May the best man win
Title Showdown 2014
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Raikkonen appears to turn his back on a return to Formula 1
Scuderia Ferrari
Raikkonen appears to turn his back on a return to Formula 1
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Aug 2010   |  8:35 am GMT  |  228 comments

I see that the leading French sports paper L’Equipe has an interview with Kimi Raikkonen this weekend, where he appears to close the door on F1 for good.


The 2007 world champion switched to rallying this season after being dropped by Ferrari in favour of Fernando Alonso. He joined forces with Red Bull and Citroen in WRC and this led to suggestions that his route back into F1 might be with the current championship leaders, but RBR team principal Christian Horner has always dismissed such suggestions and this weekend Raikkonen seems to be saying that he will not be back in F1,

“You never know, but I will probably not return to Formula 1,” he said. “I became the F1 world champion, which I had always wanted to do, but times have changed. I do rallying now and there is far more to life than F1.”

He always looked and behaved like a man who believed that there is far more to life than F1. Raikkonen disliked the politics in the sport and the intensity of the media scrutiny, especially at Ferrari. He found the sport rather inward looking, as it certainly can be. He is more temperamentally suited to the ambience of rallying.

Although he was never afraid of any competitor in F1, the level of driving is very high at the moment and with several top drivers in top cars, the competitions is probably as high as it has been for a couple of generations. To come back and face that he would have to be with a top team, like Red Bull, but as all the leading teams have at least one long term lead driver, there isn’t really a place for Raikkonen.

And Red Bull and Ferrari’s contrasting experiences this season of trying to handle two top drivers shows, it’s not easy to manage.

In rallying Raikkonen seems to be enjoying the challenge of building up a mental database of how the car behaves on the different surfaces, a process which takes many years and is the main challenge facing road racing converts such as him.

Therefore it makes little sense to do a year of rallying and then stop. Only with several years of experience will the results start to come.

“In racing, the surface of one circuit is not massively different to the surface of another, although there are some small changes, ” he says. “In rallying, the difference is huge on every event. There is so much variety on a rally: every kilometre and every corner is different. That’s why experience is so important in this sport. So I just need to keep on building up my knowledge.”

His fellow Finn Tommi Makinen believes that Raikkonen should stay in rallying and that he is having a good time in WRC,

“He seems to be happy,” he said.”Kimi is the kind of guy who wants to make success and find the best performance from himself. I’m sure he is the guy who is not giving up. That’s why I’m pretty sure he won’t jump out of rally yet. I’m pretty sure he will stay next year.”

F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers. It’s interesting that for personality and temperament reasons, both Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya ended up competing elsewhere, although Raikkonen did put in a nine year stint in F1, which is longer than most Finns, who historically don’t have very long F1 careers.

Raikkonen also reveals that he hasn’t paid much attention to this year’s F1 championship, “I’ve watched a few races, while for others the result was enough. I’m not particularly hooked.”

Featured Video
ferhorsepower
Horse Power – Shell & Ferrari’s journey to 2014
Featured News in ferrari
MORE FROM Ferrari
LATEST FROM THE SCUDERIA FERRARI COMMUNITY
Previous
Next
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
228 Comments
  1. Bas Altena says:

    There will always be a place for Raikkonen in F1, it is different from a comeback like Schumacher had this year. He (Raikkonen) is out for just one year, and next year there is a completely different sort of tyre being used. So everyone (except for Heidfeld) will start from scratch. But Raikkonen doesn’t want to do F1 anymore, that’s not his problem, that’s a problem where F1 has to deal with. It’s interesting to see whether another strong character like Villeneuve will return next year…if the FIA allows him and his team…

  2. Irish con says:

    For me if kimi had michaels drive and work ethic he would have been the greatest ever. The fastest man on the planet and the coolest aswell. F1
    misses him and how I wish he was at mclaren this year to challenge Hamilton because let’s face it button can’t.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      R U a con artist, Irish? Anyway jokes aside, I absolutely agree with you, I’ve always held Kimi in very high regard both for his speed and his personallity and in a way I see Weber in a similar light. Straight shooters, no bullsh*t, just bloody quick!
      PK.

      1. Tim. says:

        But only bloody quick when he wanted to be…he never had a season that he gave 1oo% the entire year…

      2. Jason Greer says:

        What about 2005? His only problem that year was that he perhaps tried too hard in a fragile McLaren.

      3. Mike Misgerett says:

        And in 2007 he achieved more than any other driver did the entire season…

      4. Paul Kirk says:

        Well Tim, I dunno bout that, I sometimes think that b/cos of his comunication problems plus his ability to lick an ice-cream when other drivers would probably be poreing over data with their engineer so as to improve their setups, I’m thinking that when he wasn’t quick it was probably b/cos the car wasn’t right for him, I cant imagine a driver, (espesially Kimi) just deciding to go slower than he can. I reckon if he had Sandshoe Fixer’s abillity to analise and set up his car, Kimi would be absolutely UNBEATABLE!!!
        PK.

    2. D. says:

      Could not agree more.

  3. SD says:

    Sad, we could have monster of a season next year with him around.

    One of the weirdoes with freakishly raw natural talent seen in F1.

    Big fan of KIMI

    1. Robert says:

      I don’t think the addition of Kimi would turn the season into a spectacular showing of driving talent. For starters Ferrari would need to remove Massa from their race car and install someone who has talent.
      IMO, to make 2011 a monster season, Webber would need to move to Ferrari, Kimi fill in at Red Bull, Kubica/Renault to come to the fore, Schumacher getting his act together, and Rosberg handed a car that can win. And for the additional seat at Renault – Kobayashi. Nothing needs to happen at Mclaren.

      1. Mike Misgerett says:

        I love it!
        And Massa could return to Sauber also getting their act together. :-)

  4. Banjo says:

    It is a shame but to be honest I Am hoping Kimi stays away now. It would be a great shame seeing such a talented driver In a car which could not deliver. With a few years away from the sport and new tyres to get used to he’d have lost his edge, like Schumi. I don’t think Kimi wants to damage his reputation with an unsucesful return and nor do his fans want to see it. Goodluck to him in WRC.

  5. Vik says:

    The man had such an aura at McLaren, a kind of dense, impenetrability that was bullet proof. The Ice Man. Ferrari was his only choice, but it was a relationship doomed to failure. They seem to need a motivator, a spokesperson, a personification of the brand. That was never Raikonnen. He was/is the ultimate expression of the philosophy ‘shut up and drive’. Shame Williams have gone backwards, Frank and Kimi seem like a match made in heaven. But in a world of corporate players and nice guys, KR at his best was imperious – a cold blooded killer, an assassin, an enigma – and there’s no one like him.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      Beautiful!!!!!!!
      PK.

    2. Spike says:

      Wow. Thats poetry. And truth. I salute you Vik.

      If this is final, I support Kimis decision even though I would have loved to see more of his amazing talent in F1.

    3. dren says:

      Great post! That is Kimi.

      1. jack_faith says:

        oh for heaven’s sake. As a character you are talking sub-zero. He hardly compares to the life-style grace of past drivers. Of course a blinding driver. But personally the abiding memory I’ll have of Kimi is reeling off the fastest lap towards the end of a race while he running somewhere out of contention for first or second.

      2. Surya says:

        I say thats very selective memory. Having taken the effort to post this, you might have also read the various other comments highlighting some of the memorable moments that he gave, including the classic in Suzuka, or maybe not???

    4. Curro says:

      Spot on, well said, thank you.

      Lost in Portugal for vacation, funny to log back in after ages (feels like it) and find a Kimi post top of the comments list. Tells you something about the man, and why we miss him so much.

  6. Kimi has always been my favourite driver precisely because of his dislike of the politics and his love of Rgr good things in life. Really like his just-get-in-a-carand-do-it approach.

  7. Whoops…meant “the good things” bloody phone keyboards!

  8. soulknight says:

    Hello James and bloggers,

    first of all, thank you for this great opportunity to talk about F1 in such good company.

    I have mixed feelings about this news on Kimi:

    Kind of sad if he does not return, he was a huge talent and a great character: i like him being the iceman, having a coke/ice cream and being not a marketing robot.

    on the other hand, returning in less than very good conditions would do him no good. We see what Schumi is living , and where could Kimi go ? so if he is indeed having a good time in rally, please continue and i will cheer his first victory!

    ps: being new here, let me shortly introduce myself. i am a french F1 enthusiast, with no technical skills at all regarding cars. i root for alonso and , albeit trying, can’t really manage to like vettel. so i will applaud Webber if he can beat him!

  9. F1 Novice says:

    Jenson said he had to find new goals when he won his Championship – I suspect it was the same for Kimi – it’s just that those goals didn’t materialise in F1. – can’t see him coming back to F1 other than to Red Bull – if only just to taste a top Newey designed car again and go one better than he did when he was at McLaren with him.

  10. MartinWR says:

    I find the idea of “Red Bull and Ferrari’s contrasting experiences this season of trying to handle two top drivers” a bit puzzling. Vettel certainly seems to be pretty good, but even this could be illusory. The Red Bull car is so far ahead of its rivals that who can say what is down to the machinery on the one hand, or the contribution of its conductor on the other. Certainly the car’s superiority is much greater than that of Jense’s mount last season.

    As for the other bloke, he clearly isn’t even in the same league as Vettel, whatever league that may be. Web’s chamionship lead over Vettel simply comes down to the numerous reliability issues Vettel has suffered this year, as is perfectly obvious from an analysis of the race results, that is apart from the times when Vettel has actually been punted off by the Ocker.

    1. Mark says:

      Its interesting how you can decide who has a bigger car advantage between different seasons and different regulations, all from the comfort of your couch.
      Your unsure of how good Vettel is, well all knowledgeable figureheads in the F1 industry seem to think he is the next great, a combination of technical feedback and deft touch. An unambiguous indicator would be a race victory in a Torro Rosso.
      And Webbers WDC lead coming down to a plethora of unreliability and misfortune on Sebs part, I would have thought Mark leading more race laps than anyone, having more in race fastest laps (during the course of the gp, not final single fastest lap) and the fact that he has accumulated more points than Seb to this point would suggest that he has earnt said lead.

      1. Frenchie says:

        Vettel is far from showing the maturity Hamilton had at the same age, considering that just like Lewis in 08, it is his second year in a championship winning form car. All things considered, Vettel hasn’t suffered much from unreliability. He salvaged 4th in Bahrain and 3rd in Barcelona. His only other issue has been Australia.
        Let’s not forget he is the one who collided with Webber in Turkey, robbing RBR of a 1-2 finish – this can’t be blamed on unreliability.

        Webber, funnily enough, just like Jenson last year, seems to be getting undeserved criticism. People tend to forget that he drove with a broken leg for the first part of the season when he was hammered by Vettel last year.

        As for Kimi, I think rallying fits him well. It is a tough learning curve from what I can see on TV but he seems to be enjoying his time. He’s like the Finnish Sebastian Loeb. Shame F1 couldn’t keep him for a few more years.

      2. Irish con says:

        How can you say that seb hasnt had that much reliability problems and bad luck. Bahrain duff spark plug 1st to 4th 13 points dropped. Australia 25 points dropped with brake problem. Spain brake problems but he was lucky that lewis smahed out also. Turkey qualifiying car broke toward end of lap when he was massively up on webbers pole time. Starting the race third led to the eventual smash 25 points dropped. Canada again gearbox problem for last half of race had to drop back from button. Don’t no what would have happened. Lewis cutting his tyre in Britain dropped him to 7th more points dropped which he couldn’t avoid. Hungary safety car robbed him but like he sayed he was sleeping. [mod]

    2. BMG says:

      I think you need to look at his driving style, this could be the reason he has a reliability problem.
      You can’t talk about what could have been, ” it’s just what it is”.
      The fact Seb made a rookie mistake in his last race said it all.

