• Kimi Raikkonen

    Kimi Raikkonen ProfileKimi Matias Räikkönen, born October 17, 1979 in Espoo. He finished runner-up in the Formula One World Drivers' Championship in 2003 and 2005. He has driven for Sauber-Petronas (2001) and Team McLaren-Mercedes (2002-2006) and signed a 3-year deal with Ferrari for the 2007 through 2009 seasons.

    Räikkönen had a long line of success in karting from the age of ten, including placing second in the 1999 European Formula Super A championship. He also competed that year in the Formula Ford Euro Cup, and by the age of twenty, he had won the British Formula Renault Winter series, winning the first four races of the year. In 2000, he dominated the Formula Renault UK Championship, where he won seven of ten events. After racing in the Formula Renault series later in 2000, Räikkönen had won 13 of 23 events — a 56% win rate.

    On the basis of these results, Peter Sauber gave the Finn a test with the Sauber Formula One team in September of 2000. After further tests in Jerez and Barcelona, Sauber signed Räikkönen for the 2001 season. However, some critics (including FIA president Max Mosley) voiced concerns over granting an F1 superlicence to such an inexperienced driver, having only 23 car races to his credit. He was nevertheless granted one and scored a championship point in the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, his maiden Grand Prix. Räikkönen was asleep 20 minutes before his first F1 GP (It is said that he loves to sleep - so much so that he needs to be woken up before qualifying and races.)

    Räikkönen is very calm, cool, and calculating in his race strategy - prompting the nickname "the Iceman". His other nicknames include Kimppa, Räikkä and Kimster (used by his mechanics). He had a solid debut year, achieving four points-scoring finishes and eight finishes in the top eight. Completing the year with 9 points, Räikkönen, along with teammate Nick Heidfeld (12 points), helped Team Sauber to its highest ever result: fourth place in the constructors championship.

    Räikkönen, long linked to Sauber's engine supplier Ferrari, instead sufficiently impressed McLaren, earning a race seat in Ron Dennis's team for 2002, taking the seat left vacant by double-world champion (and fellow Finn) Häkkinen's retirement. Criticism was levelled at McLaren for choosing him instead of his 2001 teammate Nick Heidfeld, who was thought at the time to be the better of the two Sauber drivers.Räikkönen scored a third-place podium finish in his first race with McLaren, the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. Although McLaren suffered many Mercedes engine failures in 2002, he scored 24 points and four podiums, and held his own against teammate David Coulthard. Räikkönen came close to winning his first Grand Prix in Magny-Cours, France, but went off track due to oil from the blown engine of Allan McNish's Toyota on the circuit with a handful of laps to go. He finished the race second. He finished the season in sixth place, one place behind his team mate; Together they achieved a solid third place for McLaren in the constructors' championship.
    His best year for McLaren came in 2003 when he finished 2nd in the WDC behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, taking the title battle down to the final race of the season in Japan. His time at McLaren could be summed up in one world - unreliable - that being the cars and not the driver. Kimi signed for Ferrari in 2007 and hopes that joining the Scuderia will put his car problems behind him and give him the right platform to win the world championship.

    2007 would see Raikkonen finally get his hands on the much dreamed off world championship, after winning his debut race for Ferrari in Australia things looked good for Kimi, but an early season slump in form saw him looking unlikely to win the title. But Kimi did not give in and kept fighting, some stunning drives brought him right back into the title hunt. And a glorious win at the season finale in Brazil gave him the 2007 title.

    Raikkonen did not enjoy the best of season's in 2008, as he did in 2007 he seemed to struggle at times with the Ferrari chassis and more importantly the tyres. Some strange strategy's played a part in keeping him away from winning races. However his season might well have been very different had Hamilton not hit him in the pitlane in Canada, or had his exhaust not broken in France. But as it was Kimi finished 3rd with 75 points and will be hoping the tyre changes and chassis changes for 2009 play into his hands.

    Kimi was to find 2009 a bit of a stuggle, the F60 was not performing well in the early season and the Finn had fallen behind team mate Massa once again, however a return to form in the 2nd half of the season saw Kimi take Ferrari's only win of the season at Spa, however Ferrari had decided his time was up at Maranello and with mutual consent from both parties his contract was shredded and he joined the WRC.

    1987 - First time in kart
    1988 - Karting, some wins in Classes A, B and C
    1989 - Karting, some wins in Classes A, B and C
    1990 - Karting, some wins in Classes A, B and C
    1991 - National karting, Class Mini
    1992 - National karting, Class Raket Junior
    1993 - National karting, Class Raket, Finnish Cup, 9th overall.
    1994 - National karting, Class Raket, Finnisch Cup, 2nd overall.
    1995 - Formula A Karting: first race, and first win, 23rd April.
    1996 - Karting Grand Prix (European Series)World Championship races and Nordic Championship races no wins in Finnish Championship, Class Formula A, finished 4th overall
    1997 - Finnish Championship, Class Intercontinental A, Champion Nordic Championship, Class Intercontinental A, 4th overall Karting Grand Prix and World Championship races - invited to drive with Peter de Bruin Team
    1998 - Lived in the Netherlands Finnish Championship, class Formula A, Champion Nordic Championship, Champion Class Formula Intercontinental A, European Karting Grand Prix, winner; Super A, 2nd overall Monaco Cup, class Super A, 3rd overall World Championship, Formula Super A, retired from 7th position
    1999 - Finnish Championship, Class Formula A, 2nd overall World Championship, class Formula Super A, 10thFirst Formula Renault race, with Haywood Racing, 3rdFormula Renault Winter Series, with Manor Motorsport - winner, four wins from four races
    2000 - British Renault 2000, Champion with Manor Motorsport (despite competing in only 10 rounds of the series), seven wins, six pole positions, seven fastest laps. Finished on the podium in all 10 races contested; European Formula Renault Championship: competed in only three rounds, two wins, two pole positions, two fastest laps. Retired while leading in third race due to mechanical failure. Tested for Red Bull Sauber Petronas Formula One team at Mugello
    2001 - Formula 1: Red Bull Sauber Petronas
    2002 - Formula 1: West McLaren Mercedes
    2003 - Formula 1: West McLaren Mercedes
    2004 - Formula 1: West McLaren Mercedes
    2005 - Formula 1: West McLaren Mercedes
    2006 - Formula 1: West McLaren Mercedes
    2007 - Formula 1: Ferrari
    2008 - Formula 1: Ferrari
    2009 - Formula 1: Ferrari