Kimi Räikkönen's almost 20-year F1 career was confirmed last week before the Imola GP.

Next year, the Finn will also be seen at the wheel of Alfa Romeo alongside Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy.

Räikkönen's career was rumored in one direction and another from the summer.

For the former F1 driver Mika Salo, Räikkönen's final decision came as a surprise.

Back in August, Salo estimated that Räikkönen's career would end this season.

- I was pretty surprised without denial.

I was pretty sure it would end now.

But it doesn't seem to end, you can see how many more years it can last, Salo now laughs at Ilta-Sanomat.

After a miserable start to the season, Alfa Romeo’s pace has improved at least a bit, and over the weekend in Imola, both cars rose to points in the same race for the first time this season.

Salo believes that next year Alfa Romeo may be seen as even more competitive - and with it Räikkönen.

- When Ferrari gets a few repairs on that side of the engine, then Alfa Romeo's car seems to work just fine, better than Ferrari's.

It could be a good season coming next year, Salo estimates.

In Imola, fans voted 18th out of 18 starting boxes to be the best driver in the tense Räikkönen race.

The Finnish performance was also to Salo's liking.

- Kimi drove really well, he can only stop when he feels like it.

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Räikkönen is wildly popular both in Finland and elsewhere among the audience following the formulas, so the 41-year-old graduate will certainly also taste the parties responsible for marketing the sport.

- It is good that you can handle it, then there will be interest in the sport in Finland, because Kimi is always Kimi.

He has a big market value formula for number one.

And now that (Fernando) Alonsok is coming back, it's good that there are those older big names with him, so not everyone is quite a junior, Salo says.

Kimi Räikkönen was voted the best driver of the Imola race. Photo: Hoch Zwei / ZUMA Wire

According to Salo, Räikkönen's good physical condition means that it is difficult to estimate how long the 2007 world champion will continue in his F1 sky.

Everything ultimately depends on the Iceman’s own motivation.

- Kim's motivation is that all he has to do is drive.

Alfa Romeo has given him complete relief from all the PR activities that Kimi hated above all, so all you have to do is drive.

That’s what we all enjoyed.

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