Kimi Raikkonen will return to Ferrari next season, five years after he was dropped by the team.
Ferrari confirmed the news on Wednesday, the day after Felipe Massa announced his eight-year tenure at at the team was coming to an end.
Raikkonen has signed a two-year deal to drive for the team who he last raced for between 2007 and 2009. A statement from from Ferrari confirmed he will “join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons”.
“I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years,” said Raikkonen. “I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the world championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable.”
“I can’t wait to be driving a prancing horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves.”
Ferrari scored their last championship success with the Raikkonen-Massa partnership in 2008 and Raikkonen is the team’s most recent drivers’ champion. He will partner Fernando Alonso, the driver who replaced him in 2010.
Raikkonen and Alonso were championship rivals in 2005 while racing for McLaren and Renault respectively. They won seven races each that year but Alonso won the title with two rounds to spare.
It brings an end Raikkonen’s association with Lotus, with which he returned to Formula One last year following a two-year absence from the sport in the wake of his departure from Ferrari.
Alonso said: “I’d like to welcome my new travelling companion: together, starting next year, we will have to tackle a very demanding technical and racing challenge.”
“I want to thank Felipe for all the support he has given me and the team during this journey we have made together over all these years,” he added.
“Come the end of the season, it will not be easy to say goodbye to a team-mate like him. He has always been truly professional and loyal to the team and I am sure that right to the end, he will do his utmost for the Scuderia that he loves so much.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali added: “I am pleased to welcome Kimi back to the Scuderia, the team with which he won his world championship title.”
“I sense he is very happy to be returning to Maranello and very determined to tackle the work that awaits him in the best way possible.”
Domenicali also added his thanks to Massa for his eight years of service as one of the team’s racing drivers: “I wish to thank Felipe with all my heart and also on behalf of all our fans around the world, for the extraordinary job he has done for the team over so many years.”
“Felipe has always behaved like a real team player. Together we have lived through some great times and also a few dramatic moments, which have helped to cement a truly unique relationship on both a professional and personal level.”
“He will always be part of our family and we wish him all the very best for the future. Now we must concentrate all our efforts on the remaining seven races of the season and we know that, as always, we can count on Felipe’s contribution, while we work together to reach our goals. Our determination will not waver one iota right to the very end.”
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