    3. richie675 says:

      “an unambiguous indicator would be a race victory in a Torro Rosso”….

      in the wet, too…I agree that Seb’s talent needs some review, his defensive moves off the startline and overtaking skills have been called into question this year and these are key to ensuring a decent title challenge.

      As for Jenson, I agree he won his WDC with a car that was certainly not the equal of the RB6 compared to it’s season’s challenegers – good for him. Webber might not be the atypical title hero but he does keep getting better, doesn’t he?

      Maybe we don’t rule him out on past experience just yet… :)

      1. James Allen says:

        With Vettel you must bear in mind that he is only 23 years old. At that age Senna and Schumacher were still doing all sorts of things wrong.

      2. dren says:

        Have to agree with that. Button would not have won last year if he was in his younger years.

      3. OldIron says:

        I would expect that one of the current top drivers in an RB6 would be far in the lead by now (as Vettel has lost more points from driver mistakes than reliability).

        The question was about Kimi though: if he were at RB, would they be doing better. Motivated Kimi is surely fast enough, but I’m not sure that laid back Kimi would be.

  11. Alan Dove says:

    Maybe Kimi recognises that F1 may not represent the most elite level of motorsport, on a driver level at least, and with this understanding has the freedom to try out other forms of motorsport without feeling he’s taking a step down. Yes, of course F1 contains some of the best drivers on the planet, but it’s far from being conclusively the most elite.

    Is Kozlinski any less of a world champion than Button? Is Loeb any less of World Champion than Schumacher? No of course not!

    I hope (but doubt) that Kimi is setting an example that you don’t have to JUST be an f1 driver.

      1. Adam Tate says:

        Well said! I applaud Kimi for going out and showing what he can do in rallying. Though it is a shame he isn’t still in F1, and like James mentioned, it’s a shame Montoya isn’t either. This may be the most competitive field since the early 90′s, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better. With more top drivers than there are top teams this will always be a problem. Kimi deserved more than one championship, Montoya easily could have won one too, I think they were both robbed in 03 and they would without a doubt liven up the current grid.

  12. Martin says:

    I have always been a Kimi Raikkonen fan and I still think his best performances were in a Mclaren. I think to myself that maybe the Ron Dennis and Mclaren way made Raikkonen put in a better performance than Ferrari did. Whether it was frustration I don’t know. I believe Ron gave him Kimi the nickname ‘Iceman’. But anyway I do think that letting him do other things when he was in a Ferrari may have distracted from his performances. Although I do contradict myself because it’s good to see F1 drivers compete other sports.

    These are just my thoughts anyway and after all he did become a World Champion in a Ferrari.

    I support him in the World Rally now and I hope he stays there and becomes successful.

    1. dren says:

      I think it had to have taken Kimi a lot of self determination and concentration to drive the way he did the second part of his championship winning season. It would have been nice if he won the championship at Mclaren.

      1. Martin says:

        True. Clearly 2007 season was his best at Ferrari although it was down to luck due to the inner team battle at Mclaren. Although he did lose previous championships to bad luck so it swings in roundabouts. I am glad he did win a World Championship because he fully deserves it and I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t as I’m sure he would have been…I think.

  13. chris green says:

    Good luck to Kimi. I’m glad he has found a fresh challenge for his immense talents. There have been other F1 drivers who have walked away from the politics eg Alan Jones and JP Montoya
    I have to say that I believe World Rally requires a bigger basket of skills than F1 and a great driver can finesse results in a less competitive car. Without a good car in F1 you are nowhere.

    It was sad to see kimi leave F1.

  14. Harvey Yates says:

    This has not come as much of a suprise. If you were to make a list of the most committed 30 World Drivers’ Championship winners, you’d be unlikely to include Kimi.

    Whilst it is a bit of a shame to lose him to the sport You have to ask who would you replace with him.

    He was, and probably still is, one of the most naturally gifted F1 drivers. I’m not sure his skills will translate to the softer ground.

    He does seem, as you say, unsuited temperemtally to F1′s requirements. Perhaps he should have had a coach?

    He was a bit of a one-off and the sport is the poorer for his going but not, I think, for on-track action. He could be, at least for spectators, frustrating sometimes when he seemed to be elsewhere.

    The surprise was that on reading this aritlce I realised that I hadn’t really missed him.

    1. Werewolf says:

      Providing the following year is reasonably good – and 2010 most certainly has been – I find I miss very few drivers for more than a few races on track. There have been exceptions, of course, but by and large it is just part of F1.

      Those that are worth properly remembering then find themselves allocated a place in the old brainbox, allowing inward (and outward) lyrical waxing on demand; and it is always great to see former drivers on F1 pre-shows and at festivals, etc (a rally-enhanced Raikkonen in a competitive Ferrari at the Goodwood Revival would be worth the admission alone) but the contemporary racing continues unabated.

      James, given that you are very much onsite at F1 weekends, do you miss individual drivers’ presence as characters?

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes, but then new characters come along. It never stands still. Raikkonen was unique, though

    2. Adam Tate says:

      It’s something you never see, but Kimi was the example of a man so talented that he didn’t need to put forth the level of commitment needed by other drivers to reach the top. The past several seasons everyone has been saying Alonso is the current best. And while Alonso may be the “most complete” driver out there, Kimi was the best.

  15. Alchemy says:

    I would dearly love to see Kimi in a Red Bull but you can only take a race horse to water…

  16. Kate says:

    I was never a huge fan of Raikkonen, but I admire him for taking on rally at this stage in his career, and its good to see that he is happy.

    I wonder if there ever was actually anything to those Red Bull 2011 rumours, or was it really just baseless speculation all along?

  17. Steve says:

    I don’t see what would bring him back to be honest. He got the title and surely set himself up for life. Red Bull F1 may have been able to offer him an environment he would have enjoyed, but if the WRC is pushing all his buttons, why go back?

    There is no one like him at the moment, which is a pity. His whole attitude of winning on pure talent rather than through politics or slogging through the data, made him more human and likeable than the win at all costs mentality of his peers and the new breed of F1 pilots.

  18. I’ve been a Hakkinen-Raikkonen fan from as far back as I’ve been watching F1. Kimi is one of those drivers people love and love to hate.

    It was pretty obvious that he was never coming back, yet he kept making ambiguous comments on his future. Till now. With this interview it seems obvious that he’s more interested in living life his way than pandering to the F1 circus – media and otherwise.

    I’m sure he’ll have fun in Rallying. After all, its not like he’s doing it for the money!

  19. Cliff says:

    As someone who has questioned Kimi’s attitude, but never his ability. I have to say that I would have liked to see him return to F1. However he appears happy and content with the WRC, so I can only wish him the best of luck!

  20. Alex says:

    I post many times here, about being a Kimi fan. It’s such a shame he won’t be in F1 anymore.
    I’m so, so gutted to read this.

  21. John Pinx says:

    Nice piece James :) Which driver has won the most different categories of World Championships, cars and bikes? Maybe Kimi will start a new trend of more diverse world champions, which would certainly be very interesting to those of us who are not watching F1 to the exclusion of everything else. I would love to see drivers going across motorsport, gaining a world championship and moving on to another.

    1. James Allen says:

      Mario Andretti was very versatile, NASCAR, IndyCar, F1 etc

      1. Marybeth says:

        I did read somewhere that there were rumors Kimi thinking about Indy car & LeMans. Maybe he wants to try for an Indy 500.

      2. JohnBt says:

        Like these rumours very much and will be really glad to watch Kimi in Le Mans not so much Indy.

      3. Harvey Yates says:

        I reckon Mario’s nationality cost him the recognition he undoubtedly deserves.

        One long and somewhat widswept British GP I was sitting at Club from around 5 am in a group of real F1 nerds and the conversation, as it often does, got around to the greatest. This at a time of Senna, Prost and Piquet.

        Despite the arguments for each person’s favourite were verging on the bloody, with statistics erupting seemingly immediately from the memory, the general concesus was that Mario should be top five with a strong minority for him being top three.

        I’d always reckoned him from JPS days and I thought this was down to prejudice as I support manufacturers. So it was great to have others, and not just others, but those at Club – and is there any group better informed? – start to sing his praises.

        Our conclusion then was that if he was Scottish he’d have been #2 of the all-time greats in the eyes of the press.

        He came over as a thoroughly pleasant chap. Again possibly prejudice but one I certainly would not like to have corrected. Whatever, he is a real enthusiast for motor sport and an even better practioner of it.

        I won’t say where I’d put him in the hall of fame but the very strong support for him amongst those who lived a breathed F1 quite surprised me. His only fault, in many eyes, was that he was American.

      4. Werewolf says:

        You’re speaking my language, Harvey! Andretti, aside from being so competitive in every branch of the sport he tackled, had a kind of film star charisma about him too, something lacking in so many drivers today. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him a couple of times and he carries that across in the flesh as well.

        Yet I wonder, on reflection, if that very versatility is what holds back his reputation, if indeed it has been. The awesome results record is spread across several disciplines, contributing to ‘only’ a single World Championship (at 38 years old, I think). F1 fans in particular can be very insular about their statistics!

      5. Marybeth says:

        Harvey,
        As an American, we have always highlt regarded Mario as a champion because of how well he did in so many different series. :) On the other hand, Phil Hill is regarded as the only American born F1 champion & Mario is regarded highly as an Italian champion. How could Europeans hold his Italian nationality against him…?

      6. Brent McMaster says:

        This side of the ocean he is a household word and we certainly recognise him as one of the great drivers of all time. I find the belief that the greatest drivers ever can only come from F1 a little arrogant. In North America there are far more car racing ovals then there are go cart tracks, so the skills are developed to produce NASCAR drivers not open wheel racers. I’m sure if you ask Montoya, he will say there are guys in Nascar that could have raced F1 and done very well.

      7. Paul Kirk says:

        [mod] I don’t agree with your last comment, (American), and I’m surprised you said it! If you’d said Japineeze I might agree, but Mario is actualy Italian. My doughter’s 2nd favorite teddy is named Mario Andretti, and her favorite is Nigel Mansel, then 3rd is Michael Andretti and 4th is Scott Dixon and they’ve all raced in USA as well as other places!
        PK. (NZ)

      8. Mike Misgerett says:

        Ther were other F1 World champs, besides Andretti who succeeded in other series: John Surtees (bikes), Scheckter, Mansel, Villeneuve (USA), to name a few…and Fittipaldi also excelled.

      9. Adam Tate says:

        Glad to see Andretti getting the recognition he deserves! He was the most versatile racer of them all, and he won in them all. I love this new trend of drivers reigniting that spirit with Kimi in the WRC and Kubica in the occasional rally. By far the closest driver we have to Andretti today though is Montoya. An Indy 500 winner, a man who by all rights should have won a WDC in F1, a Nascar winner, a 24 hours of Daytona winner, and more! I would love to see him go for Le Mans, and complete a triple crown of sorts! (Indy 500 and Monaco GP wins already in the bag)

    2. Harvey Yates says:

      Re: Paul Kirk and Marybeth.

      Mario had Italian parents, he was, I believe, born in Yugoslavia (not sure what bit) and became a naturalised citizen of the USA in his teens. I’m not aware of any Japanese connection.

      My point wasn’t so much what nationality he was so much as his own belief. That seemed clear enough to me at the time. He called himself American and I remember him talking about Phil Hill in an interview.

