Kimi: ‘Straightforward’ decision to stay

Jamie Woodhouse

Kimi Raikkonen says talks were "straightforward" over extending Alfa Romeo stay.

Kimi Raikkonen said the negotiations were short, sweet and “straightforward” over a deal to remain with Alfa Romeo.

The Formula 1 veteran will extend his stay with Alfa Romeo for a third season in 2021 and he will remain alongside Antonio Giovinazzi who is also sticking around for next season.

And in true Kimi style, it seems the negotiations over his deal were concluded with minimum fuss.

“I don’t think it was difficult, but there’s nothing to confirm before we sign the contract. We signed it yesterday, basically. You keep asking always about the future. But if we haven’t signed anything, I wouldn’t start lying,” he told reporters at Imola ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“So I don’t think it was difficult. Obviously there’s many aspects from the team side, what they want to do, what I want to do, and obviously there’s other things in our life that you need to look into also.

“But in the end it made sense from my side, and also for their side. And once we started to, let’s say, talk about it, it wasn’t such a long process. So that was quite straightforward.”

Raikkonen is targetting a clear step forward for the team in 2021.

The Finn currently has only two points to his name this season, while Alfa’s overall total only stands at five.

However, Raikkonen knows that is easier said than done.

“Hopefully do a lot better than this year,” he said when asked for his 2021 ambitions.

“Obviously, as a team, none of us are happy where we are, but unfortunately this is the situation right now.

“And you know, the aim is to improve and be a lot better off. But there’s no guarantee on anything. So we have to just do a better job overall. And hopefully, next year, we’ll be a bit happier with things, and be where we expect to be.”

Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur said he had been talking to other drivers before retaining Raikkonen and Giovinazzi, but said any team principal who claimed not to be doing the same would be talking bull.

“You are always in contact with everybody, If a team principal is telling you that he’s not in contact with the other drivers, he’s bulls***ting!,” he said.

“Kimi is part of the team, we have a close relationship together. Even if the decision was not easy, it’s always also in this kind of situation that we are building up something. And it was the normal way for us to continue together, and I’m very happy with the decision, and the future for the team.”

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