big changes but things there appear to be stabilizing with more manufacturers expressing interest in coming aboard. It thus provides a very interesting challenge, one that, I’m sure, Kimi has genuine will to accept. Self-proclaimed supremacy of motorsports by F1 does not make it so when year after year it is becoming more and more like show wrestling of racing, rather than the pinnacle of the sport. Those who are there to race will leave. F1 has already lost Montoya and Kimi because of that, soon only those who like to see their face on tabloids are left. This must change, for F1 can truly be the pinnacle of motorsports.

  43. Rick J says:

    After being an avid F1 follower for most of the first 50 odd years of my life, my primary allegiance wandered off from F1 to motorcycle racing a few years back. I still have an interest (after all I am here!) but not to the point of being willing to add one red cent to the pile of billions Bernie has already accumulated. Whatever coverage I can find for free I will happily enjoy (and thank you very much James!) but when or if those sources dry up, I will simply leave it.

    F1 used to be the arena to which all the worlds best drivers eventually gravitated – including those from the motorsport xenophobic U.S. But out of your top 10 drivers of the past decade James, we now have Kimi Raikonen following Juan Montoya in happily walking away from it all. Once the top motorcycle racers (Surtees, Hailwood, Agostini, etc) all aspired to the top echelon of the 4 wheeled motorsport world as they slowed down and sought something perhaps safer, but today Valentino Rossi basically said thanks but no thanks when he had the chance at F1. Clearly he too is destined for a World Rally Championship slot before too long and what a mouth watering prospect that will be if Raikonen is still there!

    I am hoping this year to be at both U.S. MotoGP races as a paying customer and for the first time I will be actively following the WRC. No one will really listen to – or care – about Kimi’s words (after all Schumacher is back!) but I can’t help feeling saddened that the letters of the writing on the wall are getting bigger.

    1. Jon says:

      Do you know the one thing that Montoya and Kimi have in common? Well there is two things, actually. One, they both excelled when they had a good combination with the car and team, which coincidentally were winning cars. In these teams they made a name for themselves, drove very well and got alot of fans. The second thing, is that when they joined new teams, they failed to live up to expectations, desptite being winning cars especially Montoya. And those teams didn’t want them anymore. Look at Heiki. The only way to go from a top team that doesn’t want you anymore is backwards. Both these drivers chose against that, because they’d already tasted success and didn’t want to work they way back up the pecking order. They are good drivers but if they were as good as you imply, they’d still be in top F1 teams. The thing with F1 is there is at least 10 top drivers, the main thing that seperates them is the car.

      1. Rick J says:

        I do not see the statistics that support your argument but honestly, I think they walked away primarily because they were sick of the whole scene. That had undoubtedly been affecting their commitment (hence performance) for a while before they left. Both are still great drivers – not merely good.

  44. M__E says:

    a picture says a thousand words indeed:

    kimi has left the building…for good!
    look how comfortable he looks in his new skin. He’s right at home there, actually he looks like he might end up snowboarding or at the x games with that photo!

    Raikkonen was a round peg in a square hole in F1
    clearly. I cant see him going back, and actually I dont want to now having seen that.

    Kind of like your kid leaving home, your happy for them finding new pastures, but a tiny part of you wants them to stay forever!

    go Kimi dont look back..my son :D

  45. Howard F says:

    IT is a sad reflection of the modern era that F1 has lost one of it’s greatest racing talents – perhaps not the best all rounder – his development skills were questionable. F1 is now a massive global business that is almost bigger than the sport itself. The drivers are the main public face of the sport and their skill has to extend beyond that on the track. Kimi never seemed that interested in all the extra duties – he probably has a point! Best of luck in rallying – he will no doubt do well.

  46. Kirsty says:

    Massa really shook his core confidence, even dominating a Fisi who jumped into the car mid season with virtually no testing is mentioned with some sense of triumph……

  47. Segedunum says:

    “Meanwhile Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko has dismissed suggestions that Raikkonen might take Mark Webber’s seat at Red Bull in 2011 as “a pure rumour”.”

    It is almost a dead cert that this will happen, and it definitely will if Vettel goes to Mercedes. Webber has already become a figurehead team principal for a lower formula Red Bull team.

  48. Gareth Davies says:

    Kimi on the whole is right about one thing – that nobody says what they think as it’s taken out of context.

    Yes F1 is too political, but surely he should take into account the new FIA regime change. I for one hope that a racing man (Todt) as president rather than a lawyer (Mosley) will certainly focus things on what matters – the racing.

    I don’t think Kimi will be in a Red Bull F1 car in 2011. If I’ve learned anything about Kimi over the last 9 years, he’s one of the very few drivers who do what they want and say what they mean. If he’s saying it’s just a sabbatical, then see what F1 has to offer him, then that’s what it is.

    I don’t personally think he’ll be in F1 in 2011 – he’ll find WRC more suited to his daredevil attitude and would rather earn a fraction of an F1 salary to do it – it’s not exactly like he’s short of money now, is he?

  49. The Limit says:

    @Maria.

    I don’t think I am out of line in my comments concerning Kimi, and I am a fan of his. I wanted him to succeed at Ferrari as much as anyone else, but here is a guy who has made a huge sum of money doing this job over the years. Without F1, where would he be? Where would any of these drivers be?
    Also, if you bothered to read the rest of my post, I agreed with nearly everything Kimi said, and no, I am not a fan of Ferrari!

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