      The main point was that as he was thought of as American his exploits were not treated in the same way as if he’d been from, for instance, Scotland or other part of the UK.

      I meant nothing against Americans/Yugoslaves/Italians by my comment. I’m neutral when it come to origin. Indeed I’m strongly against national anthems being played at podium ceremonies. Benetton became Italian overnight. All rather facical.

      No one seeing Mario in the JPS would care where he came from. It’s immaterial. The chap was inspirational.

      When some people excuse the behaviour of certain drivers by suggesting they have to be ultra conceited to succeed and this makes them behave like louts, I always like to mention Mario (amongst a few others). Totally committed but seemingly a gent.

  22. Eamonn Mc Cauley says:

    Untill the second seat at Renault is confirmed, I still have Kimi in it. He could just be trying to get more money out of them. There’s more money in F1. Time will tell.

  23. Bill Johnson says:

    ‘F1 is the elite level of motorsport ‘

    Were that the case, then Kimi should be leading the WRC just now, shouldn’t he? And any of these atheletes should be brilliant champions at any motorsport they turn their hand to?

    Let’s rephrase: ‘ F1 is the elitist level of motorsport, where anything and anyone else is just not good enough’.

    It’s only one sort, not that I don’t like it, but I can’t call it ‘the elite’ any more – more like the technically fussy, politically overwrought, bling-bling championship for medium fast cars on really smooth roads.

    And then there’s Bernie – destroyer of worlds.

    1. Mhndr says:

      Bill.. Cant agree with you more… Its just that the so called British media who portray that F1 is the elitist sport of motorsport..

      1. James Allen says:

        Nonsense, anyone working in motorsport will tell you that F1 is the pinnacle. You cannot blame the British media for everything..

      2. Harvey Yates says:

        I note you say nothing about the criticism of Bernie as the destroyer of worlds.

      3. Eamonn Mc Cauley says:

        Not everything.

      4. ash says:

        It is ridiculous to suggest that because Kimi isn’t leading the WRC, F1 drivers aren’t the best. Rallying requires such different skills. I feel that Kimi can live with career rallyers better than they could live with him over 60 grand prix laps. It is foolish to compare.

      5. Kenny Carwash says:

        Have to agree with James on this one, F1 is the highest level of motorsport their is. You only have to look at other, comparable open wheel events to see that: look at how many F1 also-rans have performed much better in IRL, Champcar, ALMS etc.

        You’ve got to compare apples with apples, though. Many great racing series have enough of their own challenges and foibles that it simply isn’t possible for to jump straight into them from F1 and do well. Rally is the most obvious example, for the reasons James states in the original article, but NASCAR, V8 Supercars and DTM all demand a great deal of adaptation from an incoming open-wheel driver.

        Speed is universal though, and it’s my belief that any successful F1 driver could succeed in any circuit-based racing series provided he is given enough time and support, and his motovation is strong.

      6. Werewolf says:

        F1 is the pinnacle for so many reasons but the skills required of the drivers have become so precise (and elite!) that it is almost a different sport than some other disciplines, certainly rallying.

        Motorsport is such a broad term nowadays. In my youth, I could have driven a topline touring car, rally car, sports car or even an F1 car (not competitively, you understand) or ridden a GP bike with relative ease. Today, the mere operation of them is a feat in itself and the talents required to succeed have diversified exponentially.

        F1, WRC and MotoGP are the top of their respective pyramids, the categories others aspire to race in, and there is virtually no cross-pollination these days. To me, Raikkonen has not so much stepped back but has virtually changed sports.

      7. richie675 says:

        I’ll back up both views here:

        F1 is absolutely the pinnacle of motorsport, if only for the fact there’s more money to look at every component of the format in so much depth.

        But there are other equally enthralling series, and much more challenging from a driver’s perspective.

        And Kimi has already posted a 5th result in WRC – pretty amazing considering the different skills required compared to his last day job.

    2. Charlie B says:

      If F1 was the pinnacle of motorsport then we would see the best drivers in the world in the best cars. We don’t, and money is the reason. Why is Alonso in a Ferrari…money, why is Yamamoto in a car…money.

      1. James Allen says:

        The latter I understand, but the former?

      2. Tina says:

        I agree James.
        Yamamoto- shameless all about money, but Fernando was more about what it took to put a great driver in what is arguably considered the best car in terms of iconic reputations, legacy etc.

        On the subject of Kimi- I loved his speed and his personality. I miss him in F1 but at the end of the day, he put in 9 years of his life and it seems like he is just ready to try something else. Good for him and I wish him the best!

  24. Charlie says:

    Kimi is a legend, F1 is much poorer without him, we just have a grid full of drones now, and people used to say kimi had no personality.
    Kimi can say more in 5 secs of silence than vettel can in 5 minutes of dribble about a bad start. To my knowledge there has been nobody else with such little experience to compete at the wrc level, i think hes currently running 6th at rally germany. Simply amazing
    Why would he want to come back to f1? If he can win a rally in a couple of years time, he will go down as one of the greatest drivers in history, maybe a championship is possible?? Who knows???

  25. dstaisey says:

    I’m sure many would like to see Kimi gone from F1 radar. Especially Briatore’s portfolio.

    Someone is mistaken, we’ll see who.

    1. Beka says:

      someone is mistaken? I do not quite get it :)

  26. KavB says:

    I wish he was aware that he wasn’t going to take that McLaren seat before the end of last season. At least then we would have been able to appreciate his last Grand Prix victory, podium and his final race (Which turned out to be a disaster). It’s also a shame he didn’t retire in a year where he was fighting for the title. But I guess that is Raikkonen, he doesn’t like lots of attention so leaving quietly was part of his character.

    Kimi to McLaren seemed like the second biggest secret that everyone knew, behind Alonso to Ferrari. It is strange it didn’t end up happening. I think he would have had what it takes to become double WDC this year, and beat Hamilton, but I guess we’ll never know and his reputation will be damaged for ever.

    1. Mike Misgerett says:

      How does leaving F1 damage his reputation, let alone forever???!!!

      1. KavB says:

        After 2007, we all thought he would walk the title for the following season. He didn’t unfortunately and for some reason people think he is merely average. People were also unimpressed with his 2009 season despite it being a very impressive effort. What I meant was that his reputation has taken a huge knock since when he was a McLaren driver. Hamilton is now considered much better than him, but I think he would have been equal or quicker than Hamilton which would have fully restored his image as the fastest man in F1. Unfortunately he left before doing that. I’ll still consider him the best, but I can understand whyother people won’t

      2. Adam Tate says:

        Yes Hamilton is good, he may be the fastest driver over a flying lap in F1 at the moment, but that doesn’t make him better than Kimi. Lewis has had a good McLaren for 3 out of 4 of his seasons in F1. Kimi only had a good McLaren twice and both times he barely missed out on the drivers championship. Even in 2004 when the entire grid was destroyed by Schumacher, Kimi beat him at Spa in a vastly inferior car. Lewis is good, but don’t let anyone tell you he is already better than Kimi, give him a few more seasons to prove that first.

  27. mo kahn says:

    Its a great loss to F1.

    First Juan and now Kimi.. the two unafraid pure blooded racers.

    It was evident to what happend to Kimi at the Ferrari. Uptil France he had the car he wanted then Ferrari under the influence of Michael Schumacher started developing the car that would suit Massa.

    Massa is an ordinary driver. Though grommed by Michael yet ordinary as compared to probably Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton and Vettel. You don’t build resources around an ordinary driver and Ferrari paid the price which translated in comming empty handed from the championship since Kimi won it for them.

    I hope Ferrari don’t make the same mistake with Alonso.

    However, this is rather unlikely since Alonso will not let it happen for he is far more involved in the development process, something that Kimi never was found about.

    1. Marybeth says:

      Alonso came in with Santander money and wanted Massa for a teammate and Kimi out. He was afraid of Kimi.

      1. Spike says:

        Exactly. Just like he stopped the Kubica to Ferrari deal according to Brundle.

      2. mo kahn says:

        who wouldn’t be afraid of Kimi. He is still the fastest driver in the world… even if he is racing tractors :)

      3. Adam Tate says:

        If true that is sad that Alonso was afraid of Kimi. As team mates they would have been a force to be reckoned with. Of course, if Alonso couldn’t handle Hamilton, he certainly couldn’t handle Kimi! Afterall the 05 Championship only went to Alonso because Kimi’s McLaren had all the reliability of a Yugo. I think there were 3 instances or so where Kimi was leading, in 05, but had to retire, handing a win to Alonso.

  28. Leon Gagliardi says:

    Many might look back on KR as a driver lacking passion for F1 and having a bad work ethic, however I’ll remember him for the following:

    Australia 2001
    Silverstone 2004
    Spa 2004
    Monaco 2005
    Spa 2005
    Suzuka 2005
    Monza 2006
    Silverstone 2007
    Spa 2007
    Brazil 2007
    Spa 2008 (the one that got away)
    Monaco 2009
    Spa 2009

    And above all a driver with the biggest balls in F1, exemplified by keeping his foot flat on the gas whether driving through a cloud of smoke at Spa, driving with two wheels on the grass, or even driving with fuel in his eyes.

    Hopefully he will get the chance to show his skills in the WRC!

    1. Irish con says:

      Here here I agree. Kimi at his best was untouchable. I think he drove bloody well at Bahrain Hungary and Valencia last year aswell and I love his unique driving style

    2. Pete says:

      Suzuka was ’05 , without a doubt, the baddest drive ever!
      Fisi still thinks so, too!!!

    3. mo kahn says:

      His 2004 SPA win was the most stunning of them all. Ferraris and Michael was unbeatable that year and conquering everything. Kimi’s Michelins had an optimum burst in performance for the first couple of laps, while Michael’s Bridgestones came better than Michelins after a couple of laps.

      I can still replay in my mind Kimi on the restart (at the end) comming out to Blanchimont and flooring it.. disappearing into the distance and those couple of laps Kimi made me sit mesmerised.

      By the time Michael’s tires came good, he already had the cusion he needed to win and which he won convincingly and on a straight fight.

      That was the racecraft he has and no one else of that level now.

      COME BACK KIMI

  29. Nilesh says:

    I have a question which spans three you recent posts James. On the subject of coaches, do F1 drivers have PR coaches?

    It seems that PR and being a positive face of the team is becoming as important as being a talented driver. Both Kimi and Heidfeld seemed to be getting the wrong end of the stick from the media when similar performances from other media friendly drivers did not get the same treatment.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, there is media training but no actual coach who comes with the drivers. My old colleague Louise Goodman now runs a media training school

  30. mrweeks says:

    Raikkonen is not scared of facing a strong team-mate as you suggest, he agreed to join Ferrari while there was still uncertainty about Schumachers future and he was prepared to join Mclaren this year despite the presence of Hamilton so its a bit unfair to question his confidence.

    Also the notion of a individual changing careers is somehow disloyal to their former field as you make it sound is a bit narrow-minded,what’s wrong with adding some variety in your life?
    BTW life IS actually bigger than F1

  31. Érico says:

    Such a pity, by far the most talented guy since Senna to make it to F1. There was always something missing which prevented him from being a multichampion. Sometimes he wasn’t there, sometimes the car was just not up to it.

    I’ll miss him.

