Should Raikkonen return to F1 with Williams?

Debates and polls

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?

  1. SlideTru (@slidetru) said on 7th November 2011, 14:27

    THIS will polarize many, myself included. If there is one way to get me to route on WilliamsF1, its with Kimi behind the wheel.

  2. Fixy (@fixy) said on 7th November 2011, 14:53

    Kimi Raikkonen is undoubtedly a great talent. He showed incredible speed in his years in F1. Although he slowly lost some of his motivation, talent is something you don’t lose. If he has been in contact with Williams to arrange a contract for 2012 it means it’d be fine for him to travel to the races, and Williams wouldn’t sign him if they didn’t have this certainty.
    Schumacher had a car which was sometimes capable of podiums, and a highly-motivated Rosberg as team mate.
    With a mid-field car (unless Williams pull out a surprise) and an inferior team mate, and considering Kimi is younger than Michael, he can obtain good results in 2012 if he puts all his commitment in it.
    I want him back, but only if that’s what he really wants.

  3. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 7th November 2011, 14:57

    Definitely he should make a comeback. He is undoubtedly the best driver of the modern era of Formula One, so he deserves his place from F1 circus.

    One year in Williams showing he still got the speed and then taking Webber’s place in 2013 sounds like a plan!

  4. Alain (@paganbasque) said on 7th November 2011, 14:58

    He should not return to F1 with Williams, but I would like to see him again. The only reason to return is that he can be the “mesiah” who will reinforce Williams but its quite unreal to think that the english team will have a competitive car for 2012.

    Anyway I want to see again a battle betwen Kimi and Lewis, or Kimi eating another ice cream in Malaysia. :)

  5. stevie (@stevie) said on 7th November 2011, 15:07

    No. Why would a driver who wasn’t motivated in a ferrari be motivated in a car near the back of the grid two years later?
    I can only see him coming back, not liking it and leaving again.

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2011, 15:09

    The various comments about PR work leave me cold.

    I doubt any of the drivers enjoy doing PR. I’ve certainly never seen anything to suggest any of them do. Raikkonen is no different in that respect.

    But if you get to drive 200mph racing cars for a living and are paid eight-figure sums to do it, it would rather childish to then whinge about having to spend time with the people who sign the cheques. Most drivers realise this and deal with it.

    • gavmaclean (@gavmaclean) said on 7th November 2011, 15:16

      I’m sure it was DC who said that he saw his F1 life as being paid to do these PR commitments and that he got to go out racing on his days off.

      • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 7th November 2011, 15:22

        I believe you are right.

        Niki Lauda got a large salary at McLaren by telling Ron Dennis, “Pay me one dollar to race and one million to do sponsor work and the like” (this was at a time when half a million dollars was considered an unusually high basic salary for a driver).

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2011, 15:32

        @gavmaclean Certainly if you’re a McLaren driver – Jenson Button saw his annual PR commitment days go up from around a dozen to over 100 last year.

        • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 7th November 2011, 22:47

          Wow, that is an incredible number of days. Interesting when you take this fact with the Button killing it in the F1F popularity poll. Buttons value to Mclaren must be enormous and it appears Mclaren are fully aware of this and capitalising on it.

          • celeste (@celeste) said on 8th November 2011, 14:13

            @bearforce1 Actually even now Hamilton is more valuable as comercial product according to this list.

            Hamilton is worth at least €50.5 millions while Button only worth €36 millions; the list is from october. This can be notice in the number of Internet publications, even when Button had done some pretty amazing races most of the tittle talk about Hamilton… Right now if you do a search in google for Hamilton he will have at least 16,900,000 results, for Button this is only 9,090,000. Kimi has almost 5millions.

            PD.
            Yes I did notice that they misplaced Rosberg, he should be just after Button and not after Alonso.

  7. James (@jamesf1) said on 7th November 2011, 15:12

    I would love to see Raikkonen back on the track. It would be an epic prospect to see what he could do in below average machinary.

