Nowadays, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen is a devoted family man and elder representative of the F1 driving fraternity. But in the Season 2 premiere of the official F1 podcast Beyond The Grid, presented by Bose (out on Wednesday), the Finn, amongst other revelations, shares his belief that the partying that was a regular feature of his earlier career actually made him a better driver when he eventually hit the track.
There’s a story that legendary F1 fitness guru Josef Leberer tells about when he was whipping the young Kimi Raikkonen into shape ahead of his debut 2001 season with Sauber. After a gruelling six days of training in the Austrian Alps, Leberer took his young charge out for a pizza and asked if he wanted a beer to wash it down with. “[Kimi] said: ‘Really, may I?’” recalls Leberer. “I said of course, you’re working hard, a small beer is not a problem.”
And according to Raikkonen, Leberer’s philosophy is one that stayed with him throughout his career.
“Obviously it’s been a joke often,” the 2007 world champ tells host Tom Clarkson about his party animal reputation, “but I actually think it’s more true than a joke that I’ve often been driving better [after] doing whatever I want between the races than if I’m just not having fun and drinks and stuff.”