Finland’s former Formula One champion Kimi Raikkonen has been retained by the team he calls his “second family” Alfa Romeo for next season along with team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi.

Raikkonen, crowned world champion in 2007 driving for Ferrari, will be able to extend his record number of Grand Prix starts which he set earlier this season.

The 41-year-old known as ‘The Iceman’ – who finished runner-up twice in the world championship – will be competing in his 19th season at the highest level.

Giovinazzi, 26, is Ferrari’s reserve driver and they saw enough of his ability this season to give him another campaign – Ferrari control one of the Alfa seats.

The announcement comes a day after Alfa Romeo confirmed its commercial deal to brand and back the Swiss-based team that started its life in F1 as Sauber in 1993.

Raikkonen, who made his F1 debut with Sauber in 2001, before moving back to them in 2019 after a second stint with Ferrari, said the team was like a home from home for him.

“It is more than a team to me; it is like a second family,” he said. “So many of the faces that were around me when I made my F1 debut in 2001 are still here and the unique atmosphere of this team is what gives me that extra motivation to keep going.

“This is a team that values hard work over words and this fits well with my style.”

Raikkonen, who is 17th in the drivers’ standings with two points this season, added he hoped he and Giovinazzi could move up a gear next season and challenge for more points.

Alfa Romeo said the line-up highlighted the team’s “commitment to continuity”.

“I still see the passion and motivation in Kimi every time I see him at work,” said team boss Frederic Vasseur. “He can be trusted to deliver 100% of what the car can produce and he is a true leader for the people working around him.

“Antonio finished last year’s campaign strongly and he picked up where he left off and kept improving throughout 2020.”

Raikkonen and Giovinazzi will be seeking to repay the confidence placed in them with a decent showing at this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.