F1 Legend Goes Electric: What to Expect From the Kimi Raikkonen and ZEEKR Alliance

An F1 Legend known for being blindingly fast is now associated with a fast-growing electric car maker from China

If you happen to use the phrases “Kimi” and “electric car” on Google, you would likely be directed to an electric scooter by the name of Kimi. For real, and that’s nice. However, if you specifically add the phrase “Raikkonen” to the word Kimi and then search for the phrase “electric car”, you would be guided to an EV car brand that is fast becoming popular. 

The moment the phrases Kimi and Raikkonen are put together, the result becomes a Formula 1 entity that’s second to none in terms of popularity in the sport. Similarly, terms “Zeekr” and “electric car” put together are fast gaining recognition in the world of EVs. But then what is the former Formula 1 world champion, nicknamed the Iceman, doing with a Chinese carmaker that is not even remotely connected to the world’s fastest form of single-seater racing? 

The Finnish racer has been signed by the Geely-owned Chinese EV brand ZEEKR, which happens to be a premium car brand owned by one of the most well-known Chinese carmakers in the realm of electric mobility. 

But as with every brand that often faces the sunny days and well, the not-so-sunny days, ZEEKR has more positives than off-days despite having put on hold its US IPO (initial public offering) owing to a mismatch in valuation expectations. The real bright news is that a driver as popular as Raikkonen, known for his authenticity and no-nonsense approach to handling PR has joined hands to promote a car brand whose best days, it ought to be said, lie in the future. 

Kimi Raikkonen’s role with the company is that of a Chief Performance Advisor. The task for one of the coolest personalities to have ever raced an F1 car is to lend an understanding into developing its EVs. All these are, at the moment, in the Chinese heartland with big auto markets such as India yet to get a taste of what the oriental land has on offer in a hugely captivating space. 

That said, the first production car from the house of Geely is said to be the ZEEKR 001 FR electric supercar. 

Already tipped by reputed auto publications and prominent news agencies as a high-performance variant of a brand whose factory is presently located in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in eastern China. 

To give you a context of the “high-performance” tag, ZEEKR’s acceleration, as claimed by the company, is 0 to 100 kmph in no more than 2.07 seconds- is very Raikkonen-like; the current and yesteryear’s F1 fans still regard Kimi as being blindingly fast. 

He did, by the way, set at the ripe age of 38 and back in 2018, the then-fastest lap of the sport. Driving the SF-18 Ferrari, the man famous for being cool under pressure set around Monza a qualifying lap time of 1:18:118. Even Lewis Hamilton, an all-time great failed to curb “The Iceman’s” pace at a track where arguably Mercedes was the faster car all weekend, which is precisely when Kimi spoiled the Silver Arrows’ party. 

But speaking of speed and acceleration, the ZEEKR 001 FR is very Raikkonen-ish itself; horse-powered by a quad-motor, which is said to deliver a 1265 horsepower. 

What makes ZEEKR’s arrival an enticing development of sorts is the fact that the brand-new Chinese make will only add more flair and firepower to an EV space that is no stranger to several other carmakers. Think BYD. Don’t forget NIO. 

Geely Auto, which is based at Hangzhou in China will now make other competitors roll up their sleeves and prepare for an already dynamic future with yet more fun offerings. 

But as Kimi would himself say if asked, hypothetically speaking, whether the product is just another in the realm of hype or a real standout,  it could be said the following may be his answer:

“I mean for me, it makes no difference what people write or say. I’m here to do a job and it’s to do the best with what one can.”

Stay where you are, Iceman. For we truly feel the EV space, especially in China, has a lot more exciting stuff on offer. No ‘Bwoah’ this!