    1. Dave C says:

      Most talented since Senna? I don’t think he was to be honest, way too many weak points in his game, let’s start here: never been the fastest over 1 lap in term of raw pace, in that department Hakkinen, Scumacher, Vettel and Hamilton are better maybe Alonso and Webber are on par.
      He wasn’t the best overtaker (not Inc. Suzuka 05 of course), Hamilton, Montoya and Michael Scumacher was better, Hakkinen, Alonso were on par.
      He wasn’t the best in the rain, Schumacher, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Button are better.
      Kimi couldn’t read a championship challenge or race strategy very well like MS or Alonso and at best on par with Vettel, Hakkinen and Hamilton.
      He also struggled to feel the cars needs to change setup, drive around problems and look after the tyres and in that respect he lags way behind MS, Alonso, Vettel and even Hamilton and Webber.

      So all in all as much as I like the iceman and his gifted abilities like he has shown at multiple spa races and the stand out victory at Suzuka I can’t say he’s the best natural racer since Senna, on balance since since these drivers I think are better than Kimi and in this order: 1. Schumacher, 2. Vettel (maybe Too early to tell but signs are there just need a championship under his belt) 3. Alonso, 4. Hamilton, 5. Hakkinen

      1. Thomas says:

        Kimi was a master at driving around problems. Germany 06 comes to mind, where he raced with the wrong fuel load, a defunct gearbox and a car that caught fire after the race.

      2. Peter says:

        You must be joking…

      3. Irish con says:

        Kimi in a mclaren on michelins there was nobody better over one lap. I think 2006 at monza was just scary through the ascari chicane. If you remember fuji 2007 when he came from back to front in a Ferrari that was terrible in the rain and his overtake on coulthard that day was great. I think kimi is the most naturally talented sportsman in the world when you consider that he doenst live drink and breathe f1 or rallying. He still has a good life. Ferrari I have seen say were amazed at kimi’s ease at high speed oversteer and also admitted he was faster than michael. Dc always sayed michaels outrigh speed wasn’t his biggest strenght anyway. He always sayed mika was faster. Kimi won all the so called drivers tracks and was a breathe of fresh air

      4. Érico says:

        I must disagree. The only flaw I see in Kimi’s game was his lack of determination, which appeared on those weekends in which he never seemed to show up. Speed? Check that, he had it in spades. He put a much heavier car on pole in Monza 2005. Only a penalty pushed him back the grid. Consistency? His entire 2003 season was Prost-esque. Who else would have ever put up a fight against Schumacher while driving a slower and less reliable car? None of the guys you mention would have done it, maybe Hakkinen in his absolute prime. And then there’s his second half of 2007, his many other brilliant races and etc…

        Anyhow, it’s not only about having talent behind the wheel. It’s about being able to put a team behind you and also having a good enough car. McLaren was never both fast and reliable enough, Ferrari was definitely not the ideal team and environment for him. Tough luck.

      5. Adam Tate says:

        He may have had lapses in motivation, but his determination was sky high. I mean he drive one race with fuel in his eyes, burning his eyes and he didn’t even stop. Webber is the only other driver I remember going through something like that in recent seasons, once suffering burns to his legs from a hot cockpit and once throwing up in the race. And Dave C, it’s hard to rate anyone above MSC this decade, but Kimi is on par with Hakkinen, way better than Vettel, better than Hamilton, and yes, a better driver than Alonso. Alonso gets far more credit than Kimi only because Renault nailed it in 05-06.

  32. Trixie says:

    Good on ya, Kimi!! Never one to shy away from a challenge. Although as a fan, I would’ve preferred if he returned to F1 because of more accessible TV coverage, but I fully support Kimi in his quest to one day be both an F1 and WRC champion. A feat as I understand, yet to be achieved by any driver.
    As to James’ comment about difficulties in managing 2 top drivers in a team, I don’t see that being a problem for someone of Kimi’s personality. I don’t recall there being any contentious infighting with any of his team mates during his 9 years in F1. Massa probably wished he has Kimi as team mate this year! During his tenure at McLaren, he got on with his job, regularly beating his more experienced team mates, Coulthard & Montoya.
    It’s so great that Kimi didn’t take the easy road out but constantly seeking to better himself as a driver. Yes, rally is certainly proving to be a tough sport this year for him, although he’s back to top ten in championship standing, finishing in the points in Rally Germany. GO KIMI!!

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      JPM was out couple of races and on his return given the Championship status with Kimi fighting for title, JPM’s role was pretty much limited to support Kimi’s title quest. So Kimi beating JPM is big misnomer.
      In fact there were races in 2005 when all JPM was doing was holding back the field while Kimi could work through the back of the grid (the engine Penalties) and then the Pitwall would orchestrate “switch” in the pitstops.

      James is correct to note that in case of Kimi and JPM talent was never the question, temperament maybe. Its just that too much politics, demand of too much political correctness drove these drivers out of the series. More than anything its loss of F1 that it prefers “politically correct” but averagely talented journeymen over really talented drivers, with flair.

      I would have loved to see JPM go to WRC, but I understand his priority was raising family(which again was frowned by F1 paddock, when JPM lugged his wife and kid to races)and respect his decision to go to US and drive in racing series, that doesn’t appeal me…

  33. Kenny says:

    I seem to stand with quite a few people on Kimi in that we’d LOVE to see him return to F1, but after watching some of the rally coverage and listening to the Official WRC website’s radio he seems a lot happier and in his environment. The less media attention has sort of allowed Kimi to seem more natural than the usual F1 camera shots because not a lot of them did show Kimi can have a laugh and smile, but he did and does! He’s willing to do the small interviews at the End Stage and then most recently in the final stage of the German rally (which he actually won which I found very impressive indeed) he willingly signed an autograph for a kid. How often did we see Kimi do that in F1? The less pressure of media scrutineering and demand is just perfect for Kimi. I think he’ll happily stay in rallying for the long term and probably into retirement as well.

    1. KNF says:

      Agreed, there are more pictures and videos of a chipper Kimi on the WRC website than there ever were during his 9 years in F1.

      I’m not sure whether if it’s less media scrutiny, a more level playing field in terms of car performance, or even a common shared cultural background (Scandinavian/Baltic) with most of the other drivers/co-drivers and team members which plays a part in this…

  34. Mike Misgerett says:

    I have much admiration for Kimmi, he’s always paved his own way, often in difference to the norm. He entered F1 with little single seater experience and was competitive from the go.
    He achieved the ultimate in F1 and moved on to experience different challenges while still in his prime. He’s clearly a naturally very talented driver who is focused entirely on racing and is not interested in the F1 circus with all it’s various acts and back of tent shenanigans. He seems to have a passion for driving and likes to enjoy what he does and how he lives: How many can only dream of such?
    Good on him!!!

  35. Marcus says:

    Although I am a huge F1 fan, I don’t necessarily agree that F1 actually is the pinnacle of motorsport. I know F1 is perceived as such, but I think WRC actually gives it a run for it’s money. Technology wise it is certainly equal (e-diffs and gear changes and engine mapping etc., except for aero), and if you look at the difficulty a driver like Raikonnen is having adjusting you can see the driver challenge. The argument can be made that the best drivers end up in F1 because the money backers push them that way to maximize exposure and because there isn’t the above mentioned years to develop once you are at the top level. Also, one of the reasons rallying suffers for viewership is that the competition is not head to head and therefore a bit more abstract to follow.
    I know this will generate disagreement, but if you watch a rally and consider all the challenges it really is quite impressive compared to the relative predictability of a GP. Let the argument begin…

    1. theRoswellite says:

      No argument. F1 is played out on a larger stage to a larger audience…but it doesn’t follow that the drivers are better or worse. In the states, I miss getting to see the WRC on tv.

  36. César Álvarez says:

    For me, it is sad, as I’ve always been a Kimi fan… so much that I’ve actually started watching WRC. After all he was a race driver, he was just Kimi, he didn’t have to have a “character”, like the “The team doesn’t support me, double world champion” or the “I’ve been raised to be a world champion, newcomer” … that kind of drama belongs in a soap opera… oh well, I will miss Kimi in F1

  37. saget says:

    “F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers.”

    The first half of that statement is true, but I don’t agree with the second. The problem is that F1 is the elite level of motorsport, but its not the elite level of *racing*. Kimi never seemed to be in the sport for the prestige of F1 or to simply be in the “best” equipment. He seemed to be there to race. And there are other forms of motorsports that offer more of a daily driving challenge, more daily *racing* then F1. Both Raikkonen and Montoya have found the ones that work for them, so I can’t imagine why either would ever want to go back.

  38. Jez Playense says:

    Glad for him, sad for F1. One of the fastest drivers of the last ten years. GO KIMI!

  39. Gene says:

    I don’t know the numbers, but I suspect Raikkonen’s rally switch has had positive viewership effects on that sport. I know that I pay more attention to the WRC now than I ever have.

  40. Kevin says:

    I saw a picture of Kimi at a rally, and he was smiling! That says a lot.
    He just never seemed to like being constantly in the spotlight, or the constant press scrutiny.

  41. Jennifer Smith says:

    “F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers.”

    I’m a bit surprised to hear you say this – it seems quite short-sighted and rather elitist.

    Great talents should continually challenge themselves, in whatever forum offers them opportunities for professional and personal growth. If there is no fight and no joy in it, how hollow must victory be?

    We should all be so lucky to find doors opening from one challenge to another, and to find great satisfaction in both; ‘elite’ or not, there’s something to be said for doing what makes you happy.

  42. Rob Silver says:

    The one thing the interview does tell us is that not all of the world’s elite drivers actually do, nor should, drive in F1. Kimi Raikkonen is unquestionably one of the very best, and definitely one of the more interesting and fun drivers out there, and I think his attitude to the inward attitudes and politics of F1 are spot on. F1 could indeed learn a lot from him.

  43. Malcom says:

    I believe that it’s a big loss for F1 to lose a driver, who in 2008 won at Spa…..Spa a track noted for it’s challenge, in a car that wouldn’t be considered dominant…..unfortunate.

  44. jim says:

    F1 isn’t as much fun without Kimi driving.
    Even last year, with the car blowing goats and all, he was fun and often funny to watch. Nonchalantly hopping out of the smoking car when the KERS faild… The radio transmission after the Crew threw wets on the car in Malaysia… Don’t talk to me in the middle of the corners… You don’t have to tell me every time… The win @ Spa… The hat… Ice Cream and a Coke FTW.
    F1′s loss is WRC gain.

  45. michael grievson says:

    I’ve always liked Kimi. It’s a shame his mclarens were so undeniable as I’m sure he would have been a multiple world champion

  46. Ted the Mechanic says:

    It’s a bit sad that we may not see Kimi competing in F1 again because he did add to the show. His dead-pan interviews and dry wit were always watchable. However we still get to see him on WRC TV, so not a total loss. And as he hauls himself up the leaderboard we should see more of him in future. I hope he does.
    And like you say James, we’re not short of talent in F1 right now. The racing should be tight for a few years to come, as long as the top teams can keep in touch with each other, development-wise, and team mates are allowed to race each other.

  47. Anil says:

    It’s a great shame he’s gone. Apart from a poor middle third of 2008 (when the updates took the car away from his driving style) he had been an incredible racer. There’s a video of his first ever qualifying run on youtube with Murray and Brundle commentating, they were just shocked at the pace he was showing.

    2003 he was incredible, amazing to think he missed out on the title by just a point. Imagine if Alonso’s accident hadn’t caused the red flag and he wouldve got the win? 2005 was a great season for him, arguably the peoples champion of that year, his pace was incredible.

    I was never a big fan of his until 2009 as I was too busy supporting Michael, but looking back on it I think on raw pace he was faster than schumacher. He seems much happier in rallying, he doesn’t have to bother with the politics and the media, something which he didn’t give a rats ass about in F1 and that’s why people loved him.

    If there was ever a case of a driver driving in the wrong era, it was Kimi.

