Whitmarsh and Domenicali tell Williams: “sign Raikkonen”

2011 F1 season

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Raikkonen scored his last win for Ferrari at Spa in 2009

Principals from two teams who Kimi Raikkonen won races for advised Frank Williams to sign the former world champion.

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh and Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali gave the advice to Williams in today’s press conference.

Whitmarsh said: “Try and sign him. Kimi, we all know he is quick.

“I think people underestimate how intelligent he can be. I hope that he is hungry. I am sure he hasn’t lost the capability to thrill us in Formula 1 so I think it would be fantastic for Formula 1.

“I wouldn’t ordinarily presume to advise Sir Frank who he should sign but I think it would be exciting if he did.”

Domenicali added: “Of course, I would not give any advice to Frank. He has long experience. A lot longer than me.

“For sure, I know Kimi very well. He is very talented, very strong, and if he wants to come back he has something that wants to show to everyone about him, about the fact that he was the last driver to win the world championship with us and he will want to show he is still one of the strongest.”

Frank Williams would not be drawn on speculation he could hire the 2007 world champion, saying: “I cannot make any comment about supposition.”

2011 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Whitmarsh and Domenicali tell Williams: “sign Raikkonen””

  1. Things are hotting up!

    I like this. I can’t remember the last time I heard other team principles calling for another to sign a former employee! Great stuff.

    1. Hmmm I remember Eddie Jordan advertising Nick Heidfeld to Williams, although Nick was still a Jordan driver at the time even if he was driving for free.

  2. Although I would like to see Kimi back in F1 and Williams may be higher in positions, but if they cannot produce a car worthy of signing Kimi I cannot see him being commited to them and possibly leaving after a season. I personally would like to see Kimi back in F1 but I always have doubts about comitment.

    1. I think Williams have much higher hopes for their 2012 car, and want a driver that is capable of getting the most from it.

      1. Williams have had much higher hopes for next season’s car for about the last ten years. Ultimately, while I’d love to see them back at the front there’s no particular reason to expect them to be there.

        1. What happened to the word about the different type of KERS system that Williams were going to run in 2012?
          There was all this talk early in the year that they were only running the conventional battery type set up this year, and then next year their own fly wheel type?

          1. I think their flywheel KERS ended up in Porsches rather.

          2. They were developing it for use after 2009 I tihnk @ivz, but then with refuelling being banned, the cars needed a bigger fuel tank and that made integrating a flywheel solution too bulky for an F1 car, as there are limitations to where it can go (near the drive-shaft, I think?); with electrics you can wire it from somewhere else, mechanical energy is harder/bulkier to reroute, and even if possible, it would reduce its efficiency I’d think.

            But they set up a spin-off company that is doing pretty well selling it to Porche as @raymondu999 mentions. I think Jaguar or another brand are also interested. It seems to be doing pretty well for sports cars.

  3. It would be much better to see a motivated Raikkonen driving than any Barrichello.

    1. But Barrichello is a great guy…I don´t know, I will really miss him…

    2. Key word: motivated. Question is, how long can Kimi stay motivated?

    3. It would be much better to see a de-motivated Raikkonnen drive than any Barrichello

      1. Damn, looking back at these comments in 2012 with Kimi back in F1 with Lotus – and just off the back of his first win since comeback. And Williams are a racewinner this year!! I wish Williams had signed Raikkonen as I’d like to see his qualy pace compared to Maldonado. If Frank had signed Kimi Williams would probably be several places higher in the constructors

  4. I would be dissappointed if Williams don’t sign Raikkonen now, would be great for the sport, plus it puts Williams back in the media spotlight whatever happens and thats always a good thing.

    Even if he’s not racing right at the front, it’s better than him messing around in a rally car rolling it about.

    I would love to see Kimi Back! Sign him up! :D

    1. I agree, with all the hype about his comeback I will be majorly disappointed if it doesn’t happen.

      1. I agree as well, i would be so disapointed if they didn’t now…

  5. Anyone knows where I can read on Kimi’s career in Nascar? I don’t follow Nascar but I would really like to know how it went with him.

