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. taurus (@taurus) said on 7th November 2011, 23:36

    Was never a fan of Kimi while he was in F1, but oddly I’ve missed him while he’s been away. If he comes back on form, I have an feeling he’ll drag Williams back into the glory days.

    I have noticed I’m in the minority though!

  2. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 8th November 2011, 0:19

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

  3. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 8th November 2011, 0:40

    Yes, yes and yes, he should comeback. It would be sad to loose Rubens(Maldonado should be ousted instead) but Kimi still had a lot to prove and on his best he was untouchable. He should come back, what does he have to loose?

    And more crucially, on the back of their worst season in history, what do Williams have to loose?

  4. Trido (@trido) said on 8th November 2011, 0:46

    Personally I would love to see him back but I too would question his motivation over the course of a season.

    On a side note, that first photo of him makes him look 45. lol

  5. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 8th November 2011, 0:52

    For reasons that have already been discussed here and on the Forum, the concerns for Kimi’s return are understandable. But overall I think he should come back because he is a unique character and its great for the sport. – I only wish he could come back in a competitive car.

  6. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 8th November 2011, 0:58

    In my opinion

    Can Williams afford him? No
    Is Raikkonen good enough? Maybe
    Committed? I don’t believe so
    Do I care? Not really

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 8th November 2011, 1:25

    Kimi could race in 2010. but I’m not sure he would cope with the situation(dominant RB6!) better than Fernando. Well, If he had remained instead of Massa, 2010 of Ferrari should be better than we know. but I don’t think Kimi would show his top notch speed immediately now. Considering it’s almost certain he would not have top team seat..

  8. It really depends on where Kimi is within himself.

    If he’s really hungry and eager to prove how good he stillis, then yes, even in an uncompetitve Williams it’s worth coming back. He’ll be able to prove his speed in comparison to his teammate and may well get better offers in short time.

    If his heart really isn’t 100% in it, then he’d be better off doing something which requires less commitment such as DTM or one off events like le mans.

  9. t3x (@t3x) said on 8th November 2011, 1:56

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Kimi, ever since he was at Mclaren. His talent is huge and i’m sure you do not loose talent that easily.

    Him coming back will be entertaining to say the least ! and especially if by 2013 he will go to a top team.

    I hope its true !!

  10. The Limit said on 8th November 2011, 2:37

    To a certain degree the thought of Kimi Raikkonen making a comeback into Formula One is attractive to me. He is a former world champion, and a multiple grands prix winner. For Williams, a team that have gone fourteen years without a championship to their name, Raikkonen would be a big name to join their ranks. However, I am not totally convinced.
    For me, Raikkonen pretty much summed up Formula One pre 2008. The Honda/Toyota years where money was no object, and drivers were being paid huge sums by the teams with even more being spent on testing and fancy aero devices on the cars that made them look ugly. For a time back in 2007, only Tiger Woods earned more money per year than Kimi Raikkonen anywhere in the world.
    To be fair, that has not changed all that much but with the cash came the pressure. When Raikkonen was being beaten by Felipe Massa in 2008 the Finn has the appearance of a man who could not be bothered with Ferrari and maybe Formula One in general. He knew that Ferrari were after Fernando Alonso, but even so, gave off a very indifferent attitude. This is bearable when you are successfull, but when a driver is not winning I would imagine that kind of attitude would get old quickly.
    Williams are in a dark place as 2011 ends. They have not won a grands prix since Brazil 2004, with Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheel, who went to McLaren the following year to be Raikkonen’s team mate. The are a far cry from the team that Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, and Jacques Villeneuve drove for to championship glory. There is nothing to suggest that 2012 will be any different from the Grove based team, which begs the question, why would Kimi race for them?
    Its not, as others have already rightly claimed, going to be a case of jumping into the car ‘and doing a Vettel’. Michael Schumacher has certainly not found his return to the fold an easy one, and Mercedes Benz are certainly far better in terms of performance than Williams.
    It would be risky, especially if Williams get the Kimi of 2008. If they get the Raikkonen were saw a decade ago at Sauber, then that is a different kettle of fish all together.

