While Kimi Raikkonen retiring from F1 is disappointing for his legion of fans – he says it will be less so for his mum.
The flying Finn is calling it a career – for the second time – after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, bowing out after a record 349 starts, 21 race wins and a World Championship with Ferrari in 2007.
The 42-year-old is not veering from the reason he gave when he announced his impending exit in early September, that he has become tired of the sport’s demands – not the racing, which he still enjoys, but everything else, especially the travelling and living to a schedule.
His main priority will be to spend more time with his wife, Minttu, and young son and daughter. While they will be happy to have dad at home much more, another family member is glad Kimi no longer plans to risk life and limb most weekends between March and December – his mother, Paula.
“I’ve been counting [down] races for a long time already,” said Raikkonen on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I think my mum for sure is happy – she’s been asking probably for the last 15 years if I stop already!
“The kids are looking forward, they have asked many times and I’m sure they will be very happy when I’m home. I can understand that and I want to be there.”
Asked if this retirement felt more authentic than what turned out to be merely a two-year sabbatical in 2010-11, Raikkonen said: “No. If someone had said to me I need to bet money on if I had come back, I wouldn’t have put any money on it.
“It wasn’t in my mind to come back, but then obviously for many different reasons I ended up back and here we are.
“I’ve nothing to complain [about]. I had a good run and I wouldn’t change a single thing, even if it would mean more wins or more championships. I’m happy with what I achieved.”
And nor does the Alfa Romeo driver feel his relationship with F1 has changed much over the years.
“There are a lot of the same people from when I started,” he explained. “You see the same people pretty much every time. Over the years some change and some new ones come, and when they do they usually stay for many years.
“Everyone knows each other, more or less, at least in the face, so the job hasn’t changed much. Everything is basically the same – wherever we go it’s a copy-paste.
“My relationship with F1 hasn’t really felt any different.”
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