Hate him for poaching Lewis Hamilton’s drivers’ title or love him for his bottomless Scandinavian cool, 2007 world champion Kimi Räikkönen is back in Formula One, after signing a two-year deal with Lotus Renault. It’s time for embarrassingly cool moments at Grands Prix yet again, like his classic line about a pre-race bowel movement at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Räikkönen, driving his last race for McLaren, had just missed the speech given by Pelé to commemorate Michael Schumacher, who was about to battle Fernando Alonso for the world title in what was then expected to be Schumacher’s last race. “I was having a shit,” he told ITV’s Martin Brundle on live TV, who was quick with a rather amazing retort: “Obviously, you have a nice, light car on the grid then.”
After two years driving a Citroën rally car, Räikkönen will arrive at a somewhat disheveled team still recovering from the 2008 Singapore crash scandal and the open-ended loss of Robert Kubica to a ralling accident in February 2011. He will make his re-debut at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix in March. Plenty of time, then, to ponder how tiny Finland, with a population of five million, has given Formula One three of its 32 world champions?