Kimi Raikkonen says his decision to extend his Formula 1 career with Alfa Romeo in 2021 was “not difficult”.
On Friday morning the Hinwil outfit confirmed both Raikkonen and team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi will stay on for a third season together.
In recent weeks the Finn has fielded regular questions about his future, insisting he had yet to make his mind up, suggesting that the decision to stay was his to make, despite others – notably Sergio Perez – being in contention for the seat.
“No, I don’t think it was difficult,” said Raikkonen. “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.
“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.”
Asked about his ambitions for 2021 Raikkonen said: “Hopefully do a lot better than this year. 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.”
Team boss Fred Vasseur did not deny that he had talked to other drivers.
“You are always in contact with everybody,” said the Frenchman. “If a team principal is telling you that he’s not in contact with the other drivers, he’s bullshitting!
“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.”
Asked what Raikkonen brings to the team he said: “I think with Kimi we have one of the most experienced drivers in the field. And he is more than motivated.
“He showed us last week again in the opening laps that he was more than on the limit sometimes! But it was a very great one.”