I’ll be honest, I am not sure where reporters get their information and insight. Sometimes it just seems like the old method of agitation to elicit a response. The desire to use emotion to elicit action. It’s, in this day and age, regrettable.

Today’s story at AUTOSPORT regarding Kimi Raikkonen’s “motivation” is just such a piece. Now I doubt it was an AS reporter who suggested to Kimi that perhaps it was a lack of motivation he is experiencing due to a tough start to the season but shame on them if it was, they are more professional than that and I have a much higher regard for them than to ask such mundane questions. Regardless, Raikkonen’s reply is just about the kind of response that line of questioning deserves:

“I don’t know why you always come up with motivation – if I didn’t have motivation I wouldn’t be here,” said Raikkonen.

“It’s f**k all to do with this”.

Applause!  The line of questioning should have been how Kimi keeps focused, brings his A-game to a struggling operation such as the one Ferrari is delivering or what Lotus or even McLaren had when he was driving for them. See? That simple.

The reason the question should be fashioned that way is that it comports nicely with the character we know to be Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn doesn’t lack for motivation and never has. He’s in F1 because he is motivated to be there and if you’ve watched any amount of Kimi’s career, you would know that he doesn’t do anything he doesn’t’ want to be doing.

Is Ferrari struggling? Sure. Is Alonso getting the better of him? Yes. Is it because he’s not motivated? Of course not! He’s struggling to come to grips with the car and the characteristics of the car. One has to look no further than defending champion Sebastian Vettel to see that some of the really good drivers are struggling under the new regulations. Others, such as Alonso and Hamilton, are not.

Raikkonen himself admitted as much this week and so has Vettel, so questions challenging his motivation are just pure silliness. It’s a shame that precious time spent with such an enigmatic person as Kimi is wasted asking stupid questions. Why wouldn’t they have taken the time to ask him about the areas that he personally feels he’s needing to recalculate in his driving style and if he feels that there is anything in particular that he does while driving that he feels needs to be changed in how he approaches the cornering, braking or throttle control.

Ask him if this year is familiar with his days at McLaren and if so, how he thinks Ferrari might be able to overcome the deficit when McLaren were not able to and why. Ask him how the torque is reacting with his car on corner exit and how he feels he might be able to manage that more effectively and finally, ask him why he feels Alonso is finding time in the car that he isn’t. Ask him anything, but don’t ask him if he’s slow because he’s not motivated. Good grief.


An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • UAN

    At a certain point, not that I suspect this will ever happen, I just wish the media would stop with it’s simplistic, go to, talking points, such as Kimi lacks motivation. We get this with Rosberg being an intellectual driver, and Lewis a seats of his pants driver, or Vet being petulant, etc. etc. etc.

    I’d hope for a little more nuance and perhaps a little more intellectual horsepower from F1 journos. But it seems they constantly tool around the paddock in a perpetual state of ERVs depletion.

    • There are labels or talking points that do seem to stick for some drivers but Kimi’s character and nuance isn’t a lack of motivation. It’s just in his nature to not get boiled about a topic. He tends to be relatively measured and detached from things. I agree with you, the thread-bare mantras get a little old. There was nothing seat-of-the-pants about Lewis’s drive in China or any time this year. He’s moved on from that.

  • Rapierman

    Well, okay, maybe I’m a bit biased because of my fire-and-brimstone Southern Baptist bible-thumping military upbringing, but I would have thought that, when the question is asked, his facial expression would give us a little something that didn’t scream “STONER!!!”….but that’s just me. Sometimes, one gets deceived into thinking one thing when it’s really another, and if that’s what Raikkonen was trying to do, well, then, good job, he had me fooled.

    • JackFlash(Aust)

      Moto GP world champion twice. 2007 with a Corsa Ducati team that had a bike not on par with Honda and Yamaha, but Stoner still rode it past everyone else. Including Hayden comprehensively. Very Alonso like with the 2010 Ferrari, but one step better. Second Moto GP championship for Stoner not so dramatically unlikely on that years Honda, but still had to fend off a very good teammate additionally this champ year as well. So whilst the scowling and obvious dislike of the direction MotoGP was heading was oft etched clearly on Stoner’s face at many a press-conference post 2010 — He earned that right. Simoncelli’s loss was the final straw for a man with stacks of $$$, nothing left to prove in MotoGP world, and a young family wanting him to return to them safely every day. Stoner’s decision made

      The dislike of MotoGP regulatory changes only part of the process. The apparent fact that Stoner is disliked By Grace so much, is a proud badge of Aussie honour Stoner can wear with pride.

  • Mansell’s_Stache

    Stoner?…CTFO. Maybe in the off season…but seriously. Magnums taste good even without the munchies.

  • Of course Kimi is less motivated to assign time to F1 than, say, Alonso.

