Raikkonen considering Williams for 2012?

By on Friday, September 16, 2011

Kimi Raikkonen could be in line for a surprise return to Formula One next season, having recently visited the Williams team factory in Grove.

The visit was confirmed by a team spokesman, who declined to give details about the visit. "It was a private visit, therefore we have no comment to make," said a spokesman for the Williams team .

Several media sources have been speculating recently that the team is unlikely to retain veteran Rubens Barrichello for 2012, who says that he is waiting on the team to renew his contract. Venezuelan rookie Pastor Maldonado is expected to be retained.

Since leaving Ferrari at the end of 2009, Raikkonen has competed in the World Rally Championship in a Citroen C4 and DS3, with a best result of 5th last year, including one stage win. After failing to make significant progress this season, those close to Raikkonen suggest that he is looking for alternatives, including a possible return to racing.

Raikkonen recently tested a Peugeot 908 in Spain, increasing speculation that he is to compete in next year's Le Mans 24 hours. The Finn, 31, also recently competed in a few NASCAR races and his pace was good.

One stumbling block for Williams would be Raikkonen's demand for a high salary, with the Grove based team notorious for its unwillingness to pay highly. However, if Raikkonen could lure sponsors to the team then a potentially high salary might be met.

Since quitting F1 in 2009, Raikkonen has been linked to several teams. Negotiations with McLaren fell through, whilst Raikkonen rejected Toyota prior to their withdrawal. Throughout 2010, he was linked to Red Bull whilst Renault claimed that the Finn was interested in racing for them, something that was angrily retorted by Raikkonen.

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