Raikkonen drops out of F1: A fan’s view
Scuderia Ferrari
Raikkonen drops out of F1: A fan’s view
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Nov 2009   |  12:20 pm GMT  |  238 comments

Kimi Raikkonen will not be racing in F1 next season, his manager Steve Robertson has confirmed. He is calling it a year off and time will tell if he ever races an F1 car again.

“The options in F1 were with McLaren next season or not at all,” Robertson said, “Kimi and McLaren were unable to reach an agreement, so he will not drive at the F1 level – at least not next year.

“A gap year means nothing for Kimi. He is more interested in fighting for wins and the world championship. F1 will miss Kimi. He worked hard over the summer – doing things in a Ferrari that only the best drivers are capable of.”

The one and only (Photo: Darren Heath)

The one and only (Photo: Darren Heath)

We have had over 200 comments in the last 24 hours to the post I wrote about Raikkonen’s situation and I thought I should let the fans speak today and this eloquent piece by Melanie was perfect for the moment. Raikkonen has a huge fan base, which is understandably disappointed by him dropping out. Melanie sums up the feelings of Kimi’s army of fans:

“It seems like in the F1 world today, there might not be a place anymore for a driver like Kimi.


Kimi is a real throwback to way that racing use to be. These days F1 drivers are just that; F1 drivers, with media personalities that constantly have to think about their image, the press and thanking the team. So few of them still show a bit of character, and few as often as Kimi.


Kimi is a racer and a gentleman at the same time, a very fair but hard racer who never says anything bad about anyone. It is somewhat ironic therefore that people or the press always have a lot to say about him. Kimi has a lot of integrity, something that seems to be sorely missing these days, although not just in F1.


And apart from that he is also a terrific racing driver, he has shown this year once again that he can wring that something extra out of a car.

Kimi is one of the most misunderstood figures in the paddock, after nine years in F1 many people are no closer to understanding Kimi then when he entered F1. Recently I watched an interview of him before he entered F1, and the man hasn’t changed one bit.

During the season F1 became pretty tedious at times. We had the liegate scandal, diffuser controversy, wars of bureaucracy between the FIA and FOTA, manufactures are running away in droves and to top it all off, a bit of race fixing. F1 is a wonderful sport but at times it becomes unbearable, and you sometimes wonder if it is really worth all the trouble and effort to follow it so feverishly.


Raikkonen_Belgium'09_307
But then you look at someone like Kimi Raikkonen, so uncomplicated and brilliant at the same time, and you see the way that F1 could be, and should be. Like the way he has handled his sacking from Ferrari, with so much class, something that is rarely seen these days. Or racing the fifth or sixth best car and placing it on the podium and even winning a race. Or thinking back to kimi and Lewis going for, giving it their all, on the last lap around a wet Spa. Or Lewis out qualifying the rest of grid by almost a second at Abu Dhabi. That is what it’s suppose to be about!

But that also makes it difficult for a person like Kimi, he loves racing and winning, and he will properly always be racing something. Therefore I dont think Kimi will ever be unmotivated when it comes to racing, but then F1 is hardly about any racing these days, is it? I can therefore quite easily understand Kimi’s love-hate attitude when it comes to F1. Politics and PR have taken over a lot of the sport.

Raikkonen_Japan'09_100i
But luckily Kimi will always be racing, and therefore we will always be able to see him in action going out and giving it his all. I know I will certainly be watching Kimi tackling the WRC. It will certainly be very tough and difficult to find a foothold there, for a driver with almost no experience, but if there is someone who would be able to it, it has got to be Kimi Raikkonen!

Meanwhile, allow me to feel a bit saddened as F1 could be losing one of its last best components. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and it is suppose to be about the best competing against each other, Kimi is still a lot better then many others who will still be around.”

(Edited version)

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1

F1 would never be the same without him. IMO no driver could quite compare with Kimi in terms of bravery. How many of drivers have gone through eau rouge in a fog of smoke or continued to drive while on fire?

It is disappointing to see him leaving F1 while less capable drivers are still racing.

