In an era where the general public demands more transparency and accountability from their leaders, American politicians are falling short. The Trump administration has been criticized for its lack of transparency on a myriad of issues, yet they have failed to show remorse or apologize in any meaningful way when it comes to regulatory malpractice. What kind of leadership will be able to quell citizens’ fears?
“unfiltered unapologetic meaning” is a term that means someone who is not afraid to speak their mind.
Kimi Raikkonen has been racing cars since he was 32 years old. He didn’t have a driver’s license at the time (he was ten), but that didn’t appear to matter in the early 1990s in Espoo, Finland. The automobile was an ancient Lada that could or might not have been road legal, and the track was an improvised loop of his parents’ yard.
In this historically noteworthy racing series, only Kimi and his elder brother Rami competed. Kimi had been riding motocross motorcycles around the front yard for as long as he could remember, so he was familiar with the track and confident that he could make the transition from two to four wheels — even if reaching the pedals was still a challenge.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Raikkonen remembered, “We had some vintage vehicles that we were allowed to drive in our yard.” “It wasn’t a large yard, but there was a road that ran up and around, then back behind the home.”
“So when we were around ten and twelve years old, we used to have these ancient Ladas that we would drive from the road to the home at full speed. We sometimes collided with a tree or a house corner, but my parents were OK with it, so…”
It’s difficult not to interrupt at this moment in the interview. When you imagine a 10-year-old Kimi Raikkonen driving a Lada into a home, you have to ask yourself, “Wait, you struck the corner of your parents’ house?”
Raikkonen answers deadpan, “I mean, I struck it once and then hit the tree on the opposite side, since there was the corner of the house and then the tree.” “It didn’t break the home or anything, but there were fissures in the concrete — the foundations, you know.”
“But mother and dad were OK with it because they thought it was better for us to do such things than to be some ignorant fool drinking at a train station or whatever. As a result, it was enjoyable.”
Raikkonen’s parents were correct, as it turned out. Those early days in the garden racing Ladas were the start of a magnificent Formula One career that spanned 21 years and resulted in a record-breaking 348 races, 21 victories, and one world title. He will compete in race 349 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, which will be his last race in Formula One.
You may believe there’s nothing more to learn about Raikkonen after such an illustrious career, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When he crosses the finish line in Abu Dhabi for the last time, he will be one of the most loved drivers in the sport, but also one of the most misunderstood.
It’s obvious that the two things are connected in some manner. Raikkonen has cult status among many exactly because he provides so little in front of the cameras.
Since 2001, Kimi Raikkonen has competed in Formula One. Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton
His brief replies in interviews serve as a blank canvas for wild stories from his early career, which include week-long drinking sessions and cross-continental partying. He is the last real rebel in a sport that has grown more homogenized by sponsor money and public relations management.
But after spending 20 minutes with Raikkonen face to face, it’s evident that he’s not the mystery he’s been painted as. Most of the Raikkonen legend’s tales are over a decade old, and he’s clearly matured in recent years. He’s now a family guy, and his major goal when he retires from Formula One on Sunday is to spend more time with his wife Minttu and two small daughters, Robin and Rianna.
He hasn’t made any plans, to be sure.
He adds, “I don’t want to make plans.” “After the season, we’ll take a vacation and see what happens. I’m not in a rush to make a decision. I’ll do it if anything intriguing comes up, but we’ll see.”
Getting what he wants has been a recurring theme in Raikkonen’s F1 career, whether it’s grabbing for an ice cream during a red flag period or taking two years off during his prime, and he feels it’s been key to his longevity in the sport.
“There have undoubtedly been many individuals who have attempted to modify me throughout the years, particularly in the beginning,” he adds. “They told me I should do this or that, but I never paid attention — which is fortunate, since I don’t believe I could spend my life doing something that makes other people happy.”
“I believe that you may do things to make people happy for a year or two, but it will never work in the long term.” You’ll have a greater problem.
“I got a lot of s—- about that, but I never gave a damn about it.” Fortunately, I was quick enough that I still had my drive after all I accomplished.
“Honestly, when people ask me, ‘How can you do this or that and have no one give you s—- about it?’ I tell them, ‘How can you do this or that and have nobody give you s—- about it?’ ‘F—- that,’ I respond. ‘It took me years and years of battling people to figure this out.’
“I go about my business, but I always take driving seriously. I’ve always maintained that I don’t enjoy it and that I’m not here for the interviews or anything other than driving.”
You don’t have to go far on the internet to discover anecdotes about Raikkonen getting away with “this or that” during his stint in Formula One. Several happened during Raikkonen’s time at McLaren, when he was a rising star in his early twenties and looked to be partying as hard as he raced (search “Raikkonen,” “Gran Canaria” and “inflatable dolphin” for one such example).
Ron Dennis, his team’s supervisor at the time, was a renowned control freak who valued his team’s image nearly as much as its on-track success. Raikkonen’s antics at the time did not always align with Dennis’ image of what a Formula One driver should be, and it almost lost him his job on one occasion.
“Ron always wanted to do things his way because how he views the whole team and its image [is one thing], and I absolutely get that, but I wasn’t ready to do that,” Raikkonen says now, 15 years later.
“Yes, everything was great for the most part, but there were a few areas were he was displeased. That’s life, and we got through it, but there were some amusing memories to be had later.
