Former driver and fellow Finn, Mika Salo, has claimed that the Sauber move for Kimi Raikkonen does not reveal the whole picture as he feels his junior Finn has moved for reasons other than just driving in F1.
“In my opinion this is about more than just driving,” said Salo. “There are also a few stories around that Kimi would like to buy into Sauber as well.”
“As expectations are not terribly high, he can race without pressure. Maybe he can drive a bit more relaxed.” He did admit that the Raikkonen name will bring in a lot of publicity and financial gain for Sauber, unlike his last time there, when he was just a rookie.
“F1 is a business, and Kimi’s name brings sponsors, finances and a better financial base. It’s a big deal for Sauber,” he said. Raikkonen announced his return to Sauber with a special post on Instagram.
Salo is the only other Finn to have raced for Ferrari, when he deputized for an injured Michael Schumacher for a few races in 1999. He scored a couple of podiums for them back then and finished 10th in the drivers’ standings.
The team’s former boss, Peter Sauber, also said that he heard rumours of a move at the Italian Grand Prix. “I heard about this possibility already at Monza,” he told Switzerland’s Blick.
“That it has happened is a great signal for the team and the fans. A year ago he probably would not have taken this step.”
Had the boss still been at the helm, it would have capped off a perfect return for Raikkonen as Peter Sauber had taken a gamble all those years ago when he signed the Finn who was just 23 races into his career.
Salo’s comments are not unfounded as rumours of Raikkonen buying a share in the Sauber team had been making the rounds before the team announced the move. It might still be a possibility as the former Toyota driver claims.