Kimi Raikkonen says his motivation is as high as ever as he prepares to mark 20 years since making his Formula 1 debut. 

The 41-year-old Finn will partner Antonio Giovinazzi for a third successive season at Alfa Romeo as the team looks to move further up the grid in 2021 with its upgraded C41 challenger that broke cover on Monday morning at a launch event in Poland.

Raikkonen, who made his F1 debut with the Hinwil-based squad when it was previously known as Sauber in 2001, heads into the new campaign as the most experienced grand prix driver of all-time, having racked up 329 starts and counting across his 18 seasons in the sport so far.

“We're excited for the year but it's very unknown because we haven't tried the car, there's obviously rule changes,” said Raikkonen.

“Where are we going to be? We don't know, but in a few weeks’ time, obviously we’ll see from testing how things are running and how the car is feeling and roughly in one month’s time, in the first race, everybody will see where everybody is.

“It's going to be not many days before the first race, so we have to do a good three days [of testing], laps and learn a lot from the car and see what we get.”

Asked what motivates him to continue as he enters his third decade of racing in F1, Raikkonen replied: “Time goes quickly. Obviously it's quite a long time ago but then I was a couple of years out of F1 in the middle of it, so it doesn't feel like 20 years.

“Obviously the racing and the driving [is what still excites me]. I've never been a big fan of all the rest… but I enjoy the racing and the challenge to try to improve things and getting better.”

Meanwhile, Raikkonen’s teammate Giovinazzi is aiming to make another step in 2021 after retaining his seat at Alfa Romeo for what will be his third full season in F1.

“Of course I feel much more ready this season compared to 2019,” the Italian explained.

“Still, I think I need to do another step to what I did already from the first season to the second season. This is my target as a driver for this season, and to try to improve in some points where I was struggling more last year.

“This is what [I’ve been doing] during the winter and what I will do during this season.”

 

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