Briatore Defends Raikkonen as 'Breath of Fresh Air'

Kimi Raikkonen's recent indiscretions in a London lap-dancing club should be seen as a breath of fresh air for Formula One, according to Renault boss Flavio Briatore.

Briatore Defends Raikkonen as 'Breath of Fresh Air'

Kimi Raikkonen's recent indiscretions in a London lap-dancing club should be seen as a breath of fresh air for Formula One, according to Renault boss Flavio Briatore.

"If Raikkonen was my driver and he went to a club for a drink and some fun, I would have no problem with that," the Italian, famed for his own playboy lifestyle, told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"We have to understand that a young driver is not a robot. As long as he is not drinking the night before a race, why not?

"You don't want drivers to be like book-keepers. A driver needs to have a personality," said Briatore.

"What Raikkonen did is like a breath of fresh air. Maybe he should be given a drink before he speaks to the press in future."

Finland's Raikkonen, who drives for McLaren, attracted the attentions of tabloid newspapers last month after a night in a London club with friends.

McLaren were unhappy with the reports. "We've got a whole range of multi-national brands that are associated with our team and they don't invest in Formula One for this sort of imagery," chief operating officer Martin Whitmarsh said at the time.

Briatore said at least Raikkonen was showing his personality, and also following an illustrious line of charismatic drivers.

"Now the kids look like they are fabricated," he said.

"They're all the same. I don't recognise 60 percent of them out of their overalls. I used to know them all -- now I can't even pronounce some of their names."

Briatore said he had high hopes that his Spanish driver Fernando Alonso could take the fight to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher this season.

"We and other teams must put Michael under more pressure because last season he was like a taxi driver, with one arm out of the window. It was so easy," he said.

"If you put him under pressure you can be successful, as (Damon) Hill and (Mika) Hakkinen were. We have to do that for the good of the sport and I think it will be better this year."

The season starts in Melbourne on March 6 with Schumacher chasing his eighth world championship after winning 13 of 18 races last year.

shares
comments
Jordan 'sacked HHF for Honda'
Previous article

Jordan 'sacked HHF for Honda'

Next article

Jordan Reveals He Sacrificed Frentzen for Engines

Jordan Reveals He Sacrificed Frentzen for Engines
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021