    1. Dave C says:

      I have to disagree with some of the assessment you made on kimi here: on raw pace kimi was definitely NOT quicker than MS, well the MS of old anyway not this imposter driving for merc this year. If you look back on some of Schuey’s prime years (1994-2004) even 2003-2005 kimi wasn’t on MS’s level in any way.
      I agree kimi’s performance in 2002, 2003 and 2005 was incredible and with that sort of form in them years he would crush alonso and Hamilton in same machinery on a given day but since he joined Ferrari he went into decline and even in
      2007 he was having trouble with massa in more than half of the season, in 2009 I thought massa had the edge over kimi for most of the season before massa’s accident. Even in 2001 Heidfield beat him but he was inexperienced, even though you would of thought he would of overcame Heidfield if his natural ability was amonst the greats or potential greats e.g. MS, Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

      James in your opinion do you think Kimi could handle Vettel if he was driving for Redbull this year?

      1. James Allen says:

        Both very fast, but why would Red Bull want to do that, given the problems they have had accommodating two competitive drivers?

      2. Paul says:

        To say kimi was not on Michaels level is not well thought through considering how dominant ferrari were in the early noughties trust me kimi was quick to live with schumi i think people need to follow the season and not look at the points at end of the season to realise massa never had the measure of kimi, and comparing kimi and vettel c’mon wake up man! if you don’t like the ice-man don’t let it cloud your judgement as F1 will likely not see talent like that again due to all this pay driver business and commercially backed driver.

  48. beka says:

    bad that he is leaving. There was no point in staying if he did not feel like going for it again.
    Even though I was his fan for quite a while its difficult to understand the decision. He was fired from the team over sponsor’s money, he had the chance to go to Mclaren and prove his former employers wrong, be among the leaders this season (if Jenson is, then he definitely could have been)and yet he left. Finns have some sort of a different character I guess. I would have been all fired up trying to win this year

    1. Kenny Carwash says:

      I can’t agree that Kimi would’ve scored more points than Button this season. Button reads races very well and can be relied upon for strong recovery drives when things go against him. Those are vital strengths when your car isn’t the class of the field and I can’t honestly say that Raikkonen has either one.

      Would Kimi have been closer to Hamilton’s pace this season? Yes, at least some of the time. You never knew which Raikkonen was going to turn up though; the one who was going to blow everyone else into the weeds or the one who would meet a car he couldn’t pass and finish the race on cruise control.

      Button’s only failing this season is that he’s consistently 2-4 tenths off Hamilton’s pace. It’s something he needs to address, but it’s not the big issue some people want to turn it into and it’s actually far better than most people predicted he’d do pre-season.

      1. Alias says:

        Well Jean Todt thinks Kimi would be doing better then Jenson, he actually said something to the effect were he implied that Kimi would be doing better then Jenson the other day. But never mind that.

        You just have look to back too last season were Kimi actually manage to outscored people like Button, Vettel and Webber, in the second half of the season. The F60 certainly wasn’t a better car by ANY stretch of the imagination then what those three were driving.
        On top of that Ferrari just completely stopped their development, the car was painfully slower each passing race, while Mclaren for example were busy with furious development and their car were pretty quick by that stage. Despite all of this Kimi only scored one point less then Lewis.

        And that is about all I will say! :-)

      2. Kenny Carwash says:

        That the MP4/24 was practically as poor as the F60 rather dilutes your point about Raikkonen and Hamilton. The Brawn was clearly going backwards in the latter part of the season too, and your assertion that the car was getting slower with each race is rather baffling as it was clearly one of the cars that was moving up the order during that time.

        I don’t agree with what Todt says, but I can see his point as Kimi has an ability to drive around problems which Jenson does not so he would likely have qualified more consistently and may have been able to go quicker than Hamilton at times when Jenson has been a little slower. Kimi would never have won races like Australia and China though and Button’s ability to put in recovery and damage limitation drives means he’s picked up points Raikkonen would probably have lost.

        In the parallel universe where Kimi got the drive I think he’d have a very similar number of points to Button. My feeling is that Button would have a couple more, but you could just as easily argue the other way. What I’m sure of though, is that they’d be very close.

        I think McLaren have an ideal driver pairing provided things don’t boil over, and they don’t look like doing so at present. You’d have to tip Hamilton to come out on top but you can also expect Button to put keep himself in the mix in case Hamilton were to have a run of bad luck. Provided the car remains strong they’ll probably win the next three WCCs.

      3. irish con says:

        you seriously cant be serious. jenson has been totally spanked this yera by hamilton its just buttons luck this year and lots of other bigger stories have covered it up. hamilton retired in spain and hungary has resulted in something like a 35 point swing just from those 2 races. the only 2 races jenson has been in head of him was australia and china when they both finished. and for the record i hate hamilton.i would rather jenson as a person one but as a f1 fan i dont want some average joe to win the best sporting prize in the world imho.
        u say kimi couldnt drive through the field, i will give you three examples were kimi came back through the field as good as i have ever seen japan 05 bahrain 06 and fuji 07. people often forget kimis performance that day because hamilton won out front in the best wet weather car that year whereas the ferraris of 07 and 08 were animals in the wet.

  49. Jonathan says:

    Thank goodness for that. Kimi was the worst possible poster child for F1. Most boring person in the paddock since Heinz Harald Frentzen.

  50. Darren says:

    You may have to do an entire article attempting to justify the statement “F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers.”

    I could live with the “elite level” part of the comment if it came with a narrowed definition associated with high down force cars racing on paved road surfaces. The presumption that this “is where great talents should reside and live out their careers” sounds more like being sentenced to a bad marriage or life in a zoo than to finding fulfillment and challenge doing what you love. It also does great disservice to the undeniable talent of a driver like Sebastien Loeb.

    The comment is as inward looking as you pointed out Formula 1 to be.

    And I say this as a big F1 fan and fan of your writing.

  51. AlexD says:

    I always liked Kimi…more when he was in McLaren, although I am a Ferrari fan. I think Ferrari change him in a negative way and they handled him badly.

    I so much prefer him to Alonso…

    He is a bit a mystery to me – was so good in McLaren and he almost won WDC two times with them. He went to Ferrari and made it with them, but next year he was overshadowed by Massa…

    Very positive character…in a way…but we do not know how he really is

  52. Peter says:

    It is a shame that someone whit a huge amount of talent that Kimi has quits at 30. He has been quoted as the fastest drver on earth by many incl. Sir Sterling Moss and co. However, I don`t think the story ends here, still long way to go by 2012 and things in F1 change quickly. Red Bull, Mercedes potentially have free seats in two years time. Another year in WRC makes perfect sense perhaps with a Le Mans start, but Kimi is a real top driver in F1. I am also very sorry for the fact that he didn`t join Lewis at McLaren as I think he is the only driver that could have given Lewis real hard time in the same team. He was mega in the Mclaren. Anyone who has some racing knowledge can see what amount of raw talent this guy has, he is competitive in WRC after a couple of races, but equally competative on snowmobile or motocross, on/in anything with engine. Spa winner in 2009-2007-2005-2004, winner in Suzuka starting from 17th, rcord number fastest laps etc. …He should be guided back to F1 and F1 should be about racing and the most talented drivers on the world.

  53. Allan says:

    A key difference between Kimi’s and Juan’s positions is that Kimi left F1 having a world championship under his belt. Although his last two seasons in F1 had people questioning his degree of application, there is still a completentess to his F1 career that Montoya’s lacks. Montoya will always been seen as a driver who did not quite live up to expectations and perhaps should have won a world championship.

    1. Williams4Ever says:

      So true, Kimi was atleast lucky that Ron Dennis gifted his favorite driver a championship after he had left the Woking team. Knowing Ron and his ways, that must be the best gift Ron ever gave to any employee (in this case ex-employee)
      In modern F1 to “win championship” biggest ingredient is to have the “team support” something that “outspoken” drivers like JPM, Kimi will never be able to garner.
      Compare JPM/Kimi to Lewis who had so many gaffes in 07-08 and McLaren backed him to the hilt, while in former case Ron simply left his drivers to be dried in open.

      So good luck on Kimi, bad luck on JPM, one of the most talented driver not to have won F1 championship in modern era…

  54. Charlie B says:

    James, just a quick question, why do you think Finns generally have short F1 careers.

    We know they are talented enough, arguably the most talented. Is it all the media surrounding F1 and following them around, or is it a combination of different things.

    1. James Allen says:

      Must be the vodka…seriously, I have no idea

      1. theothercoldone says:

        Perhaps another way of looking at the current topic is why Finns are so suited to rallying? Does the old rally adage still hold: ‘If you want to win, hire a Finn’. Per capita, Finland has produced more top quality rally drivers than any other country – (At least according to the anecdotes). Does Kimi want to prove himself against his own countrymens yardstick? Hä, kyllä, olet nopea, mutta ralli, se on oikean miesten homma (yeah, you’re quick, but rally’s for real men). Kimi said himself that the challenges of rally, with constantly changing conditions, and so much more reliance on the car, driver and co-driver than F1 suits him. Also, Finns don’t really do spin, they say nothing at all, or tell it as it is. Witness Mika Häkkinen in the press conferences, and then Marcus Grönholm’s reaction to the failings of the Peugeot power steering and brake caliper.
        Kimi can be himself out there, and like Jenson Button, has been freed by winning the WDC, and can now do really whatever he likes.
        Didn’t answer why they have such short F1 careers, but the talent, speed, passion, and determination is certainly there!

    2. Jodum5 says:

      Weird question: Kimi, Mika and Keke Rosberg were all involved the sport for many years. JJ Lehto was active for five. A better question would have asked about Japanese drivers…

      1. Sinnae404 says:

        Really?
        Rosberg retired in 1986, 4 years after winning his first GP. Mika in 2001, also 4 years after his first win. Kimi was around longer, but somehow still seemed like he could have achieved more.

        They seem to pull the plug earlier rather than later, perhaps before things have gone downhill too far. Perhaps this is to their credit.

    3. Trent says:

      I wonder also why they seem to leave you wondering just HOW talented they are. If you look at guys like Keke Rosberg, JJ Lehto, Mika Salo, Hakkinen and Raikkonen, there always seems to be some lingering question marks.

      At the right place and the right time they are peerless; but the fire seems to be lost too easily.

      1. F. Alligatore says:

        I think the FInns know that there’s more to life than racing, and once they have made their millions they retire and enjoy life. I’d do the same. Why deal with the hassles
        when you don’t have to ? The idea that these guys don’t know anything but racing is absurd.

    4. Monji says:

      Heikki seems like he’ll be around for quite a while.

  55. Rajko says:

    Well, it’s kind a sad to see that size of talent not in F1.
    It’s also probably one of saddest days in most of Kimi’s fans eyes.

    But Hand Up for him because he do just what he wants. He knows how to enjoy. Cheers

  56. Peter says:

    Thanks James for not forgetting about Kimi completely and posting that articel.

  57. Carl 21 says:

    Formula One needs Kimi Raikkonen to liven up the show. It was always interesting with him around, whether it was a brilliant overtake or a massive crash, it was good stuff. The 2005 season with Mclaren was excellent as was the 2007 with Ferrari. But he won the lot. Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Suzuka. All the major races. So maybe he will get to grips with rallying and challege in the future for wins. Be good if he could challenge with Loeb. The future looks good for him.

