Williams to confirm Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi?

Kimi Raikkonen

Photoshop impression of Kimi Raikkonen as Williams driver (Note: this is a manipulated image)

Nov.1 (PVM) In the wake of Williams announcing a relatively simulator deal with Qatar-based Mowasalat, the word doing the rounds is that this is merely a prelude to a much bigger announcement set to be made by the team in Abu Dhabi which will also involve the return to Formula 1 of Kimi Raikkonen.

Race winner Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen celebrates winning the 2009 Belgian GP

Finnish MTV, traditionally a well informed and reliable source on matters pertaining to Raikkonen, reported that Williams will announce the advent of a major new Qatari sponsor and confirm Raikkonen to drive alongside Pastor Maldonado in 2012.

It is believed that Williams have secured substantial backing from QND (Qatar National Bank) to be title sponsors. This coupled to the fact that Sir Frank Williams has secured Renault engines for the team in 2012 has been enough to lure Raikkonen back to F1.

In the late seventies Williams were the first team to tap into the lucrative Middle East sponsorship market and were backed by several major Saudi companies including: Saudia, Al Bilad bank, aviation services company Dallah Avco, travel agents Kanoo, the Bin Laden Group and TAG (Techniqeus d’ Avant Garde). From 1978 to 1983 Saudia Williams (and their Arab partners) notched up two Formula 1 world championship titles with Alan Jones in 1980 and Keke Rosberg in 1982.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN). NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Rd7, Charlotte Motor Speedway,

Kimi tried his hand at NASCAR Camping World Truck Series earlier this year

Iceman, as Raikkonen is affectionately known by his fans, remains one of the most popular drivers and his presence on the grid would mean six F1 world champions will line-up on the grid in 2012.

Raikkonen and his management team have kept a low profile, and notably have not commented on the latest reports that emerged in force during the Indian GP weekend.

Williams have remained tight lipped, but chairman Adam Parr let slip in India, “Kimi has been one of the most competent drivers in the last few years and I think everyone would like to see him back in F1.”

With regards to returning to a team struggling at the wrong end of the grid, Raikkonen is quoted saying in various German media, “Of course you always want a winning car, but as we have seen this year, there is only one team that really has that.”

Which suggests that the Finn is prepared to give F1 another bash, and may even have support from long time backer Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Citroen C4 WRC crashes out 19km into stage 4.

Kimi's rally exploits have been dramatic but success in WRC limited

Respected F1 journalist Joe Saward wrote on his blog, “For Kimi there is little to lose. If things go badly the team can take the blame, but if the results are better this will reflect well on him.”

He added, “Negotiations over contracts will mean that Raikkonen will have to compromise on his normal level of earnings, but he is not short of money and a healthy bonus scheme would be a very good way to motivate him.”

When approached for comment a Williams spokesperson said: “There is no comment to be made on this.”

Raikkonen competed in 156 grands prix from 2001 to 2009 winning the 2007 Formula 1 world championship, amassing 18 wins, 62 podiums and 16 pole positions – his last win was at the 2009 Belgian GP and his last grand prix race was in Abu Dhabi in 2009. He drove for Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari.

Currently Raikkonen contests the World Rally Championship, but with moderate success. He has also recently dabbled in Nascar Truck racing and tested Peugeot’s Le Mans prototype.

  • vx-2

    They should also mention how many “Raceday Fastest Lap” that’s under his belt

  • chandra setiawan

    Good News for next season, but don’t so hope with a big results. different rule, time and team.
    STILL CAN’T WAIT FOR KIMI back to F1. Will be a fantastic season. F1 without Kimi is sour.

  • Stewy33

    A 6th world champion on the grid is always welcomed if in fact he is signed for next year! Hopefully with Kimi behind the wheel the Williams can show race pace to run with the front runners. We will have to see their is a lot of Kimi haters out their that say his world championship was a fluke, but lets see how Kimi does with a less dominate race car.

  • jino

    good point vx-2. even with a struggling ferrari, he has set a lot of race day fastest lap.its a pleasure to wqatch him racing…

  • vX-2

    Williams doesn’t really need to make a huge leap forward (though, if they can, it’d be nicer)…. They just need to produce a good midfield car (as good as Mercedes/ Brawn, if possible), and that should allow us (the spectators) to see more overtaking (excitement) maneuver !

