Jun.30 (GMM) Alfa Romeo’s engineering boss isn’t sure if 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will continue to race for the Swiss based Formula 1 team beyond 2021.
Raikkonen, 41, is the oldest and most experienced driver on the grid, and until 2021 generally had the edge over his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi.
But in 2021, the Finn is struggling the most against Giovinazzi in qualifying, with the current tally standing at 6:2 in the Italian driver’s favour.
It has triggered rumours that Raikkonen may be replaced for 2022 with Mick Schumacher, who like Giovinazzi is another prominent Ferrari academy driver.
When asked if Raikkonen is staying in 2022, Alfa Romeo engineering chief Xevi Pujolar admitted: “I don’t know what his plans are and I cannot speak for him.
“But at the moment he has no problem with motivation, he works well with the team, and last week he did a great job in the race.”
Pujolar said the team’s engineers will work with Raikkonen this weekend in Austria to “change a few things to help him in qualifying”.
“When both cars go into the second session, it helps the team a lot,” he admitted. “For us, the main priority is to get ahead of Williams in qualifying so that everything can go much better in the race.”
When asked what Raikkonen’s main problem is in qualifying, Pujolar says the former McLaren and Ferrari driver is struggling to “get the tyres ready for a fast lap”.
“So we are considering different ideas with the setup and the way we use the tyres. We will try and compare the options this weekend.”