Should Raikkonen return to F1 with Williams?

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Kimi Raikkonen, Citroen, Rally Finland, 2011

Raikkonen's commitment to rallying has waned

Rumours continue to grow that Kimi Raikkonen is poised to make an F1 return with Williams in 2012.

The former world champion has lacked commitment to his rallying campaign this year.

Can he rediscover his form and return to his best with a comeback to Formula 1?

For

It’s not hard to see the attraction of an F1 return for Raikkonen. The 32-year-old has won 18 races and a world championship already.

As Michael Schumacher has shown, he could have a decade or more of racing ahead of him.

The prospect of having six world champions on the grid – something which has never been seen before – would be a marvellous boost for the sport.

And it could help rejuvenate Williams, one of F1′s most successful teams, who have endured their worst season ever this year. With a new engine deal in place and several key changes in their technical staff, the arrival of a former champion could mark the beginning of a turnaround for the team.

Against

Raikkonen's last F1 start for Ferrari at Abu Dhabi in 2009

Given the manner in which Raikkonen left F1 at the end of 2009, and his patchy career since then, you have you question whether his heart is still in it.

In the space of two years Raikkonen went from winning the world championship to being dropped by Ferrari with a year left on his contract.

Having failed to get a full-time seat in the World Rally Championship for his second season, Raikkonen has pulled out of rallies at the slightest provocation.

He did not appear at the Australian event, not wanting to make the long journey, earning himself exclusion from the championship standings. That does not bode well as the 2012 F1 calendar is larger and has more far-flung venues than the WRC’s.

It is unlikely a comeback would be met with instant success. Williams have had a dreadful season this year with many retirements.

I say

F1 should have the best drivers and therefore of course I would like to see Raikkonen back.

Both driver and team are faded former champions and many of their fans would like to see them competing at the front again.

But Raikkonen must be realistic about what an F1 comeback with Williams is likely to involve. If he can’t face getting on a plane to Australia, grinding through a few hundred interviews and then retiring from the race on the first lap because his KERS has packed up, then he should sit tight.

You say

Do you think Kimi Raikkonen should return to F1 with Williams? Would he be successful? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should Kimi Raikkonen return to F1 with Williams in 2012?

  • Yes (66%)
  • No (28%)
  • No opinion (6%)

Total Voters: 472

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173 comments on Should Raikkonen return to F1 with Williams?

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  1. He should! any extra personalities help the sport!

    but he won’t.. he’s too busy chilling in the USA, eating ice-cream..
    why would he want to return to Williams? Money? Boredom?

  2. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 7th November 2011, 13:11

    He definitely has the talent, and I’m a MASSIVE fan of his, so I would love to see a return, if Williams can get on form once again he will surely be right up there. It seems the hunger which he lost after 2007 is back!

    • glue (@glue) said on 7th November 2011, 13:44

      He did not lose any hunger after 2007, I can’t believe this myth is still around. Ferrari have moronically shifted their preference in terms of car setup from Massa to Kimi, so Kimi was relatively lacklustre in the first part of 2007 since his race setup was not to his liking, and afterwards he took 5 of that season’s 6 wins. In 2008, he had the upper hand at the start, winning 2 of the first 4 races, and he could have won in Canada if not for Hamilton’s colour-blindness, he would have won in France if not for the cracked exhaust, in Silverstone he fell out of contention because Ferrari left him on old intermediate tyres and we all know what happened in Spa, where he was battling for the lead, and by that time Ferrari were already backing Massa.

      In 2009, as soon as Massa had his unfortunate accident and Ferrari started backing Kimi again, he took that car to results his own engineers would not have predicted. Not to mention trounced Fisichella.

      Kimi’s margins of gain and loss of motivation are minimal, as he is the type of racing driver whom manages to drain emotion out of him and simply drive the car as fast as it can go. That does not make him anywhere near a complete driver, but that does not mean he doesn’t have motivation. Lack of motivation was Damon Hill in 99, retiring healthy cars, not Kimi post-2007, when he finished Grands Prix with fuel burning his eyes.

      • Unfortunately that would imply he lost the edge.

        I am an absolute fan of raikonen backed him through all the years he lost championships through mechanical failures. Most people forget if not for his mechanical failures he would have won many championships.

        But since moving to Ferrari he was terrible. For whatever reason. We have to see, but I am not so confident.

