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?

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  1. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 8th November 2011, 10:23

    I voted no opinion because i really don’t care! I’ve always found Kimi boring at the best of times.

  2. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 8th November 2011, 13:31

    Kimi’s return can only be good for the sport. As for Williams, he is a risk, but I’d rather take chance on Raikkonen than watch Rubens reliably plod around for another year purely for the statistics. For the younger readers, Kimi Raikkonen was an absolute revelation to the sport and the view of him, I suspect, would be entirely different if he was a 3 time champion who beat Schumacher the season after a complete domination. He lost his way in 2008 and was far from poor, just inconsistent. I think with Williams he can help take them forwards quickly, I don’t buy that a guy of Kimi’s talent can’t be competitive because of a couples of buttons and a fuel load. If he can’t master that within 2 tests then he’s lost his ability. The tyres will be the defining point for me, and after watching every Raikkonen race, I see him having no problem with getting speed out of them, possibly longevity might be an issue. Then surely a move to Red Bull for 2013, I can’t see RB spending huge money on him for a couple of good rallies, to bail without a look in if he is as good as he was. And in my opinion there is no reason why Kimi can not win again, he’s got a better chance then Massa ;)

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 14:52

      Are you a fan @rbalonso? Name says otherwise, but who knows, especially as you are willing to change it to RBRaikkonen :-)

      Yes, you are right that it’s a risk, but I also agree it is a risk worth taking: Barrichello hasn’t been able to show much extra this year, despite undoubtedly trying.

      • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 8th November 2011, 15:16

        @bosyber unfortunately RB are my initials lol ;) I just think that Kimi’s reputation is being a wee bit undermined, you know? You’ve seen his whole career right? (your profile says 1993) so you know what I mean about unbelievable drive like spa 04 and suzuka 05. Raikkonen is such a class act in the car..which makes Fernando look better for beating him ;) kiddin’

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 8th November 2011, 15:24

          Yes, I was making a bit of fun of you @rbalonso, but the more I think about it, about what Williams really have to loose, and what Raikkonen can bring to them, the better a chance it seems. It would be great to see that sort of driving back.

          And I am also happy to see how Raikkonen is able to rival the comment-count on the articles about Hamilton too – it could mean two times as many for/against discussions, or half both of them :-)

  3. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 8th November 2011, 13:32

    Well I voted no. Kimi is just about one of the most ignorant people I’ve ever seen on TV (and off TV). And with that ignorance came a complete lack of character. I’m sure he doesn’t give a monkey’s about any of this which is exactly why we shouldn’t give one about him…

    He was a mid-pack driver most of the time with an occasional flash of some other ability. About as brilliant as the wage packet he would be chasing…

    A half decent driver no doubt but an absolutely rubbish F1 driver who was champ only because everyone tripped over each other (or their team mate…)

  4. Cant wait to see Kimi in F1 again, hes the reason i started watching F1 in the first place in 2001. F1 hasent been the same after he left.

  5. tmax (@tmax) said on 8th November 2011, 15:04

    I believe that Raikkonen should not get into F1 with Williams. My thought process is because of the following

    1) Raikkonen lost motivation even with a team like Ferrari and Mclaren. A grossly under performing team like Williams will not do any good.

    2) Having 6 Champions as statistics and numbers is great. I believe rather than giving Raikkonen a chance Williams should give some young drivers a chance to make sure that new talent comes into F1. Who knows they might even end up with the likes of a Hamilton, Vettel or Fernando. Once such a driver comes through then sponsorship attracting other talents and bringing things together is not a difficult thing. Vettel/Redbull and Fernando/Renault are good examples.

  6. Kimi is indeed a mystery. When he was at McLaren his commitment was second to none, he was brave and hungry and often put the car into positions where it should not have been. I still remember when his suspension broke on the last lap while he was leading after he had driven flat out for 20 odd laps with intense vibrations at the left front. Very few, if any other drivers would even contemplate doing that.