2
Hans joergen Stroem

after having read alot on different F1 homepages about Kimi taking a sabbatical year away from F1, I just sat in my sofa staring out of the window and let the emotions work on this matter for a few minutes. and I felt like, maybe 2010 will be the year I take a “sabbatical” too when it comes to follow F1 live on satellite TV. I have done it ever since I bought the first satellite TV dish and receiver back in 1991. there are not many races I did not sat in front of the telly watching the live broadcast.

3

It’s a sad day for formula 1. Reminds me of the day Michael Scdhumacher announced his retirement at Monza in 2006. Kimi is simply the best driver in the world and his talent will probably lead him to challenge for a world championship in rallying.

James, you will have to write a book on the man- it would no doubt be a best seller.

4

That would be a challenge!

5

read this and pls don’t write off 1 of the best 3 drivers.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80215

6

James,

Your thoughts about the Autosport news saying Kimi willing to consider a Mercedes drive?

As I posted yesterday before McLaren announced Button, I can’t see MercedesGP beeing able to fight for both championships next year with Rosberg-Heidfeld facing Alonso-Massa, Hamilton-Button, and even Red Bull. They must know that, it is impossible. Or they are crazy or too optimistic.

Mercedes did not buy Brawn (and so placed its brand in the front instead of beeing just an engine supplier behind McLaren) just to “play the game”, but as every constructor, to win, because it is part of a marketing worldwide strategy, it is part of the image brand of the company.

They therefore need a “top” driver, experienced, a winner. They do not only need consistency which Rosberg and Heidfeld can provide. I rate Heidfeld higher than he’s always looked, but not that high. Rosberg is still very young and I do not believe is the same caliber as Hamilton/Alonso/Raikkonen/Vettel. Just known one team, one car. Neither Heidfeld nor Rosberg already won a race.

They also need a top gun because it is now sure they’ll have two new drivers in the seats which is not the best situation even if no doubt Brawn’s car will fight for wins.

The more experienced drivers they get, the fastest ones they get, the more they have opportunities to win titles.

Rosberg-Raikkonnen makes sens. Rosberg-Heidfeld does not.

7

Kimi, loosing you means loosing a shinning star. Your character, bravado and honesty was like a breath of fresh air. Alonso (Singapore), Micheal (Australia and Spain), Hamilton (Lying to steward) are like dwarfs to a gentleman like you. You were fast, charismatic and spectacular. You will always be loved by F1 fans but missed sorely….now my eyes are getting all misty 🙁

8

Ok.. i dont know how true this is.. but reports have emerged in some brazilian sports channel that kimi is in talks with mercedes gp… n even his managers have downplayed their announcement yday that he is leavin F1…i wudnt trust the rumor but then i saw it on times as well..

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6922340.ece

anythin u have heard on this james??

9

In an interview with Steve Robertson on the autosport.com site he suggests that Kimi would consider a seat at Mercedes (ex-Brawn) for 2010 if they can convince him it’s a potentially championship winning package:

“This is Formula 1. If they can offer, or convince us, that they can provide Kimi an opportunity that Kimi is happy with, and that we are happy with, and he feels he can win races and the championship, then never say never, there is always a possibility.”

In my view Mercedes should jump on this ASAP! It would give some weight to their driver line-up which is looking to be decidedly middle of the road (Rosberg and Heidfeld).

I hope it happens!

10

Thanks for the article… nicely put.

2010 will be poorer without Kimi. While I’m disappointed not to see him in a McLaren giving Ferrari payback, I guess of all teams on the grid, this is the one he really doesnt fit into. Corporate squeak and victory tshirts dont fit with the nice tatoos and a bit of character.

Considering this, I like the sound of Kimi at Red Bull. Slightly alternative, a little bit of attitude… Think this might be a good fit and would love for them to give the big teams a headache.

Viva Kimi!

11

Hi James,

What are your thoughts on the Kimi to Mercedes rumors going around?

12

I think he has made the right decision, I really think this has been on the cards for some time. All this talk about Alonso going to Ferrari, his lack of performance and motivation, would get to anybody. The key word here in motivation. When Kimi was asked in 2008 why he left his fastest lap to the very end of the German Gp his response was that he was ‘bored and wanted to see what the car could do’. When you are ‘bored’ of driving an 850bhp racing car it is time to leave.

The politics, the jibes from the likes of Ecclestone about the way Raikkonen handled interviews, was just not his thing. He made vast sums of money during his years at McLaren and Ferrari, and will leave with his health and limbs intact.

