It’s rare these days, in the hush-hush, corporate world of Formula One, that drivers share their driving preferences in such an open, relaxed setting at this. Kimi Raikkonen is known for his car control, but being the taciturn Finn he is, he seldom explains the behavior he enjoys most in a car. Thankfully, Martin Brundle, a former F1 driver with a quick wit and a sharp tongue, has the wherewithal to extract the necessary tidbits from the reticent Raikkonen.
As one of the few drivers with much success on either side of the wall, so to speak, Brundle knows how to approach F1 drivers, who typically shy away from journalists’ inane questioning. Brundle’s intelligent observations get Raikkonen to open up about his driving style. If there are three points which stand out about his approach, they are his natural ability, his preference for oversteer, and a refusal to over-analyze his driving.
Observing his calm, relaxed dispostion while sliding the 661-horsepower Ferrari, it seems as if the Finn has plenty of brain power in reserve, his driving looks effortless. However, he admits to never using brake markers to aid his progression, instead his cornering skill comes down to an intrinsic feel for grip and a comfort with a nervous, oversteer-prone car. For some drivers, sliding the tail helps them get the car pointed in the right direction, and like Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen enjoys a loose setup. Being a driver who got his start in karting, and spent time driving on snowy, Nordic backroads, dialing in the right amount of countersteer is second nature.
If Raikkonen is known for one thing other than his speed, its his ice-cold temperament. Rarely does the man ever show much emotion, but the combination of Brundle’s skill behind the wheel, a close call or two, and a snarling Ferrari that seems to excite even jaded F1 drivers, is enough for the Iceman to crack a smile.