Kimi Raikkonen walks away from F1 after two decades

For the first time in 20 years, Kimi Raikkonen is about to have the freedom to do whatever he wants with his life. For the past two dec...


For the first time in 20 years, Kimi Raikkonen is about to have the freedom to do whatever he wants with his life.

For the past two decades, Finland’s Raikkonen has devoted himself to Formula 1. Even during a two-year hiatus from the series in 2010-11 after leaving Ferrari, he never gave up motorsport.

Raikkonen competed in the World Rally Championship and competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, now the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

But since 2001, Formula 1 dominates. After what will be his 349th start in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, Raikkonen is bowing out. This time maybe for good.

“I was two years old, but over the years I’ve thought about quitting a few times,” Raikkonen, 42, said in an interview. “Now I want to spend more time at home with the kids; they grow up fast.

“I want to do more things with the family. We didn’t really have the opportunity to live with family because of my schedule. It changed everything.

Raikkonen has two children, Robin, 6, and Rianna, 4. They changed his outlook on life.

“You know kids, from the age of 2 they start to do a lot of things,” Raikkonen said. “Robin is in first class at school, so everything is different now. It doesn’t feel like six years ago when he was born.

“It’s been tough being away a lot, and it’s not the most enjoyable thing for them, but on the other hand, it’s all they’ve known.”

Raikkonen started racing in Formula 1 in 2001 with Sauber, joining McLaren the following year for five seasons before moving to Ferrari in 2007 when he won his only world title.

He joined Lotus in 2012, then made a second stint at Ferrari for five seasons starting in 2014.

For the past three years he has driven for Alfa Romeo, where he has struggled to score points. “I enjoyed the race, the driving, solving the problems that we are having,” said Raikkonen. “The rest, I never liked it, but it’s part of F1. Obviously there have been good days and bad days, but it’s the same in normal life.

He’s played on his Iceman nickname over the years – cool on the track under pressure, cold in interviews, though he thawed over time and grew more likable.

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time champion who was Raikkonen’s teammate for four years with Ferrari from 2015 to 2018, has said he will be missed.

“He’s a real character and I enjoyed the time I spent with him as a teammate,” said Vettel. “I got to know him before that, and he’s probably one of the very few riders I’ve met who hasn’t changed from day one until today.

“He’s always been very open. I don’t think you can have an argument or a problem with Kimi. If you do, the problem isn’t him, the problem is you. He’s a great person.

Fernando Alonso, who made Formula 1 debut in the same year as Raikkonen, said his honesty was an attractive part of his character.

“He might have that mask of being cold, of being the Iceman, but there’s a really good person inside that you meet every now and then off the circuits,” said Alonso, doubles. champion.

“We have met at airports, restaurants and Kimi is a different person. He was exceptional for Formula 1, and he will be missed because he has his own character and he was different.

So what’s next for Raikkonen? At this point he doesn’t know, and he likes it.

“I have no plan,” Raikkonen said. “I’m going to do normal things and see what happens. If it’s something interesting then maybe I’ll do something.

“I don’t want to make plans because now I have the freedom to do things with the family.”

But did we see the last of him on a track? Maybe not. He said, “I’m always open to listen if it’s something that makes sense.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kimi Raikkonen walks away from F1 after two decades
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