  58. Eric says:

    Kimi is the best driver of all times, in my opinion. It’s sad that we don’t get to experience him in F1 anymore. Personally I don’t find rallying as exciting as F1 but as things have developed I believe Kimi is making the right decision staying in WRC. Hopefully we get to see him as a champion once more! :)

  59. Mark D. Johnson says:

    Good on Kimi (our dog is named after him). Your last paragraph says “F1 is the elite level of motorsport”. Too bad they don’t care enough about it to present it in a relevant way, i.e. High Definition. I’ve switched away from some F1 races to watch NASCAR, because the picture on the tele looks so much better.
    Watching F1 nowdays is like watching footage from classic races. While Bernie is busy dithering on how to make another buck from HDTV, the train has left the station.

  60. Andy says:

    It’s a shame for us F1 fans that he won’t be returning, but if he’s happier in rallying, then that’s what he should be doing. I hear his dream is to be the first one to have won both F1 and WRC world championships, and if this season has given him a feeling that he could do it, it’s obvious he will not return to F1.

    Would just be great to see him drive around Spa still…

  61. Fausto Cunha says:

    He´s my favourite driver and i´m sad that he walked away from F1 but he seems happy and he fullfiled his dream being a world champion.

    I only see him coming back with a winning team, he races to win, so he will only comeback with one of the top teams.

    If he is really interested in being a contender for winning rallys the logical thing is to stay at the WRC and gain experience.

    I wish him all the best…!

  62. Todd says:

    The only concern for kimi is if citreron keep him on. I know he’s a big attraction, but with a team mate in 2nd and sister team mates in 1st and 5th, being 10th out of 13 isn’t too flash. Citeron Junior should be fighting for 2nd in the constructors championship.

  63. Brendan Shanks says:

    James, it’s interesting that you didn’t mention the rumor about Raikkonen being offered the Pirelli testing job before Heidfeld. I honestly think Heidfeld is a better candidate anyway, but still–any truth to it?

    1. James Allen says:

      I mentioned it on Twitter the other day. It was written in the Finnish newspaper that is very close to Kimi

  64. James H. says:

    There was a time when a driver was admired for the talent to succeed in different disciplines. Mario Andretti, for instance, won in F1, Indy Car, World Sports Car, Nascar, Sprint Car, and drag racing. Great champions like G. Hill and Jimmy Clark raced and won at Indianapolis in the track’s golden years. I realize that racing, especially F1, is much more specialized now, but I think the Sport loses something when being quick is only applied to one format.

    Kimi, I believe, is from that old school. He has shown promise in Rallying, and today won his first stage, so I think his adventure in WRC should be applauded. But, I would hate to think that a superb driver and genuine character is lost to F1 forever.

  65. KidrA says:

    The driver I respect and envious the most, Kimi. For sure he didn’t felt like home in Ferrari. Ferrari is like a Sopranos family and Kimi like an assassin. He is at his best when he comes, does his job, takes the money and leaves, simple. But when they start to tell him how and when to do it, what to wear and how to act, then things start to go wrong. Not blaming Ferrari here, Kimi would have lost his interest in F1 anyways, Ferrari just helped to lose it quicker. Also Bernies new not so interesting tracks in place of old good ones didn’t help either. Anyways now he’s in WRC and I’m eager to see his development and where he ends up in a year or two.

    Altough I find F1 far more interesting to watch on TV than rally, I rate WRC drivers higher than F1 drivers. It’s more about the experience of the driver than the machinery. In F1 you have the same corner after every 2 minutes, in WRC you see the same corner maybe next year.

  66. Charlie says:

    It’s funny. As Kimi was looking like leaving F1 at the end of last season I wrote on this site that I would probably not watch F1 if he left. I have been watching for over 15 years so my passion was not all to do with Kimi. But as I watched his career progress I realised that F1 became about that one man for me. His personality and nonchalant, natural-ability, approach to his sport was just so damn alluring to a fan of sports in general.

    When I said that I would stop watching F1 I got rather an irate response from someone telling me not be be ridiculous and that I’d be back because the sport is great and certainly greater than the individual drivers.

    Well the fact I’ve not watched a single race this year is presumably proof that that is not the case.

    I have fallen out of love with F1. In fact I think the series has been a little tiresome since the switch to a single tyre supplier. 2007 was only ok because of the insane politics and Mclaren driver bust up and 2008 would have been a Ferrari white wash if it didn’t rain in almost half the races giving dominance to the high down-force Mclaren.

    Really though. I reckon the majority of fans want the old F1 back. Yes it was dangerous, but the idea of giving teams and drivers the opportunity to just make something on 4 wheels go as fast as possible and to hell with the consequences…is genius. The rules and regulations today mean that we need additional rules and regulations to counter the existing ones in order to do things like create overtaking…what? It’s completely bureaucratic and counter-intuitive. I didn’t like Senna, Peterson etc dying. I respect Jackie Stewart, Moseley, Sid Watkins et al for their attempts to save lives…but F1 should be for drivers who don’t give a damn. I refuse to believe that Fangio wasn’t a brilliantly insane adrenaline junkie with little or no regard for his safety. How alluring is that to watch! The more Alfonso de Portagos and Kimi Raikkonens there are in the sport the more likely it is to regress to a more exciting time. Raikkonen fighting off Hamilton at Spa in 2008 was just insane. The guy had a car that was probably 4-5 seconds a lap slower in the wet but he pushed it to the limit and eventually beyond. He risked a crash on a flat spotted tyre at the Nurburgring in 2005. He brake tested Montoya at Spa and Hamilton at Brazil. He drove with flames and petrol in his eyes in 2009. He drove blind full speed into a thick cloud in Spa. He said that drivers know the risks. He yearned for the late ’70s. My favourite driver ever, Ronnie Peterson, died at Monza in 1978…but you know what, I wouldn’t change that era for anything. That was an insane, brilliant, special sport…right now I’m a bit disillusioned and without a personality like Kimi to keep me occupied…I’m struggling to keep focus.

    (James…I know you used to make fun of my massively pro-Kimi comments, but joking aside, isn’t it a shame that people like Kimi should fall out of interest with the sport?)

    1. James Allen says:

      Sure it’s a shame because the sport is richer the more diverse characters it has and Kimi was also a serious talent. But if you’ve not watched a race this year you have missed out. It’s been very good, on the whole.

      1. Charlie says:

        Yeah. I have been reading about it and it does sound good. I guess that mad passion to be totally immersed in wanting one guy to win has gone. Before Kimi it was Mikka. Before that there was a bit of a barren time. I thought Vettel would have been one for the future but I wasn’t particularly impressed when he got a bit petulant after his mistake in Turkey last year.

        What can I say: I like natural ability mixed with nonchalance…genuine nonchalance.

        …see Nick Faldo singing ‘My way’ at Muirfield in 1992…what a plonker, but did he care what the media would write about him?

    2. richie675 says:

      Great post and I agree, to a degree. Kimi remains something unique in an era of PR but I think most of the driver’s today would drive headlong into that cluod…

      F1 2010 has been immense and a little safety to ensure you can support the same guys throughout the season is GOOD THING. Watch the closing races, Charlie, trust me – it’ll be damn fine viewing.

    3. Kenny Carwash says:

      Having characters and raw talents like Raikkonen and Montoya in F1 is something I miss a great deal, but it’s never going to stop me from following the sport.

      I think F1, out of necessity, has become more professional and more clinical environment over the years and drivers are now expected to be the whole package. Raw talent alone is not enough, it may get you into a seat but drivers would be expected to develop themselves the way Felipe Massa has if they are to remain and race for the top teams.

      Incidentally, I think the same is true of businesses in general; gone are the days when bright and talented but disorganised and chaotic people can truly succeed.

      1. Alias says:

        I actually think Kimi has proven exactly the opposite. Eventhough people have always questioned Kimi’s personality, he has left F1 as a champion. So I think Kimi has actually proven that even if you don’t quite fit the mould you can still succeed.

        But then again I think Kimi is properly much more focused then what people give him credit for.

    4. Jason Greer says:

      Was going to post something but then I read yours Charlie and you said it all.

      1. charlie says:

        Thanks Jason. Kinda means a lot. I hate that I’ve fallen out with F1 and I even feel pretty petulant, but I’m REALLY not! The drive and desire to get passionate about it has gone with Kimi’s withdrawal.

        Let’s just hope another driver with such character can come onto the scene…

    5. carly says:

      What a wonderful post…. my thoughts EXACTLY !!!
      ,,,,I havent watched any race this year after having watched F1 since 2002 …. I really think Kimi has a lot of fanatical supporters…..
      it bloody hurts that hes not there in the mix this year ,,,,, I still think he;s the most popular contemprory F1 driver even now.

      1. charlie says:

        Yay Carly! God it’s weird. I don’t really have any F1 fan friends but I occasionally spout some crazed opinion here and find really interesting people who agree!

        I agree that it hurts that Kimi is gone. It quite took me by surprise that F1 became more about the man than the sport. I could defend F1 to the hilt before when people accused it of being boring, but now I find myself only being able to support it when you have a driver to be passionate about. I can understand people being passionate about the other contemporary drivers, but let’s face it…none of them will ever be labelled as a true maverick, or talented but lazy! These aren’t the descriptions of your average sportsman but someone who has something special. Sometimes you don’t need to fulfil potential and get on every leader-board ever to be considered a great… nevertheless Kimi’s on the WDC list, the most fastest laps in one season list, 3rd on the list of most fastest laps ever, the most wins scored in a season without winning the championship list…and the most nonchalant and talents legend ever to not care enough to stay in a sport when it got boring for him. The guy is a god. I only dream that I could be so cool if I was famous. Truth be told…I’d unlikely leave F1 if it got boring. I’d probably moan if I was unlucky. And I’d probably be competitive and bitchy with my competitors. Even with the pressure all around him the guy constantly remained cool as ice. The sport misses him. Perhaps they wont notice it for a few years. But they will. It misses him.

  67. AndyC says:

    Kimi, quite rightly, has moved on from F1. Me too. I’ve only watched one race this season and it was a waste of my morning. A few years ago, I lived and breathed F1, but now I’m tired of Ferrari playing the bogeyman, of brat-pack drivers, of trying to be interested in invisible aerodynamics, tyre compounds, rule interpretation, and so on, with the FIA lumbering around in the background pretending to be in charge. It’s like a bad Will Ferrell movie. It’s more soap-opera than sport. There’s nothing “elite” about it. Alonso is a disgrace. Schumacher should be banned. Hamilton should just shut-up and drive. Oh, and Williams will never make it back onto the podium (and that was my last/final reason for watching). I’m done. Over and out.

    1. KkrodD says:

      Great post! LOL about the bad Will Ferrel movie, but didn’t you meant “like a Will Ferrel movie”.

      Anyway, I couldn’t agree more, in a sport where the big “happenings” are around the politics, the lack of character of most drivers (really Alonso is a TOTAL disgrace, what happened to him?), I’m also contemplating leaving F1 for good at the end of the year, specially if something like the German GP goes un-punished and Alonso ends winning by less than 25 points.

      Really the general lack of sportmanship in modern F1 makes want to thow out.

      It’s too bad the WRC drivers never race directly physically against each other as I also have found it much more challenging that what F1 hast to offer these days.

      Hopefully for the rest of the season (or the rest of his career) someone like Hamilton really shut-up and do what he does best that is race. This is what every motorsport is supposed to be about.

  68. Marybeth says:

    Maybe Kimi is just trying to make Alonso, Michael, Horner and Ron Dennis all very happy. :)

    1. JohnBt says:

      I noticed you didn’t mention Lewis hamilton. LOL.

