Frederic Vasseur enters the 2021 season with the well-known faces of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi. Alfa...
Kimi Raikkonen (The Iceman) is the oldest driver on the grid at 40 years of age. The Finn will be driving for Alfa Romeo again this season, in what is likely to be his final year in Formula 1. However, Raikkonen has surprised us before, so who knows if he will race again.
|Team||Alfa Romeo Racing|
Ice cold winner
From an early age, Kimi was racing around in karts and has been able to achieve a series of successes in lower classes since he was twenty. In 2000 the then still very young Kimi Raikkonen got the chance from Peter Sauber to take part in a test of the team of the same name. Kimi succeeded with flying colours and was appointed as a driver for the 2001 season.
There was one problem. Kimi hadn't qualified for a super license yet. The document is eventually given to Raikkonen and immediately he won points for Sauber in his debut race. There was no doubting the young Finn's talent and Kimi was immediately on the radar of other teams.
If you want to win, take a Finn
McLaren, at the time led by Ron Dennis, saw Mika Hakkinen leave the team prior to the 2002 season. As a fellow countryman of Kimi Raikkonen, Mika played a major role in convincing Dennis to take on another Finn. If you want to win, take a Finn,' says Hakkinen. The Iceman eventually gets preference over Nick Heidfeld and appears at the start of the 2002 season in a McLaren next to David Coulthard.
In Australia Kimi immediately impressed with a podium place and repeated that trick three more times during the season. His results led to a place behind DC in the championship and a third place for McLaren in the constructors.
In 2004 Kimi was on the highest step of the Formula 1 podium for the first time and managed to climb that step seven times the following year. It wasn't enough for the title in 2005 and the following year McLaren was once again short to push Kimi towards the title. In 2007, Kimi Raikkonen switched to Ferrari to look for world championship success.
Short but powerful
The first year at Ferrari immediately beared fruit for Kimi Raikkonen. Just in the nick of time (with only one point difference), the Finn managed to win the championship and give Ferrari the title. In the two years that followed, however, great successes were not achieved.
Although Kimi's contract with Ferrari also covered the 2010 season, both parties decided to dissolve the contract. Talks with McLaren about a return came to nothing and the brand-new Mecerdes factory team opted for Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg. The only solution? A year of racing elsewhere.
After participating in rally-races for a year, Kimi Raikkonen returned to the Formula 1 grid. This time Lotus had room for the Finn, despite the fact that Raikkonen 'only wanted to race for a winning team'. Lotus did not meet those expectations at all and after constant money problems, Raikkonen even threatened not to drive the last races of the 2013 season. The collaboration with Lotus ended that same season, after Ferrari gave Raikkonen another chance with the team from Maranello.
In 2018 the Finn, knowing it will be his last year at Ferrari, cemented his name in the history books at the Grand Prix of America. Team mate Sebastian Vettel managed to get a better place in the championship in the four years that he has been driving alongside Kimi, but the two can easily get through one door. So good that Vettel said several times that he would like to continue with Kimi next to him.
However, Kimi left for Alfa Romeo and signed a contract for another two years in Formula 1. Raikkonen is set to end his career with the team where it once started.
Kimi Raikkonen in 2020
The expectations for 2020 are not very high for Raikkonen. The Finn seems to be working on his last season and Antonio Giovinazzi has been nibbling away more and more from the gap with his teammate. It will be Raikkonen's chance to end his career with one more bang, but with the Alfa Romeo car, it's easier said than done.
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