Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he may never set foot in a Formula 1 paddock again, after leaving it for the last time as a driver at last month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Raikkonen called time on an illustrious 20-year career at the top level of motorsport at the end of 2021, leaving the paddock at Yas Marina hand in hand with wife Minttu and accompanied by his children.
It was a fitting departure for the Finn, whose steady family life has become beloved by his fans as he and Minttu have shared aspects of their time at home on social media.
But as far as Formula 1 is concerned, Raikkonen has it firmly in the rear view mirror.
"Only time will tell," he told Germany's Bild when asked how much he would miss F1.
"What I already know – driving is the only thing I liked about it! I may never set foot in the paddock again. Formula 1 was never my life. There were always things that were more important to me. Nothing will change about that.
"I didn't stop because I didn't have the strength but because I have better things to do than sit on planes and stay in hotels.
"I'm just glad it's over. Even the fact that I couldn't finish the last race [in Abu Dhabi] doesn't matter."
Raikkonen not making any plans for the future
Raikkonen's freedom from F1 means that, as a still highly capable racing driver, he could look into a less demanding series like the World Endurance Championship or a sportscar career – both of which would allow him to feed his need for speed without requiring as intensive a commitment.
But having just broken free of F1 to go home to Switzerland with his family, Raikkonen isn't in any hurry to figure out what he wants to do next.
"No, and I don't want to forge any either," he said when asked about his retirement plans.
"My kids want a dog, but we haven't decided yet. Maybe it's enough for them that I will now spend more time at home again!"
Asked what he is most looking forward to heading into 2022, Raikkonen explained that his empty diary is his biggest source of joy right now.
"Holidays are holidays again," he went on to comment.
"Otherwise, we only had the summer break. That was two and a half weeks, in which you had to continue training and always had in the back of your mind that normal madness would come back afterwards."
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