Kimi Raikkonen: Flying Finn happy to call it quits in 'too political' F1 this weekend

kimi raikkonen

Among all the hype around this Sunday's title showdown in Formula 1, a former champion will make his final bow in the sport, 20 years after his debut: Kimi Raikkonen.

The 2007 world champion, now 42 years of age, will take to the grid for the final time in Abu Dhabi this weekend to bring the curtain down on what has been a superlative career, where he's won millions of fans through both his blistering speed in his prime and his off-track manner in the press.

Certainly, F1 will miss 'The Iceman' as he heads into the sunset but he admits that he is looking forward to hanging up his gloves and crash helmet, and spending more time with his family.

In a wide-ranging interview with AFP, Kimi explains how he won't miss long-haul flights, has no regrets over his career, and expresses his delight at feeling as though he has done things completely his way, before also suggesting F1 has become too political.

First of all, though, he was asked what advice he might give to someone starting in the sport, and what he had picked up along the way, but he admits he probably didn't listen to much of it and that you have to forge your own path:

“A lot of people have tried to give me advice, but I didn’t listen.

“I have always thought that you have to try to live in the best way for yourself.

“At work, if I had a choice, I would not do most of what is asked of me. But in the way you live your personal life, you have to do it for yourself.

“If you try to do what others want, it can work for a year or two, but it won’t end well. I’m glad I lived up to myself.

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“Good or bad, I can accept it because they were my decisions.”

Kimi, of course, has been particularly amusing when dealing with certain media questions over the years that he has not really seen the point in, and he explains he wouldn't know what to tell another driver when it comes to dealing with the press:

“I don’t know,” Raikkonen smiled. “This is just how it works in my head. I tell it like it is.”

The Finn has dipped out of the sport before to go rallying and also do a bit of NASCAR, meanwhile, so says that that will help him adapt to non-F1 life - something he's relishing the prospect of:

“I’m looking forward to it.

“I left F1 for two years already. Ok, I was rallying but I’m happy at home doing normal things so I’m not worried.

“F1 takes up a lot of time, but it has never been the main thing for me. There are other things that are more important in my life.

“Now my schedule affects my whole family and I’m looking forward to not having anything planned and doing whatever they want,” Raikkonen added.

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“If many years had been more bad than good, I never would have stayed this long.

“It’s not always nice to leave home for a ten-hour flight. I’m never excited about that.

“But when you end up doing what you’ve come to do on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that’s ok. That said, I’m glad it’s over.”

Clearly, the passion for driving fast and competing still burns bright in Kimi but he has perhaps realised it's time to open a new chapter in his life.

At the end of the interview, that said then, the Finn is asked jokingly if becoming president of his home country would interest him and he answers with a typically forthright response:

“I’d rather be president of Finland than the president of F1.

“F1 is too political. Look at what we did in Saudi Arabia. What talks is money.”

Never one to hide what he thinks or play clever tricks, Kimi will be missed on and off the grid for his straight-shooting and driving ability; we wish him all the very best.

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