      • hezla (@hezla) said on 7th November 2011, 14:46

        I agree, he didn’t get the results and people just believe the journalists story of lack of motivation.
        However Schumacher has showed it is not easy to come back, so I hope people give him time to get back in form. And here I am afraid the journalists will crucify him quickly.
        He doesn’t like journalists and they don’t like him.

      • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 7th November 2011, 17:44

        I dunno, being too lazy to fly to Australia for the WRC round sounds like a real lack of motivation to me.

        • sato113 (@sato113) said on 7th November 2011, 23:46

          i’m sure flying to australia to race an f1 car is a lot more appealing than flying to drive a rally car…

          • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 8th November 2011, 8:41

            @sato113 This is Kimi Raikkonen though, the guy who supposedly ‘doesn’t lose motivation’, I’m pretty certain if he’d had motivation, he’d have journeyed over and rallied.

            And before someone chips in with the excuse that they haven’t got any money or they weren’t racing anyone in the championship, WRC wouldn’t allow a team that doesn’t have money to race, and by not turning up, Raikkonen ended up being excluded from the championship!

            Rather backfired, that…

      • kimithechamp (@kimithechamp) said on 7th November 2011, 22:24

        Agreed, Kimi didn’t leave F1 to anywhere near the degree F1 left him.

      • FD (@fd) said on 8th November 2011, 1:20

        glue… that was a brillian summation of Kimi at Ferrari. Of course he should return! Can’t think of anyone with more natural, almost nonchalant talent. Let Kimi paste Maldonado for a season or two then go to Red Bull. *sigh.. if only Kimi went to McLaren after 09

      • vjanik said on 8th November 2011, 14:52

        @glue you are spot on

  3. SoerenKaae (@soerenkaae) said on 7th November 2011, 13:13

    I think it will be simple. If Williams don’t trust him to come to all the races or to not complain about the car, then they won’t make an agreement.

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th November 2011, 13:16

    I don’t think Kimi has the personality to get into a Williams and struggle in the middle of the field hoping for a better car in 2013.

    His 2 most rescent seasons were quite what we expected for Raikkonen. We can blame the F2009 car being very bad, but the F2008 was great, probably the best car in the field. And he seemed ridiculously out of shape after Spain that year.

    I’d love to see him back… but, on a Williams? I don’t know.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th November 2011, 13:17

      weren’t* quite…

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 7th November 2011, 15:07

      he didn’t perform consisntently well over the year.

    • ekissocool89 (@ekissocool89) said on 7th November 2011, 21:08

      it was his problem heating up the tires in qualifying in mid 2008 that caused him to slip out of contention. this meant he kept getting stuck behind slower cars in the races. by late 2008 kimi was again faster than massa in spa, fuji and shanghai and outqualified massa in 2009 before his accident. so i think kimis loss of form/motivation was blown out of proportion.

    • Outsider said on 8th November 2011, 1:19

      I agree that Kimi doesnt have the personality to race for Williams in its current condition. Williams need a team leader, someone who can re-develop the team and bring them back to the front, they would require a all rounder, like a Schumacher (not Ralf) of sorts. The team has the pedigree and infrastructure to compete at the front again, the formula needs to be right, and to me, its hard to see how Kimi would fit in.

      In his current plight, I wouldnt suggest Kimi as a team leader, he would make a very good second driver, just get in the car and drives the wheels off it.

      I dont think Kimi wants to comeback because of money, the guy was on 50 million a year with Ferrari!

      It would be very nice to have Kimi back, from a fan’s perspective of course, but for Sir Frank and Patrick Head, it probably would be.

      With Force India looking more and more likely to omit Sutil for next year, a move to Williams might work well. He seems to have matured over the years and may be well placed to take on the mantle of Team Leader.

      Just for the sake of argument, how about Felipe Massa for Williams? I dont think Felipe has lost any of his speed, he’s just been hit with serious lack of confidence. I think he needs to get out of Ferrari while he’s still knee deep. When a team has to keep reaffirming their support for a driver, things never end well. Its akin to a board at a football club giving their manager the dreaded “Vote of Confidence”. Moving to the like of Williams may a chance to wipe the slate clean. Kimi and Felipe have worked well in the past, WDC for Kimi in 07 and for Felipe in 08 (for all but 10 Seconds)…outlandish idea, but hey.its for sake of argument right?

