Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen was named as an ambassador for sport in Finland at a ceremony in Helsinki on Wednesday night.
Raikkonen won the F1 world championship with Ferrari in 2007, becoming the third Finn to achieve the feat following Keke Rosberg in 1982 and Mika Hakkinen in 1998 and 1999.
Raikkonen was honored by Finnish prime minister Juha Sipila at an award’s ceremony, with Ferrari reporting that his presence at the event was kept secret until the last moment.
“I’m not that used to making formal speeches,” Raikkonen said, referring to his reputation for his monosyllabic nature.
“But I would like to wish all the best to the winners in every category, as well as those who missed out on the prizes this year.
“I would stress how important it has been in my case to have the support of my family and help from trustworthy colleagues and the people within the Ferrari team, with whom I have worked for so many years now.”
Raikkonen will return for a 15th season in F1 in 2017 – his seventh with Ferrari – as he looks to build on his sixth-place finish in last year’s drivers’ championship.