Kimi Raikkonen is all set to return to the world of F1 through the sport of football. The 2007 F1 World Drivers' Champion will be teaming up with his former colleagues Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso to play a charity football match against a mix of footballers and celebrities in Monaco later this month.
The 'Star Team for the Children' event, as it is named, will be held at the Stade Louis II on May 24, 2022. The stadium is the home of AS Monaco and the Monaco national football team.
Raikkonen will play alongside fourteen current F1 drivers from the 2022 grid. Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso as well as the Aston Martin pair of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will be present.
Both drivers from Ferrari and Red Bull will also be part of the event, with Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez joining the two main title challengers. Other active F1 drivers who will also feature are Mick Schumacher, Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly.
Additionally, a selection of former F1 drivers will also be participating in the game. Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Nico Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nico Hulkenberg, Robert Kubica, Daniil Kvyat and Jerome D'Ambrosio are all expected to appear.
Kimi Raikkonen bid farewell to his F1 career after the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to bookend an extended and illustrious career in the pinnacle of motorsport. Since beginning his F1 journey with Sauber back in 2001, the Finn has acquired 21 wins, 103 podium finishes and one world championship in his career.
"Very happy to be supportive" - Sauber willing to back Kimi Raikkonen if he wants to keep racing
Earlier in 2022, Alfa Romeo team principal Frédéric Vasseur confirmed that the team was ready to back Kimi Raikkonen in other racing endeavors after his F1 retirement at the end of 2021.
Speaking in an interview with gpfans.com, the Frenchman said:
“I told him that I could help if he wants to do something else, that even the [Sauber] Group would be very happy to be supportive and to find other projects. They are now almost everywhere — Le Mans and in Formula E. He was clear in his mind by saying, ‘No, I would prefer to close this short-term, and then perhaps in six months, eight months, I would like to do something else.’ I think it’s quite tough when you do so many seasons in a row in F1 to stop and say, ‘Okay, next year I will do WTCC, or I don't know what.’”
Raikkonen is still the last Finnish driver to have won a world title. He was also the last Ferrari driver to become an F1 world champion, winning it in his maiden season with the Scuderia in 2007.