What are we to make of Kimi Raikkonen? He’ll not be on the Formula 1 grid in 2010, the only seat he was interested in – McLaren – having been taken by Jenson Button.
James Allen writes about Raikkonen’s “huge fan base”, and indeed hands his blog over to one such fan. It’s an interesting point of view.
I certainly find Raikkonen curious. He has a reputation as a party animal, but virtually never shares this side with the media. Apparently this lack of co-operation endears him to some people. I don’t understand why though: it’s largely via the media that the public gets access to drivers, so by shunning the media he’s effectively shunning the public.
I’m not fussed about this: he sees racing as his job, so turns up, drives, and goes home. But it makes no odds to me how entertaining he is behind closed doors; to my mind he’s in the same surly camp as Fernando Alonso.
Far more deserving of a following are drivers like Sebastian Vettel, who is like Raikkonen in that he doesn’t sound like a press release when he talks, but unlike Raikkonen in that he seems to get on with the media. Indeed, Vettel’s public playfulness is highly amusing – talking about keeping his balls cool in Malaysia being the most memorable example of the last year.
Raikkonen has cracked a smile occasionally though: in an Abu Dhabi press conference, for example, when Jarno Trulli started an argument with Adrian Sutil about their incident the race before. Alonso was the other man enjoying that spectacle. No man can be surly all the time.
But his driving ability – when he can be bothered – aside, I can’t help feeling that Raikkonen’s been largely anonymous, so despite what his manager says, I don’t think Formula 1 will miss him.
The question now is: will the WRC embrace him?
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