top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdéla Pavlovská

The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen


The review of Iceman's brilliant and witty biography written by Kari Hotakainen.
 

Leave me alone, I know what to do or Gloves and steering wheel! are one of the many quotes by Kimi Räikkönen, the flying Finn. The last World Champion for Ferrari is like an enigma. He is known for his sarcastic and reserved approach to the media (as he once said, meeting with the journalists is the most boring part of the race weekend). He is the type of person who does all the talking on the track. That’s how the majority of fans see him and one of the reasons why he is so beloved and has a large fanbase. But who is Kimi Räikkönen behind the closed door, surrounded by his family?


Many drivers have written biographies or had someone to write about them. Kimi Räikkönen is the exception. Until now, no book would try to uncover what is behind Finn’s stone-cold face. Everything changed in 2018 when Kari Hotakainen released the first and the last authorised book about the 2007 World Champion. He got access to Kimi’s very carefully guarded private life to reveal the side of the man that very few have seen.


This book is Hotakainen’s introduction to the world of Formula 1 as he has never watched it before. The unfamiliarity shows in the lack of F1 anecdotes. If you expect to find out what is going on behind the scenes of the paddock, you are going to be disappointed. The tea is way too cold. There are no talks about team bosses, former teammates, no juicy gossip. Race descriptions are a bit shallow, a lot of things have been missed out. It’s probably a good thing as it would make the book a bit boring. But on the other hand, it’s a shame that the year 2007 (where Räikkönen claimed the title by only one point) didn’t get more spotlight. It seemed to me that the less successful years (mostly with McLaren) get more coverage than brighter seasons. The book overall lacks more insight into thoughts and emotions going on during crucial races or decisions. But I guess it’s more because of the interviewee than the interviewer. And it’s, of course, hard to summarize the whole career of the Iceman in a few pages.


But there is indeed a passage showing Räikkönen’s racing genius told by Steve Robertson, his manager:

“Sauber wanted Kimi to spend half a day on making sure that he knew all the functions of the steering wheel before the decisive test drive. If you don’t master them totally, you can break the engine and that’s the end of the test. It took Kimi half an hour to take in all the buttons of the wheel and their functions.“

Many people helped Kimi in his career, and without them, he would be completely hopeless. Apart from his family, it’s also his manager Steve Robertson, his helmet designer Uffe Tägström, his manager of affairs Sami Vista or his trainer Mark Arnall. Also, the significant figures in motorsport like Sebastian Vettel or former Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene share a bit about Kimi. I want to point out that the author missed the opportunity to give these people a bit more spotlight. For example, the interview with Maurizio is about half a page long. It‘s a shame because I would love to read about how Formula 1 people see Kimi not just as a driver but also as a person.


Although the book isn’t filled with a wheel-to-wheel action, it doesn’t matter. As a biography, it should be more focused on the life of the person. Which this book does brilliantly. It shows us Kimi’s journey to Formula 1, from the first go-karts to the first F1 test with Sauber. But racing is secondary here. This story is not about Kimi Räikkönen, the Formula 1 driver but about Kimi Räikkönen, an ordinary guy from Espoo, who happens to have the ability to drive the car much faster than people around him. This biography shows Kimi as a loyal friend and loving husband. It’s a very authentic portrait of a man who had to sacrifice a lot to achieve his dream. We find out more about his complicated relationship with his father, the disappointing first marriage with Finnish model Jenni Dahlman to finding his true love, Minntu. We see the off-track Kimi we don’t get to witness on race weekends.


To make the story even more authentic, there are a lot of off-track stories from Kimi’s life. I decided to choose to quote two of them that made me laugh out loud:

“It’s 2008 in Singapore. After the race, Kimi plans to fly to Thailand, where he has bought a holiday home. He is in the private area of Singapore airport, when he thinks he’s got a great idea. In security control, he puts his baggage on the conveyor belt, and the officials expect him to walk through the security gate. Instead, Kimi dives onto the belt after his belongings. The officials are enraged. The driver says that he only wanted to get an image of the precise details of his body, his bone structure in particular.“

Unfortunately, Kimi didn’t get his desired picture. Instead of that, he got handcuffs and had to go to the interrogation room.

“The atmosphere in the aircraft is great. The previous customer has left behind some powder for treating children’s skin conditions. The tourists have no idea and decide to act on it. Because the flight is from a non-Schengen country to an EU country, the group is faced with customs at Turin. The customs official takes a long look at the passengers covered in white powder from top to toe. He asks where they have come from. Kimi replies: From Colombia.“

These are only a small part of many other hilarious anecdotes this book contains. You can also read about Kimi’s first day as a Ferrari driver with a terrible hangover, partying with the Prince of Bahrain, or letting the band Guns N‘ Roses sleep in his house before their next gig. A very nice addition to the book is Kimi’s personal photos containing childhood photos, wedding photos, or photos from races. This photo album is making the book even more authentic, in my opinion. There is also a bonus section containing Kimi’s most famous quotes and race results.


The book is called The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen. The question is: Unknown to whom? I think that everybody is going to take something from this book. Die-hard fans of Kimi won’t probably learn anything new, regular fans will see the different side of Kimi and maybe become new members of his fanbase. I would also say that this book is very friendly to newcomers and people who don’t know much about the world of F1. Overall, it’s a very relaxing reading where the story nicely flows, and you won’t get bored.

0 comments

Related Posts

See All

Comments


Ivory Beige Minimalist Typography Logo.png

Thanks for checking us out!

Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Instagram - Bílý kruh
  • Twitter - Bílý kruh
bottom of page