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?

  1. mcmercslr (@mcmercslr) said on 7th November 2011, 16:11

    I’d rather Kimi didn’t return. firstly because of the way he left and the way he’s been since. I haven’t missed him since he left. I much prefer the more likeable Barichello even if he isn’t as quick as Kimi and finally there is younger talent about. I’d much prefer that a young driver was given a chance than bringing back Kimi who will not be what he used to be

  2. Nixon (@nixon) said on 7th November 2011, 16:45

    The Fanatics have spoken…

  3. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 7th November 2011, 16:45

    Yesss. Sod it.

  4. macca1977 (@) said on 7th November 2011, 17:03

    I think he should come back, not with Williams though, unfortunately there is no much options available at the time. In an ideal world Webber, Massa or Hamilton should move to Williams and Kimi to RBR, Ferrari or Mclaren. I hope Kimi is pursuing a RBR drive for next year and that’s why he is going to Williams next year to “re-learn” f1.

  5. AkaSparks (@akasparks) said on 7th November 2011, 17:30

    Williams just signed Renault as engine supplier
    Renault supplies Red Bull
    Kimi races for Williams in 2012 to get back into the sport
    Webber retires at end of 2012
    Kimi moves over to Red Bull to race for Renault powered Red Bull in 2013

    and if i really want to go out on a limb… Vettel will move to Mercedes to replace retiring Schumacher and look for a new challenge in 2013

    That’s my conspiracy theory :O)

  6. Nobody’s mentioned Villeneuve’s failed last comeback with Renault and Sauber? I fear a similar fate will befall Kimi, and unlike him, Villeneuve never lacked passion

  7. azwris said on 7th November 2011, 17:39

    I don’t think that Kimi is going to be faster than Rubens Barrichello. I can’t stand this ‘very cooool’ guy! No. pleeease!

  8. ChrisJones said on 7th November 2011, 20:46

    In my opinion, Kimi became disenchanted with F1 after achieving his goal. He thought another series might suit his personality better, so he dabbled in a little bit of everything (WRC campaign, LMP and nascar tests, etc.). He soon realized that the grass most definitely was not greener on the other side of the fence, and came to the conclusion that F1 was where he was supposed to be.

    I doubt many will deny that he is still one of the top drivers in the world, and certainly deserves a drive with one of the top F1 teams. Unfortunately there aren’t any openings right now, however that will all change in a couple years with seat opening up at most of the top teams. Kimi probably figures he will get his feet wet again with a midfield team, no pressure to win, take his time getting up to speed with the new regs and tires. Once he thoroughly destroy any potential Williams team mate in 2012, he is probably hoping that will be enough to secure a seat with a top team. Given his existing ties with Red Bull and Webbers current form, my guess is that he will partner Vettel in 2013, or possibly to McLaren depending on whether Hamilton decides to stay put.

  9. Sergey said on 7th November 2011, 20:56

    Being humble and being yourself are two different things.you have no enemies when you never stood up for something.

  10. Quite simply, I would love to see Raikkonen back in F1, even if it is with a limping team. He definitely wasn’t at the end of his career when he got replaced by Alonso. I’ve also found it hard to find a new favourite driver to follow [this year I've been wavering between Button and Schumacher]

    I guess the Iceman will always be my favourite to the end.

  11. megan said on 7th November 2011, 21:57

    I wish people would stop making comments about about rally when they dont understand it and clearly dont follow it.

    Where to start. Kimi is a privateer in WRC, most privateers dont run in all of the rallies, rally Australia is the most expensive rally, this one rally alone takes up almost 2/3 of the budget for a privateer team’s whole season. The only privateer who has gone to all of the rallies in recent years is Petter Solberg.

    Which brings me to another point there NO seats in WRC, it is one of the big problems with the sport. How would you expect someone like Kimi who has almost no experience in rally terms to get some kind of factory seat, while a WDC like Petter Solberg who is one of the biggest names in the sport cant even find a seat somewhere? It is a misrepresentation to say that Kimi cant find a seat in WRC. There just aren’t any seats, and new teams like Mini needs drivers with experience not someone who has only driven 20 rallies in their career.

    The same thing with the two rallies Kimi didn’t compete, he already lost a day in both cases, if he had continued under super rally rules the following day, he would have gotten 30 minutes of penalties. Any chance of achieving a good position and points was completely gone. Kimi is a privateer so he pays out of his own pocket for a big part of his budget, there really isn’t much sense for him to continue under super rally it would just cost more with no results.

    Except for the last two rallies (one crash and one mechanical failure) Kimi has done a really good job this season in WRC. He is clearly faster then the Stobart drivers Henning Solberg and Matthew Wilson. He is often faster then new promising talents Mads Ostberg and Novikov. In rally Finland where he has more experience then in other rallies, he was practically matching Petter Solberg pace wise for an extended period. He is often faster then Kris Meeke – an IRC champion. That is pretty remarkable for a guy with 20 rallies worth of experience. I hope Kimi stays in WRC, he could be a really good WRC driver, if he gets the experience. Experience in rally is much more important then in F1.

    There is certainly a lot of nonsense about Kimi going around that people like to repeat as facts. He has always honored his sponsorship commitments, he is just honest when says he doesn’t like PR, but he has always honored those commitments.

