Former World Champion Kimi Räikkönen has given his first indication that he expects to retire from the sport at the end of his current contract with Scuderia Ferrari, which expires at the end of the 2015 season.
Following a two-year absence from the sport, the Finn returned to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, before signing a two-year deal with Ferrari, with whom he won the outfit’s last World Championship title in 2007.
After a tough start to his 2014 campaign – where he’s yet to finish inside the top six – he admitted that he didn’t see himself renewing his contract with the team.
“No, [I will race] until to my contract is finished and then I probably will stop. That’s what I think is going to happen,” he told reporters ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
“When I feel it’s time to finish Formula One it’s time to finish,” he added. “The decision is about F1 and if it’s the right time or not to stop.”
Räikkönen – who had a two-year stint in the World Rally Championship during his F1 exile – has previously expressed a desire to compete in other forms of racing while also driving in Grands Prix, hinting that he was frustrated with teams’ desires to keep their drivers wrapped up in cotton wool.
“I have tried many things and I think there’s no harm in it and it doesn’t take anything away from me doing Formula One at the same time. For me it can only help for sure. You always learn when you try different things but the problem is the teams are scared that we will get hurt so there’s a big conflict on that,” he added.
“It would be nice not just for us but for the fans to do many things.
“In the past when I was at Ferrari I was allowed to do some rallies and it was a good help. I was doing well at the same time in Formula One, but everything is different. I think it would be nice, not just for us but also for the spectators and the fans and everybody to see us doing many things.”
Räikkönen was at pains, however, to stress that this would not be a factor in any decision to quit Formula 1.
Image via XPB Images