  • kimi

    Williams can be in top 6 for sure may be even better than Renault then top5. Kimi can be in top10 regularly. In 2013 … MS, Webber, Nico all contract will get over and many opportunity can be open for kimi :)

  • Ferrari Crappy

    wow….if he really comeback wow wowooooooooowoooo nice nice. i love him so much. the greatest F1 driver & of course the calm guy, ice man. nobody like im. not to much talk but very fast on the track. cant wait to see him again.

  • Nemo

    Well Kimi has been linked to about 5 teams since he left, so lets see if this one comes true. If it does, it will be great for Williams. With Coughlan coming in + Renault engines, things are looking up for the team. I doubt they will be front runners, though anything will be better than the 5pts they have this yr

  • Sennauno

    he’s already in Williams overalls…the deal must be done! ;)

  • Max Smoot

    Interesting news, but will he use his experience to develop the car? If he has any sense he’ll move into the factory and use this opportunity to restore both his and Williams’ reputations.

  • Barlow

    It all gets curiouser and curiouser, but this rumor seems to be more substantial than the other rumors during the first part of the season. I would like to see Kimi back, it would add greatly to the fun of race weekends, and exciting to see him race in a car that is not quite up to front-runner speed, but by next year, who knows.

  • Magnus Rubensson

    Would be even more interesting to see Raikkonen vs Alonso at Ferrari.

    I guess that’s too much to hope for. :)

  • kaka007

    I just wanna see him back in f1………i missed him so much in formula1

  • Stewy33

    @ Magnus Rubensson

    I’m Very sure Kimi is “Seeing Red” but I see Kimi wanting revenge against Ferrari for the way they forced him out of the sport. If Kimi can get pace with Ferrari I’m sure he is going to bang wheels with them to ruin their race! In that scenario Kimi wins either way!!!

  • http://www.educate-yourself.org Tsstheseason

    Kimi sucks. He needs a job…Look above at all his un-successful careers. He misses F-1 and was a fluke. Barely won the title. Then booked out. he was not forced. Why would a driver who won a title be forced out? Makes no sense. U can be ugly and still have woman all over you if you have the right amount of money. That my point. Kimi sucks. I will never be a fan.

    He is also a prick to the media and very arrogant.

  • Stewy33

    Kimi was kicked to the curb, Alonso danced his way to Ferrari with Santander bank throwing money everywhere…

  • Twiinz

    Kimi wanted to go try WRC. He had won his F1 title and wanted a new challenge. As a world champ, if he wanted a ride in F1, he would of had it. He got paid not to race, so he took the money and went off to play with rally cars. I don’t think his is bitter. I think he has been unfulfilled in other motorsports and wants to come back. There is nothing as exiting as the sense of speed and sound in a modern F1 car. Even if he was “forced” out, Kimi will not be bitter. He is calm a laid back, it always showed in his driving.

  • Sennauno

    @stewy33

    right so Ferrari only took on a double world champion because of the money from Santander. Hmmm sounds like a rubbish theory to me… why not just cut to the chase bro just say Í hate alonso cos he took Kimi’s place at Ferrari’
    I’d applaude your honesty at least…

    The rest of you tragics speculating about Kimi returning to Ferrari and who or what was the cause of his exodus need to open up a can of wake the f up. Ferrari paid a small fortune for Kimi to leave because he was underperforming (he was getting beat by Massa…before the accident though) and judging by Kimi’s 2008 season it would indicate it was mutual. He may have been forced to vacate his seat for the remaining year of his contract but not from F1

    F1 needs characters like Raikonnen…too many of the current driver are just geeks

  • Tamburello_1994

    Yea… I agree with the Kimi needs a job. If he was all that, He would have come back with Renault this year and been in perfect position for next. He waited one year too late. He’s lucky Williams(might)take him back. I totally agree with Tsstheseason.

    As for F1 needing “characters like Raikonnen…” Not sure what Kimi brings. Sure, He can race with the best of them but off track he acted like a total moron. Why would F1 want that?

  • azwris

    Rubens is better!

