Kimi Raikkonen has said the prospect a 23-race Formula 1 schedule next year had no bearing in his decision to retire at the end of the season.
Raikkonen announced his retirement in September via social media, bringing the curtain down on a career that began with Sauber in 2001 and netted him the 2007 world championship with Ferrari.
The Finn has been a popular figure in the sport, largely for his often monosyllabic responses to the media and his nonchalant demeanour.
Now a father, Raikkonen has made no secret of his desire to spend more time at home with his family, but rejected the idea that a busy 23-event schedule for 2022 accelerated his decision to quit.
“No,” he bluntly responded when asked if the calendar triggered his decision.
“When I started, I think we had 14 races or some other 14 to 15, something like that in the first year.
“It was different but then there was a test in between the races.
“I think more races is actually better than going racing and then testing for a couple days, two/three days, and then going to the next race.
“So I don’t think it was any easier that way even though there was a less racing.
“I’ve been home between all the races,” he added of how he spent his time during F1’s most recent triple-header.
“Obviously it’s only been, let’s say, two days but I enjoy the time there and haven’t really had big issues with jetlag.”
While Raikkonen suggested he’s suffered comparatively little due to the busy schedule, which this year will take in 22 events, the mechanics have done things far tougher.
“It’s hard for them and the problem [is] we will burn out a lot of people on this are going to be good for anybody,” he noted.
“I think maybe as a spectator a lot of people it’s nice for having a lot of races but, you know, [for] the people that actually do most of the work, it’s very difficult for them.
“There has to be some kind of, I feel, better way of dealing with that.
“Sometimes there’s not just the option to hire more people because they don’t have money to hire, so it’s a bit tricky.”
With two races left in his F1 career, Raikkonen looks set to walk away from the sport with 353 entries (349 starts), 21 wins, and the 2007 world championship.
His place at Alfa Romeo Sauber is set to be filled by countryman Valtteri Bottas, who joined from Mercedes for 2022.