Highlights of the article:
- Kimi Raikkonen retires from Formula 1 and Alfa Romeo team at end of season
- The Finnish driver arrived in F1 in 2001 and achieved 21 race victories
- 2007 Series champion Raikkonen believes 23-race 2022 schedule will be too demanding for teams
There really can be too much good stuff in Formula 1. The world’s most watched racing series boils down to two races that will settle the World Drivers’ Championship battle between Max Verstappen and seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton.
However, the 22-race season spanning 8.5 months has been grueling for those whose job it is to prepare F1 cars for competition. He won’t be there to see it in person, but veteran driver Kimi Raikkonen says the 2022 season is shaping up to be worse.
Kimi Raikkonen retires from Formula 1
One of the most distinguished careers among active Formula 1 drivers is coming to an end. Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, 42, revealed this summer that he is leaving at the end of the season. His F1 career comes down to the races on December 5 in Saudi Arabia and December 12 in Abu Dhabi.
Raikkonen made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber in 2001 and made a good impression as a rookie by placing in the top 10 in the 10 races he completed. However, he crashed twice and retired prematurely from five races due to mechanical issues, leaving Raikkonen with a disappointing 10.e in the ranking.
He spent the next five seasons as Mika Hakkinen’s replacement at McLaren, where Raikkonen claimed the first nine of his 21 wins, and the move to Ferrari in 2007 earned him his only Drivers’ World Championship.
After being absent for two seasons, Raikkonen joined F1 in 2012 with the Lotus team. He arrived at Alfa Romeo in 2019 after five seasons at Ferrari, but the cars of the former Sauber team were disappointing.
Kimi Raikkonen says Formula 1 schedules too many races
Michael Schumacher has never raced more than 18 times in his seven Formula 1 championship seasons from 1994 to 2004. Lewis Hamilton’s seven title seasons totaled 19.3 races on average despite the shortened 2020 calendar. pandemic.
The teams will have been on the grid 22 times by the end of the current season, and Formula 1 has published a 23-race schedule for 2022. Kimi Raikkonen calls this excessive.
“It’s going to exhaust a lot of people, and it’s not going to be good for anyone,” Raikkonen said, according to The rush for sport. “So I think maybe as a spectator it’s great to have a lot of races. But the people who do most of the work it’s very difficult for them.
“There has to be a better way to go about it. For some teams. It’s just not an option to hire more people because they don’t have the money to hire. It’s a bit tricky.
F1 has raced in Mexico, Brazil and Qatar for consecutive weekends this month. In 2022, the calendar shows only one of these streaks (the triple Belgium / Netherlands / Italy title more manageable), but the organizers are reducing the 23 races in eight months.
Alfa Romeo will undergo a radical change
Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement is among the major changes coming for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team in 2022. With just 11 points in 20 races, the team sits ninth out of 10 in the constructors’ standings, but the changes to coming might be the first step by climbing closer to the middle of the pack.
After the powerful Mercedes team and driver Valtteri Bottas agreed to go their separate ways for 2022, opening the door for George Russell to come from Williams, Alfa Romeo signed Bottas. The team then doubled down by abandoning Antonio Giovinazzi in favor of Guanyu Zhou.
For now, the moves won’t change the perception that Alfa Romeo is Ferrari’s junior college, but Bottas and Zhou offer the Swiss team hope they can get close to Aston Martin, Alphatauri Honda and Alpine Renault. It’s still a long climb to the top from there, but it would be a start.
All statistics are courtesy of Race reference.
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