By Audrey Edwards
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - The Iceman has melted just a wee bit.
Kimi Raikkonen insists that he has not changed from the last time he was in Formula One, but he does seem to be less gruff when fielding questions from the media although his replies were shorter than those of his teammate Romain Grosjean.
"That's what people think," answered the Lotus F1 Team driver yesterday when asked if he was now more talkative compared to his Ferrari days.
"It's up to you what you want to write. I do the same thing as before. I have not changed but people have different views."
There were moments during the press interview at the Proton Centre of Excellence when Raikkonen greeted a question with a plain outright "Ah?", leaving the journalist to repeat the question before he answered it.
His monosyllabic talking style was still evident, simply saying "Driving" when asked what was the best thing about getting back into a Formula One car.
The 32-year-old added that while the Sepang International Circuit track was "fine", the weather in Malaysia was not something he was used to.
"On a holiday, yes. But not in a suit," he said.
Raikkonen has also signed a merchandising deal with Angry Birds app creator Roxio Entertainment and will collaborate on a range of co-branded clothing to accompany the new Angry Birds Space franchise.
Raikkonen also sports the new character "Ice Bird" on his team cap for the season.
Grosjean, meanwhile, has chosen cooking to relax and get his mind off racing during off-season although the Frenchman does not indulge in his culinary hobby during the racing season.
"It's a passion," he said. "You also have to be careful not to get a lot of weight on and it's best to know what you are eating.
"So, the best way to know what you are eating is to cook it yourself."
He added that he started cooking in 2009 after he moved out to live by himself, quipping that it was also after he got bored of eating french beans with chicken all the time.
The 25-year-old, who has worked as a portfolio assistant manager at the Baring Brothers Sturdza, said banking and racing were similar.
"With banking, you are trying to fine-tune everything.
"You have to follow the market trends and be precise of where you want to go.
"It's the same with racing when it comes to strategy," he said.