That is the claim of Adam Parr, the former Williams chairman who now admits to trying to secure the services of the 2007 world champion at the end of 2011.
Ultimately, the Williams talks collapsed and former McLaren and Ferrari driver Raikkonen, now 33, return to F1 after a two-year rallying hiatus last year with Lotus.
Famous for his laconic and truly unique personality, he surprised many in 2012 by winning in Abu Dhabi and finishing his return season with third place in the world championship.
Briton Parr, who left his role as Williams chairman early last year and is now promoting a book, confirmed he had talks with the Finn about driving for the famous British team in 2012.
"I wanted to bring Kimi to Williams in 2012," he is quoted as saying by Italy's Autosprint, "but I could not guarantee a competitive car for him.
"When I spoke with him, I was impressed by his hunger and his determination," said Parr.
"Nevertheless, his value at the time remained unclear, and we didn't know just how strong our car would be."
In 2012, Pastor Maldonado won the Spanish grand prix and, alongside Bruno Senna, the pair helped Williams to finish eighth in the constructors' world championship.
With Lotus, Raikkonen also won just a single race but also an impressive tally of 207 points.