S3 E7: Raikkonen's controversial F1 arrival
SPECIAL GUEST: Kimi Raikkonen's Sauber engineer from 2001 - Jacky Eeckelaert! Sauber made waves over the winter of 2000-01 when it decided to sign a young Finn straight out of Formula Renault, with only 23 car races to his name.
In the space of 12 months Kimi Raikkonen went from testing an F1 car for the first time - and impressing Michael Schumacher in the process - to signing for McLaren to replace two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen. Jacky Eeckelaert shares stories from inside Sauber, from the moment the team first gave Raikkonen a run-out at Mugello, to all the fuss about him being granted a superlicence - and why FIA president Max Mosley voted against it. Jacky also explains how big a mark Raikkonen made from the first time he sat in an F1 car, why Sauber never had any doubts about him being ready for F1 despite his lack of experience, how quickly he settled in during his rookie season - plus the story of how he tried to reattach his steering wheel when it came off at Imola, and kept his foot flat on the accelerator the whole time while doing so!
We then plot the inevitability of Raikkonen's departure from Sauber just one year into a three-year deal, as McLaren and Ferrari went to battle for his services. Mark Hughes joins Jacky and host Glenn Freeman to explain what made Raikkonen stand out as soon as he joined the F1 grid, and why choosing silver over red was the right move for 2002. We also look at the other McLaren-contracted drivers who thought they were in with a shot of that drive, including one man who was told the seat was his before Raikkonen signed!
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