Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

perjantai 9. joulukuuta 2011

Season 2012 preview: One awesome Finn back, another impressive Finn out!

It was only two weeks ago when the Formula 1 season 2011 ended and there´ll be a looong way to go before the new one starts... We´ve already got some major news concerning the upcoming season. For months there have been a lot of different kinds of rumours in terms of Kimi Räikkönen´s comeback next season but at last it is finally official: the Iceman will be back in F1 action next season at the wheel of Lotus Renault! Not at Williams as it was predicted initially but at Lotus Renault. Yesterday we got confirmation of Kimi´s team-mate: it´s Romain Grosjean who will drive alongside Kimi in 2012!

Kimi´s comback is absolutely awesome news! Me being a huge Kimi fan I´m utterly delighted to see the Iceman back on the grid! Kimi seemed to enjoy his couple of years in WRC but rallying didn´t turn out to be "his thing" after all... Kimi has always enjoyed the tight wheel-to-wheel battle with his rivals so racing against the clock doesn´t feel the same. And with Kimi back the Formula 1 world is more interesting and entertaining than without him! Kimi has totally unique personality and he isn´t afraid of showing it :) Raw speed is definitely one of the key factors in terms of his talent. I´m pretty convinced that Kimi will get back in action in no time though especially the tyres have changed since his retirement. And Grosjean is a young driver who can´t wait to challenge the former world champion because this will be his second chance in Formula 1 and he´s under the pressure to convince all the people in the team of his talent... So I can´t wait to see how the things begin to evolve when the new season gets underway... Michael Schumacher´s comeback has proven that coming back into Formula 1 even though you´re (multiple) world champion isn´t as easy as you easily think. But I believe in Kimi and I´m sure his comeback will be success even though Lotus Renault may not be a top car yet.

I concidered Kimi´s comeback very likely before the official confirmation so I wasn´t actually surprised when I heard the news. But another piece of news made me totally surprised indeed... And that was the news of Sebastian Vettel´s Finnish trainer Tommi Pärmäkoski not continueing his work with Sebastian any more! I knew their contract was going to end this month but I was convinced that the successful duo would keep up their work together also during the 2012 season... But that isn´t the case however! I have very contradictory thoughts considering this decision...

For sure this decision will have some kind of an effect on Vettel´s next season. I´m not saying that it´s necessarily or automatically negative but I´m sure it feels like a setback to Sebastian. Tommi and Sebastian have been working closely together for three years and spending about 300 days a year with the same person inevitably makes you pretty close friends... Not to mention the chemistry between two people which cannot be taken for granted. I don´t know either one of the men personally but their team work has just seemed perfect...! They both seem like very warm-hearted persons who have showed extremely high motivation, inspiration and dedication at what they do. I have absolutely no doubt that the trainer replacing Tommi as Sebastian´s physio wouldn´t be as professional or competent at his work but still... Tommi´s absence will still have an effect on Sebastian´s career!

I couldn´t think in my wildest dreams that Tommi would quit his job as Sebastian´s physio after such a fairy-tale! But thinking about it more closely makes me understand Tommi´s decision better. I mean Tommi has done his job more than perfectly: in 2009 Sebastian was the runner-up in the world championship standings and in 2010 the young German won his first WDC after staggering last GP of the season... Not to mention this year which has been complete dominance by Sebastian leading to his second consecutive WDC making him the youngest-ever F1 double world champion! What is it there more to achieve...? Apart from the third, fourth or fifth championship..? Professionally speaking Tommi stands as high as he can ever get at the moment! So it´s understandable that he wants to conquer new challenges.

tiistai 6. joulukuuta 2011

Race of Champions 2011 at Esprit Arena Dusseldorf

Vettel driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car.
 Last April when it was announced that the Race of Champions 2011 will be held in Germany I knew I wanted to be there! At first the venue was confirmed to be the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt so I bought flight tickets to Frankfurt and booked a hotel there... And then the venue was changed from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf and I couldn´t cancel or change neither my flights nor the hotel! Nevertheless,
I changed my plans... I did fly to Frankfurt on December 1 with my sister and we spent two days shopping in Frankfurt! On Saturday morning we took an ICE train from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf where we had booked another hotel... The change of plans didn´t turn out to be too cheap because it costed quite a lot to travel by train and for the night between Saturday and Sunday we had a hotel room
 Michael Schumacher at the wheel of a KTM X-Bow.
Seb and Schumi took Nations Cup win again for the 5th time!
booked in two different cities! Nevertheless, the event was absolutely mind-blowing! I had great expectations before the Nations Cup because I knew Team Germany was going to be extremely competitive! And the team of 7-time F1 world champion and the youngest ever F1 double world champion didn´t let me down! No matter if Vettel was driving a KTM X-Bow, Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car or a ROC buggy or the Audi R8 his driving was pure magic! I mean the way the young German handled the car was approaching art...! Thanks to Vettel Team Germany made it to the final once again! The final was against Team Nordic, whose team consisted of Denmark´s Tom Kristensen and Finland´s Juho Hänninen! Ogier´s performance was impressive although he did lose to Team Nordic´s Juho Hänninen when they competed with the S2000
It was Schumi vs. Seb at the quarter-finals in the ROC buggy!
rally cars. At the wheel of his"own car" Hänninen was extremely fast but the other cars he wasn´t able to handle as well as the rally car... However, at the final there was no question about the winner! Schumacher beat Kristensen and Vettel beat Hänninen so it was 2-0 for Team Germany! Schumi and Sebastian took their 5th consecutive Nations Cup win so they seem to be totally unbeatable! I guess the two legendary German had quite a party on Saturday evening... ;) At least their performance had lost its sharpest magic overnight when there was time to crown the champion of the champions! Sebastian made it only to the quarter-finals where he competed against his compatriot Schumacher in the ROC buggy... Schumi won the battle which meant that Seb was out of the race! Schumi didn´t make his way through to the final, either and last year´s champion of the champions Filipe Albuquerque got out of the race long before quarter-finals already. Button had some impressive battles, so did the DTM champion Tomczyk but the final was between Denmark´s Tom Kristensen and the Frenchman Sebastien Ogier! Ogier took a sweeping victory by beating Kristensen 2-0 first with the world touring race car and then with the KTM X-Bow. The both drivers knew how to take the audience after the final. Both Ogier and Kristensen made some very impressive doughnuts and they both made a few laps of honour waving to the fans. I was pretty ashamed of the German fans who left the arena right after the final and didn´t watch the victory celebrations. I would have wanted to see Vettel taking the crown but I have to say Ogier really deserved to win that day, no doubt about that and he knew how to entertain the audience! I would have loved to see Schumi and Seb making laps of honour after their Nations Cup win but unfortunately they didn´t.

Ogier the champion, Kristensen the runner-up.
Describing how it was like to witness the event live there at Esprit Arena is difficult indeed...! It was an event I had been waiting for for 8 months! And I have to say I enjoyed every second of it truly. Many of the German motorsports fans were watching the show drinking beer at the same time but I didn´t need any alcohol to get tipsy! I was absolutely overwhelmed with excitement and thrilling motorsports action... Seeing especially Sebastian Vettel driving live in front of my very eyes was an absolute dream come true for me! If there was a remote control with which you could control your life, the Race of Champions would have been a moment when I would have clicked the "pause" button! Usually you run a busy life and you aren´t able to enjoy the moment you are living in but at Esprit Arena especially on December 3 the time virtually stopped and I enjoyed every second I experienced! I know I´m not a typical Finnish mother of three sons in her thirties... Not every Finnish mother flies across Europe to see Sebastian Vettel drive, not everyone even has a possibility to do so... So I know I´m privileged in that way. Although I also had some difficult moments during my trip all those were definitely worth suffering so that I could experience this magnificent and magical event!