Preparation is everything in Formula One, we are told, and it's probably a pretty accurate maxim. So as you read this column, assuming you're reading it on Thursday, March 15, then you're reading it in F1's twilight zone: the short period between the end of everyone's preparations and the beginning of the opening race weekend. And contrary to what that old racing adage would have you believe, it isn't when the flag drops that the bullshit stops; no, the bullshit stops tomorrow.
Right now, though, people - drivers, engineers, team principals et al - are still talking about preparation. Preparation in terms of wind tunnel hours, simulator work, testing kilometres, build quality - and also, of course, in terms of driver fitness, driver focus and driver commitment. Not surprisingly, therefore, what Kimi Raikkonen did last weekend is currently being roundly 'dissed' Down Under.
While other drivers were already pounding the treadmills in the gyms of downtown Melbourne's finest five-star hotels to optimise their fitness, focus and commitment, as well as to acclimatise their body-clocks to the antipodean time zone, Kimi was still in his native Finland, competing in something called the Kopparberg King.
Kimi Raikkonen © XPB/LAT
The Kopparberg King, Finland's premier snowmobile enduro sprint race, is gruelling. "But, surely, it's also therefore dangerous," the fitness/focus/commitment brigade have been shouting in Melbourne this week. "How dare Kimi do something so irresponsible? He could have injured himself. That's no way to prepare for the first race of the most important season of F1 racing in his life!" Yada, yada, yada; blahdy, blahdy, blah.