The ‘Silly Season’ summer rumours involving Kimi Raikkonen and a seat at Ferrari are gaining more and more credibility by the minute.
The Finn drove for Ferrari between 2007 and 2009, before being paid to leave the team when they signed double World Champion Fernando Alonso for 2010. In 2012 he returned to F1 with Lotus, after a two-year stint in the World Rally Championship.
Over the summer break, speculation was rife that the 2007 World Champion would be leaving the Enstone based outfit, heading to either Red Bull or Ferrari. Now that Daniel Ricciardo has been confirmed as Mark Webber’s replacement at Red Bull, the paddock talk is that Kimi Raikkonen is Maranello bound.
While there were quiet whisperings of Fernando Alonso possibly following in Raikkonen’s footsteps and taking a sabbatical due to frustration at the lack of success at the once mighty team, race-day in Monza saw Alonso back to his usual feisty self, en route to taking second place at his team’s home race.
So if Raikkonen is in fact headed to the Scuderia, it will be to replace Felipe Massa who has been at the team since 2006. The Brazilian has been struggling in the shadow of his team-mate since his horrific crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, and has consistently raised eyebrows as he has been re-signed by the team year-after-year. The only thing that seems to be keeping Massa at the team is his willingness to play the team-player and move over for Alonso on occasion after occasion.
Eventually, though, the team were bound to look for more than a team-player – someone who could help them win their first constructors title since 2008. If Raikkonen is on the market, now is the time to grab him, before Lotus can provide him with a Championship winning car and bring the fight to Ferrari.
According to the reputable rumours, the deal is done and he will be officially announced as Alonso’s team-mate this coming Wednesday. Watch this space…