Attitude is everything, or why I don’t like Kimi Raikkonen
18th March 2013, 0:26 at 12:26 am #132864
It seems that some of my comments in the wake of yesterday’s race stirred up quite a bit of controversy. Now that tempers have been soothed, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try and approach the issue in a rational and dispassionate manner.
I still stand by the comments I made after the race: I believe that Kimi Raikkonen is a poor ambassador for Formula 1, and that the sport would probably be better off without him. And the reason why I feel this way is because I cannot respect him. This is not a new sentiment, either; I have found myself unable to respect Raikkonen for some time, but his two-year sabbatical in rallying meant that it hasn’t really been something that I have addressed until recently.
I am someone who prizes the attitude of a driver. Maybe even moreso than their talent. The way they conduct themselves and the way they present themselves goes a long way towards my perception of them. To give an example of this, consider these comments from Paul di Resta, in which he claims he feels “robbed of seventh place” in yesterday’s race because he could not pass Adrian Sutil. Having watched Sutil’s race, I think most of us can agree that Sutil deserved that seventh place much more than di Resta did. For di Resta to come out and say that he felt robbed of that place leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s much the same way with Raikkonen: many of his behaviours bother me. For instance, knocking over a small child and walking away as if it’s not his problem. Even if it was an accident that he wasn’t responsible for, the decent thing to do would be to stop and check to make sure the kid was okay; there is no reason not to. And yet, he didn’t. Likewise, there is the way he treats his engineers. Simon Rennie apparently left Lotus because he felt he could no longer work with Raikkonen, which suggests to me that this is not a one-off incident; it was just the only one we heard. For the life of me, I cannot understand why people seem to think that this is clever or funny or original. It’s rude, and by applauding it or encouraging it, people only drive the wedge in further.
I don’t think that this is a completely unreasonable stance to take. And I’m open to the idea of liking Raikkonen at some point in the future. After all, when Lewis Hamilton joined the sport in 2007, I thought that he was something of a spoiled brat, who went on to win a World Championship without ever having to drive a bad car. But then 2009 came around, and he rallied McLaren around them. Where their car was terrible, he managed to drive the team forward, and that won my respect. Fernando Alonso did the same thing; in 2010, I was one of the staunchest critics of Ferrari’s team orders in Germany, and sincerely hoped that Alonso didn’t win the title because of it. That dislike lasted until 2012, when I started out displaying unequivocal glee at Ferrari’s struggles, but was eventually won over by the way he kept Ferrari in the fight in a bad car, and his leadership of the team off the track. So, in my view, Raikkonen can turn it around – but he’s got a lot of work to do.
And that’s why I think a driver’s attitude is so important. If I can’t respect them for what they say and do off the circuit, then how can I respect what they do on it?18th March 2013, 1:09 at 1:09 am #228917
Simon Rennie apparently left Lotus because he felt he could no longer work with Raikkonen, which suggests to me that this is not a one-off incident; it was just the only one we heard.
It wasn’t the first time, actually. Malaysia was.
Over-excited engineer was warned about Kimi
Kimi Räikkönen’s second race engineer Simon Rennie got excited during the SC-situation and reminded his driver to take care of the tire temperatures. Räikkönen snapped in the radio that he is doing exactly that and asked him to leave him alone.
His long-time and trusted race engineer Mark Slade said after the race, that he had adviced his colleague not to give instructions to Kimi, but he understood both parties.
“We talked a lot to Kimi during the race. It’s completely okay when Kimi gets pissed off once in a while. It’s just his way of telling that he concentrates fully and knows what he is doing,” Slade justified to Turun Sanomat.
Slade started alongside Räikkönen in 2002, stayed at McLaren when Kimi went to Ferrari and when the request came to become Kimi’s engineer in Lotus he immediately returned.
“My best memories are from those races which have been most difficult to win. This is at the same level as Suzuka 2005. We have got victories like this with Kimi quite a lot – Spa 2004, Monaco 2005, Hungary 2005, there are many of them,” Slade listed.
He himself had last won with Heikki Kovalainen in McLaren year 2008.18th March 2013, 1:21 at 1:21 am #228918
“the sport would probably be better off without him”
I’m sorry, but it’s hard to take anything in this thread seriously after that. He is clearly one of the best drivers in the world, and isn’t a cheat. Therefore, there is no single reason why the sport would be better off without him.18th March 2013, 1:27 at 1:27 am #228919
This thread does remind me a lot of Magnificent Geoffrey’s old anti-Alonso blog he created a year back or so.18th March 2013, 2:01 at 2:01 am #228920
PM, i understand where you’re coming from but i don’t agree entirely:
I don’t appreciate Kimi’s attitude myself and cannot understand why users around here find it so ‘cool’ and ‘entertaining’ whenever he acts in a rude and arrogant way either to a reporter or a race engineer.
I don’t know how many fans around here have met him in person, but i’m pretty sure that if anyone from here were in the race engineer’s shoes, or were waiting to get an autograph for hours and saw him simply ignore them, they wouldn’t find him as ‘cool’ as on TV.
However, i must say that i do enjoy watching him race, his race-craft and duels with other drivers are almost always on the edge and fair – an ability that few drivers on the current grid posses.
Having said, i would never really support a claim such as ‘the sport would probably be better off without him’ – because that’s simply not true.
The sport after all, is not about driver’s personalities and he’s an example for every rookie out there for instance on how to be consistent in finishes, fast and fair in duels.
