Raikkonen to make comeback and postpone retirement — FormulaNerds.com

Former Formulation 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is ready to make a sensational return to motorsport, solely eight months after hanging up his helmet on the finish of final 12 months. 

Kimi Raikkonen inspecting his new race car. (Image Credit: Trackhouse Racing).
Kimi Raikkonen inspecting his new race automobile. (Picture Credit score: TrackHouse Racing).

Nevertheless, fairly than returning to F1, the Iceman is now set to make a shock comeback in NASCAR, a sequence he first competed in throughout 2011. 

From this weekend, the Finn will race for TrackHouse Racing as a part of ‘Project91,’ an initiative began by ex-NASCAR driver Justin Marks, to lift the game’s profile by recruiting drivers from different formulation. 

Whereas the workforce has seemed aggressive up to now this 12 months, Raikkonen instructed the Related Press forward of his Watkins Glen debut, that Marks has given him no ensures on having the ability to compete on the entrance. 

“I believe he got here as a really trustworthy and simple man and no one has promised any huge factor,” Raikkonen stated. 

“The one factor we are able to do is do our greatest and hope we get a very good end result. You by no means know, any class or any racing you select, you simply by no means know what is going to occur,” he added. “And so I trusted what he was saying and so they’ve been doing fairly nicely. In NASCAR, it will probably simply occur.”

Raikkonen’s racing comeback

Information of Raikkonen’s racing return will come as welcome information to followers of the flying Finn, who racked up 21 wins, 103 podiums and a world championship in F1. 

Moreover, as not too long ago as final week, Raikkonen was named Sauber’s best-ever driver by one in all its long-serving engineers, reflecting the high-esteem by which he’s held there. 

Nevertheless, the Iceman could also be greatest identified for his single-seater exploits, however he additionally has a historical past of leaving such sequence to dabble in different disciplines when issues aren’t going his method. 

Having been dropped by Ferrari on the finish of the 2009 F1 season, Raikkonen moved over to race in WRC for 2 years, earlier than returning with the rebranded Lotus workforce in 2012. 

Following a less-than-glorious finish to his trophy-laden profession, which noticed the Finn end the 2021 season with simply ten factors, he arguably ducked out at a similarly-opportune second on the finish of 2021.

The truth is, this got here up in his first NASCAR press convention, with Raikkonen taking what may very well be seen as a sly dig on the competitiveness of F1. 

However he additionally emphasised that the introduction of NASCAR’s ‘Gen-7’ race automobile, which is designed to convey downforce, transmission and price benefits over its predecessor, may assist stage the taking part in discipline and enhance his probabilities of successful.

“I believe any time there’s an equal likelihood to win in a sequence it’s good, I believe it’s good, and what I heard after I talked to folks concerning the new automobile is that it’s fairly even with all people,” added Raikkonen. “It’s nonetheless a studying section for all groups with the brand new automobile.”

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TrackHouse Racing's 2022 NASCAR. Image Credit: TrackHouse Racing.
TrackHouse Racing’s 2022 NASCAR challenger. Picture Credit score: TrackHouse Racing.
Can Kimi compete right away?

As is the case in any motorsport, success isn’t simply depending on the talent of the driving force, however their potential to get essentially the most out of their equipment. 

Though TrackHouse Racing solely began racing earlier this 12 months, after Marks purchased over his former workforce Chip Ganassi Racing in June 2021, it has already picked up some respectable outcomes. 

Within the arms of its different driver, Ross Chastain, the outfit’s automobile has up to now managed to attain three wins and 7 podiums, which means that Raikkonen may very well be aggressive right away. 

That stated, the Finn’s expertise primarily revolves round single-seater racing, and his NASCAR appearances in 2011 have been restricted to one-off showings within the Tenting World Truck Collection and the Nationwide Collection. 

So, how nicely will Raikkonen truthful? Based on Marks, this was nearly a secondary consideration when signing him up, as whether or not or not he succeeds, his presence within the sport furthers the goals of Project91.

“I needed to discover any individual that might give rapid legitimacy to it and be concerned with doing it. And to me, actually shortly, it was Kimi,” defined Marks. 

“The genesis of Project91 was simply my want as a race fan to see cool issues occur in racing,” he added. “A Formulation 1 driver coming to NASCAR and being aggressive on the Cup stage is a cool factor and if we have been going to launch this factor, clearly we wanted any individual related globally to set it off.”

Featured Picture Credit score: TrackHouse Racing.

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