The reports of Kimi Raikkonen bowing out of F1 have been intensely doing the rounds ever since the Finn was offered only a one-year deal at the end of last season. Ferrari have supposedly made up their minds about Sauber rookie, Charles Leclerc to replace him.
But it seems that will not be the only deal involving Ferrari and its customer team. Reports in Swiss paper, Blick, state that Sauber could also be looking at Raikkonen as a potential replacement for the outgoing Leclerc.
Leo Turrini, a Ferrari insider, thinks otherwise though. He believed that the team should stick with its current duo of Vettel and Raikkonen. “We have Ferrari’s best duo for over 25 years. We also have a car that is still developing and a team that works brilliantly together”, he said.
The words do have an element of truth to them. Ferrari are currently atop the constructors’ standings while Vettel too leads the drivers’ championship, holding an eight-point lead over Lewis Hamilton.
Raikkonen himself admitted that he was unsure of his place and had said that ‘it was upto the team’ to take the decision. If he does make the return, it will be a homecoming for him.
Raikkonen in fact started his career in F1 with Peter Sauber’s team way back in 2001. Despite having only taken part in 23 races and not eligible for a super-license, the team owner took a gamble on the young Finn.
It paid off well as he performed brilliantly, regularly proving his mettle with a moderately-developed car. In the process, he impressed Ron Dennis, who instantly signed him up for McLaren, where he competed in a lot of title battles.
But it remains to be seen if he will continue in F1 with a backmarker car, especially at the back end of his career. He is not short of offers outside F1 and it may very well happen that he could take them up.