I like him as a driver and i dislike him as a person, but i think those 2 views can co-exist.18th March 2013, 2:33 at 2:33 am #228921
Thanks for your opinion. By the way watch the child knock over video again and you’ll see it was the idiotic mothers fault the child clearly runs into the autograph book and you can even see Kimi point back saying, hey, go check on your kid. Just because the title of the video on youtube says one thing does not make it reality.
Sky F1 pre show had footage of drivers signing autographs before walking into the paddock and Kimi was one of em.
I think people including esteemed journalist Nigel Roebuck amongst thousands of others like Kimi is not because he is “cool”, it is because he doesn’t sound like a freaking PR drone/clone when speaking to the press and dare I say says some naughty words sometimes. And oh yeah he can drive his arse off.18th March 2013, 3:28 at 3:28 am #228922
Simon Rennie had already been warned to expect Kimi to not want instructions, so if he’s getting offended by Kimi’s replies, it’s his own fault. I mean really. If you’re leading a race with some of the best drivers in the world chasing you, you’re not going to want somebody reminding you to heat your tyres. Kimi needs to focus, and needs to do it with as little interference as possible. Mark Slade always seemed perfectly fine with him, so I don’t think Kimi’s the problem here.18th March 2013, 4:39 at 4:39 am #228923
I would concur with Nicholas. It’s not Kimi’s job to accommodate the engineer during the race. The engineer is there to support the driver, that support should be defined by the driver.18th March 2013, 5:14 at 5:14 am #228924
I currently have zero respect for you @prisoner-monkeys as a person after you decided to create this childish thread and post those even more childish comments (which I think some have been deleted – rightfully so). But don’t worry, you can turn it around – but you’ve got a lot of work to do.18th March 2013, 5:49 at 5:49 am #228925
I currently have zero respect for you Prisoner Monkeys as a person after you decided to create this childish thread
That’s yor choice. However, I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong with this thread. I created it as a rational and dispassionate way of explaining why I dislike a particular driver. And I’m sure you will find plenty of other drivers out there with people who really dislike them – like Sebastian Vettel, and the way he displays his finger and smirk after every race he wins. Or Jenson Button, and the way he is perceived as a whinger who only won a World Championship by sheer luck. Or Pastor Maldonado and the way he is perceived as being overly aggressive and refusing to acknowledge – much less learn from – his mistakes.
So what have I done that is “childish” in creating this thread? I deliberately set out to be mature about it and express my opinion in a rational, reasonable way; one free of heated exchanges and emotion. In fact, all I have really done here is create a thread to explain my dislike of Kimi Raikkonen, and supported my position with what I believe to be arguments. Could it be that you think I’m childish because I dislike Raikkonen? And if that is the case, why are other members of the blog allowed to express their dislike of other drivers, but I can’t explain why I dislike Raikkonen?18th March 2013, 6:08 at 6:08 am #228926
@prisoner-monkeys, I only saw the first couple of comments in the the Rate the Race thread yesterday, and I think the point is that rating a race 1/10 just because a driver you dislike won is childish and not the point of the Rate the Race poll. In this context, your point about him being a poor ambassador for the sport is irrelevant, as he did nothing yesterday to put the sport in a bad light.18th March 2013, 6:14 at 6:14 am #228927
It’s ok to have drivers that you like and dislike, that’s a personal opinion. But when you create a forum thread to explain why you hate a particular driver, that’s basically hate speech. Personally, I appreciate drivers who work hard to achieve their goals and I am less of a fan of drivers who seem to get handed everything, but just keep to yourself which drivers you dislike in particular. This is a pointless thread as it doesn’t discuss anything at all and it doesn’t contribute to the way anyone is thinking about Formula 1. So, please stop this nonsense.18th March 2013, 6:43 at 6:43 am #228929
I think part of the reason people like him is that he is different to most of the other drivers, in that he isn’t hasn’t been house trained to be always friendly and innocuous.
Quite a lot of drivers don’t really say or do anything that isn’t sponsor and media friendly, so you don’t really get to know what’s behind that veneer. With Kimi, he makes his feelings pretty clear, particularly when he is annoyed, so people think they know him better.
There’s also the novelty of how he manages to get away with it by virtue of his talent. People are somewhat amazed by what he can get away with, simply because he can drive so well. He is in F1 solely for his driving ability, rather than being supplemented by marketability, and a lot of people respect that.18th March 2013, 6:48 at 6:48 am #228930
@davids Well said..
He lets his driving do the talking. And when he does poorly, he doesn’t give excuses. I think Lotus is a good fit for him.18th March 2013, 7:09 at 7:09 am #228931
@kingshark I didn’t create an ‘anti-Alonso blog’. I wrote one single post about Alonso, with reasoned arguments, and put it on my own personal blog. I didn’t try to draw any attention to it myself on this site, it just happened to be featured on the round-up.
In terms of Raikkonen, he is a very good driver and has proven me wrong since his comeback. However, his behaviour at times during his career has put me off him as a person. Like @prisoner-monkeys highlighted, knocking over a small child in the paddock and just walking off as if he couldn’t care less is an awful way for anyone to behave, F1 driver or not. Same with pushing over a photographer on the grid at Silverstone. That’s no way for an F1 driver to act, regardless of whether you feel his personal space was invaded or not. The fact that I’ve seen people try to justify that particular act of physical violence leaves me in disbelief.
Finally, the whole ‘leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’ meme just isn’t that funny to me. Yes, I get it. He talked back to his engineer. How hilarious.
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