Retiring Raikkonen ‘would not change a factor’ after 20 years in F1

JEDDAH: Whereas all eyes in Abu Dhabi shall be on the headline drama of the title struggle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen this weekend, one other world champion shall be making his closing look in a Method One automobile.

Twenty years after making his F1 debut for Sauber on the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen will begin his 349th and closing race on Sunday however he says he “wouldn’t change a factor” and has no regrets about stepping away.

“F1 takes up a number of time however it has by no means been the primary factor for me,” the 2007 world champion instructed AFP.

“My life has all the time been exterior. There are different extra necessary issues for me than F1. Right now my schedule impacts my entire household so I’m trying ahead to the day I’ve nothing deliberate and might do what they need.”

Retirement is nothing new for the 42-year-old whose drive at Alfa Romeo subsequent 12 months shall be taken by Valtteri Bottas. He tried it as soon as earlier than, lacking the 2010 and 2011 seasons, though that simply made time for him to race in NASCAR and the world rally championship.

That change inside motorsports seems unlikely this time round though Raikkonen’s followers have been encouraging him to bid for the presidency of each Method One and Finland.

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“That might be enjoyable,” he says, cracking an unfamiliar smile. “Not F1. That might be more durable than Finland. Not F1, an excessive amount of politics … Take a look at this place (in Saudi Arabia), you already know, cash talks.”

Raikkonen has all the time been his personal man, choosing up the nickname ‘The Iceman’ partly due to the brevity of his glacial solutions to journalists through the years.

“That’s the way it works in my head. I inform it like it’s,” he says.

Raikkonen additionally admits that he has not all the time been the most effective listener over the course of his profession as he cast his personal path.

“I feel I used to be given a number of recommendation however didn’t pay attention. I all the time felt you needed to reside your life in the easiest way for your self and never for others.

“At work, if I had an possibility, I wouldn’t do most of what I’m requested, however along with your life, how you reside yor life… you reside it for your self. When you attempt to reside it as another person desires, you would possibly do it for a 12 months or two however it won’t find yourself very properly.

“I’m completely happy I lived my means. Good or unhealthy, I can reside with it as a result of it’s my choice.

“I wouldn’t change a factor.”

Learn extra: Hamilton seems to increase F1 race as Verstappen eyes title

World champion

Raikkonen got here to prominence as a driver when he left Sauber for McLaren for the 2002 season, ending runner-up twice on this planet championship in 2003, behind Michael Schumacher, and 2005 behind Fernando Alonso.

With one race nonetheless to return, Raikonnen has received 21 races, most lately on the 2018 United States Grand Prix within the closing 12 months of his second stint at Ferrari.

The Finn picks out Schumacher as his hardest opponent through the years.

“I raced towards him a few years, we had a number of good fights.”

Ferrari signed him to interchange the departing Schumacher for the 2007 season which, hardly surprisingly, he places down because the spotlight of his profession “if we have a look at the outcomes”.

“In any other case, yearly there are good moments and unhealthy moments, as in regular life. Some days are worse than others since you slept badly or as a result of you’ve a crap day.

“If for a couple of years it hadn’t been enjoyable, I’d by no means have stayed that lengthy.

“It’s not all the time the nicest to go away residence and fly 10 hours. However whenever you really get to do what you got here for on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it’s okay. That stated, I’m glad it’s coming to an finish.”

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