    When he arrived at Ferrari he brought with him his his fighting spirit and overcame a lot of reliability issues in 2007 to clinch the championship. Most people forget that Raikkonen had reliability issues and lost at least 2 wins in 2007 due to those. Not driver errors, mechanical failures. But it seemed like Ferrari was sucking the spirit out of Raikkonen. He doesn`t like the commercial side of F1, and Ferrari like their drivers to represent the company as much as possible. A marriage made in hell in other words.

    It all turned for the worse after that. Except from glimpses of the Raikkonen of old he seemed uninterested and fed up.

    But Raikkonen is not lazy, and he is indeed good at developing cars. The engineers at McLaren was very impressed with his input. The problem was that Ferrari was not interested in Raikkonen input. Their car`s were built in the same mold as in the Schumacher era in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The problem with all these cars is an inability to generate enough heat in the tires. This translates to sub-standard qualifying and problems when you have a rainy or cold day for most drivers. This was not a problem for Schumacher as he threw the car into corners and was generally able to generate heat despite the car`s characteristics. For him this characteristic was benefitial as it allowed him longer stints on the tires and made him more competitive. For a more fluent driver the inability to generate heat into the tires is a problem. If Ferrari had lent an ear to Raikonen they would have changed the characteristic of their cars years ago and might have been much more competitive the last seasons.

    Bring Kimi back, let him have fun and race. He will surprise many, he`s no cry-baby and he`s among the most honest racers out there.

  7. Keith Collantine

    Well, most of them accept that the commercial side of F1 is a part of their job. Kimi hates it, and prefers pubs and stripclubs. That doesn`t go well down in a company like Ferrari. They expected a role-model and a poster-boy. What they got was a person they felt embarrased them from time to time.

    I understand Ferrari, when you pay someone that much money you expect them to behave and be a poster boy. Raikkonen will never be a poster boy, he`s more of a party animal. But that`s Raikkonen, take him as he is og leave him be.

  8. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 8th November 2011, 17:06

    Nope.

    I used to like him a little bit when he was at McLaren, but after he moved to Ferrari, he just became boring. The only time he ever excited me was in Spa 2008, but then he disappointed me by crashing!

    I was disappointed when he left, but I can see why he did it. I don’t want him back because, frankly, I’ve not missed him at all. Has he even missed F1 himself, or is he just bored with his life and career? If he really wants to come back; good on him, but I can’t see where the motivation is going to come from, especially if he’s trundling around at the back in a Williams.

    I’d rather see Rubens keep his seat. If he has to come back, I want him to replace Maldonado. He’s done nothing all year.

  9. mags (@mags) said on 8th November 2011, 17:32

    I think that, judging by the amount of posts we’ve had already, his return to the sport would generate even more interest than we have at present…Come on, he might not be the best thing for f1 or Williams, but then neither is DRS, and at least he’s interesting most of the time.

  10. Lord Stig (@lord-stig) said on 8th November 2011, 20:40

    I must admit I am a big Raikkonen fan and I would be happy to seem him back. However, he should only come back if he wants to come back. He needs to be as motivated as he was during the McLaren days and be ready for a not so good car from Williams. If he is half in and half out then this is not going to work.

    If he does come back I am sure Rubens is going to get the boot. Pastor and PDVSA bring too much money for Williams to say no. If Kimi brings Qatari money then Williams should be much better placed. There is no doubt that more cash is going to help them up the field. Unless you are Toyota…

  11. Peter____ said on 9th November 2011, 5:55

    A no-face driver to me. Pale personality. Moderate driver. Please do not come back, Kimi!

  12. suka (@suka) said on 9th November 2011, 7:24

    Yes. I miss Kimi as I also miss a few other drivers who had given the sport quite some excitement. Kimi had been very exciting to watch and to talk about.
    Surely the number of comments and votes tells us that we all want him back, more or less.
    Kimi, please come back. Sir Williams, please let him drive.

  13. Palle (@palle) said on 9th November 2011, 18:03

    Kimi to replace Webber and Schuey to replace Massa or vice versa: Then we would have 6 World Champions in the presumably top 6 cars next year. That would be interesting – but I know its impossible. Kimi in a Williams would be disappointing – how would he be able to make points unless Williams create a miracle during the winter.

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