F1 Champ Kimi Raikkonen Talks Differences Between His Old Gig And Driving In The NASCAR Cup Series

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2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will compete in his second career NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday. Going into it, he discussed the differences between driving in F1 and wheeling around in a stock car.

Raikkonen made his Cup Series debut last season at Watkins Glen and will look to take the checkered flag for the first time. This time he’s doing it at Circuit of the Americas, a track he’s more than familiar with from his days in F1.

That said, a lot of what he knows may not translate to the Cup Series.

“I have some experience in different cars and different categories,” Raikkonen said according to GP Fans. “I did rallying, which is completely different to what I was used to doing in F1. NASCAR, again… it is easy to think they are all kind of similar because they have a steering wheel and four tires, but it changes a lot.”

Kimi Raikkonen car
2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen’s No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Circuit of the Americas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NASCAR Let’s Raikkonen Get Aggressive

One huge difference is the robustness of the car. Open wheels and fragile aerodynamic parts make contact in an F1 car a huge concern. Not so in the Cup Series.

“The racing is different because in F1, they have open wheels so if you touch somebody, you usually lose a part or lose the wheel so you cannot take that risk in F1 as much,” he explained. “If you lose a tiny part of the car, the car is suddenly a second slower than it should be. In NASCAR, you can have closer racing – the rules are different, it is more open here.

“If you behave kind of well, the others will behave in a similar way. It makes it exciting at the end of the races when people can be quite aggressive.”

Raikkonen was known for driving with measured aggression in F1. You’re telling me he can now have it without being concerned about snapping a front wing?

Let’s. Go.

The Iceman’s weekend is off to a decent start as he qualified 22nd.

Directly behind him in 24th will be fellow F1 champ Jenson Button.

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Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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