  • Aapo

    Please, manipulate the photo with Kimi’s correct name Raikkönen wit two k-letters.
    I am happy that Kimi, the legend, will be back.

  • Sennauno

    @ Tamburello_1994

    why does F1 need need characters like Kimi? I guess it depends on your definition of how a Grand Prix Driver should behave when his not at work. By calling Kimi a moron, am I right in saying that you dont like drivers that let their hair down and take the rest of their life as their own…not caring about what the media or what us/you/everyone else thinks about (judges) them in their conduct and actions? You prefer the drivers which would serve as a good example for the kids? Fair enough…but I respect Kimi’s outlook

    I think this sums it up perfectly. The man is a legend just for this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBD_OBuNapY

  • stewy33

    @ Sennauno

    I agree 100% with your video link! I’m Kimi and I’m a on a boat!
    As for your comment the other day, Alonso is an outstanding driver, I’m mad at “Ferrari” for giving him a conservative car when they have the resources at the factory to produce a better car.

  • Tamburello_1994

    @ Sennauno

    Well yea. Simply put if were talking strictly of “character” I don’t think of Raikkönen at all. He’s a poor team leader ( e.g the video you posted. Why would you be on the boat when you should be huddling with the team for input-feedback?) I thought that video goes to my point than anything else. Ferrari couldn’t wait to be rid of him because he brought absolutely nothing to the table. Actually paid him NOT to race. Part of being F1 is about image I think Kimi sets a good example on how not to behave when you reach the pinnacle of motorsports, Driving for one of the sports top teams. . . . . Nobody is bigger than Formula 1, As he found out.

    Some may found his antics fun and a switch from the robot drivers we have grown accustom to over the years. . . I get it. But when It’s also about being the “corporate face” of a team. . . . Time to represent the TEAM not YOURSELF . . . . . I like the “Sebastian Vettel approach” a heck of a lot better.

    Lastly, I don’t disrespect Kimi at all. Like I said before, He can race his ass off. Just very lacking on the personality front. My opine.

    Peace.

    Tam_1994

  • Rob

    “stewy33
    5 November, 2011 – 9:52 pm
    @ Sennauno

    I agree 100% with your video link! I’m Kimi and I’m a on a boat!
    As for your comment the other day, Alonso is an outstanding driver, I’m mad at “Ferrari” for giving him a conservative car when they have the resources at the factory to produce a better car.”

    Oh dear, that is rich, Yeah, they’re just holding back. LMFAO!!!

  • Rob

    Just to clarify. This is F1, nobody comes to the table with a conservative car. If in fact Ferrari, of all teams, did do that then they no longer belong in F1. F1 is not for the conservative in car engineering and you’ve no prayer if you are. Williams made a gamble with a very different design this season and paid the price in poor performance on track. Bad news for their season but good news for what they learned I’m sure. Even in failure you learn a lot engineering wise. RBR is a good example of learning a lot in failure.

    Since this is about Kimi being back in the picture that’d be great, no matter the team but I wonder about his usefulness in development. It wouldn’t appear to be his strong point.

  • stewy33

    @ Rob

    This is a direct qutoe from Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis of the Ferrari F150
    “A more aggressive approach has come about as the result of the analysis we carried out of the defeats we suffered over the past few years. We realised we had been a bit too conservative and had closed our minds to some strands of development. So for next year’s car, we have sanctioned a much more aggressive approach on the aero front, which has required a much closer working relationship with those developing the structure of the car.

  • stewy33

    @Rob

    This is a direct qutoe from Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis of the Ferrari F150
    “A more aggressive approach has come about as the result of the analysis we carried out of the defeats we suffered over the past few years. We realised we had been a bit too conservative and had closed our minds to some strands of development. So for next year’s car, we have sanctioned a much more aggressive approach on the aero front, which has required a much closer working relationship with those developing the structure of the car.

  • stewy33

    @ Rob

    Even Chief Designer, Nikolas Tombazis of the Ferrari F150 openly admits“ We realised we had been a bit too conservative and had closed our minds to some strands of development”.

  • mezran

    welcome back Kimi.

  • mezran

    welcome back kimi, F1 will be more fun.