KIMI Räikkönen - Team McLAREN

Date of birth : 17 October 1979
Birthplace : Espoo
Marital status : Engaged to Jenni
Height : 180 cm
Weight : 70 kg

Wins : 0
Points scored : 33
Number of GP : 34
Pole Position : 0
Podiums : 4
First GP : 2001 (Melbourne)
Best result : 2


Kimi Räikkönen, a native of Lappeeranta in Finland, began karting in 1991 and competed in national kart races, Class Mini and then Class Raket Junior throughout 1991, 1992 and 1993. He also participated in the Finnish Cup in 1993, when he finished ninth. In 1994, he was able to improve to second and as a consequence was able to move up to the Formula A series in 1995.

He continued karting throughout the European series from 1996 to 1999 with some notable achievements. He was the Finnish Formula A champion in 1997 and 1998, and was also second in the European (karting) Grand Prix in 1998 and third in the Monaco Cup. In 1999, he entered his first Formula Renault race, with Haywood, where he finished third.

2000 saw him competing in British Formula Renault full-time, where he finished on the podium in all ten of the races that he contested and secured the championship crown despite only competing in those 10 events. Räikkönen also took part in three rounds of the European Formula Renault championship, where he won twice, took pole position twice and set two fastest lap times.

At that time, he caught the eye of Peter Sauber, who invited him to test for his formula1 team. The Swiss outfit was so impressed with his performance that they began contractual negotiations to secure him as their second race driver for at least 2001.

The FIA, however, were not keen on granting such an inexperienced driver with a Superlicence and Räikkönen caused a storm of controversy when he finally obtained his permit in December of 2000, despite only having competed in 23 car races throughout his career, most of which were in Formula Renault.

In order to get his licence, which was actually provisional for the first few races, Räikkönen put in a lot of testing kilometres at the end of 2000 to prove he had the speed and ability to compete at the highest levels. And even though in the final FIA vote to decide whether or not to grant him the licence, Max Mosley, the FIA president, voted against him, the young Finn got the ok for a provisional licence.

The rest, as they say is history, and Räikkönen went on to prove many pundits, as well as Max Mosley, wrong with driving displays that one would expect in a driver with at least a few years experience. Incredibly, the Finn managed to qualify thirteenth for his first Grand Prix and actually scored a point for his sixth place, although this was achieved by the fact that BAR's Olivier Panis was given a time penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag and was subsequently demoted from fourth to seventh. None the less, it was a great achievement.

The rest of the 2001 season also went well for the Finn, notching up nine points from 10 race finishes, including two excellent fourth places in Austria and Canada, and although his team mate, Nick Heidfeld, produced better results, the limelight seemed to always be on Räikkönen.

The young Finn put in some superb performances throughout 2002, out qualifying his more experienced teammate David Coulthard on several occasions. He also came extremely close to winning his first ever race, but unfortunately the 22-year-old driver ran wide at the Adelaide hairpin due to oil on the circuit from Allan McNish's blown Toyota engine, handing victory to Michael Schumacher. Hopefully that maiden win, plus more, will be forthcoming in 2003. 

C A R E E R  H I G H L I G H T S

2002 Placed 6th with 24 Points
2001 Impressive debut season with Sauber, taking 9 points and finishing 10th in the championship. Showed his natural speed by taking 10 top ten qualifying positions during the season.
2000 British Formula Renault champion, despite only contesting two rounds. Competes in three rounds of the European Formula Renault series, and takes two wins, two pole positions and two fastest laps. He retires from the third race with mechanical failure.
1999 2nd in Finnish (Karting) Championship, class Formula A. 10th in World (Karting) Championship, class Formula Super A. 3rd in first Formula Renault race, with Haywood Racing. Wins the Formula Renault Winter Series with Manor Motorsport - he takes four wins in four races.
1998 Finnish Karting Champion. 1st in Nordic (karting) Championship. 1st in Class Formula Intercontinental A karting series. 2nd in European Karting Grand Prix, class Super A. 3rd in Monaco Cup, class Super A. Retired from 7th in the World Championship, Formula Super A.
1997 1st in Finnish Championship, Class Intercontinental A. 4th in Nordic Championship, Class Intercontinental A. Competes in Karting Grand Prix races and World Championship races.
1996 Competes in Karting Grand Prix Races (European Series), World Championship races and Nordic Championship races. 4th in Finnish Championship, Class Formula A.
1995 Moves up to Formula A. He wins his first race and competes in the Monaco Cup for invited drivers, where he retires from 4th position (on his birthday).
1993 Competes in national karting races, Class Raket. 9th in the Finnish Cup.
1992 Competes in national karting, Class Raket Junior.
1991 Competes in national karting, Class Mini.
1990 Takes part in Karting for fun, he wins some races in Classes A, B and C.
1989 He receives his first Kart.




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