I look forward, maybe, to see him come back as a team owner in the future. Raikkonen/Robertson F1 team, sponsored by an obscure brand of Finnish vodka. Far more interesting than Toro Rosso!

13

I know that it sounds final, but apparently, he might race for Mercedes. So, I guess there’s still a chance for us to see him in action in the pinnacle of motor racing!

14

The sentiment here is silly. While talented, Kimi did take races off in a figurative sense and that is simply inexcusable at his salary level. Massa’s injury took some of the heat off him, but the reality is he had been outperformed by a teammate with higher motivation in a good portion of the last two seasons. So he likes Spa and wants to win there…big deal. The fact that he is being paid to sit out the year speaks volumes.

15

Nice article James…

Hope he returns back to F1 with a vengeance after his sabatical.

16

to all Kimi fans no use cryin, he does not

care. Now why would you. fact.

just to quote him.. (silence)

17

I am from india,had no knowledge about f1 in 2002.But suddenly i came across a name kimi raikkonen at the start of 2003 season and started to follow him from then, just for the sake of his name. Then i learned things about f1 and my man Raikkonen etc.

Its really saddening to see a guy leaving the sport in this fashion.So i learnt that being honest,gentle,thankful in this world is utter stupidity.

18

Wonderful comment from Melanie, and thank you James for putting it up. I too am a Kimi fan, more out of respect than anything, and very much agree with you Melanie.

While I realise that this may well be the end for Kimi in F1, I will eagerly anticipate his return and will follow his career progression.

God, this post really sounds like a fanboy’s, I guess I just feel it’s a shame.

19

David,

Those ordinary people are not watched and envied by millions of others. They are not scrutinized by everyone around them.

If you get drunk, you get a hangover.

If a celebrity gets drunk, it gets plastered all over the front page of a tabloid. With a shot of their crotch.

That is the equivalent of treating them like an animal in a zoo. You’re just waiting for them to entertain you.

I love Kimi because, to me, he is a racer. I don’t make fan videos about him. I don’t have posters of him on my wall. I don’t care what he does in his personal life. And I don’t buy something because i saw him in an advert.

I love him because he races.

Anything else he does is none of my business and is of no interest to me.

My guess is you have no idea what these people go through. I have seen a woman launch herself into the car we were in because a friend of mine, a famous one, was sitting in the front seat. It is both sweet to see someone so touched, and it is disturbing. All my friend does is sing. She doesn’t bring people back from the dead. She is not a representative of some almighty power.

Why we choose to expect more of someone who drives a car at incredible speeds, and in doing so, puts their life at great risk, is beyond me.

20

Rumours are starting to boil. First rumour came out of Brazil and now the Times and other websites state it aswell. Raikkonen in talks with Mercedes or Raikkonen signs one year deal with Mercedes?

When is this going to stop, one might wonder?

21

That story about Kimi is utopian nonsence.

He got tired, seems to me from everything except money (and that everything includes racing).

He wants more money but less PR?

Fare well, Kimi, you won’t be missed.

22

Oh jeez you guys! Get over it! I realize this is a meeting of the Kimi Fan Club, but get a grip! I, too, admire a lot of things about him, particularly the way he conducts himself. But he does not walk on water, and he *will be back. So take a pill!

23

Agreed. This thread is getting a bit BBC 606

24

Ironically i think F1 has lost (hopefully temporarily) one of its greatest and most genuine character in the days of generic, well-spoken, media-savvy generation. I simply do not subscribe to the thought that he is too “media-unfriendly” and lacks motivation and consistency. People who know anything about former F1 champions would realise that one of the most beloved F1 champs, Jim Clark was similarly famous for being shy and for his dislike of the media and PR work not to mention chewed his fingernails.

As with lack of motivation and consistency, you only need to look at his performance in the second half of 2009 to know that he is as motivated and consistent as ever. In a car that is basically slower than Force India’s, Kimi was able to gain consistent results, second only to Hamilton who undoubtedly had one of the strongest car in the second half. To further consolidate his position, his team mates post-Massa accident scored NO POINTS, including the well regarded and experienced Fisichella. Schumacher won only one race in 2005 (if you can consider US GP a race) in a Ferrari that underperformed.

