Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Yas Marina, 2021

Raikkonen ‘looking forward to normal life’ as he calls time on longest-ever F1 career

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi will run special messages on their cars this weekend as the Alfa Romeo team mates depart Formula 1 together.

The pair have been team mates since Alfa Romeo returned to F1 as a manufacturer entity in 2019. Their best result in that time was a four-five finish in that year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

They are being replaced with an all-new driver line-up for 2022. Raikkonen is heading for retirement after his 349th race – a record. Giovinazzi heads to Formula E harbours ambitions of a return to F1.

Their send-off liveries contain text referring to their F1 careers Raikkonen’s car carryies the message “Dear Kimi, we will leave you alone now” as tribute to his famous radio message en route to winning the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for Lotus. Giovinazzi’s says “Grazie di tutto, Antonio” which is Italian for ‘thanks for everything’.

Both want to enjoy their final race weekends for different reasons.

“Hopefully we have good speed so we can have some fun but I’m looking forward to get the season done and no need to worry about any schedules,” said Raikkonen, who said he doubted his F1 exit would be emotional after 19 seasons of racing at the top echelon.

“[There’s] a lot of good memories, a big part of my life has been spent here. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but that’s how it is because it takes a lot of time.

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“But it’s never been, let’s say, the most important thing for me in my life. It’s nice that it comes to an end, and I’m looking forward to the normal life after.”

Giovinazzi, while looking forward to his future with the Dragon/Penske Autosport team in FE, doesn’t want his F1 career to end yet.

“I don’t feel, to be honest, that it would be my last race in F1,” he said. “So far it is. But I want to just enjoy like I did in Saudi Arabia, and this would be the last one. Especially I want to do the last race with Kimi. That would be his [special] last race in F1.”

In last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Giovinazzi picked up his best result of the season with a ninth place finish and featured in the top five in free practice while Raikkonen had a tougher run to 15th but a few races before had finished eighth in Mexico City.

“It’s been a good three years [with Kimi], actually doing five years already in Ferrari” Giovinazzi added. The pair were team mates when Raikkonen raced for Ferrari and Giovinazzi was their simulator driver.

“It’s been a good relationship with him. Now of course we come from a good weekend that we scored points. I don’t know how we will be here, because so far this year with the same car in Qatar we were nowhere and then suddenly in Saudi we were fast. So we will see how it is here, but I just want to enjoy and have another good one on Sunday.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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18 comments on “Raikkonen ‘looking forward to normal life’ as he calls time on longest-ever F1 career”

  1. In the end is there any other driver who has been sacked from Ferrari and then signed back again?

    1. Easy: Fernando Alonso, 2024 season. Oh right, you’re in 2021 still aren’t you? Sorry, carry on…

    2. Alonso, in 2024 b 😂😂😂

    3. @qeki there are a few examples of drivers who quit Ferrari and returned to the team, such as Regazzoni (1970-1972 and then 1974-1976), Ickx (1968 and 1970-1973) and Berger (1987-1989 and 1993-1995), but a driver being fired and then signed again doesn’t seem to have happened. Then again, it’s a bit of a rare thing in general – there are not a lot of teams that have fired a driver and then signed them again.

      1. Thanks for the info. I was thinking that might have happened somewhere in history but didn’t quite remember when

  2. can easily imagine Kimi disappearing from the public eye.
    He does not seem the type to attend a GP even for very special ocasions.

  3. It’s an interesting legacy Raikkonen leaves, isn’t it? Surprisingly for a world champion, and the most experienced driver in F1 history, who competed against some of the best drivers the sport has ever seen, there is no real consensus on just how good he actually was.

    Some people will point to performances like his Monza 2005 qualifying lap or the results he achieved in an underperforming Lotus to rank him among the sport’s greats. Others will point to his frequent dry spells, as well as the occasional brainless driving error, to suggest he wasn’t quite as good as many of his competitors. In particular it often seemed like he couldn’t be bothered – but then why stick around for so long, if that was the case?

    It seems strange to look at the man who has competed in more F1 races than anyone in history and still not be quite sure what to make of him. Still, I hope he enjoys retirement – he has certainly earned it.

    1. an underperforming Lotus

      I think history looks pretty favourably on those 2 Lotuses that Raikkonen drove @red-andy, particularly the 2013 car.

    2. My stance is that at his best he was as good as the best of the best but he wasn’t as adaptable as some other drivers. He never really seemed to be as fast with Bridgestones as he was in the Michelin era. Also, the mid-season changes in 2013 seemed to affect him in a significant way. In short, he needed an optimal car to extract his best but when he got that, he was up there with the very best drivers.

    3. José Lopes da Silva
      10th December 2021, 19:55

      A famous article in another motorsport publication hints that Raikkonen was at his best during the tyre war and was never the same again from 2007 onwards. It seems right. His 2007 season was below his previous standards.

  4. Interesting livery on raikkonen’s car.

  5. If anyone can do the maths, how many more races does Alonso need before he surpasses Kimi’s 349?

    1. @travis the article is a little imprecise, because Kimi’s record is 349 races started – he’s been entered into 352 races, but has failed to start three times.

      Alonso is listed as having 336 entries with 333 starts, putting him 16 races behind Kimi in terms of starts. If the 2022 season runs as planned, then Alonso should equal Kimi at the 2022 Italian GP and surpass him at the following race in Russia.

    2. 349 is the record number of races so far, but has anybody being racing in F1 for a longer time? I believe at least Barrichello and Schumi have raced for as many seasons as Kimi

    3. Thank you all. I had a feeling Alonso wouldn’t be too far behind!

  6. Jonathan Parkin
    9th December 2021, 20:45

    17. Although it should be pointed out that Kimi hasn’t reached 349 quite yet. He has to be on the grid for the start that becomes the race for him to get 349 starts. If he retires on the formation lap he’ll remain on 348

  7. I just hope they finally fixed Kimi’s drinking system, so it won’t be leaking this weekend.
    But don’t leave him alone just yet, he still needs his gloves and steering wheel 😅

  8. Let’s vote for the driver of the race as a legacy of his career.

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