Kimi Raikkonen to retire from Formula 1 at end of 2021 season

Kimi Raikkonen has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season.

Kimi Raikkonen to retire from Formula 1 at end of 2021 season

The 2007 F1 world champion, Raikkonen was out of contract with Alfa Romeo at the end of the year and widely expected to leave the team.

The Finn has now confirmed he will be leaving F1 at the end of the season, calling time on a career in the series spanning over 20 years.

Raikkonen revealed the news on Instagram on Wednesday evening ahead of this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

“This is it. This will be my last season in Formula 1,” Raikkonen said.

“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.

“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.”

PLUS: Why the time is right for Raikkonen to hang up his F1 helmet

Raikkonen’s retirement opens up a coveted seat at Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season, which looks set to be filled by current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas should he be replaced by George Russell for next year.

Alfa Romeo is yet to confirm whether Raikkonen’s team-mate, Antonio Giovinazzi, will return for next season, having run an unchanged line-up for the past three years.

Raikkonen made his F1 debut with Sauber in 2001 as a relatively-unknown racer who had jumped up from Formula Renault, but scored points on debut and quickly established himself as one of the brightest young talents on the grid.

Top 10: Kimi Raikkonen’s greatest F1 races ranked

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 celebrates his victory

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 celebrates his victory

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Raikkonen replaced Mika Hakkinen at McLaren for the 2002 season, and took his maiden victory the following year as he finished second in the championship.

A move to Ferrari in 2007 yielded his first world title, pipping Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by a single point in a dramatic Brazil finale, but he would struggle to reach such heights again.

Archive: The ups and downs of Raikkonen's 2007 F1 title triumph

A two-year break from F1 in 2010 and 2011 saw Raikkonen dip his toe into other ventures, such as rallying and even NASCAR. It helped renew his passion for racing in F1, with Raikkonen long crediting the break as being instrumental to his career continuing for as long as it did.

PLUS: In his own words - The secret to Raikkonen's F1 longevity

Raikkonen returned with Lotus in 2012 and scored two wins for the team, but left the cash-strapped outfit two races before the end of the 2013 season to undergo back surgery ahead of a return to Ferrari.

After a slow start to life back at Maranello, Raikkonen’s form gradually improved, paving the way for his first victory in over five years at the 2018 United States Grand Prix en route to third place in that year’s championship.

Ferrari’s decision to sign Charles Leclerc for 2019 resulted in Raikkonen returning to Sauber, where his F1 career had started, albeit under the Alfa Romeo name.

He recorded a best race finish for the team of fourth at Interlagos 2019, but has failed to cross the line any higher than ninth since then after seeing Alfa Romeo’s form take a dip. So far this season, Raikkonen has scored two points, finishing 10th in both Azerbaijan and Hungary.

shares
comments

Related video

Race of my life: James Hunt on the 1975 Dutch GP

Previous article

Race of my life: James Hunt on the 1975 Dutch GP

Next article

Kimi Raikkonen’s top 10 F1 races ranked: Japanese GP, Belgian GP and more

Kimi Raikkonen’s top 10 F1 races ranked: Japanese GP, Belgian GP and more
Load comments
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021