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Alfa Romeo leave door open for “hugely important” Raikkonen to stay on

Alfa Romeo leave door open for “hugely important” Raikkonen to stay on

F1 News

Alfa Romeo leave door open for “hugely important” Raikkonen to stay on

Alfa Romeo leave door open for “hugely important” Raikkonen to stay on
Ian Parkes & Will Gray

Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur has offered Kimi Raikkonen the opportunity to stay on in an advisory role after his retirement from F1 at the end of the year.

Former world champion Raikkonen, who joined Alfa Romeo in 2019 when it took over the Sauber team with which he had made his F1 debut back in 2001, announced on Wednesday he is to call it a day.

Vasseur said he could “perfectly understand” the decision. He added: “I think he was not far away to do it one year ago. It is a personal decision that seasons are more and more demanding.

“What is good is he took time on the decision because it is not an easy one and I think the worst-case scenario is say ‘Okay, stop’ and then the Monday morning after the last race say ‘What can I do?’"

Asked if he would like to retain Raikkonen in an advisory position, Vasseur added: “I saw already he had some proposals from other series or things, I think it is much better to let him calm down and then we will have time to discuss.

“I would be more than keen to have Kimi on board somewhere but I think he has to take time. It would be a mistake to take another option today and say ‘Ok, I will do this, I will do this.’

“Kimi was able to bring to the team a huge experience. He drove the last 20 years in a winning team, always fighting for the championship, and this was hugely important to the development of the team.

“I am not speaking about results but mid-term development and the project he knows perfectly where the performance is coming from and also, in parallel, in terms of image for the team it was a huge push.

“I would have loved to have better results and do more, but it is also the purpose of racing that you always want to do more and to get more, but it is like it is and the support from Kimi was a huge one.”

Alfa to make a quick decision on Raikkonen replacement

Raikkonen's experience now leaves Vasseur will leave a big hole to fill, although it is widely believed Valtteri Bottas will join from Mercedes once George Russell is announced alongside Lewis Hamilton for 2022.

Vasseur would not be pressed on who will take Raikkonen’s place, stating slightly tongue-in-cheek that “it is not a matter of nationalities” when asked if he particularly liked Finnish drivers.

He did, however, confirm the team is keen to make a quick decision. He said: “We will do it soon. I don’t know if it will be next week or the week after but I think now we have already almost all the cards in our hands.

“We have to move forward and take a decision and, in that, yes, [I hope] we will be able to do it quickly. I don’t know if it is before or after Monza or before Sochi.”

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