Finnish Formula 1 driver and 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen is leaving Ferrari for the second time at the end of the 2018 season and rejoining Sauber, the team with which his Formula 1 journey began.
Raikkonen, known as the Iceman due to his extremely brief interview responses and inscrutable features, joined Sauber in 2001 with just 23 car races under his belt but has since gone on to become of the most consistent Formula 1 racers, winning the Drivers’ Championship in 2007, beating Lewis Hamilton by one point.
In a statement in September 2018, Raikkonen’s current team Ferrari announced that he would leave the team for Sauber, on a two-year contract.
Raikkonen will leave Ferrari for the second time at the end of 2018 season to rejoin Sauber
‘During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental,’ the team said.
‘He played a decisive role in the team’s growth and was, at the same time, always a great team player,’ Ferrari said.
‘As a world champion for Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the team’s history and family. We thank Kimi for all of this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.’
Here is all you need to know about Kimi Raikkonen including who he is, what his net worth is and his Formula 1 career.
Who is Kimi Raikkonen?
Kimi Raikkonen was born in Espoo, Finland on October 17, 1979. According to his own site, Raikkonen first sat in a pedal kart at the age of three before having success as a karting driver from the age of ten.
He graduated to the European Formula Super A championship in the late 90s before winning the British Formula winter series in 1999.
Raikkonen’s coolness behind the wheel impressed David Robertson, a driver manager who persuaded Peter Sauber, owner of the Formula 1 Sauber team, to give Raikkonen a chance with a three-day test.
‘We had no money and, normally, when you do a test for young drivers then you make a three-day test with six drivers and make it pay. But Robertson told me this guy is very, very special and he needs a car for three days. And, of course, they paid nothing. I still don’t understand why I made this decision!,’ told ESPN’s Maurice Hamilton.
Sauber recalled Raikkonen’s impassive demeanour, which nonetheless projected total dedication and focus.
‘But one or two things were very, very special,’ Sauber said. ‘His body language was so impassive and he gave the impression he’s so totally focused that if he walks to you, he could walk through you. I thought, “this guy is so strange”.’
After being unable to complete ten laps because he was unable to ‘keep his head up’, Raikkonen ended up impressing Sauber enough to sign him up to his team, despite the Finn only having 23 car races to his name.
Raikkonen had a strong debut during the Formula 1 2001 season, taking nine points to finish 10th in the drivers’ championship and scoring ten top-ten qualifying performances.
Raikkonen was reportedly fast asleep thirty minutes before his first ever F1 race, the 2001 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. He had to be woken up from his sleep, but he then went on to finish sixth in the whole race.
The following season, Raikkonen impressed enough to get offered a contract from McLaren, with whom he stayed between 2002 and 2006. In his first season he took three third place finishes and one second with McLaren.
The following year he got his maiden Grand Prix in Malaysia and scored ten podium finishes, as well as becoming a serious challenger to Michael Schumacher’s supremacy, finishing as the runner-up in the drivers’ championship, just two points behind the legendary German.
The next couple of seasons saw McLaren plagued by technical difficulties but Raikkonen nevertheless continued to impress, winning the Belgian Grand Prix in 2004 and getting five poles, seven wins and five podium finishes in the 2005 season that saw him finish second due to McLaren’s reliability issues.
His final season with McLaren in 2006 saw Raikkonen fail to win a single race as the team car fell behind Ferrari and Renault. He signed with Ferrari for the 2007 season.
His first season with Ferrari saw Raikkonen finally win the drivers’ championship, winning six Grand Prixs, including the final one in Brazil that secured the championship by just one point.
However, the Iceman, as he became known due to his monosyllabic responses during interviews, failed to defend his crown the following season, finishing third overall.
Raikkonen’s final season with Ferrari saw rumours swirl about the Finn’s reported lack of interest, exacerbated by the racer’s early poor form. The team only won one Grand Prix in 2009, the Belgian Grand Prix.
Between 2010 and 2011, Raikkonen left Formula 1 to try his hand at rally car racing. However, following disappointing two seasons, he returned to F1, singing with Lotus in 2012. The driver came second three times and scored two more podiums in the first 11 races, before winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to finish, impressively, third overall.
The Finn’s final season with Lotus in 2013 saw him fade away after a brilliant start in Australia. In 2014, Raikkonen returned to Ferrari but found himself outperformed by Sebastian Vettel from the 2015 season onwards, who scored 13 podium finishes, ten more than Raikkonen.
During the 2017 season Raikkonen served in a supporting role to Vettel, failing to win a single race, while Vettel went on to finish first in five.
In September 2018, Ferrari announced that Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2018 season and rejoin Sauber for the 2019/2020 campaigns.
Between 2004 and 2014, Raikkonen was married to Jenni Dahlman. In 2016, the driver married fitness model Minttu Virtanen. He has two children with Virtanen.
What is his net worth?
Kimi Raikkonen’s net worth is estimated to be £138 million ($180m), according to Celebrity Net Worth.
The new Sauber driver has frequently been near the top of the Forbes lists of highest-paid athletes. In 2008, he was ranked 36th on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list and 5th highest-paid athlete with $44 million.
The following year, he was ranked as the second highest-paid athlete with $45 million made in the 12 months.
In 2015, Raikkonen was ranked the third-richest F1 driver of all time by Wealth X, with a fortune of $180 million.
However, by 2017, Raikkonen’s annual salary dipped to just $7 million, according to Fox Sports, after the Ice Man took a pay-cut when he signed a one-year contract extension with Ferrari.