    1. I think he only did one truck series race, and finished 22nd or 27th or somewhere around there. Since then I think he tested a Peugeot 908, and there was a story about him being omitted from the WRC standings for not driving in the Australian rally.

    2. @meek

      Came across this after Kimi’s Nascar debut and is hilarious, sums up how it went!

      The ten funniest things Kimi Raikkonen said in his NASCAR debut

      1. @meek @snowman Those are quotes from the Nationwide series race he did, which was the one NASCAR race he did in addition to the Trucks race. He didn’t seem to enjoy it as much…

        He finished 15th in the Trucks race, btw, after qualifying 31st. People seemed impressed. (In the Nationwide Series race, he only finished 27th.)

      2. So if Williams is spotted buying extra large drinks bottles you know that kimi is signed :p

      3. Things like this make me want Kimi back even more.

  6. I hope Kimi returns. I don’t care if he fights for 15th position, though I believe he will score some points next season. Unlike many on this forum never doubted his motivation or commitment.
    Look what people say about Massa. He’s not this or he lacks something. I believe Massa’s even more commited and wants a good result than ever. But he doesn’t deliver. I never held him in high regard, but I do not doubt his desire to to good or win if you please.
    Kimi come back. And do the best you can. I know you will give it all. As ever. That’s good enough for me.

  7. The two men who didn’t sign Raikkonen again saying that? Stefano shoved him out early, Kimi left Mclaren and then the deal failed before 2010 (although I suspect Kimi happily walked from that). The only thing I care about is that this gets sorted out one way or the other quickly. Kimi’s return to F1 has being going on two years too long.

    1. In Domenicali’s answer I get a strong impression of him saying “Kimi got bored with us, but if he wants back in then it means he is motivated, grab your chance” and Withmarsh is saying much the same.

      I would hope Kimi really wants back in, settles for a more reasonable salary than the alledged 15 million/year and Williams gives him a car that might get him at least within a crazy shot of a podium once next year.

    2. Well, @Steph, I do think that it’s at least partly Kimi’s pride (perhaps mixed with that legendary laziness, if it really exists) is what created the 2010-mess.

      I mean, here he was at Ferrari, dragging that dog of a car to places where any other driver only could’ve dreamed of… enter Santander pay driver Fernando Alonso. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had to make a top four of current drivers, Alonso would definitely be in it.

      But my point is, that not only Alonso, but also the sponsoring by Santander paved the way for an early entry for Fernando and thus early exit for Kimi.

      Now, what to do? He would get the biggest sum of money from the team who dumped him, if he didn’t get a race seat. Also he is somenone who hates the PR-work. So, here he was, negotiating with apparantly nothing to loose.

      Either he would get a new job on his own demands, or he would squeeze the most money out of Ferrari who sacked him.

      Add to this, the desire to try out some other things, like rally and there you have it.

      A lot of people might say that Kimi is so cool and iceman, but I think that he was truly hurt by what happened at Ferrari. Just look at those funny finnish clips, where you see him joking around in his own language, or think about the time he entered a powerboat race in a monkey suit as James Hunt… he certainly has his pride.

      I only hope that this pride, this hunger, makes him:
      – sign the deal
      – and stick around to harvest, either at Williams (hmmmm)
      – or somewhere else

      1. I mean, here he was at Ferrari, dragging that dog of a car to places where any other driver only could’ve dreamed of

        Any other driver except the uniquely talented Felipe Massa obviously who was taking it to the brink of a world championship.

        1. @jerseyf1 obviously he’s talking about 2009

          1. @raymondu999 On re-reading I think that you’re right, but Felipe was still outperforming him in the same car.

            I don’t argue that it was a dog of a car, Badoer and Fisi proved that conclusively and I think that reflects extremely well on both Kimi and Felipe. But Kimi was not the best driver at Ferrari in either ’08 or ’09 so it wasn’t really a complete surprise that Ferrari were no longer as keen on him as they once had been and to put all the blame on the Santander money is unfair. It only made possible what Ferrari wanted to do anyway.

