Kimi Raikkonen has visited Ferrari’s base at Maranello ahead of his return to the team for the 2014 Formula One season.
The Finn will return to the Italian marque after enjoying three seasons in Maranello between 2007 and 2009, winning the drivers’ world championship during his first year with the team. However, the relationship between Raikkonen and the Ferrari management turned sour towards the end of 2009, leading the team to pay off the remainder of his contract so he could leave and make way for the incoming Fernando Alonso.
Raikkonen walked away from Formula One in favor of rallying, but the Finn returned in 2012 with Lotus and has enjoyed some success, claiming two race wins and a number of podium finishes. He had appeared to be enjoying the team’s more relaxed approach to PR, giving him a great deal of freedom. However, the team has encountered financial difficulties that has seen Raikkonen go unpaid, forcing him to look for a seat at another team. After missing out on his preferred destination, Red Bull, to Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, it was confirmed that he would be returning to Ferrari as a replacement for Felipe Massa.
Raikkonen returned to Maranello yesterday for a seat fitting and a meeting with team principal Stefano Domenicali. Despite still being under contract with Lotus, it is thought that Raikkonen has been given permission to meet with the team in order to ensure that he has no problems fitting into the newly-designed 2014 car.
The Finn had threatened to walk away from Lotus before the end of the season if he is not paid, but a compromise appears to have been reached that will see him race at Austin and Interlagos.