Autoview Motorsport & Motoring

Friday, 2 December 2011

Kimi Raikonnen Joins Renault... err Lotus.. Renault for 2012

Kimi Raikonen with nice new jacket

Fooled me, all the rumour suggested that Kimi Raikkonen would be joining Williams for the 2012 season, but then fooling me is not really sport!

After a couple of years competing in the WRC (World Rally Championship), Kimi is coming back to formula 1, and the noises he is making suggest he's hungry again! I truly hope so, because a motivated Kimi is a very fast Kimi, and even in a car which might not be the best, he is capable of pulling off some truly stunning drives.

Kimi started mucking around on a pedal kart at the age of 3 and later graduated to motorbikes and Karts, winning the Finnish championship twice in Formula ICA and Formula A respectively among other notable results. Moving into car racing in 1999 and competing in Formula Ford and Formula Renault, he bagan to make teams owners sit up and notice at the end of his first season racing cars when he won the Formula Renault winter series with the Manor motor sport team (now competing as Virgin or Marussia in F1 for 2012). Manor have an impressive pedigree in Formula Renault, stretching back to 1991 with a win for Jason Plato and including Lewis Hamilton and Antonio Pizzonia amongst it's many other champions. Kimi was the winner of the Full Renault season the following year and became a Sauber test driver along the way, graduating to a race seat with Sauber in 2001 and finishing 10th in the drivers championship with 9 points. Mclaren snapped him up for 2002 and that's when his raw speed was unleashed. Highlights of his career include winning his first Grand Prix in Malaysia 2003, a season in which he became a genuine title contender and finished 2nd in the championship, as he did in 2005. These were campaigns he may well have won had his cars been more reliable. His sole title came by a single point from Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in 2007. He suffered what might be termed a 'brewers droop', given his love of partying, in the next two seasons and left for the WRC. His F1 career stands at 18 wins, 16 pole positions and 1 championship.

Kimi is known as the ice-man for his cool exterior under all conditions, but stories abound of his love of wild parties, letting his hair down and extreme sports. Apparantly he checks himself in for events as 'James Hunt' to avoid attention, and also showing his admiration for the suave,good looking, womanising, jammy b*gger, party animal, budgie breeder (yes, really!) Hunt. I think we'll have to look at James's wild character another time! But back to Kimi, his web-site is well worth a look, if only for the background picture in his Rally car (you'll see what I mean when you get there!)

So, as things stand we will have an unprecedented SIX World Champions on the grid come Melbourne in March, Raikkonen is going to need time to get up to speed, tyres, aerodynamics and loads more changes to the cars plus two years rallying, will mean he has some catching up to do......

It's going to be an interesting season.

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