Alfa Romeo is open to the idea of keeping Kimi Raikkonen on board in a sort of advisory role next year if the former Formula 1 world champion is interested.
Kimi Raikkonen announced last week before the Dutch Grand Prix that he will leave Formula 1 at the end of this season. He did so shortly before testing positive for corona and having to miss the race weekend in Zandvoort. The Finn indicated that he wants to make more time for his family in the future, but he has not yet released anything about his plans for after Formula 1.
However, Alfa Romeo would like to continue to use his experience and insight. But talks about this have not yet started, says Frederic Vasseur, the team boss of the stable from Hinwil. “I think I’ve already seen that he had offers for other series or something like that, so I think it’s much better to let things calm down for a bit. Then we have time to discuss what we could do in the future. I would love to keep Kimi on board, but I think he should take his time.”
“It would be a mistake [for him] to take another option today and say ‘okay, I’m going to do this and I’m going to do this.’ He needs to calm down to realize what such a decision entails and then it will be time to decide about the future.”
Kimi Raikkonen has been driving for Alfa Romeo since 2019. His best result was a fourth place in his first season with the Italian-Swiss stable. While he may not have achieved the results both sides would have liked in the past two years, the Finn has added an awful lot to the team. “He was able to bring an enormous amount of experience to the team,” said Vasseur. “He raced in a winning team for the last 20 years, always fighting for the championship. That was a huge support for the development of the team. I am not talking about day-to-day results, but the interim development of the project. He knows perfectly where the performance comes from.”
“And parallel to that, in terms of image for the team, he was a huge boost. I would have liked to have had better results and done more, but that’s the point of racing, that you always want to do more and get more. But it is what it is and Kimi’s support has been impressive.”
Incidentally, it is not yet clear whether Kimi Raikkonen can rejoin Alfa Romeo next weekend. The driver will first have to submit a negative corona test to be able to enter the paddock again.