Articles / Formula 1

Reason

noun

  1. the mental powers concerned with forming conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts and premises.
  2. sound judgment; good sense
  3. to think or argue in a logical manner.

example

Every time there’s talk (mostly complains) about the lack of real characters or fascinating personalities in Formula 1, the name Kimi Raikkonen is bound to pop up at some point. Not because of lack of charisma, but often as an example of an atypical, somewhat controversial, brutally honest and media-unfriendly driver. All those are attributes used on a regular basis to describe him but just as common are ‘funny’, ’genuine’, ‘friendly’, ‘clever’ or ‘uncomplicated’. Maybe the most used word though is ‘popular’.  For as much as Kimi says there are people out there thinking he’s stupid or that he makes bad decisions, there isn’t one track on the F1 calendar where you won’t find blue and white flags waving in the grandstands or autograph queues about 15 times longer than he’d prefer them to be. Culminating, as you might remember, with the fascinating insanity of China or Japan, where everything is bigger, louder and more creative as well.

His monosyllabic replies, monotone voice or lack of elaborate answers are sometimes interpreted as proof of disinterest (at best) or rudeness (see the Lee McKenzie sunglasses incident) by people on the other side of the microphone or TV screen. I don’t think his behavior needs justifying and I don’t need to relate to him to understand it, but I can imagine it’s at least as annoying answering the same question 10 times a day as it is reading the same insignificant piece of news on 20 different media outlets. This constant need for information got us to the point where we’re being offered more than we need. And no matter the length of the answer, the essence is the same. I could very well build this text down to one sentence:

The way I see it, the most anti-social and occasionally impolite person in the paddock might actually be the sanest.

Taking a quick glance at some of his comments during the past few weeks (although you wouldn’t be wrong to think he’s been saying pretty much the same things for a decade), you might start to notice a trend:

  • „That doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the rest of the weekend. Tomorrow is a new day and it might be a completely different story, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
  • „Time will tell. I have no interest to start guessing what will happen to any of us in the future. We will see at some point.”
  • „Maybe we didn’t do as many laps as we wanted but it’s not a big deal. I spun; it happens sometimes.”
  • „He made a mistake and it cost him one position. It’s useless to cry afterwards.”
  • „He can say what he wants. I’m not interested in what he’s saying.”
  • „The main thing is to focus on the racing only.”

The Finn’s comments could have very well be taken out of some rational theory handbook and, in a more refined wording, relate to a style of thinking that psychologists and mental health specialists actively try to promote. Not to get fancy or technical and into too much detail, but there’s a certain approach to life events that leads to far less emotional distress and a better quality of life.

Quite a few people have a tendency to overthink past events they cannot change and worry excessively on future ones they have little control over. It’s not very constructive or useful since it doesn’t change the outcome or anything else really but your mood (into something less pleasant usually) but it’s also not easy to just stop doing it. Whether you messed up a lap in qualifying or a presentation at work, there’s still nothing you can do to go back in time and undo it, so fix the damage you can, accept the mistake (learn from it preferably) and patiently see what tomorrow brings. To quote Kimi, it’s useless to cry (too much) afterwards.

Another prime example is the impact of other people’s opinions on your own actions or self-esteem. Criticism shouldn’t be destructive and it’s not helpful to evaluate yourself according to the opinion other people express about you or about the things you have done. Keep an open ear for things to learn, but in the end, each one of us knows himself better than anyone else ever will. We can’t help being shaped by the events and people around us so it helps to be mindful of the effects (mainly emotional ones) they have on our outlook on life. When we get reminded that Lewis is more human because he lets problems get to him and tells the world about them, it’s easier for viewers to relate to him and form an attachment but it doesn’t mean it’s the best example to follow. As so many journalists said before, Kimi’s strength lies in his pragmatic mind and his disregard for any comments from the outside, letting his actions on track (and his brief, unambiguous statements) make his point clear. He doesn’t judge people, doesn’t hold a grudge and doesn’t let problems cast a shadow over all areas of his life.

And last but not least, he talks about passion; the type that helps you focus on objectives and the incessant work needed to reach them. He loves to race and he knows it’s a reason that’s worth tolerating a few inconveniences (also known as Journalists). He also knows it’s not the end of the world if he’s stopped from doing it.

You might or might not find this little analysis useful, but I enjoyed writing it. Many times while listening to interviews or press conferences it struck me how many of his ideas sound like something my teachers would or have actually said. I can’t claim to know what goes through his mind but based solely on what comes out his mouth (the bits I can understand, my hearing is not the best), I admit he’s someone I’d enjoy an ice cream and a boring conversation with. Regardless of the impression he’s left you with, maybe we could be better off being more like him.

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