Podcast: Kimi Räikkönen, My Big Break

Motor Sport Podcast

The make-or-break moments that led to a 20 year F1 career: Kimi Räikkönen talks to Chris Medland ahead of his final grand prix

Kimi Raikkonen big break header

Three years before Kimi Räikkönen was making his Formula 1 debut at the age of 21, the Finn was still racing go karts, with no prospect of progressing to cars.

“I knew I would never have the money,” he tells Chris Medland in the latest episode of our new podcast series, My Big Break.

The retiring Alfa Romeo driver recorded the interview ahead of the final grand prix of his career, speaking about the make-or-break moments that soon led to an unprecedented 20-year, 349 race career.

The 2007 world champion recalls the financial help from family that enabled him to kart in Europe, and the funding he received from team manager Peter de Bruin that gave him the chance to compete at the top level.

He describes his wariness when opportunity presented itself: unsure whether to sign a contract with Jenson Button’s managers David and Steve Robertson — a deal that seemed too good to be true, offering a salary and an unexpected route to single-seater racing.

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With the Robertsons, Räikkönen would then go on to make an explosive impact during the 1999 British Formula Renault series, earning him an F1 test with Sauber where he caught the eye of Michael Schumacher.

The 42-year-old explains his move to McLaren and the switch to Ferrari that earned him his world title, before taking a break from the sport and returning with Lotus.

It’s an episode that illustrates the reward of taking chances that present themselves, an approach that has made Räikkönen the most experienced Formula 1 driver in the history of the world championship.