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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
Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, does a burnout after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart presents Darrell Wallace Jr. , driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, with the trophy after winning the Camping World Truck 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2nd Annual 1-800 Car Cash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on July 23, 2014 in Rossburg, Ohio. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, drive driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinios.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cars race after a restart lead by Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet (L), Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet (R) during the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Erik Jones, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates after winning the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway on July 11, 2014 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/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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