The past season was rumored to be Kimi Raikkonen’s last one, as the most experienced driver in Formula 1 history was set to retire at the end of 2020, after an incredible 329 race starts. But it definitely wasn't the case.
The upcoming championship will see the Finn, 42 this year, racing alongside his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi, in what will be his third consecutive season driving for Alfa Romeo.
The team was certainly not lacking suitors eager to fill a vacant seat, like Ferrari Driver Academy young talent Callum Ilott who was hopeful to get a chance in F1, after finishing a brilliant Formula 2 season in second place, just behind Mick Schumacher.
Yet Team Principal and CEO Frederic Vasseur assures Alfa had no doubts.
"It is clear we wanted to get Kimi on board"
He explained to GPFans Global that the uncertainty was only a way of motivating the World Champion.
"It was more a method of motivation for him that he knew at some stage it would become difficult, that's for sure. He is motivated and doing a good job.”
"It is just a matter of commitment and motivation, and the commitment is still there and Kimi is more than motivated. I am optimistic for the future."
A future Vasseur wants to look forward to optimistically, as "for sure, with 23 races it will be tough but it will be tough for everybody. It will be tough for me also but I think the motivation is there, that is the most important for me.”
Nonetheless he is set on taking things step by step.
"We have to be realistic and stay focused on this year and see what happens next year.”
"I don't want to think about '23 or '24. Let's do '21 and then have the discussion during the course of the season."
Indeed, when asked if Raikkonen would expect to stay on for the new regulations, his response was: "Yeah, but we treat it one by one.”