Raikkonen to retire from F1 at season’s end

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

The 2007 world champion was out of contract at Alfa Romeo at the end of the year and has decided that this will be his last season at the age of 41. The Finn has won 21 grands prix in his career — leaving him 15th on the list of all-time winners — with his last victory coming at the 2018 United States Grand Prix when racing for Ferrari.

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

Raikkonen has also scored 18 pole positions in a career that started back in 2001 with Sauber and took in spells at McLaren and Lotus as well as Ferrari and latterly Alfa Romeo. He took a two-year hiatus from F1 in 2010 and 2011, trying rallying and NASCAR among other pursuits.

Raikkonen climbed F1’s summit with Ferrari in 2007, eclipsing McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso for the world title at the final race in Brazil. Steve Etherington/Motorsport Images

Speaking to RACER at the end of last season, Raikkonen said a return to NASCAR could be a possibility when he retires from F1, but that spending time with his family and not traveling so much would be his first priority.

“Who knows? Maybe one day. I really enjoyed how they race and how the whole thing runs,” he said of NASCAR. “Maybe for some races. The first thing (in 2011), there were talks that I would do the whole season and I said no way, because I think there were, like, 36 races in a year, and it’s quite a rough season. So I would never do all of it; but some road circuits would be nice, and some ovals. I don’t know — we will see what happens in the future.

“Obviously sometimes I have thought about (what comes after F1), but honestly, when it comes to whenever I stop in F1, I doubt I will travel a lot. I want to spend time with the family, and I think the thing I most look forward to is having no schedule!

“Most of the sports — not only racing — dictate everything that happens in that year. When the time comes, it’ll nice to not have a schedule and you can dictate what happens in your life. Then we’ll see if I drive anything or not, for fun or something. I have no idea.”

Raikkonen’s announcement comes with Alfa Romeo expected to sign a fellow Finn in his place, as Valtteri Bottas is believed to be in line to join the team from Mercedes, with George Russell replacing Bottas.