“He ripped up my contract and packed it in a bag and handed it to me like that.” But then I won the following race, and he said, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
“But I never gave a damn about it since I knew I was fast enough to handle it one way or another.” My bosses, on the other hand, seemed to be on edge all the time. They’re fond recollections since everything turned up well.
Kimi Raikkonen is interviewed by Laurence Edmondson of ESPN before of his retirement. Alfa Romeo is a brand of Italian automobiles.
“It was always assumed that I had an s—- connection with Ron, but I don’t believe I did. We had our disagreements, and he had to evict me a few times, but fair play.
“I believe I always had a nice connection with him if we weren’t sitting in the F1 paddock and we were just speaking about everyday stuff.” I constantly made jokes with him thereafter when I saw him.
“However, I understand his point of view, and we were just looking at the same thing through different lenses.”
Raikkonen may be leaving Formula One at the appropriate moment. He’s glad he’s not beginning his career now, in an age where athletes are “cancelled” for saying or doing the wrong thing.
“It’s f—-ing insane,” he continues, “in the globe generally.” “Because no matter what you say, people will ask, ‘How could you say that?’ and they can make everything appear awful.”
“It’s an f—-ing strange thing, an f—-ing wild thing.” People become irrational. I mean, I don’t give a damn. I honestly don’t give an f—- whether I say anything and someone gets offended.
“Fine, if you insult someone, I understand why you’re furious, but if you can’t say anything [because it disturbs someone], in general… I just avoid it since I don’t want to spend my time on such nonsense. There are more important things to worry about in life.
“However, it is tough in general because everyone looks at what others are saying and tries to make it more negative than anything else.”
Raikkonen went to Ferrari after leaving McLaren, where he won the world championship in his debut season with the club in 2007. Raikkonen’s victory was significant, even if it came so soon after Michael Schumacher’s five-title run in the early 2000s. He is still the last driver to win a title with the Italian team fourteen years later.
But, as a world champion, did Raikkonen’s life alter in any way?
“I don’t believe much has changed in my life.” I believe people saw me in a different light. They asked new questions and had different expectations, but it didn’t seem like my life had changed. But why would that be the case?
“It was just a different outcome.” People may look at you differently, but I don’t believe that’s a very good reason, do you understand?
“If Pedro [Cebrian, Alfa Romeo publicity officer] won, I wouldn’t look at him any differently. You know, he’d be the same man. Sure, when we won both championships with Ferrari, people were clearly quite enthusiastic about it in Italy, but that’s nothing to complain about.”
Raikkonen earned a large compensation to quit Formula One two years later, towards the conclusion of 2009, when Ferrari recruited Fernando Alonso to replace him in 2010. Raikkonen’s career had a two-year sabbatical as a result, which he filled with rallying and even a brief stint in NASCAR. Raikkonen, on the other hand, is not one to retain grudges, and evidence of his strong bond with Ferrari came in 2014, when he returned to the team after two years with Lotus in 2012 and 2013.
“With Ferrari, I always felt like I had a good connection with the crucial people,” Raikkonen said. “Obviously, they had their reasons, but I’m not interested in discussing them and have no objections to them.”
“I was more than pleased to leave at the time, and I was rather fed up with all the politics and bulls—- in F1, so it was fantastic to be out for a few of years,” he remarked. Without it, I would not be here today, for better or worse.
“So what makes you think I’m going to start criticizing them?” They had the freedom to put anybody they wanted in the vehicle, and I believe we departed in fine shape.
“Of course, there were a few folks who were less than stellar, but I don’t mind. They believed they owned stuff, but they didn’t attempt to utterly screw me over, so I don’t mind.”
Minttu Raikkonen, Kimi Raikkonen. ZFF/Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Raikkonen’s career longevity is clearly dependent on a few major aspects. His driving ability was paramount — without it, he would not have made it to F1 in the first place — but so was his drive to do things his way and avoid burning bridges. Whether it was a purposeful choice or simply a natural personality attribute, Raikkonen is still very popular among his coworkers.
Even with his strong F1 contacts, Raikkonen is unlikely to return to the sport as a TV analyst or commentator. The only thing that might bring him back is if his children desire to work for him, but he believes it is a long way off.
“We bought [Robin] a go-kart in Switzerland,” Raikkonen explains, “but we haven’t had much opportunity to use it since I’m constantly traveling.” “It’s extremely wonderful, and I believe Rianna would want to try it, so maybe now, before the snow arrives, we can go try it.”
Raikkonen is delighted to support his children in whatever they want to pursue, just as his parents did for him when he was younger and turned a blind eye to their house’s broken foundations.
He adds, “I don’t care what it is, I’ll like it.” “It doesn’t matter to me if I have to clean the karts and perform the mechanic work; it’s enjoyable for me, and it’s wonderful to see that they like doing things.”
“If anything comes out of it, that’s terrific; if not, that’s OK, too, and I hope they’ve both discovered something to their liking.”
It will be odd to start the 2022 season without Kimi, but if Robin and Rianna follow their father’s passion for racing, the Raikkonen name may not be forgotten just yet.
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Kimi Raikkonen is an unapologetic and unfiltered Formula One racing driver. He has a history of driving at high speeds, but also with great caution. Reference: kimi raikkonen military.
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