In recent weeks; we have had the "pleasure" to hear from our champion himself that he no longer wishes to extend his services to Ferrari or any other team on the grid, past his contract expiration date at the end of the 2009 season.
Big news, indeed it is very rare for an athlete to call it a day after just one world title. Actually, it may be two if Raikkonen wins this year's championship or three (most optimistic) if he can defend his crown all the way till the end of his contract.
Although I believe the iceman has unfinished business with this sport, in the interest of fairness I will advance the argument that would explain why he could retire early and then put forward arguments that just proves his retirement schedule is just a bluff to ensure he guarantees he'll get his way at Ferrari, as in "treat me the way I want you to treat me or I'm gone!!!"
Here are some arguments for Raikkonen's departure:
"The man is no leader." These were the words of Jean Todt last year referring to the iceman, further stating that he (todt) could ask Kimi nicely to do certain things but some other things the Finn would just not do. So what does this mean?
Well, it demonstrates that Raikkonen is willing to put his life on the line on track, but off the track, i.e. promotional activities and interviews, the iceman's reputation for his mono-syllabic conversations (if that's the correct word to use) and lack of communication with the team (yes he's been blasted for this one too) demonstrates a level of self-centricness but also of self-consciousness. It is the sense that Kimi does not want to be intruded in his normal life, and respect where it is due, he has every single right not to be disturbed in all matters and aspects irrelevant to racing.
So this argument alone is enough to lead us to believe Kimi Raikkonen values his privacy over the greatness and responsibility of being an F1 champion, not to mention the money, fame and fear he inspires in the mind of his fans and competitors.
Money, fame, respect: these are the factors of success in any sports. For that matter it applies to real life as well. We all aspire to at least two of these elements.
Ok it's all debatable, but anyways the downside of all this of course is that you are forgoing those that are important to you, and without infringing upon Raikkonen's personal life I cannot help but think Jenni Raikkonen (his wife) may be the underlying reason he would want to leave the sport. Now I am only suggesting and guessing here, but it's all possible he wants to start a family away from the spotlights thus living his life the way he wants.
Furthermore, the man is famous for his bond with his next of kin. He is reknown for having invited something like nine family members or more (please leave comments if you have sources on this one) to Grand Prix. These included cousins, grandparents, etc... Yet another argument for Kimi Raikkonen to leave all that success behind him and starts something new, away from this life in the fast lane (literaly)
Lastly, I do not agree with those who believe the man's option would be limited if he was to leave F1; he has so much money behind him, and he's already invested in property anyways. Of course it could all go belly up, but with a brand name like Raikkonen you'd bounce back anyways!
These are the reasons I believe Raikkonen may have in mind to leave Formula One.
However, I do believe he'll stay, for that all that hard earned success in F1 has brought him fame, money, and (most importantly) power, and what more do you want when you're in power as the top biller for the sport, representing formula 1 at its best?...answer: more power..? It's exactly the way human nature dictates your next move, greed, desire and this inevitable drive for over-achievement; competitiveness at face-value, because let's face it Raikkonen may be our world champion now plus a good damn driver as well; yet he is far off from the best to have walked in this game (Schumacher, Prost, and Senna) in terms of championship crowns and GP victories even Alonso has one more championship belt to brag over him; therefore the iceman does have some unfinished business to take care of; more goals to achieve, ambitions to take forward and most importantly to prove that he is the game in this F1 business.
Bottom line is being an F1 driver, and world champion at that, is an extraordinary achievement of its own. Not many people can boast of this, so why leave now when mantles of greatness still awaits?
Alex over and out wishing to see his favourite driver lift another crown this year. Come on Kimi!!!