Kimi Raikkonen looks likely to rekindle his lost love affair with Ferrari by rejoining the team next season.
The 33-year-old Finn left in 2009, with Ferrari buying out the remaining year of his contract to make way for Fernando Alonso.
But Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has soothed the way for Raikkonen’s return by playing down any ill-feeling, saying: “What happened with Kimi? We won a world championship with him.”
Raikkonen was a popular member of the team and a Maranello legend as the ninth and last man to secure the drivers’ title for Ferrari, a lineage that goes back to Alberto Ascari in the early 1950s.
It is believed that Alonso would prefer to stick with Brazilian Felipe Massa, the embodiment of a dutiful No 2. Nico Hulkenburg, of Sauber, is also a strong contender for the seat if Massa is jettisoned.
Di Montezemolo patted a smiling Alonso on his cheek in a display of comradeship on the eve of last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix to show he wanted to move on after recently admonishing his star driver for criticising the team.
Alonso may still be able to thwart Raikkonen’s designs on a return. However, there seems little chance that Raikkonen would knock back an offer from Ferrari, not only because of the marque’s abiding allure but because his current team, Lotus, are struggling to pay him.
Di Montezemolo said Ferrari would “take a decision in the next few days.”
A Ferrari source said last night that an announcement was “not imminent.” But when did Ferrari ever trail these things? -Daily Mail