Far be it for me to presume that Kimi Räikkönen is done racing in Formula One, but he’s 40 years old and when was the last time he sounded like he was having fun in the sport? Every week he sounds frustrated and disgusted with himself and the team. That’s no way for anyone to live. Räikkönen’s contract with Alfa Romeo ends at the close of this season, and he has not yet decided if he will return.
By the end of this season Kimi will have broken a number of Formula One records. If he starts four more Grands Prix, he’ll surpass Rubens Barrichello’s all time record starts, and five more entries will get him the record for GP weekend entries. Last weekend Kimi broke the record for most race miles driven during a Grand Prix. He’s already got the record for most Grands Prix finished. There are 11 more F1 races planned for the 2020 season, which would probably put Kimi at the top for the rest of eternity.
Kimi’s record speaks for itself. He’s a properly talented driver, but his world championship days are behind him. At forty years old he’s proven for nearly two decades that he’s among the best of the best in Formula One. I mean, hell, he took a sabatical to race NASCAR and rally for a bit in 2010 and 2011 before coming back to the sport and placing third in the championship in a Lotus.
Every year that he’s competed he has scored at least some points, with 9 points being his career low in 2001 when he joined the sport with Sauber. That is until this year. The 2020 Alfa Romeo (which used to be Sauber) is the the least competitive car Kimi has ever driven. The Ferrari engine isn’t what it was last year, and the team just doesn’t have the chassis to fight for points, let alone victories.
“You much rather want to race in a good position and be fighting for the points,” said Kimi, via Autoweek, “but honestly, it’s never guaranteed that wherever you go will be good or bad. I think the bigger picture is much more important for me. First of all, of course, is family. The kids are getting bigger. This year, I’ve been able to be home more, which is great. There’s going to be a point where I want to be home and do other things.”
In 2018 Kimi scored what will likely be his final win in the sport, the United States Grand Prix at COTA. At the end of that season he departed the Ferrari team, pushed out to make room for young Charles Leclerc. Kimi says he won’t be pushed out of the sport to make room for a young gun, that’s just not his style.
“My decision will be based on what I feel like is right for me and nothing to do with if it helps somebody or not. If you want to do it, fine, do it. But that’s not how I make my decision.”
There’s nothing left for Räikkönen to prove. He will always be an F1 World Driver’s Champ, and he’ll probably have some all-time records that will never be broken. Having spent two seasons at Alfa Romeo with the 2020 season being abysmal, it would hardly be going out on top, but I think it might be time for Kimi to go out. If he’s not 100 percent sure about coming back next year, that’s as good as zero percent sure. You have to be dedicated to the game to compete at the top level, and once that’s gone it’s just asking for trouble.
I’ll always remember Kimi as a legend and you should, too. But now that I’ve said my piece, I’m going to leave him alone. He knows what he’s doing.