First Race Karts: 2010
First Race Cars: 2015
Hobbies: Ice hockey and golf
Favourite circuit cars: Spa Francorchamps
Favourite meal: Pepper steak
Favourite drink: Apple juice stirred with sparkling water
Favourite music: Deep House
Favourite subject while at school and/or university: Sport
Favourite thing to do when not racing: Fishing and water sports
Motorsport heros: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen
By his own high standards Niko Kari was not impressed with his 2016 results and the Finn expects a great deal more from this year. "I think 2017 will be an exciting season, GP3 is a great challenge and I am looking forward to racing with the Arden team, I like the way they work and I hope the car works as well as we expect it to."
"I don't think GP3 is such a big jump from F3, sure it will be a different style of driving, the biggest difference is the tyres, tyre management will be a big part of it and I am looking forward to that challenge, I think I can do a good job of looking after the tyres."
"Also it's going to be interesting using the DRS I think it makes the racing better and it will be good to learn how to make the best of it."
"2016 wasn't the season we wanted, both me and the team expected more. There were a lot of frustrations and I learnt a lot about so many things, I know I still have a lot to learn but I believe that with hard work we can get results this year with Arden and avoid some of the frustrations we had last season. There were some good points in the year, Imola where I won and Zandvoort I would say."
"I was born in a small city in Finland and by watching TV and following all the great drivers we have in Finland, my passion for motorsport grew up until my dad got me my first kart. And from that point I never stopped racing, this is my life and where I see myself in the future. My family has been supporting all through and sponsoring me in the early stages."
While Niko enjoyed his karting, when he got into an F4 car at a test early in 2015 it was a revelation. "In three intense test days I was able to collect approximately 200 laps and I really enjoyed sitting in Formula F4 car. To be truly honest I was quite bored sitting in a kart and therefore a step into Formula F4 car was the best choice for my career at this point," Niko explained at the time.
It certainly was the right thing at the right time as he dominated the 21 race series with 7 wins and 19 podiums, scoring 449 points with his nearest rival on 296. Not surprisingly he sees the third race on the second visit to the Moscow raceway in 2015 as his favourite race so far in his career, "Yes, that's where I clinched the championship."
"It was a great year and the series had some really good drivers so it wasn't easy. I believe that if you do your work well you can achieve your aims and shouldn't be worried about it," asserted Kari.
"That's the way I am looking at next season, of course I will have a lot to learn in F3 but I will work hard to make the best of this big opportunity. It's a great feeling to be invited to be part of the Red Bull Junior Team. I think it will be a fantastic year."
"I can't wait to see Pau, that will be my first street circuit and to go to Spa, that is my favourite, I have already tested there a few times in a Formula Renault and F3 car and went quite well in the tests. I love the fast corners including Eau Rouge."
So follow his determination to work hard, not worry and be confident of achieving your aims the Finn has a simple aim for 2016. "My expectations are to win races and go for the win in the championship." Then there is ultimate aim of course; "Formula 1 World Champion," he states with typical Finnish brevity.