Friday 9/17/21
FORMULA ONE

Former world champ Raikkonen to end F1 career after season

His departure announcement led to instant speculations that countryman Valtteri Bottas would take his place at Alfa Romeo in 2022
FILED - 25 July 2019, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hockenheim: Finnish F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 team attends a press conference of the Grand Prix of Germany Formula One race. Raikkonen confirmed on Wednesday he will end his Formula One career after two decades at the end of the season. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa
Finnish F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen confirmed on Wednesday he will end his Formula One career after two decades. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa.

Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen of Finland confirmed on Wednesday he will end his Formula One career after two decades at the end of the season.

Raikkonen, 41, debuted in 2001 and his biggest success was the 2007 world title while at Ferrari, which also marks the last drivers' title for the team.

Now at Alfa Romeo, he has won 21 races from 344 grands prix entered and earned 18 pole positions. Raikkonen took an F1 break in 2010 and 2011 to compete in the rally world championship.

“This is it. This will be my last season in Formula 1. This is a decission (sic) I did during last winter. It was not an easy decission but after this season it is time for new things," he said 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.”

Known as the "Iceman", Raikkonen is a cult figure in the sport for rarely speaking once he gets out of the car.

'Leave me alone'

"Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing," he once famously said via team radio. The remark is as legendary as having an ice cream while a race was red-flagged, and jumping into a jacuzzi on a yacht after retiring from another one in Monaco.

"We are going to be sad to see you go. A titan of our sport. What a career!" Formula One tweeted.

Alfa Romeo also took to Twitter, saying: Truly the end of an era for our sport. Thank you for everything, F1 won't be the same without you. Kiitos, Kimi."

Raikkonen's departure announcement led to instant speculations that countryman Valtteri Bottas would take his place at Alfa Romeo in 2022 in a departure from Mercedes, with the seat there alongside world champion Lewis Hamilton to go to George Russell of Williams.

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