  69. Newcastle for the title says:

    What a pairing Alonso and Raikkonen would of made because I think Kimi is the only driver that could get along with being Alonso’s team mate with Alonso liking to dominate a team and having it around him and Kimi just not caring about his team mate and being able to match him and probably beat him on pure pace, it would of been a unbeatable line up. A great pity Ferrari went for the limp Massa instead of Kimi and pushed an increadible talent and the only personality bar Alonso out of F1. (I would like to see what happened if they tried to tell Raikkonen to let his team mate through ((not that he would of been in that position)))

    1. Adam Tate says:

      While I like and rate Massa, the rest of your comment is great and spot on.

  70. DK says:

    Since Kimi left F1, I was hoping that he can jump into Webber’s seat. In 2011. It looks like he is now pretty much settling down in WRC so I am not surprise with the news. Hopefully he will be a winner soon in rally.

    Then again, never say never in F1 :)

  71. nsm says:

    Hope he comes back. thinking about the 2005 season, I seriously hope he comes back!

  72. theRoswellite says:

    He certainly kept his own counsel.

    I still remember when he broke into F1, with only 13 (?) previous car races if I’m not mistaken…and everyone, includin g the FIA, was watching closely to see if he was over matched.

    After the first race that question was answered.

    His record at Spa says it all. I also loved the way he casually taped Hamilton on the shoulder after being rammed in the pit exit at Montreal…and pointed to the red exit light. No histeronics…very cool…the Ice Man.

  73. Surya says:

    “And above all a driver with the biggest balls in F1, exemplified by keeping his foot flat on the gas whether driving through a cloud of smoke at Spa, driving with two wheels on the grass, or even driving with fuel in his eyes.”

    “Shut up and drive”

    These quotes by other readers sum it up well. Enjoyed watching him race! Will miss him for sure!

  74. nash says:

    Nice to see a post on Kimi! He won the final stage of the German WRC event, and if I am not wrong it was his first stage win (?). Although on a full asphalt surface it was a win over the mighty Loeb and impressive Ogier. A win like this must be an incredible boost for Kimi, for him only to confirm that he needs more time on the other surfaces. Clearly the talent to drive the car is there.

    As for Kimi to come back to F1, although I would dearly wish to see him driving in Spa this weekend, I think putting him back in F1 would be like putting a happy boy in a cage.

    He seems to be at ease in WRC, smiling, relaxed, and he has got back this sparkle in his eyes, this look of determination… which I only saw in his early F1 years.

    It is a shame the Red Bull environment in F1 did not work out for him, but I wonder if we would have seen the same smiling Kimi as we see now… and as you say James, competition is extremely high in F1.. and perhaps Kimi was not having the hunger anymore….

    SO glad to see him embarking on this new challenge. I hope he improves by the year. Would be incredible to be successful in F1 and WRC.

    ps. I never quite understood how a person as quiet as Kimi, as non-provoking in words and statements could achieve so much dislike (bordering on contempt and hatred as witnessed on forums on the internet)… was it the tattoo, the oversized hat or the oversized salary? :-)

    1. Beka says:

      I do not understand that hatred towards him as well. He was not the one talking bad things about anybody, never a cry baby, was fast as hell and impressive to watch. I think the hatred came from jealousy from the side of other top F1 driver’s fans.
      And this whole bashing was in mainstream media as well, not only forums.

      1. Alias says:

        Well I think it is simple, the more a threat a driver is to someone’s favourite the more bashing. There is a lot of naysayers, but Kimi also have loads of fans who follow him religiously.

  75. Senthil says:

    I feel that F1 will be poorer without Kimi in the Paddock.F1 will surely miss his no nonsense interviews….

    needless to say ,i miss him the most

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s talked about Le Mans. Indy I doubt as the track record of drivers from here going there and getting their legs broken is rather high..

      1. Adam Tate says:

        Kimi at Le Mans would be fantastic!

      2. Tim. says:

        I think those days are gone.

  76. Jared O says:

    I feel that for Formula 1 and it’s (and Kimi’s) many, many fans this is sad, but not unexpected news.

    The first time I saw Formula 1 live was trackside at Albert Park – being able to observe the drivers from only a few metres away I came away with the feeling that Kimi and Michael were on another planet that day.

    Seeing him hustle his MP4-17D around the track that day is something I’ll remember for a long time.

  77. JohnBt says:

    Kimi is more of a ‘quiet man’ not an ‘iceman’.

    Will always like him for his honesty and his ballsy speed.
    And he knows exactly what he wants so I’m not surprised he will not be back in F1.

    I sense many of us do miss Kimi.

    Cheers Kimi! and all da best.

  78. Spark says:

    I have to say that I’m a bit dissapointed. Although it was expected that Kimi would not return to F1, you can always hope.

    To be honest, I have been watching F1 this year as a supporter of the sport in stead of supporting a driver. I have had a fantastic year because there were several fantastic races. But I did miss Kimi. There is always that extra thrill when the guy you support wins, pulls of a fantastic quali lap or pass or just simply ends up in the barriers.

    To me the best years were the McLaren days, where he could compete and was regarded as the rawest talent of all. I think when he left for Ferrari the biggest problem he faced was the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone. He has always had problems with the Bridgestone tyres.

    If you look at the combination of McLaren Michelin and Kimi, for qualifying it was a match made in heaven. The qualifying runs he pulled of in 2005 on low fuel and half fuel were stunning. Somehow he couldn’t repeat those performances in the Ferrari Bridgestone days.

    For me, it’s a shame he doesn’t return to F1 but I think he’s better of in the WRC.

  79. Wayne Sadlier says:

    I liked Kimi because of his ‘Iceman’ persona as well as his ability. For me it was refreshing to see a driver not chasing column inches, with his opinions on this that and the other.
    I like divers who are that bit different, a bit out of sync with the perceived wisdom of F1, the mavarick. Sadly they too often dissapear to soon, potential not fully met.
    Kimi seems to be really enjoying the WRDC and i find that good to see.

    Two divers I would have loved to have seen in one team….
    Kimi and Jacque Villeneuve…

  80. russ parkin says:

    i think people mistake silence for arrogance- he is a great driver but was never my favourite to be honest. i do feel however he won his world championship and then lost motivation. the whole not wanting to do pr thing though is a bit lazy. its like me going to work and saying i dont want to do one third of my job and still get paid. it is what formula one is and i know for a fact if i were paying a team millions of pounds a year i would be perfectly within in my rights to have the drivers playing their part.

    1. Alias says:

      I don’t think any driver really likes PR, Kimi was just more vocal or up front about this then the others. Kimi still did his PR work like everyone else, and he is still doing loads of PR this year. I think he understands quite well that he has to do it even in WRC, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

      BTW seeing him in a Roman soldier’s costume this year still wearing that cap of his, was one hell of a laugh. :-)

  81. mayon says:

    No doubt that Kimi is very talented, but if he doesn’t achieve anything special, soon a place in F1 will be opened for him – I’m not aware of F1 team that wouldn’t like him racing for them. He can be easily back in : RBR – replacing Webber (although I’d like to see him racing more), in Renault – next to Robert, or kicking out Massa in Ferrari – let’s face it guys – he went off Ferrari, because Massa was injured – otherwise I still believe that Scuderia wanted both super-fast-and-furious (Alonso and Kimi) in Ferrari. Don’t worry about the money – Banco Santander are very rich guys :)

  82. Peter says:

    There is/was something special about tis guy`s driving especially in the Mclaren around 2005. Something very pure, brave and very very fast driving. His Spa records show his skills.

  83. Peter says:

    How many times we had heard Schumi saying he would never ever return?

  84. russ parkin says:

    also at risk of getting shot down, i love f1 and am indifferent with rally. however rally simply has to be so much more difficult than f1. in f1 you have a car trying to bury itself into perfect tarmac whereas with rally you have a squishy long travel car doing 100mph plus on gravel with sheer cliffs, i would love to drive a lower formula car on a track but you couldnt pay me enough money to actively want to go rallying. there are not enough new pairs of pants in the world to accomadate what would happen to me

  85. Paul says:

    F1 is the pinnacle of road racing in cars, MotoGP is the pinnacle of road racing on bikes.

    Off-road is a very different skill and has its own pinnacles – WRC/the Dakar – for both cars and bikes… and trucks…

    For those of us that love all types of motorsports seeing a talent like Kimi take on a bit of variety is great.

    1. Alan Dove says:

      F1 is the pinnacle it the sense most drivers want to be in it. However Motorsport isn’t a meritocracy so you’ll see the elite drivers spread across various series and what not.

  86. dren says:

    I always liked Kimi. He was the anti-F1. He showed up, drove fast, and then was gone. I hold him in high regard as one of the best drivers today, much like JP Montoya.

  87. Alias says:

    “F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers.”

    Now that is a very short sighted statement. F1 is only the elite level of single seater racing. And it is definitely not necessarily the best drivers, I have often seen that people who follow a variety of motorsports properly thinks that rally drivers are actually the most skilled, and I tend to agree. F1 drivers complain about not having enough runs offs these days, and if the tarmac isn’t perfect. Has anyone seen the stages of Rally Deutschland this weekend? It looks more like gravel then tarmac, on top of that they had to drive between the henkelstein, very dangerous stuff. Road conditions are always changing, most of the corners are blind because of vegetation. And of course you don’t really learn and repeat the same roads hundreds of times, you just drive by pacenotes, which takes years to learn properly. It is also quite demanding on the drivers, you start at 5 and end the day at 12 in the night, through this you must remain perfectly concentrated. There isn’t always help on the stages, it is much more hands on, drivers change tyres, and fix things themselves from time to time. There is also the danger of being out on stage in a remote location. On Saturday for example a car caught fire and the driver and co-driver are currently in the hospital being treated for burn injuries. Don’t get me wrong I love F1, and I think F1 drivers are very skilled. But these days motorsport is so specialised, I have seen F1 drivers going to DTM and really struggle. Montoya didn’t just beat everyone in Nascar and Kimi isn’t just beating everyone in WRC. Rally is one of the motorsports were the driver are still actually making a big difference.

    For all of those things I can really see why Kimi likes the idea or challenge of rally so much. You have to applaud Kimi, he isn’t taking the easy way out. He is putting himself up against people with loads more experience in a very difficult form of motorsport, he is really taking on a huge challenge.

    There is still lots of pressure on him on him to succeed, and Kimi is still generating lots of media interest. The difference is just that the media seems to be treating him differently. In F1 it always seemed like the media treated him with a bit of contempt, and a condescending attitude, always looking for a mistake. But in rally he is treated with respect and funny enough he is doing loads of PR this year. His participation in rally is really drawing in the crowds, rally Sweden alone for example were followed by more people then the whole WRC season last year. Therefore I suspect Red Bull are more then happy to sponsor Kimi, no other WRC driver can generate the same amount of interest.

    Although it is a bit sad that the last real great old school driver has left F1, I am glad that Kimi has decided to stick with WRC. It is very interesting to follow his progress in WRC. And for a complete and total rookie he is doing a fantastic job, I think he has got the potential to become a very good WRC driver, although it will take lots of commitment and lots of work. To Kimi’s credit it seems like he is taking this seriously and he is throwing himself in WRC. He is giving more interviews after the stages and he is really interacting with his fans for the first time. He has also done an excellent job this weekend and he has just won his first stage in WRC. The potential is definitely there, I don’t know if he will ever become a WRC champion, but he is currently doing something special and he is busy cementing his status in motorsport as a true legend.

    1. theRoswellite says:

      Excellent post! WRC reminds me of the really good old days…when sports car racing took place on road courses, or even public roads (the Targa Florio). Rallying showcases a great group of drivers, and their talent is always obvious to the public, even perhaps more than in GP.

  88. Rob R. says:

    I see this as a failure of F1, that it has managed to alienate the most naturally fast driver since Senna.