    Kimi only puts as much time into F1 as is needed, he races on talent not on dedication.
    Same as his role model James Hunt. Lot’s of talent but little dedication.

    I’m a big Kimi fan, but I’ll never consider him to be one of the greats because of his lack of dedication.

  • Stan

    Laid back is the gateway drug to unmotivated – duh.

  • gsprings

    one thing for sure, kimi is losing the teammate war so far,and thats a fact

  • Sebring71

    Clarification would help re: “STONER!!!” Is the meaning implying that Raikkonen is an avid weed smoker, or does it imply he is like a whiny here-and-gone footnote to Valentino Rossi’s career. Either way, if that falls within the limits of decorum and civility, then I’ll do my best to remain in same.

    Make no mistake, I’m biased. I’ve been excited about Kimi since that first Sauber quali lap, and yes it’s been hard to watch this latest transition, as in my heart, I feel that Kimi in the MP4-20 (when it ran) was the most searingly quick and beautiful combo I’ve ever seen in all my years watching F1 (since Matra was on the grid). So yeah, “what might’ve been” can’t help but inform how I feel now. Even in my most objective mindset, however, I take issue with the “motivation” and “dedication” detractions. Ask Mark Arnall if Kimi lacks either. Take a look at any footage of Kimi at these last 3 season starts. He’s as lean and mean as any other driver. One simply cannot competitively do what these drivers do if one does not train hard.

    Is he not dedicated because he doesn’t constantly tweet pics of his treadmill, or his weight machine, or regale us with selfies on the mountain bike? Is he not motivated because he’s not out buying cycling teams, or selling cars for the other team, like Alonso. Is it because he’s not a constant corporate shill? OK, Kimi’s been in a TAG ad (almost all top drivers did them), a Deodorant spot (because they sponsored Lotus), and he did a bit for Makia (they’re Finnish and he’s part owner). For Jenson, we have Mobil 1 (soda cookie death), TAG, Johnnie Walker, Santander, Head & Shoulders, Ray Ban, Van Huesen, Proctor & Gamble, Hugo Boss, and surely more to come. Lewis works for about half of those, and others, in between developing his rap career, hittin’ the clubs, signing paperwork at the jet dealer, tweeting his love life, brim straightening, and dog walking.

    If there’s any stereotyping, its that when Raikkonen takes time away, he goes and……races things. Does the motivation thing stem maybe from waning results in ’08-9? Fair enough, I guess, if you go only by appearances as assessed by the casual fan, but I couldn’t be more sick of that mindset being cemented in place by the whole “ice cream” thing. It’s just absurd. It comes from a moment when Kimi had been taken out of the car for the day so that he wouldn’t be electrocuted by a rogue KERS charge, not to mention Ferrari already ruined his day with bad tire strategy, and that the race never restarted. They put it on the jumbotron and, well, there you have it. Put it on a big TV and that’s what happens. Enough already!

    Which, could be said of my rant. Apologies all around. But really, is living privately a sign of being unmotivated? Is not wanting to shill merchandise, or answer insipid questions, or go try on pinky rings to wear on the red carpet at the opening of a Disney World Star Wars ride….is that a lack of dedication? Or, is it just Kimi being focused on racing?

    • By lack of dedication I had all his partying in mind.

      When other drivers prepare for a race, the iceman goes to Las Vegas, etc.

  • UAN

    you mean attending a beach volleyball game at the 2004 Olympics shows a lack of motivation? Do you have sources for Kimi partying in Vegas, etc. while other drivers are out huffin’ and a puffin’ preparing for a race?

    • O, I’m sorry, that was to prove nothing.
      I just found it a funny picture, and if it prooved anything it prooved he was in good shape,

  • Sebring71

    That’s exactly the type of think I’m referencing when I bring up the ice cream thing. I think its not fair to attach a media stereotype to the whole of one’s existence, especially when there’s so little info to really base it on, in the overall scheme of things. Raikkonen’s fairly private, and doesn’t leave a trail of selfies. When he does appear in public while having fun, he doesn’t seem to care who’s watching. I think the others are more protective of their image, or are very busy crafting it.

    I think that people often focus on the famously documented off-track antics, but will have a less than substantial knowledge or awareness of the guy’s actual racing career.

    Indeed, that pic is from Athens 2004. I believe the last time Raikkonen was in Vegas was with Grosjean, to do a street demo for Lotus, a month before the season started. If Lewis, Fernando or Jenson et al never partied during a season, then Luca Badoer was a great driver.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t recall any evidence ever that Kimi’s performance was affected by lack of prep. The biggest thing he is guilty of is being too finicky about setup, and not being at his best until the car is right for him. That’s his only problem if you ask me, and yes, its a big one. But when the car is right, and competitive, I think he’s unbeatable. Does he still have it? I don’t know, but If you don’t believe me, maybe check out what Sir Stirling Moss had to say about Kimi.