      2. I mean, here he was at Ferrari, dragging that dog of a car to places where any other driver only could’ve dreamed of… enter Santander pay driver Fernando Alonso

        Massa and Kimi were both pretty even throughout 09 although Massa imo was doign slightly better. After that he only had Bodoer and then Fisi to beat. As a Ferrari fan I’m grateful for the podiums but I find it impossible to judge his second half of the season because he didn’t have a good team mate.

  8. It would do a lot of good if they were able to sign both Raikkonen and Sutil. That would make Williams a team with one of the strongest pairings but things might get a bit sour with the previous experience of both drivers.

    1. @dpod, Yeah, they were just like Massa-Hamilton

  9. Now how’s this for a conspiracy theory.
    McLaren & Ferrari have inside info that the next year’s Williams car will be a real killer, even Barrichello should be able to put it on podium. Trying to foist Raikkonen on Willi is the best damage control they could come up with :-).

    1. So .. you’re saying that by a surprise race winning car would be better in the hands of Barrichello than Raikonnen?!?!

  10. I think its already a done deal, we are just waiting for the official announcement from Sir frank.


    1. According to Raikkonen, nothing has been signed yet. And according to Claire Williams – Sir Frank’s daughter and the team’s PR manager – they won’t make a decision until the end of the season. Apparently there is a disagreement between Adam Parr and Patrick Head over the best way forward for 2012; one of them (Parr, I think) wants Adrian Sutil, but the other is lobbying for Raikkonen.

      1. I know Sutil is ‘safe’ and ‘solid’ and people question Raikkonen’s commitment, but he’s a far more inspiring choice, far more likely to get the big results if they present themselves. I know Williams is a far cry from its former glory and perhaps should pick its drivers accordingly, but to me choosing Sutil over Kimi would be the sign that the team really is only making up the numbers rather than striving for good results.

        1. Yeah, I think taking Sutil will just turn Williams in a more meh team with being solid but not exiting.

          Now taking on Kimi will create a huge amount of buzz as well as it might get them some really nice results.
          Sure, it might also turn out to be a downer, but will anyone say something apart from that its good Williams tried it, and a shame Kimi was not motivated enough if that happened? I don’t think so.
          If they can make the budget fit, than I would think they should rather try Kimi (or try to get Hulk back instead?).

          1. Well put, with the disaster of this year, in some sense, it becomes an easier risk to take, and it will be a big upturn if it works at least a bit.

            I do think people here tend to be down on Sutil a bit too much, I think he can do better than he has shown earlier this year, but he’s not a Raikkonen, not even close.

          2. Oh, forgot: Hulk, now there’s a driver I’m not very convinced of yet; he didn’t manage to show much better than Maldonado this year (taking into account the different car+reliability), apart from the great pole in Brazil. Thus, he’s a bit of a risk too, albeit a risk they can judge better.

  11. I would rather have Barrichello, no matter what combination of awful either he or the car or both have been in 2011, than to see the most successful driver to never give a damn back in F1 just like that.

    And this is coming from an INTJ even.

    1. I prefer Rubens! Raikkonen is worse than him in all aspects!

      1. Raikkonen was faster (i’m sure he still is) , younger, sharper, brings in bigger sponsors therefore more money, a world champion.

        Rubbens is slow, no big sponsors, so old he could be my grandfater, has never won anything…

        Need i say more?

        1. +1, If Raikkonen realises his mistake in leaving F1 and is prepared to make this work, he’d be great to have back. Barrichello is not better than Raikkonen (including the one that took 5 podiums in the dog of an F60) in any aspect.

        2. Couldn’t agree anymore. I’m still trying to figure out what Rubens is actually doing in F1. He has had a championship winning car for 6 seasons in his career so far, and has accomplished absolutely nothing. Now he is coasting along in mid field cars, and denying fresher and more exciting drivers from entering the sport. I cannot wait for Rubens to retire.

