Kimi Raikkonen’s first media appearance since he announced his return to Sauber next year went as you would have expected if you are familiar with the monosyllabic Finnish driver.
Earlier this week, Ferrari confirmed Raikkonen’s departure from the team, which was immediately followed by the surprise announcement he would return to the team he started his F1 career with in 2001. The move will mean the 2007 world champion will still be racing in F1 into his 40s.
The move was the focal point of attention at Thursday’s press conference ahead of the weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix , but Raikkonen seemed perplexed by the interest in his latest career move.
Below is a transcript of his amusing opening exchange with the host.
Can you explain to us what happened and why you’re on the move for next year?
Raikkonen: “I guess you know what happened, there’s no need to explain what happened. This is what has happened and I think, as we’ve said many times before, it was not up to me, it was not my decision, in the end. Anything that happened after that it was my decision and this is what we have, this is the outcome. At least we have an outcome.”
You say not your decision to leave Ferrari, but was your decision to join Sauber. Why have you decided to do that?
Raikkonen: “Why not?”
What is about the team? On current form there’s quite a performance differential between Ferrari and Sauber…
Raikkonen: “But then there is a lot of differences between all the cars [laughs]. If you take all the teams there is not many cars if you take this year that are on the same level. That’s how it’s always been. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
What have you been told about the performance? Tell us about why you want to go back?
Raikkonen: “Because I want to go… [laughs] Why do you make it so complicated? I don’t know anything more than you guys purely on where they will be finishing. Obviously I don’t know what will happen. Nobody knows what will happen. We can always guess. My reasons are enough for me, I don’t really care what others think. As long as I’m happy with my own reasons that’s happy for me.”
And you are still passionate about racing?
Raikkonen: “No, I’m not actually! It’s just by pure head games for you guys I happen to sign and I’m going to spend two years there just not being happy.”
Well Kimi, thanks for the insight…
Raikkonen: [smirking] “No worries”.
The reason for moving
Raikkonen did reveal how the move came about, saying he found out about Ferrari’s decision during the Italian Grand Prix — where he claimed pole position and finished second — and then started discussions with Sauber.
“At Monza I knew,” he said, referring to Ferrari promoting junior driver Charles Leclerc. “I know people from there from the past and basically it started after that.”
When asked if he had always had the idea of finishing his career at Sauber, he said: “No, I don’t think it has always been there, you never know what will happen and that’s just how it ended up to be going. I wouldn’t say there were plans for a long time to go back there.”
Raikkonen said his competitive instincts ultimately helped guide his decision.
“Racing, that’s about it, not the other work. I always said that I would stop when I feel it’s right for me. I don’t need to come if I don’t feel like it. Racing is the big part of the weekend that I enjoy most, the reason we are here, the driving is the reason, the only reason. That’s normal for us.
“It’s not the big part of the weekend like it used to be, things have changed a bit, but that’s the only reason for me. The other part that comes with it has always been there, comes with the package and it’s not often you get a package that is only good things, it’s OK. We know each other now, it’s always the same questions and the same answers, so it’s not too difficult.”