Kimi interested in Williams for 2012

By on Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen. Photo credit: Red Bull GEPA

According to the BBC website, Kimi Raikkonen is interested in making a return to F1 in 2012 and the Williams F1 team is a potential target for him. A publicist from the Williams team has already confirmed that Raikkonen visited the Williams teams' Oxfordshire factory last week and was given a tour around the factory by Adam Parr, the current Chairman of Williams. The Williams' publicist refused to comment further, only saying that it was a "private visit" by Raikkonen.

Despite a poor season this year, the Williams team is still a big name in F1 and is a team steeped in racing pedigree. Williams is overhauling their technical department ahead of next year because of their dissatisfaction with their performance this year. Williams chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson and technical directory Sam Michaels have resigned and they will be replaced by former McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan, who developed the MP4-20, a car which Raikkonen won seven races with in 2005. Williams will also revert to using Renault engines in the 2012 and 2013, restoring a partnership that led to the most successful era in the team's history.

Although Kimi Raikkonen's manager, Steve Robertson has insisted that they are not negotiating with any F1 teams at the moment, he has left the door open to all options for next year, such as rallying, NASCAR and F1.

Although Williams is likely to be looking for a sponsor-backed driver to partner with Pastor Maldonado in 2012, Raikkonen's presence could potentially attract new sponsors to the team. Rubens Barrichello is still motivated to continue racing with Williams next year but does not bring any financial backing to the team. However, Barrichello has been out-qualified by his teammate six times this year and has not thoroughly justified his presence based on his performance this year.

Even if Raikkonen's plans to return to F1 in 2012 fall through, 2013 presents another opportunity for him to try to make a comeback to the sport. In 2013, several drivers at the top F1 teams such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Felipe Massa will be out of contract. If Raikkonen is successful in making a comeback to F1 in 2012 with the Williams team, he could potentially use next year as a transition year to gain more experience driving a F1 car with KERS, DRS and the new Pirelli tyres. If Raikkonen can work hard and demonstrate motivation in 2012, something which has eluded him in the past, he could be an attractive package for the top teams such as Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in 2013.

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