Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ilta-Sanomat (paper edition): Hype without coverage

Unsuccessfulness fascinates for only so long.

Well there it was! Although not quite in the circles where the most steam-headed expected last winter. Kimi Räikkönen celebrated his first victory yesterday in Alsace, in a 'show-style' according to Ilta-Sanomat's webpage.

That was reasonable from the only real rally-rocket meaning the WRC-car that Räikkönen was driving in a national rally. He was also beating Minardi with Ferrari and McLaren.

After two weeks there is Rally France. After that rally Räikkönen will not for sure be spraying champagne in his overalls.

Räikkönen's Red Bull -sponsored rally adventure has been the anti-climax of the whole sad sporting year. Hype without coverage. Räikkönen was reasonably expected to do the impossible but instead we didn't even get the possible. 10th in the WRC-serie has at least not met Red Bull's expectactions after they have supported the F1-star's Citroen-gig with millions.

Last week the brand's advisor Helmut Marko took the bull by the horns. He described the investment as a failure as straight as it's possible to say in the motorsporting world. Too poor results, too liitle visibility, too many crashes, co-operation possibly terminated. It's hard to imagine that the advisor would have opened up without consulting Dietrich Mateschitz first.

Räikkönen has sank down during the season to a figure as interesting as Michael Schumacher in F1. Unsuccessfulness only fascinates for so long.

Unlike F1, WRC is fighting for it's own living space. Although Räikkönen has changed his media-attitude it still requires that drivers win the battles and who's paradise isn't there where you get to drive.

Red Bull needs Räikkönen because otherwise they wouldn't pay him. But they don't need him especially badly. There are other superstars like Shaun White, Sebastian Vettel, Rajon Rondo, Gregor Schlierenzauer, Lindsay Vonn, Mario Gomez or Petter Northug who also bring visibility.

In sport and sport-sponsoring the sportsman is just as good as his current level and what is even more important, his expectation-value. Räikkönen who got up to F1 as a childstar met all possible expectations and won his WDC.

MC Kimi

If one has followed his new career from the Finnish media, it looks as if there would be a real rally-legend hiding in Räikkönen. His future has been painted with golden colors by all possible rally-aces and other experts. He already lost to one of the air-heads, Juha Kankkunen, in Jyväskylä.

But 'we are aiming for the top, we just need time'. The latter of the sentence is correct. One should evaluate the level of journalism from the viewpoint that would these Räikkönen's flatterers and groupies really crush this guy's prospects even if they thought they would be as black as black can be? That is why smart reporters sometimes want opinions from experts without mentioning names. You won't get an objective view of the whole situation from MC Kimi's members, prospects and hangarounds.

Räikkönen left F1 because he had motivation problems and he had the full right to do so too after making a lifecareer for 20 years. To get to the top in rally would require learning a completely new profession meaning wretched top sport from day to day.

I hope I'm wrong but so far it looks like Räikkönen takes rally mostly as a fun hobby which nicely rhythms the year so that he can do even more fun stuff in between.

He has literally earned all the nice stuff with his own hands but it looks like a certain energy drink -company smells something burning.

Source: Ilta-Sanomat
Courtesy: Nicole

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