Formula One: Slimmed and trimmed Kimi Räikkönen in best shape of his life
New appearance put a stop to suspicions of lack of motivation
During the winter’s last Formula One tests in Barcelona, one can clearly see the change in Kimi Räikkönen’s appearance. The man has visibly lost weight.
When asked how much, Räikkönen replies: “I do not have a scale, so I don’t know.”
But Ferrari does have a scale, and for the upcoming season everything looks just right, even if the KERS hybrid technology has increased the car’s weight by 25 kilograms from last year.
“I have thinned down just enough for the total weight of the car and the driver to hit the mark that we had been aiming at”, Räikkönen admits.
Räikkönen’s being radiates a new kind of togetherness. He's on the ball. He seems more focused, and he reacts more quickly to questions. In a word or two, the guy appears less sleepy and lethargic than last year.
Last season Räikkönen was a mystery to the whole Formula One world. The engineers from his former Sauber team were astonished that Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was able to take on Räikkönen and beat him.
A rumour started spreading that the former champion would have lost his interest in the sport and was just about ready to call it a day.
This winter, Räikkönen’s appearance alone has been enough to shake off all the suspicions of lack of motivation.
Now the only question in the pits seems to be, what brought on the change.
Everybody already knows that Räikkönen has stopped using alcohol.
“I think that issue was widely exaggerated, for example when people started writing that the team would have forced Kimi to stop drinking”, Räikkönen’s father Matti Räikkönen tells Helsingin Sanomat.
Maybe the Finnish F1 driver simply realised that as a 29-year-old one no longer recovers from celebrating as quickly as before, and that this might hinder him from adding a second Championship trophy to his collection.
Now, anyone can tell by Räikkönen’s disposition that the man is ready to do everything in his power to achieve this goal.
“Surely everybody can see what is happening”, says Matti Räikkönen. “Kimi is in better shape both physically and mentally than ever before.”
Instead of revelling, Räikkönen competed in two rally events during the off-season.
“Kimi has always been interested in rally driving. It is great that the Ferrari team allowed him to make use of this opportunity”, Matti Räikkönen says.
“I believe Kimi has potential to develop in that sport as well, especially when he is coached by none other than Tommi Mäkinen”, Matti Räikkönen says, referring to the Finnish four-time World Rally Champion.
When Kimi Räikkönen is asked in Barcelona if he has discovered a new kind of fun to racing in Formula One, he laughs and says: “I have had fun here before. When you perform well you have more fun, when you fail you have less fun.”
That sounds like a suitable philosophy ahead of the upcoming F1 season.
The Formula One circus kicks off again this weekend, as the drivers take on the straights and curves in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix. Finland will be represented by Ferrari's Räikkönen, by Heikki Kovalainen in his second season as #2 to World Champion Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, and - at least when he does well - by Nico Rosberg, the son of former World Champion Keke Rosberg. Rosberg, who races under German colours, will again be driving for Williams.
The season comprises 17 races, culminating on November 1st in the Abu Dhabi GP on the new Yas Marina circuit, and there will once again be a night race in Singapore after a successful launch last year.
There are no changes to the points scoring system, although there was an abortive attempt made recently to make the Drivers' Champion the man who wins most races in the season.
On the other hand, there have been a number of rules amendments, some geared to reducing the staggering cost of competing in the sport. These are noted in the Wikipedia link below.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Kovalainen enters upcoming F1 season 4.5 kg. heavier (13.3.2009)
Formula One 2009 Season (Wikipedia)
Kimi Räikkönen (Wikipedia)
Kimi Räikkönen on the Formula One site