SportsFerrari runs out of champions on the grid

Ferrari runs out of champions on the grid

Kimi Raikkonen, last May.Sebastien Nogier / AP

With Ferrari it happens a bit like with those majestic football clubs that have been embarked on a journey through the desert for a long time waiting to celebrate something big again. Anyone who is not an expert in Formula 1 will surely hallucinate when realizing that the last title on display in Maranello’s windows dates back to 2007. The protagonist of the feat was Kimi Raikkonen, who, after 19 seasons in the World Championship, announced this Wednesday that he will retire at the end of the course, the third wearing the Alfa Romeo jumpsuit. At 41, the Finn is the penultimate of the generation of drivers to which Fernando Alonso also belongs, who, after confirming the extension of his contract with Alpine for 2022, will inherit the label of the oldest driver on the grid.

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With Raikkinen’s goodbye, Ferrari is left without champions in the contest, engrossed as is the Scuderia in the design of next year’s car, with which he hopes to give Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc a car as competitive as the one that Espoo drove in its first stage dressed in red. Apart from that title that was played with Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, both teammates at McLaren, Kimi’s record reflects 21 wins, 103 podiums, 18 pole position and 46 fast laps. He made his debut behind the wheel of a Sauber in 2001 without much honors and from Formula Renault, but his sixth place on his debut quickly put him on the radar. Before long, the most powerful structures were raffled off to the last diamond in the rough, to whom McLaren tied the knot in 2002.

In all this time, Raikkonen has gone through a total of five teams, in which he always left his particular mark, the one that led him to earn the prize of Iceman Iceman, for his controversial character. We are talking about a lover of racing of all kinds, who after his first slamming into F1 (late 2009) put himself to the test in rallies and went through Nascar, while giving gas on a motorcycle of cross, one of his passions. “I made the decision this winter. It was not easy, but I think it is time to carry out new challenges, “said Raikkonen in the preview of the Dutch Grand Prix that will be held this weekend in Zandvoort.

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