Toyota WRC team principal Tommi Makinen has admitted that he is open to having F1 driver Kimi Raikkonen test for them. Raikkonen’s F1 future has been uncertain ever since Ferrari expressed interest in replacing him with Charles Leclerc for 2019.
Although a switch to WRC for Raikkonen seem a little far-fetched, Makinen has said that the door is open for a test.
“He hasn’t tested anything now, but why not?” he said. “If he wants to drive the car I can let him, no question.”
Makinen has worked alongside Raikkonen when the latter contested the WRC Rally Finland in 2009.
“I know how he is driving. He drives very well, he’s not crazy,” four-time WRC champion Makinen added.
Raikkonen raced in the WRC during his F1 sabbatical in 2010-11. His best finish was fifth in Turkey in his first season.
Current Toyota WRC sporting director Kaj Lindstrom was Raikkonen’s co-driver in all his rally outings.
“You know Kimi, when we drove before he said we would do a few rallies in the Fiat…” Lindstrom said.
“He hasn’t said anything yet. He might say he wants to do one rally or something and it would be interesting to see him in the car, but nothing has been talked about.”
But he warned against setting too high expectations for the Finnish veteran.
“Tommi knows him well and Kimi knows me well,” said Lindstrom.
“But this kind of story has to be really careful. If we say anything then it goes on and suddenly [it is written that] we have Kimi in the car and in the team for the whole season.
“This kind of thing can get a little bit silly.”
Five-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier said that Raikkonen’s presence would be good for rallying.
“If he wants to [come back], then I am sure he can be good,” Ogier said. “It’s just a question of whether he wants to – we know he’s not a big worker.
“But a name like Raikkonen is never bad for the sport, that’s for sure.”
“We remember when he came several years ago, he struggled and now, after being out [of rallying] for some time, it won’t be easier – especially now as I feel the level is even higher than when he was there before,” Ogier added.