McLaren’s ex-team principal Ron Dennis took away F1 rising star Kimi Raikkonen from the hands of Sauber in quite a fashion in 2002.
Former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen impressed McLaren boss Ron Dennis that the latter did all he could to sign the youngster.
Peter Sauber gave Raikkonen his debut test in the year 2000. He was already helping a second quicker than Pedro Diniz and impressed the Sauber boss.
Hence, Peter Sauber signed him up for the 2021 season despite only 23 car races to his credits. Raikkonen was still an inexperienced driver according to media outlets.
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Kimi Raikkonen scored 4 points in his first F1 season. Throughout the season, the McLaren team was keeping a close eye on the Finnish driver.
Ron Dennis reached out to Peter Sauber to secure Raikkonen’s services and paid out $14 million in compensation. This was a unique compensation as Dennis did everything in his power to get the Iceman.
The McLaren boss according to Raikkonen’s autobiography gave the Sauber team a wind tunnel and two trucks. These were a part of the compensation and acted as logistic utilities.
#9outof999 – Milestone #6:
Peter Sauber signed Kimi #Raikkonen for the 2001 season. Most athletes would be nervous on their big debut, not Kimi. He took a nap in the garage and was woken up only a few minutes before the race. Looks it worked well: finished 6th. #Race1000 #ChineseGP pic.twitter.com/yqPcspcwRv
— Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (@alfaromeoorlen) April 12, 2019
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The then McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen influenced Dennis for signing Raikkonen. Hakkinen said the following to his boss: “If you wanna win, get the Finn.”
In his first season with McLaren, the Iceman scored 24 points and had two podiums to his name. Moreover, Raikkonen signed for the team at a modest salary for the initial first two years.
Unfortunately, Raikkonen was unable to win the world championship with McLaren. However, he did have some battles to remember with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
Ron Dennis and Kimi Raikkonen, Suzuka – 2005. #F1 pic.twitter.com/u9Kfy07pds
— F1_Historical (@Historical_F1) January 24, 2015