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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I don’t think I am out of line in my comments concerning Kimi, and I am a fan of his. I wanted him to succeed at Ferrari as much as anyone else, but here is a guy who has made a huge sum of money doing this job over the years. Without F1, where would he be? Where would any of these drivers be?

Also, if you bothered to read the rest of my post, I agreed with nearly everything Kimi said, and no, I am not a fan of Ferrari!


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


a picture says a thousand words indeed:

kimi has left the building…for good!

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

Raikkonen was a round peg in a square hole in F1

clearly. I cant see him going back, and actually I dont want to now having seen that.

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

go Kimi dont look back..my son 😀


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


It’s a really funny theory this about “bad communication” with all due respect to James and his recent article.

Yet It must be enough for any serious F1 team to have a driver who is able to drive their car faster than anyone else. Period. It is their job to ensure that WHATEVER it is that will make him feel happy and motivated is provided for him. Hardly rocket science.

For good communicating you have to look elsewhere: Larry King, David Frost, Bob Hope.


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

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


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


As Kimi always says : “Wait and See”!

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

Sounds pretty near perfect. Well played that man!


Or shall we say well played Robertsons.


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

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

Anyway rant over, good luck Kimi, I for one will miss you!


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

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

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


You’ve said it mate, you said it.


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


Its a little rich of Raikkonen to come out with some of his comments. Especially the remarks about ‘teams leaving F1’, which to be honest, I found laughable.

During his years at Ferrari, Kimi was on a reported $45 million a year, which brakes down to around $2 million every time he raced for the Scuderia. To be fair, Raikkonen was being paid willingly by Ferrari, it was not as if the Finn had a gun to their heads, however, when you look at the money these teams spent on drivers in recent years, its hardly surprising that they want out of F1.

So, although Kimi was not the only driver on mega money, he did have an obligation to atleast show some interest whilst raking in millions to spirit off to his Swiss bank account. His other remarks, were all spot on!

He is exactly right about how drivers are not allowed to express themselves, which has

damaged the sports image as the personalties of old were what made the sport great. To this I blame the corporate invasion of all the big car manufacturers to F1 a decade ago, as much as I do the FIA under Max Mosley.

On this side of things, with three of the big companies out for lunch for awhile, the introduction of all these small independant teams may not be such a bad thing.


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


Alonso. He builds Ferrari’s F1 cars on weekdays and Ferrari’s road cars on Saturday.

On Sundays, he repairs shoes.


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


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


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

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

About driver politics few more things..

Maybe Button move to Mclaren was done by Mercedes/ whi knew for Schumacher plans log before and wanted to keep nr 1, for media purposes on one of its teams).

How Niko is turned in to a mega talent of future with media / when he’s not ( Someone stronger would just overrun Schumacher).

How Massa enjoyed support from Ferrari (Schumacher and his management did everything to stop Kimi cruising to wins like in Melbourne 2007. (after that Ferrari were found illegal floor… all the other things lot of people talk about..)

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

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


I absolutely agree


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


Vettel cannot go anywhere until 2012 earliest


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

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

Oh, and I see Red Bull doesn’t mind Kimi’s hair growing

out a bit 🙂


Hi James

One thing that was really noticeable – we all know what Kimi’s F1 interviews were like, very stilted, usually seemingly awkward. On the other hand, I saw him interviewed on a rally programme a couple of months ago, and his demeanour was totally different – when talking about rally, his eyes lit up, his English suddenly seemed so much better and his sentences flowed. You could really see where his heart was, at least for the moment.

I think it’s great for us motor-racing fans – we should get a thrilling F1 season with Lewis/Jenson/Schumi etc, plus the chance to see Kimi rallying!


any chance of a link to said interview?


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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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