My friend Gerard Lopez tells me Renault are not completely sure about hiring Kimi Raikkonen. “On the plus side, Kimi’s got a lot going for him. He’s talented, no doubt. He’s a former Champion. He’s only been out of F1 for less than a year so there’s not so much of a Schumi-risk.”
So what’s bugging you, Gerard?
“Motivation, mostly,” he says. “Kimi’s got a bit of a reputation as a party animal. Can’t be bothered to do anything besides driving, which he loves. He’s known to hate the more boring parts of the job. Stuff like going through telemetry data, spending time on the simulator and giving feedback to the engineers. Communicating with engineers and mechanics in general. That sort of thing.”
I can see that. Commyoonicating is not Kimi’s strongest point. So it’s a bit of a judgment call, then. How’re you going solve that, Gerard?
“We’ve arranged a job interview. Eric Bouiller is going to look him in the eye and ask him a few specific questions. See if he means it.”
On past performance, that should be fun. Kimi’s a regular champion in coming up with non-answers to any question. If you want examples, look here, here or here. Yes, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in this one. I imagine it’d go something like this:
Eric Bouiller: Kimi, how motivated are you to become an F1 driver again?
Kimi: It’s OK.
EB: Competition is fierce. Five strong drivers are fighting for this year’s Championship. It’ll be difficult to for you to get into that top five after a year’s absence. If you don’t, people might rate you a failure. Are you up for it?
KR: I’m not interested in what people think about me. I’m not Michael Schumacher.
EB: But how’d you feel if you’d be only in sixth place?
KR: It would feel like sixth place.
EB: Renault wants to be one of the top teams again. We’ve got one of the best engines and our car’s getting better and better. So you’ll have the means to make it into the top five, And with both you and Kubica in the driver’s seats we really think we’ve a shot at the Constructor’s Championship. Would you agree?
KR: The Constructor’s Championship doesn’t really mean anything to me.
EB: You’re used to driving on Michelin tyres, but next season we’ll be on Pirellis. It’ll be very different. Could you adapt quickly enough, you think?
KR: I don’t know and it doesn’t mean anything to me. Tyres are what they are.
EB: Another new thing for you will be the presence of three new teams, so a lot more cars on track. You think you can adapt?
KR: I hope that they are good in giving way.
EB: Alonso might win the Championship this year. If he does, he’ll be insufferable. Can you handle that?
KR: I couldn’t care less what that man thinks..
EB: If we hire you, we’d want you to spend as much time as possible doing tests, evaluations and simulations this winter.
KR: I don’t mind. In summer there’s fishing and fucking. And in winter the fishing is bad.
EB: Are you feeling excited with the prospect to be back in F1 again and drive for us?
EB: Come on, Kimi. There must be something that excites you in F1. What are the moments you like most?
KR: Driving is the only thing I love about F1. And the race start is the most exciting.
EB: And the most boring?