      Whatever the case, whoever Williams decide, they would need at least one driver with Cash..and I believe their current cash cow Maldonado will remain for next year..the question is who will replace Reubens?

      • Outsider said on 8th November 2011, 1:21

        meant to say for Sir Frank and Patrick Head..it WOULDN’T be!!

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:35

        Personally I’m not so sure sir Frank and mr Head want a teamleading driver; I think they want someone who gives good feedback on where to improve the car, then race it for all he is worth; they seem like the sort of persons who would like to give direction themselves.

  5. Mel (@mel) said on 7th November 2011, 13:17

    As an F1 follower, I want him to come back. It will help F1 as a whole. And besides, 6 world champions is awesome!

    • Mike (@mike) said on 7th November 2011, 14:36

      I agree, I’m not a fan per say but it would be fantastic to see him back.

      As long as it is at the expense of Pastor and not Rubens.

      Rubens doesn’t deserve to be ousted and Williams need his safe pair of hands.

      I kinda think the opposite of what is being said about motivation. I don’t see why he’d have approached Williams if he didn’t want to be there.

  6. disjunto (@disjunto) said on 7th November 2011, 13:17

    Williams need someone who can show they care and put in the time to build the car up, Kimi is not that guy. So no, I don’t think Kimi should return to F1 in a Williams

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 7th November 2011, 21:42

      I have to agree here. Though I count myself amongst the biggest Kimi fans, he does not exhibit some necessary skills required for a spot at Williams. Surely, he is a master of car control, but my observation is that the is useless with a sick/flawed livery, and racecraft leaves much to be desired.

      For every podium from >10 start, there is a win he lost with mental mistakes.

      As much as I would love to see him on grid again, William is in a re-building phase; they need an academic driver who might not be the fastest, but who is great help in developing the car. Clearly, I am not in the garages, but Kimi does not seem to fit that model.

  7. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 7th November 2011, 13:20

    Didn’t he say he didnt want to be in the sport where people have one thing in their mind and they say another and there is no respect for the talent of the driver or something?

    What happened now?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th November 2011, 17:37

      A year and a half of getting to see the world and learn there is other things in life besides getting payed loads of money not to talk to the press and dislike the circus. Its hard work out there!

      Honestly, I do want Kimi to return. He is fast enough, Williams needs a bit of something new (getting rid of Rubens talking about what the team should and shouldn’t do) so both might do well from it.
      But If he returns, I expect it rather to be just as underwhelming as when Bernie brough JV back into the Renault seat for a couple of races (or JV at BMW) or indeed as Schumacher coming for another WDC last year.

      Would be lovelly though if he did come in, was committed, Williams finally build a halfway fast car and gets on the podium a few times next year. We can always dream, right.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:40

        I feel much the same as you do @bascb.

        I still decided to vote yes, because at this point Williams are so close to rock bottom that a Raikkonnen that only performs at half the races, even if it is in a car about similar in pace to the current car, can be seen as progress.

        I think Maldonado hasn’t been doing all that bad lately, but the car has failed on him quite often. Surely another winter of testing their KERS, going with Renault engines, and putting the gearbox through another testbank for the whole of the winter should help reliability?

        And if that’s the case, maybe Kimi will have fun driving it, and showing his worth at occasions to bring back good points.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:42

          To add, if he is signed, I am pretty sure Williams will have tested his resolve, and put in some conditions to his contract, and they must have made clear they will drop him like a stone if he shows any signs of being unmotivated.

  8. It would be great for Williams, it would be great for us as fans, and it would be good for Bernie as he would have an extra WDC on the grid again.

    The only person this doesn’t seem good for is Kimi himself. He may see Williams as his only option to get back into F1 with, but he won’t win anything, at least next year, unless he makes a stand out performance…

    I’d love to see him back!

  9. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 7th November 2011, 13:23

    Given the manner in which Raikkonen left F1 at the end of 2009, and his patchy career since then, you have you question whether his heart is still in it.

    This is the thing that really bothers me about Kimi. If his heart’s into something, he’ll go 110% and he becomes truly spectacular to watch. But he’s proven that he can also be extremely lairy and the way he’s acted on some occasions – in both F1 and the WRC – has been pretty unprofessional. Plus he has a habit of coming across as a bit of an unpleasant character when he wants to be.