Ferrari should be thankful Kimi was gracious in his exit and harboured no obvious animosity. I assume he could’ve continued at Ferrari at full salary and Ferrari can’t do anything about it, but he chose difficult path to find a competitive seat in F1. He should be commended for not publicly whining about a dog of a car which is the F60 besides describing its deficiencies. We all remember how current champ Button publicly whined about his BGP 001. But that not Kimi’s style, all he wants is a good car for which he can led his driving do the talking. No fuss, just go out and drive the wheels off the car, job done.

Besides, i struggle to think of any other current F1 driver that is as entertaining in the off season as Kimi. I am sure a man in gorilla suit named “James Hunt” would agree.

25

I’m absolutely gutted. Kimi’s a great driver, he’s exciting to watch and a real character in F1. I just hope he doesn’t do a Mika whose “one year” sabbatical is still not over! I wasn’t in the least bit bothered when Schumi retired, think I was fed up with his dominance at that point! but I will miss Kimi and sincerely hope he makes a comeback next year, there are a lot of fans out there that still want to see him race….unless Norbert & Ross offer him the second seat??

26

James,

I’d like your view from inside the paddock on Kimi’s managers, the Robertsons.

In my opinion they really didn’t handle the situation well this time round, starting from the fee decided with ferrari, but I hear they are highly regarded within the inner circles. What is your view?

27

Well they brought Button and Raikkonen into F1 and have done very well for Kimi financially. They are approachable and easy to talk to, I like them

28

Thanks James and thanks Melanie for that nice piece on behalf of Kimi’s fans. Let’s hope it isn’t the epitaph for his career and he will one day soon return to Formula 1.

To the other “fans” who think this is all about Kimi being greedy for more money: are you KIDDING? The guy has already made what, 100 million pounds or something crazy like that already? Do you know how much money that really is? It’s an ENOURMOUS amount. It’s way more than most people could ever spend in a lifetime even if they tried, unless they’re someone like Gene Simmons who literally wears dollar signs on his clothes. So do you seriously think a few million less, (chump change to a multi-millionaire like Kimi), to race at McLaren was the ultimate deciding factor? Get real.

And to the other fans who say he doesn’t care enough about his fans, that he should make himself more available to them and the media: who cares? Is the fact he drives the wheels off a car no matter how crappy it is not enough for you? Do you also think reclusive authors JD Salinger and Thomas Pynchon should be at your local shopping mall signing books for you too?

And if Kimi really did only care about the money, surely then he would make a hell of a lot more effort to be the kind of pitchman and salesman a lot of you expect by putting on the big fake smile, throwing out the exaggerated handshakes and giving the big old slaps on the back to anyone and everyone who could help him line his pockets even more.

But he doesn’t. Because he gets paid to DRIVE. A lot of us fans who tune in to watch an F1 race don’t do it to hear the drivers prattle on before or after a race, we tune in to see the greatest drivers in the world race the greatest cars in the world around the greatest tracks in the world, end of story.

Another site is reporting that wage wasn’t the only stumbling block to his signing with McLaren, that it was also the number of sponsorship appearances he would be required to make (as well as how much he could drive rally cars in his spare time). This (and Kimi’s fellow Finn Nicole’s illuminating comments about his mentality on the other article), lends some credence to my theory that he may have a social anxiety problem. When I first brought this up I shouldn’t have written I thought it “may be severe”, I should simply have written it “may be significant, perhaps not to the degree that it is easily observable, but perhaps significant enough for it to be a real problem for him”. (To illustrate how social anxiety is often unobserved by even the most astute people, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, an extroverted wild man on stage and someone who appears to be a very calm, articulate speaker during media interviews offstage, nearly self destructed with drugs because for years he was privately suffering from a social anxiety disorder that very few people were ever aware of).

So a multi-millionaire who doesn’t really need the money should seriously consider taking a pay cut if it means fighting for another World Championship right? Because winning another championship may lead to more money earned anyways, right? But I think this sponsorship appearance thing is a compelling clue.

Again, I put this out there as just a personal theory and though I am very educated in psychology in general as well as the subject of social anxiety my theory may still be way out there and totally wrong, but if I am right I hope for his sake and for the sake of his millions of fans that he get help so he can return to F1.

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