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Kimi Raikkonen Once Switched His F1 Cockpit With Air Force Plane Right Before His Formula 1 Debut

Nischay Rathore

Kimi Raikkonen Once Switched His F1 Cockpit With Air Force Plane Right Before His Formula 1 Debut

Kimi Raikkonen made his debut in Formula 1 back in 2001 with Sauber. With the Australian GP being his first-ever F1 race, the air force of the land down under planned a special initiation for the Finn. Before the start of the race, Raikkonen got a ride with the Roulettes squadron who flew past Albert Park.

Raikkonen was the passenger in a Pilatus P9 aircraft. The Roulettes, an aerobatic team of the Royal Australian Air Force, operated the aircraft for fly-past shows. Air Forces putting up a show before the start of Grands Prix is not an unnatural occurrence. However, one of the drivers accompanying them certainly is.


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That is perhaps why Kimi Raikkonen looked mighty thrilled while going through the high G-force pulling maneuvers. The Pilatus is capable of going up to 770 kph (478 mph).

However, for the display maneuvers, they tend to go as low as 450 kph (280 mph). While that speed was still a lot more than what Raikkonen would reach on an F1 circuit, it was thrilling nonetheless for him.

Not so much for his mother, though. Raikkonen’s mother was reportedly petrified before the flight and was against her son taking part in the daredevil act.

She was afraid Kimi would get a nosebleed from high altitude and high G-force maneuvers. The Finnish driver, however, walked out of the cockpit unscathed after flying under the expertise of Squadron Leader Sean Bellenger.

The adventure continued for Kimi Raikkonen that day

Kimi Raikkonen stepped out of the aircraft but that wasn’t the end of adrenaline-spiking activities that day for him. Raikkonen took up motocross jumping on the Albert Park circuit. Once again, the future F1 champion was in able hands, this time riding with the legendary Jonothan ‘Jono’ Porter.

Finally, once the F1 action began on the track, Raikkonen continued to impress. In his debut race, he scored a point by finishing P6. This was the old points system when only the top-6 finishers scored points in the 10-6-4-3-2-1 order. As per the current system, Raikkonen would have scored eight points.

Kimi Raikkonen carried the form throughout the season to finish 10th in the points table. The feat earned him a seat with McLaren the very next year.

There was still, however, a long way to go for him to win the championship. That happened in 2007 when he drove for Ferrari and beat Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by just one point to clinch the title.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Nischay Rathore

Nischay Rathore


Nischay Rathore is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush with over a thousand articles under his belt. An avid Ayrton Senna admirer, Nischay embarked on his sports journalism journey despite completing graduation in Law. When not covering the high-speed thrills of the pinnacle of motorsport, he can be seen enjoying crime thrillers and 90s gangster movies with a hearty bowl of buttery popcorn.

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