Kimi Raikonnen said goodbye to Alfa Romeo this week with a farewell party ahead of his retirement from F1 at the end of the season.
The 2007 world champion, known colloquially as the Iceman, announced his retirement from F1 in September and will leave the sport as the most successful Finn in F1 history, picking up 103 podiums and 21 race wins over his 20 years.
“You’ll always be missed” were the words from Alfa Romeo’s Twitter account, echoing the strong sense of nostalgia that will be lost in the paddock next season.
Raikkonen appreciated the gesture, writing on Instagram: “Thank you everyone for a night to remember.
“Thank you everyone for all the years together. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for all the memories. You are good people. Sincerely, Kimi.”
“There isn’t any driver out there like Kimi Raikkonen,” said team principal Fred Vasseur earlier this year.
“His presence, his charisma and his unique attitude, matched with the innate skill that made this team give him a chance back in 2001, have made him a legend of our sport in a way which numbers and statistics struggle to convey.
“It was a pleasure to work with him in these years and I believe I speak on behalf of everyone at Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, from the shop floor in Hinwil to the garage here in Zandvoort, when I say a driver like Kimi has written some indelible pages of our team’s, and our sport’s, history.”
After one year at Sauber in 2001, Raikkonen replaced fellow Finn and two-time world champion, Mike Hakkinen at McLaren .
Raikkonen later re-joined the Sauber family in 2019 following a five-year stint at Ferrari and has competed for the past three seasons under the Alfa Romeo brand.
It is a fresh start for Alfa Romeo ahead of 2022 as Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (another Finn) replaces Raikkonen, meanwhile rookie Guanyu Zhou takes Antonio Giovinazzi’s place.