    We all want F1 drivers to be the best and we all want more interesting characters and less ‘robots’ in the sport and Kimi, at his best, can be both of these – astoundingly quick and great fun to watch. But near the end of his F1 career his attitude and the performances he put on betrayed the true potential that lies within him. It almost seemed as if when he won his World Championship, he started caring a lot less about the sport and so stopped wanting to put the effort in.

    With his half-hearted WRC career in mind also, taking someone like Kimi on seems like a pretty big gamble for Williams to me. If they get the 2005-2007 era Kimi, they will have one of the best assets you could ever hope to have in your driver line-up. If they get 2008-2011 era Kimi, it’ll probably end up doing Williams more harm than good.

    • Scribe (@scribe) said on 7th November 2011, 14:17

      I think people’s concerns as to Raikkonen’s personality raise a pretty precient question. Would Williams actually benefit from having Raikkonen? The motivaited Raikkonen of threeish years ago would grace any car and any team. Fantasically quick, great technically.

      Now a days, lacconic, downright lazy, rusty, quick to give up, unwilling to do media, unfamiliar with tyres, DRS new shape of F1 racing, not got the freshness or youth that allows the newbies to come in, Schumacher’s not been that great anyway why should someone with less talent and drive fair much better even if he is younger.

      If it wern’t for William’s money trouble’s they’d blow him out of the water, it’s such a shame they can’t have Barrichello extracting just what the pace of the cars is an providing his apparently amazing feedback and have a Hulkenburg in the other car.

      William’s can’t be sure they won’t higher an expensive shell of a former champion, would be a silly risk, even if he shows the occasional flash, does anyone here really beleive Raikkonen’s got enough effort in him to be consistant over a season anymore?

      • Mike (@mike) said on 7th November 2011, 14:42

        expensive shell of a former champion,

        Any news on what the price tag allegedly is?
        For the risk that Kimi is it can’t be much.

      • xxiinophobia (@xxiinophobia) said on 7th November 2011, 21:25

        Everything that @magnificent-geoffrey and @Scribe have said is exactly what I’ve been thinking about Raikkonen joining Williams.

        Raikkonen the last few years reminds me a bit too much of Hamilton’s troubles of late; he’s looked a bit lost to me, and I say that having been a big fan of him in the past (my PS2 copy of EA’s F1 2001 will tell you that he was my favourite driver). I’ve actually been kind of disappointed in him the last few years. I have the same sort of feeling in my gut towards Kimi that I do when considering Mark Webber- I still want him to do well, but I find myself questioning far too often for my tastes the question of whether or not he is still capable.

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 8th November 2011, 11:13

        This topic is now six pages deep and I have stopped reading on the first page!
        What short memories everyone has. Everyone refers to the Ferrari years, yes he won the his first race in a Ferrari, he won a championship in a Ferrari and he even ate ice cream at Ferrari. Peter Sauber respected him enough to put him in a car, Ron Dennis I’m sure didn’t regret his decision to sign Kimi after he was runner up twice in Mclaren’s poor years and I don’t think WIlliams would regret signing him either. Yes, he did seem to loose his passion in his last year at Ferrari, have any of you ever had a day at work or job where you don’t feel like your getting along with the people you work with? It isn’t exactly a joy is it? Kimi has shown he is great at what he does, it would be great to see another world champion added to the grid even if it is just so we can compare him to Schumacher. Either way i’d put money on it that he’d be faster than Rubens and Pastor and bring more publicity to a struggling team that could really do with some attention.

        • Saiesh (@saiesh) said on 8th November 2011, 12:40

          Everyone refers to the Ferrari years, yes he won the his first race in a Ferrari,

          He won 9 races for Mclaren b4 he got to Ferrari !!!

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:46

            Unreliability in his McLaren time didn’t help either, and I think them not being able to help him get a WDC in that time is one reason that made him move to Ferrari.

            And then he discovered they are very different as a team. Ferrari works for Alonso, but it seemed to not fully work for Raikkonen, or he for Ferrari.

  10. STSCM (@stscm) said on 7th November 2011, 13:23

    I guess I’m the only ‘No Opinion’ so far. I wish that it had been a ‘Depends’ button instead. Would I like to see him come in and change Williams around and start challenging the front? You bet. But I don’t know if he will so I’m reserved about that. Too mercurial and too imbedded in the party crowd.

