Kimi Raikkonen’s career over, he announces he will retire next year

Kimi Raikkonen’s career is over. The Finnish driver, widely regarded as one of the best drivers ever, announced in a statement that he would be leaving the sport next year because his scheduled arrival…

Kimi Raikkonen’s career over, he announces he will retire next year

Kimi Raikkonen’s career is over.

The Finnish driver, widely regarded as one of the best drivers ever, announced in a statement that he would be leaving the sport next year because his scheduled arrival date to Ferrari was at the same time as the Formula One holiday break. His Finnish team, Häkkinen, subsequently announced that they had granted him a release.

“For me the most important thing is the family life — the home life, not the career life,” he said. “I am going to miss it. The family will miss me, too.”

Raikkonen had been rumored to be leaving for several years, and the rumor mill heated up when he was dropped from the top step of the podium for the 2018 season and replaced by Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen recently admitted that he had put on 10 kilos of muscle in the offseason and that he was ready to take on Vettel, saying, “He won the last two championships,” he said. “That is for sure. We will see.”

Raikkonen first won his F1 championship in 2007, when he replaced Kimi Raikkonen. Since then, he has finished second on four occasions. A 1991 Ferrari protégé, Raikkonen then joined McLaren in 2007, winning the world championship. In 2009, he left the series to sign with Ferrari, which he won in 2007. He returned to Ferrari in 2013 and won his second title. He was released by Ferrari in 2016, and moved to Sauber, a team that dropped him when it won a promotion to F1.

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Raikkonen stepped down from the three-time F1 champion’s seat at Ferrari before the start of the season, and the Italian team told their driver that he would be returning on that basis, though Ferrari has not yet said when he will join them in 2019. Raikkonen’s management team said they were considering multiple teams.

“It’s a long career. You have to find the right time. I’m in a good way, but not yet there.” Raikkonen said in a statement. “I can only try to push myself to the maximum until the end of this year, and then take stock and see where I am.”

For now, the focus will be on Vettel, the Italian team’s number one driver, who is also going to be 32 when the season ends, and has just two world titles under his belt. According to the Times, Vettel is only the second driver to win four consecutive championships with one team (Alain Prost was the first in 1995 and 1996 with McLaren). Since Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari, Vettel had passed Raikkonen on the world drivers’ standings.

Even though the two have been bitter competitors in recent years, Vettel is said to be happy to have Raikkonen — and his track record in their now-imperiled partnership — behind him. Vettel himself has praised Raikkonen, saying he had “quite a big heart,” while team principal Maurizio Arrivabene added, “Hitting the sweet spot between sharp intellect and excellent judgment.”

Raikkonen’s final race in Formula One will come in Brazil in November. However, all parties involved are waiting to find out whether the FIA, the sport’s governing body, will grant Raikkonen his 40th championship before he retires.

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