Kimi Raikkonen has gained a reputation for being as cool and unemotional as his Iceman moniker would indicate but the new world champion has been enjoying the recent Ferrari celebrations at Maranello and Mugello. Against the odds the Finn clinched the title with victory in the final race of the 2007 season at Brazil and has had a hard time keeping the grin off his face ever since.
"These were joyful days with many celebrations," Raikkonen said of his time at the Ferrari end of season gatherings. "It seems I can't stop smiling. Wherever I go there are people who congratulate me. It seems that everybody in Italy is as happy as I am! Wednesday in Maranello was wonderful, when we celebrated the wins of the two Championships with everybody from the Scuderia."
"But I have to say that Mugello was even better, in front of thousands of fans and numerous Ferrari clients. When I was going to the race track in Tuscany I remembered the first time I drove a race car, back when I was driving in the Formula Renault and then my first race in Formula One with Peter Sauber."
"I remember these feelings, but it is really something else driving the car, with which I just won the Championship, here at Mugello: it was like a second triumph. I was really happy and very proud being part of the Ferrari family when I saw all the fans celebrating. Thank you all so much, with all my heart!"
Raikkonen had presumed to go to Switzerland afterwards but his wife, Jenni, and his friends instead whisked him off to Helsinki to celebrate with those close to him. "This was a great way of coming back home for the first time as a world champion," he commented.
Now, like much of the F1 community, Raikkonen is taking a break before winter testing gets under way, although he is not due on track straight away. "I drove almost every week during the last season and now is the time to think of something else than four wheels. I'll try to forget Formula One a bit, but that will be difficult."
"This year was really special to me. I can say that I fell in love again with this sport. I won't go to the tests in November in Barcelona, but I might be back on the track in December. It will be great to start my second year with Ferrari now that I won the title. It will be a new challenge, even more exciting, because I want to feel this joy again, one more time!"
The World Finals concluded at Mugello on Sunday with over 30 thousand fans in attendance to see Raikkonen, teammate Felipe Massa and the Scuderia motor racing contingent, celebrate the season. Test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were present, as, of course, were team principal Jean Todt and President Luca di Montezemolo.
On track displays included the GT cars which took victory in the GT2 and ALMS series and vehicles representing 60 years of Ferrari. Seven time champion Michael Schumacher, who won five consecutive drivers' titles with the team, tried out this season's F2007 in a demo run for a few laps.