Kimi Raikkonen reveals high-risk hobby which he kept secret from F1 teams

Thomas Maher
Kimi Raikkonen sitting on a sand dune. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Kimi Raikkonen sitting on a sand dune in his Alfa Romeo gear. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he wasn’t always completely transparent with the teams he raced for regarding his off-track hobbies…

2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen is now a happily-retired family man taking care of his young children along with his wife Minttu in Switzerland, but the Finn once had a reputation for being a hard partier and risk-taker even away from the racetrack.

Examples of his extracurricular fun included entering a powerboat race with friends while dressed as a gorilla, winning a snowmobile race in Finland in 2007 after entering under the name of 1976 F1 World Champion James Hunt, and cavorting with an inflatable dolphin in a nightclub before passing out on top of it on the street outside.

Kimi Raikkonen’s motocross escapades during F1 career

Aside from those well-documented cases, Raikkonen has revealed he was also a regular in small motocross events, choosing not to tell his teams he was doing so, and admitting he has no idea how they would have reacted.

“Sometimes I went riding in small club races but it was just for fun,” Raikkonen told Kawasaki – the Finn being team boss of the KRT team in the Motocross World Championship. “I have a small track at home here with the kids.”

After making his debut with Sauber in 2001, Raikkonen raced with McLaren from 2002 to ’06 before swapping to Ferrari for a three-year stint. A two-year sabbatical followed before Raikkonen returned with Lotus in 2012, signing back with Ferrari for a second time between 2014 and ’18, then signing off with a three-year run at Alfa Romeo-Sauber to bookend his career.

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Ironically, 2005 teammate Juan Pablo Montoya’s McLaren career got off to a bad start as he was injured widely rumoured to have been a motocross crash, although the Colombian insisted it was an injury picked up while playing tennis. Either way, Montoya’s relationship with McLaren never properly recovered, and, a year later, he was asked to leave the team by boss Ron Dennis.

Perhaps this may have played a part in Raikkonen choosing not to tell his teams about his activities on two wheels, knowing that he probably wouldn’t have been allowed…

“I did not race at a high level and I felt it was part of my fitness programme,” he said.

“I don’t know what any of my teams thought about it as I never mentioned it to them!”

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