F1 will miss the unique style of Kimi Raikkonen, says Domenicali
Throughout his Formula One career, Raikkonen earned many accolades
After an illustrious career spanning over 20 years, Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen has decided to hang up his gloves and steering wheel at the end of this season.
"This is it. This will be my last season in Formula 1. This is a decision I did during last winter. It was not an easy decision but after this season it is time for new things,” the Alfa Romeo driver wrote on Instagram.
"Even though the season is still on, I want to thank my family, all my teams, everyone involved in my racing career and especially all of you great fans that have been rooting for me all this time.
"Formula 1 might come to an end for me but there is a lot more in life that I want to experience and enjoy. See you around after all of this! Sincerely Kimi."
Soon after the announcement, Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Team Principal, paid a moving tribute to Raikkonen.
"There isn't any driver out there like Kimi Raikkonen,” Vasseur said.
"His presence, his charisma and his unique attitude, matched with the innate skill that made this team [Sauber] give him a chance back in 2001, have made him a legend of our sport in a way which numbers and statistics struggle to convey.
"Kimi has written some indelible pages of our team's and our sport's history."
Raikkonen made his Formula One debut in 2001 with Sauber, with many wondering if he was handed his debut too soon. The Finn quickly proved the doubters wrong, finishing in sixth place and scoring a point on his debut in Melbourne.
He finished runner-up with Mclaren to Michael Schumacher win in 2003, before Fernando Alonso beat him to the title in 2005.
Raikkonen then signed with Ferrari in 2007 to replace Schumacher, who had retired at the end of the 2006 season. In his first season with Tifosi, he won the driver’s championship ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, who was the favourite at the time.
Raikkonen then took a hiatus from Formula One in 2010 and 2011, where he competed in the World Rally Championships, before he marked his return to Formula One by signing with the then-Lotus team in 2012.
Raikkonen won twice and finished on the podium 15 times during his tenure with Lotus, and then was re-signed by Ferrari in 2014 where he spent another five seasons. He won his final Grand Prix in 2018 aged 39 at the United States GP in Austin.
In 2019 the Finn went full circle as he signed with Alfa Romeo, which used to be Sauber, where he made his debut in Formula One. With Alfa Romeo, he broke Ruben Barrichello’s record of 322 race starts last October at the Eifel GP at the Nurburgring. He has now amassed 341 Grand Prix appearances with ten races still left in this season.
Throughout his Formula One career, Raikkonen earned many accolades. He has 21 Grand Prix wins which puts him 15th on the all-time list, he is ranked 5th all-time for podiums with 103 and 3rd all-time for fastest laps with 46.
F1 president Stefano Domenicali, who had previously worked with Raikkonen when he was the team principal of Ferrari from 2007-2014, said F1 would miss the Finnish legend.
"Kimi is an incredible part of our sport, a personal friend and a true champion,” Domenicali said.
“I had the privilege of working with him at Ferrari and know the fantastic person he is. We will all miss him and his unique style."
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