As much as the Formula 1 world would’ve happily watched The Iceman drive until the end of time, former world champion Kimi Raikkonen has announced his second and final retirement from the sport after an illustrious 20-year career – paving the way for Valtteri Bottas to take his vacated seat at Alfa Romeo, and making room for George Russell over at Mercedes, according to multiple sources.
“This is it. This will be my last season in Formula 1. This is a decision I [made] during last winter,” Raikkonen writes on Instagram.
“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 One 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.”
Many will recall the 41-year-old Finn’s shortlived time away from F1 after his 2009 season with Ferrari, trying his hand out rally car racing and even NASCAR for kicks. A year later, however, Raikkonen made his return through Lotus, and almost bankrupting the British team thanks to an extremely lucrative – and incredibly outrageous – pay incentive of €50,000 per point.
This was, of course, agreed upon as no one expected him to perform so well. But perform well he did: in 2012 and 2013, Raikkonen secured 15 podiums, two race wins, and collected a total of 390 points. In terms of dollars and cents, that translated to a considerable €19.5 million (on top of his base salary).
As detailed in the book The Real Kimi Raikkonen – a Finnish perspective of the Iceman written by journalist Heikki Kulta, to this day, Kimi Raikkonen is still owed around €6 million. Graceful in victory, however, Raikkonen considered the wider implications of Lotus folding, and never pursued the matter to ensure no one lost their job. Later in 2014, the man of few words was welcomed back to Ferrari.
“Truly the end of an era for our sport,” tweets Team Alfa Romeo.
“Thank you for everything, F1 won’t be the same without you. Kiitos, Kimi.”
Kimi Raikkonen embraces retirement with 341 starts, 103 podiums, 21 race wins, 1,865 points, 18 pole positions, 46 fastest laps, and a single world title under his belt; in addition to whatever may come between now and the final race of the 2021 calendar at Abu Dhabi this December.