  89. Tim Parry says:

    It’s ironic how the bar has been raised. It’s no longer enough to have one championship under your belt – you have to be a multiple title holder in order to sit at the table. Ridiculous.
    I admire KR even more now that he’s decided once again to make his own way in motor sport. Life is to be enjoyed and that’s what he’s doing. Hats off to him.

  90. Red5 says:

    One of the best.

    Respected by fellow drivers and loved by the fans.

    Hope to see him at the Race of Champions this year beating the best of the best.

    1. Viks says:

      He doesn’t seem to get invited, probably because the sponsors don’t find him to be desirable.

      1. CJ1 says:

        I think Ferrari and Mclaren just doesn’t allow their drivers to take part, which is why Kimi has never done it. There have been a team Finland a few times if I recall correctly, and anyone who thinks Heikki is more desirable to sponsors needs to be fired.

  91. colm says:

    F1 needs media friendly personalities.
    Kimi didn’t have one.
    Bye Bye F1.

    Good fast driver though.

    1. CJ1 says:

      Kimi is still one the drivers with the most fans, and Red Bull is willing to sponsor him in WRC. This isn’t just a small sponsorship, they have committed to a complete rookie who had never even driver a WRC car before they signed him, in one of the top seats in WRC. On top of that they have now also released an Iceman cap collection, and their reported investment in him is 4 times as much as what Sebastian Loeb is getting.

      They must be doing all of this for some strange reason, it certainly isn’t because of his vast amount of experience or public speaking skills. Perhaps it is the good looks, it is always so much entertaining to see some really good looking people climb out of a car after a rally crash. ;-)

  92. Nathan says:

    “F1 is the elite level of motorsport and it is where great talents should reside and live out their careers.”

    Shouldn’t it be more about what the great talents actually enjoy rather than following the elitist protocol of a journalist?

    There are many other great forms of motorsport, Raikkonen realises this and goes to one that he actually enjoys. Same for Montoya.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good luck to them. But they’d both agree F1 is the pinnacle

      1. Jon Wilde says:

        or would they say the other forms of motorsport are not comparable?

        Hopefully Kimi’s commitment to the WRC along with some new cars will lead to improved coverage.

      2. Alan Dove says:

        James it very much depends on what you mean by pinnacle.

        Certainly F1 has the most prestige and is the class ‘most’ drivers try to reach. However when it comes to the question if F1 actually represents the elite level of driving talent in the world this whole charade falls apart. Motorsport is far too diverse, far too fragmented and far too expensive to make any actual analysis viable.

        For example, getting a number 1 record would be the pinnacle for most musicians but does the Official Singles Chart actually represent the highest quality of musical talent? Of course not.

        F1 may be the pinnacle of motorsport, but in terms of actual elite driving it doesn’t represent the finest racing talent in the world. It’s very nature prohibits this.

        I wouldn’t change it though :)

      3. James Allen says:

        Not sure I agree with that. You’ve got me thinking, though. I might do a post on this

      4. CJ1 says:

        “But they’d both agree F1 is the pinnacle”

        I am sorry James with all due respect, but you must be joking. The only thing that shows is the typical F1 elitist attitude that F1 reporters often have for some reason, it is like they are buying into their own hype or something. If things were so rosy why would they leave F1? It is not as if they couldn’t get a seat in F1 or anything?

        If F1 drivers are so superior why weren’t Coulthard or Hakkinen even able to beat those talentless DTM drivers, or Montoya especially should be beating those chumps in Nascar? Or how about Hakkinen beating everyone in the Artic rally, which is only a little national event, instead of coming in 22nd place.

        F1 is the elite of single seater track racing, yes that I will subscribe to, but saying they have the best drivers is just wrong. F1 also has the most money so I guess in that sense one could call it elite, although Nascar is properly not far behind in the money stakes. Which also show how F1 for example has lost ground in throughout the years, especially in America. Most Americans hardly even know anything about F1 these days.
        But then since rally has been under discussion in this article; with WRC for example one also has to remember that Bernie’s friend Max Mosley has been helping to drive WRC in the ground for years now, so that it doesn’t pose too much of a competition to F1. But if someone else was at the head of the FIA and they didn’t mess around with WRC so much, would it perhaps have been seen as the “elite” motorsport today? I mean rallies like Sweden, Finland or GBR can still attract over the 400 000 spectators these days, not too bad for such a forgotten sport. And the FIA has been following that same pattern with other popular racing too throughout the years, it is not just WRC.

        Or how about all of those kids that goes into karting, do all of the best ones really get sponsored to enter into the lower formula? Do the best drivers in the lower formulas always make it to F1? And where does pay drivers fit into this?

        And how about Kimi, everyone would agree that he is better then quite a few drivers on the grid today and yet he isn’t in F1?

        And Sebastian Loeb a 6 time WRC champion and even a Lemans winner, showing that he can not only do rallying but also some circuit racing. Where does he fit in?

        I can go on and on, everyone will get the general idea. James you are always so clever and insightful, I didn’t think you of all people would be so closed minded about this subject.

      5. Lady Snowcat says:

        Very interesting comment about F1 being the pinnacle…

        It is certainly seen as such by the general public and it surely is in single seater open wheel racing… although oval racers may disagree of course…

        I myself did see F1 as the top rung until I went rallying this year…

        I had watched rallying on tv before but nothing prepared me for the actuality of hours behind the wheel competitively and just going from stage to stage… as well as the protagonists getting their hands dirty changing wheels, patching up the cars and changing set-ups at remote locations…

        And then they have parc ferme and service procedures that mean they don’t just leave the cars as the business stuff finishes…

        And not just a handful of corners endlessly repeated on a consistent surface but endlessly different corners on changing surfaces…

        Instead of run-offs and soft barriers you have “track furniture” around every relatively unknown corner that can mean danger… trees, rocks, steep drops etc etc….

        And in every possible temperature from the freezing (Sweden) to the baking (for example Jordan)… with the long days really hurting here…

        What these guys have to do is totally amazing…

        And it needs REAL teamwork from the driver and co-driver too…

        Actually I now see the F1 guys as a rather effete, spoilt and coddled bunch….

        And I never expected to feel like that…

      6. James Allen says:

        Nice to have a comment from you. All elite sportsmen are mollycoddled by their handlers and the media. When you stand by the side of the track in changeable conditions and see what they do, then you realise that it’s a brutal environment and nothing soft about it at all.

      7. Lady Snowcat says:

        Thanks James and I have to say that I have done just as you suggest…

        I have been lucky to be at all the current tracks (except Korea!) and fairly close to the action at times… and this year I have been to quite a few rallies too…

        Hence I do feel the comparison to be at first hand and not just from my armchair…

        And whilst I agree that I may have been a tad harsh on the F1 guys I now believe that to say it is the pinnacle of all motorsport is somewhat of an overstatement and totally devalues other types … but I do accept that it is the blue riband event (rather like the 100m is in athletics)…

        The media mollycoddle??.. surely not…

        I thought you were a pack of blood thirsty sensationalists… only joking!!…

        a little…

      8. James Allen says:

        Well some of us are..

  93. Ali says:

    My friend and I went to the Monaco race this year. During the pitwalk we saw many drivers up close; Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel to name just a few. After the race on Sunday, whilst waiting for the crowds to clear so we could leave, we stood on a marina watching the Red Bull celebrations from across the harbour. Then my friend pointed out we were standing in front of a yacht called ‘The Iceman’. Only at that point did we notice we were just meters away from Kimi and a group of his friends. I was beside myself with excitement.

    A brief glimpse of Kimi at close quarters got me far more excited than seeing all the other drivers put together.

    I miss Kimi in F1 but have followed him to WRC and wish him all the best in whatever he does.

  94. Michael S says:

    Nice article James….

    Kimi is my all time favorite and I will especially miss him this weekend at Spa. I wish F1 allowed teams to run extra cars for events as they do in Rally, NASCAR, Indy, etc…. It would be great fun to at least see him out there….

  95. Alias says:

    Well, well, well perhaps people shouldn’t get to excited about Kimi being done with F1.

    This is from an interview, after Rallye Deutschland:

    SPOX: That means the Formula 1 fans will not see you ever again in a GP-car?

    Räikkönen: I will not express it like that. We will see. First, we have to drive this season to the end and then we have to clear some things up. Afterwards, we will see further.

    I am starting to believe that even Kimi himself doesn’t actually know what he wants! ;-)

  96. Mark V says:

    Picasso may be best known for his cubism, but he didn’t limit himself to that one style. So why should an extremely talented driver limit himself to one form of auto racing?

  97. Peter says:

    Whenever there is a post about Kimi here, it reaches the over 200 comments.

    1. Mr J says:

      Well, I for one check this site daily hoping that something about Kimi is posted.

  98. C Lin says:

    Thanks James, finally an article on Kimi.
    And timely too, The King of Spa…

  99. carly says:

    Much loved and admired … F1 is just not the same anymore……
    …..not just for me but as is obvious from these posts….
    for lots and lots of us ……from all corners of the world…. clearly there is something so special about the guy …. which transcends everything …..and that clearly is lacking in all the current whining lot on the grid!

  100. C Lin says:

    I hope Kimi stays at WRC.
    He seems much happier there.

    Watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRAS7psYEO4

    1. Trixie says:

      Fantastic video. Are the rally drivers really that accessible ? Thanks for the footage.

      1. C Lin says:

        Trixie, rally drivers are really nice unlike most F1 drivers, LOL.

        The atmosphere at rallies are very relaxed, the mechanics are pretty cool too. Even most the media people there are wonderful. Love those radio rally guys & Becs, Neil…

        I hope Kimi continues with WRC next year.

  101. eric weinraub says:

    I miss Kimi. What does it say when a team picks a sponsor over a driver? Ferrari wanted Santander more than a WDC!!!!! Michael was SO right to bail on Ferrari, which has totally lost its soul.

  102. Peter Hermann says:

    I certainly hope Kimi will never come back to F1. I’d light candles for that if needed. Not because of Kimi, i have nothing against the guy, though he is not on the list of my favourite drivers. No, its his fans, the most annoying sort of driver fans on the planet. They spam all the forums and blogs, they are unable to talk about anything but Kimi, Kimi and Kimi, until you turn your back on their postings because it just gets unbearable at a point.

    I bet they sleep on Kimi- pillows. From a psychological point of view, the empty canvas of Kimi’s personality enables his ‘fans’ to project all their imaginations onto him.They always seem to be perfectly informed about what he eats, drinks, and most important, thinks.

    Kimi-fans spend days and days on the internet telling the readers what Kimi thinks. While the guy probably does what many men tend to do…he thinks nothing.

    He is a good driver (at times), he won a WDC (kind of an accident), thats about all, and instead of 200 comments we should have 10 at best.

    1. tessa says:

      I am sorry, but what’s it to you how his fans admire him? If you don’t like them, then don’t visit forums or read any topic about Kimi. Just because Kimi fans don’t admire or follow a driver, team or sport the way you would, doesn’t mean they are lesser people. If you don’t like Kimi Raikkonen, then you don’t like him. To each his own. He isn’t any less of a great driver just because you think his fans are crazy. There is no need to attack people who admire him.

  103. baby boo says:

    I’ll miss him in f1!! How i wish he make a comeback! But if he’s happy at wrc,as his biggest fans,i’m happy too

  104. williamswakeup says:

    Raikonnen is essentially a modern day James Hunt. Only where Hunt could revel in his activities without being given a hard time in the seventies era, Raikonnen would be. But rather than giving into the PR game he prefers to say nothing and just enjoys the racing saving his true personality for places he wont be judged.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH Scuderia Ferrari
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer