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Keep working at it, Montoya tells Raikkonen

Raikkonen will be under pressure straight away at Charlotte, with qualification carrying with it the potential for a very embarrassing public failure.

The news about Kimi's switch to NASCAR still leaves experienced motor sports journalists shaking their heads in wonder, not least because the US scene is notorious for the amount of media work required of its drivers who become almost full time corporate spokespeople for their sponsors.

"Both [Montoya and Raikkonen] suffer from lockjaw when it comes to the press, and neither is a fun interview," said Bob Varsha, longtime voice of F1 on the US sports channel SPEED, commenting on his scepticism about Raikkonen's decision to come to NASCAR. "I still find it odd, because he is such a reserved guy and hated dealing with the press in F1. That supposedly was one of his motivations for leaving the sport after winning the world championship.

"If Kimi knows anything about NASCAR, he knows NASCAR drivers are almost compelled to be gregarious, fan-friendly, work with the press and so on, which is completely unlike the Kimi those of us who have been involved with his career in F1 know."

One thing that's perceived to have held Montoya back in NASCAR is his difficulty in "playing nicely with others", as the sport often relies on on- and off-track alliances and partnerships. Montoya's still seen as very much something of a lone wolf, and Raikkonen could find himself in a similar situation.

"He was nicknamed 'Ice Man' when he raced in F1 so if that tells you anything!" laughs Montoya.

"Both are recognised as being incredibly brave and fast, said SPEED's Varsha. "But the key with both men is that neither enjoyed a reputation as either a team player or a technically astute driver ... If the car works as they need it to, they succeed. If it doesn't, working with the engineers to make it better was never something that seemed to interest them."

In the meantime, Kimi has been busy making sure that his "day job" over in the World Rally Championship doesn't feel unloved and unwanted by all the attention buzzing around his NASCAR debut.

"I wouldn't be doing any of the racing if it clashed with anything which I'm doing in the WRC," he emphasised to the WRC series website. "The races have been picked because they fit around the rallies I'm doing. It doesn't matter where I am when I'm not on the rallies."

Raikkonen, who recently finished sixth on Rally Jordan, says he's looking forward to his next WRC appearance, at the Acropolis Rally of Greece from 16-19 June. "The driving has been better and we're pushing harder now. My only target really is to improve in the WRC."

Meanwhile it looks like Raikkonen's NASCAR excursion might be starting a trend. His Finnish compatriot Mika Salo has reportedly told the Turun Sanomat (the same paper that broke the story of Kimi heading Stateside in March) newspaper that he's also set to try his hand at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.




Related Pictures

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Juan Pablo Montoya [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Juan Pablo Montoya [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Citroen DS3 WRC, ICE 1 Racing
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Citroen DS3 WRC, ICE 1 Racing
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Citroen DS3 WRC, ICE 1 Racing
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Truex, Jr. is third in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 FVP/Menards Chevrolet SS finishes in fourth place and Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS finishes in fourteenth place Sunday, March 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Visser Precision Chevrolet, stands in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 NATIONWIDE Chevrolet, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford (left) and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, look on in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS races to victory Sunday, March 8, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS finishes second. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS qualifies for fourth position Friday, March 6, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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Taz - Unregistered

May 19, 2011 1:03 PM

@Dean Dean You miss the point with Kmini, thats why many fans liked him because he didn't give a toss about things such as F1 politics, been sponsor friendly but driving fast and partying, more an old school driver.....but that's no bad thing. Most F1 press conferences are pointless now, it's just pre-scripted PR waffle, at least in MotoGP you get a bit of bander, F1 is supposed to entertain us....not bore us.



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