After the disappointing 2009 season, Finn Driver Kimi Raikkonen decided to bow out of the Formula 1 to get into America’s most famous racing sport – NASCAR. Raikkonen always wanted to try his hand at different racing leagues and NASCAR was always one of them. Considering his ample F1 experience, it seemed like Raikkonen would be able to pull of NASCAR with ease.
But what happened in reality was very different to Raikkonen’s expectations. His much-anticipated NASCAR career disintegrated as he constantly fell victim to penalties and crashes. This made his cameo at America’s famous racing sport worse than the given scenario could offer.
Kimi Raikkonen on why NASCAR is regarded tougher than F1
Speaking to Racer, Kimi felt that NASCAR was much more difficult than F1. This is primarily because, in NASCAR, there is no concept of collecting data from a car and learning from it.
“It’s like in F1. A lot of people can be very fast on one lap. But then a race distance is a different story,” he said. “So I always expected it to be difficult, and then I had a very limited amount of understanding.
“I think one thing that made it nice but also difficult is that you had no data in NASCAR. It’s not like in F1, where you could look at all the data and learn a lot from that.”
Kimi started his NASCAR expedition in the summer of 2011. He took part in the Camping World Truck Series. He signed a sensational deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
The 1-time world champion claimed that unlike F1, NASCAR was old-fashioned, with less or no room for learning and understanding the car. Instead, he reckoned that it was all about the feel.
“There was purely lap time or the average speed, and you went by feeling. And you asked somebody and they would tell you! It’s not something on paper that you can look at and say ‘OK, this is this and that’,” he said.
“Obviously, in testing, you can use it but not in the race weekend, so it’s more like an old-fashioned style, and I think it’s nice because you have to figure it out yourself. It was nice to see. The people were great and the whole atmosphere is different.”