Raikkonen set for new Alfa Romeo F1 deal for 2021

Raikkonen set for new Alfa Romeo F1 deal for 2021

10/08/2020

Kimi Raikkonen is set to celebrate becoming Formula 1’s most experienced driver this weekend with a fresh contract to stay at Alfa Romeo next year, Motorsport.com has learned.

The Finn will break Rubens Barrichello’s record of 322 race starts at this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix, and sources have indicated he has taken up an option to remain with his current team for 2021.

Confirmation of his plans to remain with the Swiss-based outfit could come as early as Friday.

It is understood that Alfa Romeo has not yet made a final decision on who Raikkonen’s teammate will be, with both Antonio Giovinazzi and Mick Schumacher in the running.

As part of its partnership with Ferrari, the Maranello-based team has the right to decide on who takes one of the Alfa Romeo cockpits, and it is evaluating whether to stick with Giovinazzi or promote Schumacher from F2.

Schumacher is having his first run in an F1 practice session with Alfa Romeo in Germany.

While Raikkonen will break F1’s record as the driver who has started the most races, he has admitted ahead of the weekend that the achievement means little to him.

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com about whether or not he cared about becoming F1’s most experienced driver, he said: “No, not really. If somebody would ask me the number I have no idea. I’ve never really looked how many races I’ve done or how many others have done.

“Obviously people talk about it, but to me it makes no difference. I think most of the records in the future will always be broken. I’m not here because I want do ‘this many’ races. As long as I enjoy I’m happy to do it.”

Raikkonen has had a pretty successful career, remaining Ferrari’s most recent world champion following his success in 2007. He has taken 21 wins in his career, with his most recent being at the 2018 United States Grand Prix.

Reflecting on how he reckons his time in the sport is perceived, Raikkonen said that the key thing for him was that he achieved his dream of winning the title.

“If I feel that I’ve done it how I wanted, then good or bad I can live with it,” he explained. “I always wanted to win championships [and] obviously you want to win more but we came close a few times but for many different reasons it didn’t happen. But, you know, that’s how it goes in racing.

“So I have no bad feelings about it or bad memories or anything. I’m happy I won the championship with Ferrari and I’ve been able to do something I enjoy to do for many years and I still enjoy it.”

* For more on the full story of how Raikkonen became F1’s most experienced driver – in his own words – see the October 22 issue of Autosport magazine, which will be available in shops and online.

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