    However, he has to ask himself what is right for him. Does he want to return to a 20 race calender if he doesnt want to do all the travelling? Will his heart be in it if he cant feature in the top 10 as often as he had become used to (let alone the top 3). Does he see Williams as a platform up to a bigger team in 2013? Perhaps replacing Schumacher, returning to Mclaren or even replacing Webber at Red Bull. All seem plausible at the moment.

    It’s a tough one, but if his heart is in it, it will be great to see him back on the grid

  8. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 7th November 2011, 15:19

    I voted against. Notwithstanding the arguments about performance (I don’t think Kimi will do very well in 2012, but that says more about Williams’ current state than Kimi’s), Kimi left F1 in 2009 because he didn’t like certain off-track aspects of it. Those aspects, if anything, have become worse over the last two years. I can see Kimi being gradually disillusioned and unhappy if he takes the Williams seat, and he doesn’t perform anything like at his best when unhappy. This will result in him being a shadow of the self we know he can be and signing off F1 underperforming and unhappy. I’d prefer to see a happy Kimi racing in some other series, even if it’s not necessarily at his demonstrated skill level.

  9. maxthecat said on 7th November 2011, 15:19

    I think other drivers should be given a chance, Kimi had his, lucked into a World title and stopped trying.

  10. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 7th November 2011, 15:26

    There are Kimi lovers and Kimi haters…..some guys hate Kimi because he appears to be a bad person…Hamilton, who is very humble is the opposite of Kimi……Lets have guys like HAM and SUT in F1 rather than guys like Kimi…..
    Incidents like this doesnt help a person’s image

    Kimi doesnt help a child:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMBP1T_jw5w

    Kimi pushes a veteran photographer
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6e3bDs2lgw&feature=related

    It isnt a one-off incident,but Kimi has done this quite a few times

  11. Neil Davies (@neil-davies) said on 7th November 2011, 15:27

    I voted yes purely because having six world champions on the track at the same time is even cooler than having five. One cooler, in fact. :)

  12. Rocky (@rocky) said on 7th November 2011, 15:27

    Although I would like to see him back I’m afraid time has passed him by with no experience driving with KERS, DRS, Pirellis or fuel heavy cars. I think a younger perhaps more eager driver would be a better choice.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2011, 15:37

      @Rocky

      time has passed him by with no experience driving with KERS

      He won the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix driving a Ferrari with KERS – indeed, he used KERS to take the lead!

      • gabal (@gabal) said on 7th November 2011, 16:13

        @Keith Collantine I remember his press conference after first race of the season where reporters asked him about new “radically” different car with all the latest bells and whistles. He simply responded – the car feels the same.

  13. My desire to see Kimi back in F1 has approximately nothing to do with logic. He was the first driver to really capture my attention when I started watching F1 only a few years ago, and I’ve always felt sad to have missed out on most of his F1 career. The prospect of having him back is simply too exciting for me to assess the pros and cons rationally!

  14. porridge90210 (@porridge90210) said on 7th November 2011, 16:04

    would love to see him back!
    i think he gets a bit of unfair stick too, dont really believe he lost his motivation post 2007, in the 2nd half of 2009 didnt he score the most points in the championship? not bad for someone who’d lost interest!

  15. gabal (@gabal) said on 7th November 2011, 16:06

    I think Williams will benefit from signing Raikonnen and all this back and forth is simply they are trying to settle on a right price. The matter in that way is probably more complicated as rumors are showing Raikonnen’s arrival in Williams would bring a boost in sponsorship but that is the money the team doesn’t have at the moment.
    Kimi’s motivation is a big question here, I think he misses the driving challenge of F1 and I’m confident he can adapt to new cars quickly. As we have seen from Barrichello driver input is worth next to nothing in this day and age. Would Williams have the worst season in history if it has the services of most experienced driver ever to develop the car?

    As for Kimi not liking PR responsibilities? I couldn’t care less. It is refreshing to see a driver who isn’t a corporate marionette – I would wager a lot of them are annoyed by sponsorship commitments, Kimi is just honest about disliking them.

    On final note – as a Williams fan I’m more excited about possibility of Raikonnen in Williams then Sutil, van der Garde, Bianchi or other names which were floated around.

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