Raikkonen on 2002

Raikkonen on 2002

Kimi Raikkonen has had a somewhat quicker than most rise to one of the top teams in Formula One, but the young Finn seems to have taken it in his stride. From Formula Ford he only had a mere 23 races experience when Sauber took the chance on him...

Kimi Raikkonen has had a somewhat quicker than most rise to one of the top teams in Formula One, but the young Finn seems to have taken it in his stride. From Formula Ford he only had a mere 23 races experience when Sauber took the chance on him for F1 last season; he didn't disappoint and was snapped up by McLaren for 2002.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by DaimlerChrysler.

"I raced Formula Renault two years ago and last year was my first year in Formula One." He said. "I was not expecting to get into it so quickly, especially now in one of the best teams. It has happened very quickly and everything has gone the right way so far and I hope that continues."

With Sauber he silenced many of his critics -- the team were reluctant to let him go but Raikkonen was on his way up and he decided to accept an offer from McLaren.

"I decided on this team because both drivers are given an equal chance and, as one of the top teams, it means you have a chance to win races, and also of course to try and win the championships." Raikkonen explained, aware he will be under scrutiny this year.

"It is too early to say what will be the biggest challenge I face. Of course there is pressure, but I had that last year as it was my first season and I needed to prove myself. I think it will be a bit different, but I am really confident. We will have to wait and see what happens."

Some feel that the move to a top team will be too much too soon for a driver with relatively little experience but although Raikkonen is still getting used to his new surroundings he says he feels at home.

"I haven't spent that much time in the factory, just about three times," he admitted. "But I have met a lot of people and everyone seems very nice. I already feel at home there, even if I will get to know everyone better during testing and racing, as you start working with the people and getting closer to them. Of course, I have a new teammate and I will be trying my best to beat him and he will try his best to beat me. It will be hard, because he has much more experience than I have. We will see what happens, but it is too early to speculate about who is going to be quicker. We get on very well which is a bonus."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Sauber , McLaren