Simon Arron reviews Kimi Räikkönen’s new authorised biography. Available from the Motor Sport shop
Conceptually this is perhaps the least likely book ever to have been scripted – and therein lies its appeal. Far from the walking monosyllable of public perception, the Formula 1 driver who can make the wider world chuckle through his mastery of the awkward silence (or, sometimes, by strolling from his car and unwrapping an ice cream), comes across here as more open and engaging, prepared to chat to an author who knows little of life inside Formula 1’s peculiar bubble. The only downside is that, for all their conversations, there is a relative shortage of first-person Kimi.
That said, some of the content is fascinating – the Finn’s parents had him medically tested at the age of two, to find out why he didn’t speak, but results underlined that this was a child of higher than average ability… albeit one not particularly motivated by words.
Other parts cover ground that will be familiar to anybody with a deep interest in the sport – and also confirm behavioural traits of which the full details were hitherto unknown. The subject’s fondness for a tipple isn’t exactly front-page news – footage of a drunken Kimi toppling from a boat has been watched more than 200,000 times on YouTube – but this is perhaps the first time that a 16-day booze binge has been catalogued in full. It was in 2012 and ended a couple of days before the Finn flew to Barcelona, where he finished third in the Spanish GP. To the author’s credit, material of this kind isn’t sensationalised but simply chronicled as a snapshot of Kimi’s life at the time.
But platinum-grade debauchery is not the central theme. This is an attempt to portray the real Kimi Räikkönen, warts and all, and it does so in a balanced manner.
Published by Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4711-7766-8, £20.00