Retired Formula One legend joins MXGP.
Former Formula One World Champion Kimi Räikkönen has returned to the world of racing after his retirement from Formula One at the end of last season. Räikkönen has been announced as the Team Principal of the Kawasaki Racing Team in the Motocross World Championship.
The 2007 Ferrari World Champion will be calling the shots alongside former motocross veteran Antti Pyrhonen. Räikkönen, who has been an avid motocross lover for a long time, will be responsible for the team’s management.
The Finn has been speaking about how he is serious about the new challenge and does not see it as a ‘hobby’.
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Speaking about his new adventure, Räikkönen commented:
“It’s no secret that, for me, one of my great passions in life for many years has been motocross but this team is not what you might call a hobby; it’s very serious, very focused and we aspire to be the best we possibly can.
“Now I have retired from racing I will be able to spend more time on this project, not on the daily issues but more from a strategic point of view using my experience of how teams work and what creates success on the world stage.
“Everyone, including myself, is delighted that Kawasaki has chosen us to be the Factory team. I know that the chance of success is always greater with direct factory support so this translates into a great opportunity for us as the new Kawasaki Racing Team in MXGP.”
Räikkönen, who called it time on his illustrious 20-year career at the end of the 2021 season, has previously been involved with the sport, having had his own Ice One Racing team.
Räikkönen started his Formula One career in 2001 with Sauber and moved to McLaren the following year. After five seasons with the British team and coming agonisingly close to winning the title on two occasions, Räikkönen finally won the Drivers’ title in 2007 in his debut season with Ferrari. The Finn stayed for two more seasons with the Scuderia before leaving Formula One to follow his other passions of rally driving and NASCAR. He returned to Formula One in 2012 with Lotus before returning to Ferrari in 2014. His second stint with Ferrari was a longer spell, albeit less successful in terms of victories. Räikkönen went back to Sauber, who rebranded to Alfa Romeo, and spent the final three seasons of his career with the Swiss team before drawing curtains on a career that saw him leave the sport with a record 349 starts, 21 victories and one Drivers’ title.