Kimi Raikkonen will race for Ferrari next season after agreeing a two-year deal that takes the 2007 Formula 1 World Champion back to the glamour team which he left in 2009.
Ferrari said in a statement that the 33-year-old Finnish ‘Iceman’, currently competing for Lotus, will replace Brazilian Felipe Massa alongside Spain’s double world champion Fernando Alonso.
“Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn will join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons,” the statement said.
Raikkonen said, “I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years. I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the World Championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable.”
He added, “I can’t wait to be driving a Prancing Horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves.”
Massa, championship runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in 2008 before he suffered near-fatal head injuries in Hungary the following year, had already announced on social media that he would not be driving for the Italian team in 2014.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali commented, “I am pleased to welcome Kimi back to the Scuderia, the team with which he won his World Championship title. I sense he is very happy to be returning to Maranello and very determined to tackle the work that awaits him in the best way possible.” (Reuters)
Kimi Raikkonen Fact File
Age: 33 (born on Oct. 17, 1979 in Espoo, Finland)
Began go-karting aged 11 and entered the British Formula Renault series in 1999. He was champion the following year with seven wins from 10 races.
Sauber signed him at the end of 2000, despite his lack of experience. Then-FIA president Max Mosley was one of the doubters, only reluctantly handing him an F1 superlicence after Sauber pleaded his case.
Raikkonen scored a point on his debut in Australia in 2001. By the end of that season he had scored nine points and been signed by McLaren to replace compatriot Mika Hakkinen.
Dubbed ‘Ice Man’ by McLaren team boss Ron Dennis for his calmness under pressure, he pushed Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher all the way in 2003 but missed out on the championship by two points. He now has ‘Iceman’ tattooed on his forearm.
The Finn was runner-up to Renault’s Fernando Alonso in 2005, winning as many races (seven) as his Spanish rival. On Sept 10, 2006, Ferrari announced he had been signed to replace seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.
World champion in 2007, beating Hamilton and Alonso by a single point after winning three of the last four races in a stunning turnaround.
Third in the 2008 championship and eclipsed by team mate Felipe Massa. At the end of 2009, after winning just one race, he was paid off for the remaining year of his contract and replaced by Alonso. The Finn then spent the next two years in world rallying and NASCAR.
Returned to F1 with Lotus in 2012 and made an instant impression, ending the year third overall. Until this year’s Belgian Grand Prix, he had racked up a record 27 consecutive races in the points. Raikkonen also won the 2013 season-opener in Australia.
11 September 2013 Ferrari announce Raikkonen’s return as replacement for Brazilian Felipe Massa.