  11. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 7th November 2011, 13:24

    You know what? I don’t care. If he comes back then great, we’ve got another World Champion on the grid and Williams show a statement of intent, which as a Williams fan, is a good thing. If he doesn’t come back however then I won’t lose any sleep over it – F1 has loads of great drivers and plenty who are more hungry than Raikkonen is likely to be. I haven’t missed him these last couple of years, I’m not going to start now.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 7th November 2011, 13:33

      If he doesn’t come back however then I won’t lose any sleep over it – F1 has loads of great drivers and plenty who are more hungry than Raikkonen is likely to be. I haven’t missed him these last couple of years, I’m not going to start now.

      I completely agree. Haven’t missed him at all in the years he’s been away.

      • Ashwin Raja (@ashwinraja8-2) said on 7th November 2011, 15:12

        Despite being a massive Kimi fan, I have to agree, the sport didn’t really miss him, and neither did the spectators, except his most loyal supporters.

        If he does come back, on the one hand there is the excitement of having 6 World Champions on the grid for the first time ever. Although realistically speaking, at most, 4 of them are in with a fighting chance at the title (Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Vettel).

        On the other hand, if he doesn’t feel the car is good enough for him, we all know what’s going to happen. In that case it’s very hard as a viewer to watch a driver who has absolutely no motive to compete and eek the maximum out of the car, when there are so many young prospects who are willing to give an arm and a leg to get into F1.

    • tobinen (@tobinen) said on 7th November 2011, 14:33

      Yes, I agree. If he was coming back into a top team with a chance of winning something, I might feel differently. But with Williams – it’s midfield at best. Nor have I missed his presence on the grid.

    • Couldn’t agree more @DanThorn . I wasn’t bothered when he left F1 and I’m even less interested now besides he’s been out for two years when the refuelling era has died and we have new tyres so who knows how competitive he’ll even be. I’d much rather see the seat go to a young driver who could be the future of the sport than someone who already bailed out once before but unfortunately Williams don’t seem to agree.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:48

      Well said. I still voted yes, because it would be great to see him back; or he will quickly go again, more silent than JV was gone at the end of the BMW period. But if Williams and he can make it work (and it gets them good sponsors), then great.

      They both don’t have too much to lose I think in trying the way things stand.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 8th November 2011, 17:08

      @Dan-Thorn

      I agree completely. I feel stupid now having posted virtually the same comment! Only mine wasn’t as well worded. :P

  12. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 7th November 2011, 13:25

    The way I see it is, what does Kimi have to lose?

    He’s “getting on” (in this day and age, at least), he’s other endeavours have not worked out particularly well, yet he’s being given the opportunity to return to F1? Why would you not take that?

    It’s very similar to the Hill/Diniz line-up at Arrows in 1997. Ex-world champion, a pay-driver (who has been better than the traditional ‘pay-driver’, at least!), and a big technical overhaul.

    I also think the results will fare pretty similar. I can see a freak race where Kimi ends up driving the middle of the field car through the pack.

    Either way, I can’t see the downside for Kimi. Even if the whole thing falls flat on its face, he’s an ex-World champion who has recently been in Formula One, so he’ll still be wanted somewhere.

  13. ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 7th November 2011, 13:26

    Plus, ex-champion in the Williams Renault sounds pretty smart, right?

    As far as merchandise, advertising, and attracting sponsors go. Another plus.

    • Mach1 (@mach1) said on 7th November 2011, 21:28

      Good point about the sponsorship. I can see Finnish firm Nokia jumping on board to sell their new smartphone launch with microsoft (which needs all the exposure it can get to compete). What better way than with a Finnish World Champion and an F1 platform. One can hope anyway….

  14. Girts (@girts) said on 7th November 2011, 13:29

    I would love to see Kimi back in F1! My boy Heikki would finally be able to beat him!

    On a more serious note, if Kimi returned to F1 with Williams then it would conflict with a lot of statements made by him over the last couple of years. It’s good to have a lot of previous wourld champions on the grid but having to watch them still racing in F1 just because they haven’t managed to adapt to the life outside / after F1 feels a bit sad.

  15. JvBF1 (@dutch_tweeet) said on 7th November 2011, 13:29

    Kimi has something left to prove and I would like to see him do so, both for his fans’ sake and for Williams’. However, as no podiums can be expected in 2012, what will be the mutual metrics for success? How many points would satisfy both parties?

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