20 Years After Making Debut F1 Test, Kimi Raikkonen Returns To Mugello Uncomplicated As Ever! Has Anything Changed?

Kimi Raikkonen

Of the many things in the current context of Formula 1, three, in particular, haven’t really changed. They have, if one can put it that way, stood the passage of time. Among them, Lewis Hamilton‘s consistency; the British driver has won every single season since 2016, crowning himself effectively as the undisputed leader of the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1. He now stands in striking distance of a seventh driver’s title.

Next in the line are the sudden driver and team changes. Did anyone think, for example, that for all his undying love for Formula 1, Fernando Alonso would call it a day, and within a couple of years, return back to the grid, having left frustrated by that underwhelming McLaren? Take also, for instance, Sainz’ move to Ferrari slated for 2021; just who could’ve predicted Vettel to fall so far down as to be so unceremoniously replaced?

But then, in a sport where the unexpected is still the order of the day, Monza shaking up the entire grid in a matter of halfway, there’s another thing that hasn’t changed.

Not one bit.

It’s Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen

In a sport where drivers aren’t exactly shy to grow a personality and cultivate an image, Kimi Raikkonen is his own man. And he still remains, having spent two decades in the sport, a man of few words.

As media-shy in 2020 as he was back in the day, the standard Kimi Raikkonen starter package, after all these years, may include any of the following (or a combination of them all):

Stylish sunglasses

Near disdain for self-expression

Ice-cream/vodka/beer

Leave Me Alone” byline which was used in a short-lived radio outburst, Kimi never suspecting it would manifest into a trend.

Finnish flag

In fact, the above has even become this popular Kimi Raikkonen wallpaper that continues to sell T-shirts; helps merchandisers grow businesses.

As the Alfa Romeo driver returns to Mugello, where he first shot to attention, it seems almost natural to probe especially in his case (not so much in others’) as to how could someone not change at all despite being around for all these years having seen it all?

Isn’t that un-Formula 1 like, even almost borderline-weird especially since F1’s second nature is change; change in lap times, grid positions, race outcomes, and all of that?

When Kimi first arrived in Formula 1, his debut being the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, there were no such things as a 21-race packed calendar, or the turbo-hybrid cars. The term DAS hadn’t been invented in Formula 1 apart from being the byline of Wolkswagen (Das Auto). Formula 1 hadn’t gone to places where it often races under bright sparkling lights, take Bahrain, Singapore for example.

Driving less noisy V6 engines in that era was about as real a possibility as imagining a race on the calendar without a Ferrari win.

Funnily, when Raikkonen stormed around at Mugello (aged just 20) still in that boy-yet-to-be-full-grown-man mould, Lando Norris, who took his maiden podium earlier this year, was barely a few months old, while George Russell was two and the great Michael Schumacher had won just his third world championship.

Still zero bullshit

f1chronicle-Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

And yet, 323 Grands Prix, 21 wins, 18 poles, 46 fastest laps, and one world championship later, Kimi Raikkonen is still utterly uncomplicated as ever.

Caring little for what others think of him, Raikkonen’s itinerary is still pretty much: get in the car, try to go fast, do better, get out of the car, and go home!

The only things that may have changed, however, over a course of time that if measured in miles, boils down to 83,846 km- the most by any driver ever- is a minute increase in occasional outbursts over team radio and a car that’s significantly worsened his fortunes.

Even if that may not have dampened his spirits, any attempts at gathering that could only yield the typical Kimi Raikkonen-response, “I mean, I would not be here in Formula 1, if I didn’t want to compete!”

In an age where your personality is defined by Insta filters, that’s Raikkonen in the ‘no-filter’ style.

The Raikkonen who was used to fighting at the front of the grid until 2018, has over the course of past two seasons, fallen to rear-end of the pack.

For someone who still happens to be Ferrari’s last world champion, winning the world title in his debut year with the Scuderia, something that even the mighty Michael Schumacher failed to do, Kimi’s an unflustered enigma.

F1- still a hobby

A recent salary report showed his to be $5 million, which in comparison to the mighty Lewis Hamilton, measures eight times less.

But then, Raikkonen isn’t here to pay bills, is he? Where most drivers fancy filling items on a bucket-list, of which winning a title is number one priority, Kimi has none; for he did that a decade and a half back. He knows nothing about shenanigans.

A man who considers F1 a ‘hobby’, couldn’t care less about bucket lists.

True to his calm disposition, when asked as to what he thought of his maiden Mugello drive in 2000, the reporter expecting something dramatic, Raikkonen played down the hype and simply said the following:

“It was a long time back, the times have changed but back then, something new started in my life and some good memories!”

Not a man who believes in being a moment-stealer; the master at not owning a moment; perhaps also the king of being aloof! Has that shaped the Iceman enigma? Guess, we all know the answer.

Leave a Comment

Recommended For You

Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk Ep. 134 | 2021 Italian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Analysis

Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk Ep. 134 | 2021 Italian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying Analysis

Welcome to Episode 134 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
Formula 1 Podcast | Grid Talk ep 132 | 2021 Italian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 Grid Talk Episode 132: 2021 Italian Grand Prixview

Welcome to Episode 132 of our Formula 1 podcast, Grid ...
2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Sunday - Max Verstappen

‘It’s A Very Long Season’ Says Max Verstappen After Imola Victory

After taking his first win of the 2021 FORMULA 1 ...
2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Sunday - Lewis Hamilton

‘It’s Not How You Fall; It’s How You Get Up’ Says Lewis Hamilton On Incredible Recovery Drive

After an incredible recovery drive at Imola, seven-time World Champion ...
2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Sunday - Lando Norris (image courtesy McLaren)

Lando Norris Thrilled With First Podium Of 2021

A fantastic drive from Lando Norris, who produced a swashbuckling ...

More in News

Ferrari

Leclerc vs Sainz, COTA’s Result, And The Big Improvement From Ferrari!

Charles Leclerc is currently sixth in the 2021 F1 Drivers ...
AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Megan Thee Stallion poses for a photo in the Red Bull Racing garage before the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202110240625 // Usage for editorial use only //

Megan Thee Stallion Can Do Whatever She Wants, Actually

Megan Thee Stallion has won three Grammy awards, six BET ...
2021 United States Grand Prix, Sunday - Paddock Club

Paddock Club – Exclusive Access to F1 Teams and Races

As the 2021 season starts heading towards its end game, ...
AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates with Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202110250013 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen Wins Engrossing USA GP

In a race that lacked some of the on-track drama ...
2021 United States Grand Prix, Sunday - Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton Loses Ground In Championship Battle

Scorching temperatures, sunny skies and packed grandstands at COTA created ...

Trending on F1 Chronicle