      2. Other than possibly commitment (which I doubt as Barrichello must be ready to quit soon) I can’t think of a single aspect.

      3. I feel so bad for Rubens, He really deserves better. Nicest guy in F1.

        1. True, he’s a great guy, as this wtf1_co_uk post shows.

          But he hasn’t been able to outshine many team mates, and at Williams, despite every effort, and his experience, he and his team haven’t been able to get a real good result during this year.

          Now, that’s probably mainly to do with Williams current form, and organisation, as he showed as recently as 2009 that he can win races in the right car; to add to that, Rosberg left for a reason, and he left in time, I’d think.

          But it does indicate that they aren’t really a team that can currently give him that car, and he isn’t the driver to bring them further either.

          A motivated Raikkonen with something to prove is very very fast and can show surprising things, more so than Barrichello has ever been able to.

          In the Sauber he could do very well on a good day, and I think that Kimi would have been able to drag the 2011 Williams to some more points this year. With a slightly better car, he can get them into Q3 for a few more races, and in the points too.

  12. Even with all of the media and fan interest, no matter what Kimi, team bosses or the fans think he is still going to be in the seat of one of the most dissapointing Grand Prix cars in recent history. Virtually an impossiblilty for him to return the Williams team to its once former glory. I happen to dig the guy and like how he commands himself. As a former champion and winner of many Grand Prix he is about to tenure a position with a team that offers hopelessness. His return to the sport will be amongst the worst decisions made by any driver who believed that his presence in a team would somehow right the sinking ship. Sorry Kimi, should have just said no.

    1. You don’t like Williams do you?

      Well, I do, and I’m still holding out they build a better car this year, one where can can be back fighting for the points.

      1. Nothing to do with liking Williams, they are a team that has fallen from grace. Once among the greater teams in the history of the sport, now struggling to be better than the worst teams on the grid. I would love nothing more than to see them rise again. The problem is that gap and to close the gap enough is unlikely even with Kimi. They have to wait for the big rule changes of 2013 to role the dice. Maybe then it could turn around.

        1. Maybe (if Kimi feels like doing that) they can have him for next year and the years after. That way next year can be to get to know F1 again and be comfortable in with the team, as a preparation for 2013!

  13. I understand what Whitmarsh said but why Domenicali speaking? it was his management that kicked Kimi out!

    1. Me too. MW is a known Kimi fanboy so no surprise there :)
      He said back in 09 that McLaren’s dream team would’ve been Kimi & Mika

  14. Very smart both of them. They themselves wouldn’t sign Kimi, but would be very happy to see him racing for Williams, and waiting to see if he is still any good. If he is then they hope maybe to sign him in the future. Very smart.

  15. I think Kimi can only do good to F1. I feel sorry for Rubens, one more season would make me happy, but Kimi is a great driver and Williams can only imrpove with him on board. I won’t even consider what would happen if he wasn’t motivated, because I’m sure that was/is the first point that Williams want to clear with Kimi, and if the Finn is ready for F1, he’ll do very well.

  16. I really don’t want to see him at Williams. I know it’s all things change there next year but I just can’t see them giving him a worthy car to be honest.

    I would love him back in the sport though.

  17. Raikkonen would be a much better choice than Barrichello. He’s washed up and was never really the best there was; and has had plenty of chances to prove himself, but failed.

    As for Sutil, I don’t really rate him that much. I believe that both Di Resta and Hulkenberg have more to offer and I hope to see them in the seats of the Force India next year.

    Don’t even get me started on Maldonado, I don’t like him, I don’t rate him and I want to see Raikkonen show him up completely.

  18. From another point of view, Grosjean seemed to do quite well in FP1 yesterday, considering he hasn’t had much time with the R31 (only a straightline test). So would it be a step too far to assume that Kimi would not be too troubled adapting to the 2011 cars from the 2009 ones? Grosjean has been in single seaters pretty much the whole time whereas Kimi has been in everything else though.

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