    I still dont understand why people would say Kimi was bad in 2009, he had the 4th to 5th best car on the grid and won a race with that car and scored 4 podiums. Have the current drivers in the 4th – 5th fastest cars won any races recently? Or are they even getting podiums?

    The fact is Williams has scored 5 points so far this season, they are at the back of the grid only one step ahead of the new teams. They need something or just about anything badly, they would be darn lucky to get Kimi.

    • RaikkonenNo1 said on 8th November 2011, 0:26

      well said Megan

      However I don’t think Kimi will ever be able to get near Loeb,Ogier,Latvala,Hirvonen and really what he did for Australia was stupid,if he didn’t want to go fair enough but he should have said that straight away instead of putting himself on the official FIA entry list for the event

      ”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”

      I had to laugh at this,YES Kimi has got off the boil AND lacked motivation after his World title win but to suggest he wouldn’t fly to Australia if he joined Williams and then say he would give up if his KERS failed on the first lap is a cheap dig and totally untrue

      And start looking up some stuff on WRC before you come out with bull like that,as Megan said,he has to pay out of his own pocket and it’s not exactly cheap

      I expected better from you Keith

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 15:04

        While I am sure you follow the WRC world better than I do @megan, the seat issue isn’t all that different from F1 then; it explains and put in context why there was no seat for him, but it remains true he had no seat, as Keith said.

        Also, I still wonder: even if what you say about that Australia rally is true, he could have decided from the start not to compete in Australia, and pick another rally instead, or not have put himself on the FIA list in the first place.

        Either he overestimated himself/his team, underestimated the costs, or he did but then forgot to look at the consequences for his team (or was out of money?). It still doesn’t show commitment, which is something people in F1 had doubts about already after his Ferrari period.

        You are very right in my mind in pointing out that a team with only 5 points so far this year could do worse than to have Raikkonen, even if he is inconsistent, on the good days he should be able to show a lot more than Barrichello, making it likely worth it even then to take a risk with him.

  12. Raikkonen is one of the naturally fast drivers. Having worked in two top teams he not only knows how to go fast in a fast car, but also why he’s going faster (unlike Sutil as someone else pointed earlier). Now, he is wanting to come back, a move which shows his hunger (well somewhat) and Williams have lacked a true top driver since ’05 as far as i remember (when Montoya joined McLaren). McLaren actually had 3 top driver leave them in less than 3 years. Montoya, Raikkonen and Alonso, and i’d tend to think it has something to do with the handling of the personnel. On the other hand recently there are changes, with Whitmarsh doing the personnel handling (and not Dennis) and McLaren have seen a steady boat, as far as drivers are concerned. Ferrari lost Raikkonen, but it was mostly them kicking Kimi out and returning to good old days of politics which we all hate (remember Italian drivers for Italian cars?).

    Tyres as someone pointed out, will be the key. Kimi was never too hard on the tyres. He was better than Montoya, as was documented well in one issue of F1 Racing, and it was to do something with how they line up for corners. Kimi is faster both in to one and in getting out of a corner. I don’t think he would all of a sudden be taking different lines, and be much worse as a result. He will need to get used to the car and the tyres and overall balance of things, and given his natural ability he will be fine.

    Williams and Kimi both need a break and are able to provide one for each other. As far as i’m concerned as a follower of this sport now for almost 2 decades, it happens very rarely in this sport, and when you do get one, you take that opportunity and make it your own. There are chances that it may fall flat on its face, but you couldn’t fault Williams or Kimi for trying it. Williams also will have a better engine than one they’ve had for years now. Hopefully, the car will be upto scratch and if it is, you know you could count on Kimi to go fast alright. Well, at-least he would avoid hitting Massa!

    You know what, i as a Michael fan, enjoyed most of engine/ suspension or whatever else Kimi suffered at Macca. Boy did i cheer and raise toasts to having another Macca engine toasted. Nothing warms the heart of a tifosi like a McLaren engine burning. It is extremely rare these days i know, and i wouldn’t wish it upon Button. Boy that lad Button is good! Now can’t wait for him to come back and leave his mark on the sport for good!

  13. Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 7th November 2011, 22:06

    There was a great comment for conspiracy theorists about Kimi’s supposed lack of from on Joe Saward’s blog: https://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/now-they-are-talking-about-it/#comment-73910

  14. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 7th November 2011, 22:19

    Kimmi will most certainly spice things up for the fans, whether he bombs or does well. If Kimmi does have a meltdown and does the throw in the towel if the car is not fast or up to his expectation. It will make for great Hamiltonesque media interest and the comments section here would go crazy.

    Reading the comments here I realised that although I as a fan will win either way with Kimmi returning. I do remember that there is a whole team of people working their guts out to put the car on track. I do think that Kimi is capable of throwing in the towel, giving up and not putting an effort in if things don’t go well for him or the car is not in the top three. I feel sorry for all those other team members that would suffer as a result of Kimmi’s dummy spit.

  15. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 7th November 2011, 23:06

    I think it would bring nothing to F1 to see Kimi back, considering he was giving nothing when he left.

    But it’s up to them to decide in the end.

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