Kimi Raikkonen’s long-time manager Steve Robertson says he was certain that the driver would find some way to stay in Formula 1 when his time at Ferrari finally came to an end.
“I knew that he would keep driving,” Robertson insisted. “If he did not stay at Ferrari, he would like to look at another option. And there are not many alternatives.”
The Finn began his F1 career at Sauber in 2001 before moving first to McLaren and then to Ferrari.
After a two year sabbatical from the sport he returned in 2012 with Lotus, before heading back to Ferrari in 2014 for another four seasons at Maranello alongside Sebastian Vettel.
With the Scuderia’s decision to promote Charles Leclerc next season, the 38-year-old took the chance to ‘swap’ places with the youngster and head back to Sauber in a surprise two-year deal rather than retire.
“Kimi loves driving,” Robertson explained. “He could have stopped, but he just loves driving at the top in Formula 1.”
“He has been with F1’s iconic team for eight years, which is incredible,” he added. “Now he may decide to end his career at the team where he started it.
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Raikkonen admitted that this was likely to be his last deal in F1. “There’s a big chance for sure. I will stop when I feel it is right for me,” he said last week.
Raikkonen had been told by Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene before the Italian Grand Prix that they weren’t renewing his contract for another year.
“This is what happened. It’s not up to me and it’s not my decision,” Raikkonen replied when about the process. “This is the outcome. At least we have an outcome.”
The idea that he would head back to Sauber had been at Kimi’s instigation, and it came together remarkably quickly.
“I obviously know people from the past and it started after that,” commented Raikkonen.
“Kimi had a meeting with them first and then he handed over to me,” Robertson told C Morelle. “They were interested and Kimi made it clear that he was interested.
“Then he gave me a job and we did [the deal] as we have throughout his career,” he added.
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