kimster.jpgIf you have been wondering why Kimi Raikkonen was a little late in showing up at Melbourne, it is because he has been racing snowmobiles pretending to be James Hunt (Yes, the British world champion from 1976). After winning the 24 km Enduro Sprint held in Finland, however, he was forced to admit that he was indeed Kimi Raikkonen and not some strange apparition with a distinct resemblance. Shortly after, when he was questioned by Finnish tabloid Iltalehti as to how he has been preparing himself physically for the season, Kimi cheekily brought up the “drinking and karaoke” rumors published by the same tabloid in answer. His exact words to them (I believe) were – “Hey, I read all about that in your paper”. I don’t know about the rest of the tifosi, but we are liking him already here at FFN.

So when Ross Brawn says “The thing to do with (quiet) people like (Kimi) is to listen very carefully to them because they often have an awful lot to say, you just have to give them a chance to say it”, it is to be taken with a pinch of salt. Kimi doesn’t quite strike me as someone with an awful lot to say, and even if he did I doubt if he would go to all the trouble of expending his energy in saying it. Kimi’s ‘quietness’ might have more to do with a nonchalant ‘care-a-damn’ attitude (which is quite refreshing really after getting our ears eaten out by Webber & Co) than any inherent shyness in his character. And yes, Ross has resurfaced in the F1 radar after his fishing expeditions in remote glaciers, and probably hasn’t had much time to read up on who has been saying what, for he has promptly contradicted Jean Todt’s ‘We never approached Alonso’ statement. According to Ross, this is because Nando was not really available as an option – “It was really between Kimi and Alonso – and Kimi was available and Alonso wasn’t at the time” he says.

There is no denying that both Kimi and Alonso are top tier-talent (though you wish one would speak up a bit and the other would cool down and keep silent for a while). And apparently Jean Todt prefers the quieter version – “You have to remember as well that Jean has got a long history with Scandinavian drivers from his time in rallying, and he likes their introverted, quiet approach” explains Ross. Still, put them behind a steering wheel, and there is little to choose between them. “Alonso has won two world championships and has shown he can do it” he adds, “But the reasons why Kimi hasn’t are not down to him”. Yes I would imagine not, Kimi cannot entirely be blamed for his cars choosing to expire in a cloud of smoke at the most inopportune of moments, like thrice in 2005 when he was leading a race.

It has meanwhile been revealed that Michael Schumacher (though physically absent) will stay connected with the team in Australia. “Michael will be part of the group. We’ll have a remote connection. He will make a difference even from home” says Almondo rather enthusiastically, though considering the race starts at 4 AM European time, it is more likely that he will be fast asleep without a care in the world. And last time Ferrari told us he was working away at the remote telemetry data, he was actually racing Tony Karts in Italy. We expect he might wake up in time to place the congratulatory call to the team once the race is over, but one can’t be too sure.

Barely four days to go now, we will keep you posted as always.