Though his irreverent demeanor party-goer image might suggest otherwise, make no mistake about it: at 34 years old (and with 37-year-old Mark Webber out of the race), Kimi Raikkonen is the oldest driver in Formula One. He's three months older than Jenson Button, a good year older than his former wingman Felipe Massa, three years ahead of Adrian Sutil and a good decade beyond the latest crop of up-and-comers on the grid. So it's only natural that we should start wondering how much longer he'll stick around, and now we may have our answer.
Speaking with motorsport journalists at the British Grand Prix this past weekend, the 2007 World Champion and winner of 20 grands prix, Raikkonen indicated that the next season will likely be his last. According to numerous racing news outlets, when asked how long he plans to stay on the grid, the famously terse Finn responded: "Until my contract is finished, and then I will probably stop. That is what I think is going to happen."
Kimi was a relatively unknown entity when Sauber gave him his first drive in F1 back in 2001, upon which he finished in the points on his first race. He moved to McLaren the following season, racked his first podium finishes, and took his first win the season after that. He finishes second behind Fernando Alonso the next season, well ahead of the rest of the pack, and switched to Ferrari two seasons later in 2007, winning the world championship on his first season in red. After just three seasons, Ferrari showed him the door and Kimi left F1 entirely, trying his hand at everything from the World Rally Championship to NASCAR. He returned to F1 with Lotus in 2012, and in a rare move for Maranello, was invited back for this season on a two-year contract.
Raikkonen isn't saying what he'll do once that contract is up, but we wouldn't be surprised to see him contest the occasional rally or try his hand at something new. At present, however, it doesn't look like he'll seek another seat in F1 or to continue with Ferrari. Saddled with a struggling car, Raikkonen is currently ranked at 12th place in the standings – lower than he's finished in any of the dozen seasons he's completed to date, and well below the fourth place behind longtime rival and current teammate Alonso, who's proven himself more capable at making the best of a less than front-running car.
|Yeah, he's past his prime.||1098 (23.2%)|
|Maybe, but let's see how he does for the next season and a half.||1610 (34.0%)|
|No. He still one of the best drivers on the grid!||1597 (33.8%)|
|I don't know.||424 (9.0%)|