McLaren boss welcomes Raikkonen F1 return

(L to R): Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Managing Director celebrates with Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 22 May 2005. DIGITAL IMAGE

Martin Whitmarsh celebrates with Kimi Raikkonen after 2005 Monaco GP victory

Jan.30 (PVM) McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh welcomes and believes the return of Kimi Raikkonen is good for Formula 1, predicting if Lotus provide him with a good car the Iceman will be fast in it

Kimi during his Lotus seat fitting earlier this month

Kimi during his Lotus seat fitting earlier this month

“Kimi is a great guy, with a super talent,” Whitmarsh told Formula1.com. “He was very successful during his five seasons at McLaren, winning nine grands prix for us and, although he narrowly failed to win a Drivers’ World Championship during that time, he could easily have become World Champion in both 2003 and 2005 if he’d had a bit more luck or a little more reliability.”

“Even as things were, without that extra bit of luck and reliability required to win World Championships, he still won 12 grands prix for us and some of those wins were truly majestic.”

“If the Lotus car is quick, Kimi will be quick in it; it’s as simple as that in my view,” added Whitmarsh.

“During an FIA press conference at a grand prix in the latter half of last year – I forget where – I was asked by a journalist whether the team principals of the teams then rumoured to be considering Kimi for a 2012 drive, a couple of whom were sitting alongside me, should hire him or not. My answer was an unequivocal yes.”

“I stand by that answer, and I’m pleased that he’s made a Formula One comeback. He’s a very popular driver, and I think Formula One will be the better for his return.”

“No fewer than six World Champions will be competing in Formula One this season – more than ever before – and each of them, including Kimi, is not only a fantastic racing driver but also a colourful character with a robust fans’ following and a unique global allure,” concluded Whitmarsh.