Kimi Raikkonen believes his second stint at Ferrari will be his last with any team in Formula 1.
“I am glad to be here again and I am sure that I will not change again,” the Finn told Sport Bild in Malaysia.
Raikkonen, now the oldest driver on the grid, made his debut for Sauber as a highly-inexperienced 21-year-old, going on to win races for McLaren and the title for Ferrari in 2007.
His mid-contract split from Ferrari at the end of 2009 was somewhat acrimonious, as he left Formula 1 altogether and enjoyed a two-year sabbatical with rallying and NASCAR exploits.
Raikkonen returned to the grid with Lotus in 2012 and, with his pace intact and achieving highly consistent results, he was re-signed by Ferrari to be Fernando Alonso’s teammate in 2014 and beyond.
But, now 34, he told Sport Bild, “I will not drive in Formula 1 for ever. I already said in my first time at Ferrari that this will be my last team. As you can see, I have kept my word.”
At one point during his Lotus years he told reporters that he did not miss a single thing about the Maranello outfit, but then changed his tune when things at Lotus went sour and Ferrari came knocking.
With Ferrari focusing on winning titles again (particularly the constructors’ title) the team ditched stalwart Felipe Massa, as Stefano Domenicali lobbied successfully to have the Iceman return to the Prancing Horse stable, and join Fernando Alonso in the team.
Ironically the Raikkonen was paid handsomely ($15 million reportedly) to allow for the Spaniard to join the team in 2009.
However, four years later the return of the ‘prodigal son’ Raikkonen was completed in September 2013. (GP247-GMM)
Subbed by AJN.