  11. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 8th November 2011, 2:42

    Would be an interesting diversion in the midfield, same as Schumacher’s comeback has been, and in a year when there’s no outstanding new talent coming through, why not?
    But a sad way for Barrichello’s F1 career to end.

    If he does come back, Williams reserve driver could be a smart move for whoever gets shuffled out at Force India and Lotus. Senna, Grosjean or Sutil. Good chance of some races later in the season.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 8th November 2011, 8:58

      in a year when there’s no outstanding new talent

      Not sure what year you’re in @Bullfrog , but there’s been Di Resta, Perez and even D’ambrosio (who I think is doing well in the Virgin) this year, then you had Bruno Senna last year, Ricciardo this year..

      Who in that list doesn’t count as ‘outstanding new talent’?

      • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 8th November 2011, 23:18

        Should have explained that better :) I meant guys currently in GP2 who are ready for a shot at F1. Grosjean yes, a worthy champion I thought, but the others need time and consistency from the handful of gp2 races I’ve seen. As you say, it’s been a decent year for new F1 drivers, di Resta and Perez have looked really good at times.

  12. Squib said on 8th November 2011, 3:26

    I would love to see Raikkonen back as long as his motivation was there and that Williams puts him in an – at least – semi decent car, I don’t want to see him floating around 15th.

    Whilst I don’t usually agree with anything Stirling Moss has to say, I wholeheartedly agree with his comment that Kimi Raikkonen is the fastest F1 driver ever!! Faster than Vettel and Hamilton I believe (though I believe both Vettel and Hamilton are better drivers on the whole). He was awesome to watch, especially in 2003, 2005 and 2007 – some truly magnificent driving!!!

  13. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th November 2011, 8:07

    I’m so, so confused by this! It seems I have arguments and counter-arguments. I’ll try verbalise them…

    We all know Raikkonen was paid handsomely by Ferrari, but running your own WRC team doesn’t come cheap. If this is about money, surely Williams isn’t the best place for him? I appreciate they posted a profit earlier this year but for me the disparity between a driver with plenty of oil money and the highest ever paid F1 driver is just too big a void to get my head around. This would requires a massive pay cut from Raikkonen or a willingness to play the long game.

    Driving with Williams next year is going to be one hell of a gamble for him. On the back of their worst ever season and with so little experience with current regulations it will be a mountain to climb. I don’t know whether I respect him for perhaps giving it a shot with Williams or I think badly of him for trying to jump into any team that will have him. I guess that again depends on what sort of mindset he is in/will be in.

    I actually think he’s doing alright in the WRC. I would love to see him stay there for a few years to see what he can do.

    I voted no, I don’t want to see him at Williams. My gut instinct tells me, despite my counter-arguments, that it just isn’t right for him in his current guise. However, I guess I don’t actually know the guy!

    • Raifosa (@raifosa) said on 8th November 2011, 9:23

      We all know Raikkonen was paid handsomely by Ferrari, but running your own WRC team doesn’t come cheap. If this is about money, surely Williams isn’t the best place for him? I appreciate they posted a profit earlier this year but for me the disparity between a driver with plenty of oil money and the highest ever paid F1 driver is just too big a void to get my head around. This would requires a massive pay cut from Raikkonen or a willingness to play the long game.

      Rumor has it that QNB sponsorship is 30m euro, half of which will go to Kimi. And before haters start with it’s too much & he’s not worth it, remember that Williams doesn’t get a cent without him. Again if rumors are true.

  14. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 8th November 2011, 8:54

    There’s only 1 team I could see Raikkonen returning with: Red Bull.. Whilst Webber is taking up the 2nd seat there, that’s certainly not an option (unless.. 3 car teams anyone?)

    But, even when you take Webber out of the equation, I don’t believe Vettel and Raikkonen would be a good pairing..

  15. muzbye (@muzbye) said on 8th November 2011, 9:53

    If Williams can prove the Renault deal is worth a WDC comeback, then Kimi should!

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