Bernie Ecclestone hits out at Formula One with loss of Kimi Raikkonen – ‘Huge problem’

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes the championship will be at a huge loss with the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen, with most drivers becoming “robotic” in recent years. The 2007 world champion was a firm fan favourite with his straight-shooting style and honest nature.

The Finn didn’t shy away from his distaste for PR and media duties and would often be vocal about his opinions on and off track, with short and sharp responses.

But after securing his name in the history books over his long-spanning career, at 42, he announced he would be retiring at the end of the 2021 season.

According to the former F1 supremo, however, Raikkonen is the last of a dying breed of F1 drivers.

“Kimi, as a person, is a super guy,” Ecclestone told sport1.de.

“As a driver, he’s a race driver. He’s what you want: he races [and] doesn’t take an awful lot of notice of people. In fact, he gives them his opinion.

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“There aren’t any Kimis today really, I don’t think. That’s the problem.

“They’ve all become very, very much [like] a robot, listening and doing what they’re told, rather than doing what they think is the right thing to do.”

Raikkonen announced on Instagram that 2021 would be his swansong as he stepped down from his role at Alfa Romeo.

“This is it,” he said on Instagram. “This will be my last season in Formula One. This is a decision I did during last winter. It was not an easy decision but after this season it is time for new things.

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“Even though the season is still on, I want to thank my family, all my teams, everyone involved in my racing career, and especially all of you great fans that have been rooting for me all this time.

“Formula One might come to an end for me but there is a lot more in life that I want to experience and enjoy. See you around after all of this.”

Raikkonen spent the final few races treating fans to his cheeky sense of humour and witty responses, but when reflecting on if he will miss F1, the Finn admitted to BILD

“Only time will tell. What I already know – driving is the only thing I liked about it! I may never set foot in the paddock again.

“Formula One 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.”

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