Official: Kimi returns to Ferrari

Wednesday 11-September-2013 12:37

Kimi Raikkonen will once again the don the red overalls of Ferrari in 2014 after the Italian stable confirmed his return.

Felipe Massa's announcement on Tuesday evening that he will leave the team at the end of the 2013 season after nearly a decade at Maranello opened the door for Raikkonen's comeback and it was made official on Wednesday afternoon.

The legendary marque revealed that the Finn has signed a two-year deal that will see him partner Fernando Alonso, whose contract runs until the 2016 season.

A statement from the team read: "Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn will join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons."

Raikkonen said: "I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years.

"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 [Alonso], whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves."

Unlike in the past where Ferrari have opted to go with a clear number one, the 33-year-old's return will give them the strongest line-up on the grid as they will be the only team with two World Champions.

Alonso won two titles during his time at Renault while Raikkonen is remembered fondly by Scuderia fans as he won their last Championship in 2007, but the relationship didn't last very long as he left the team and F1 after the 2009 campaign.

He spent two years in the World Rally Championship before returning to Formula One in 2012 with Lotus, finishing third in the standings with one victory and six podiums to his name.

Although he won the opening race of the 2013 season, Raikkonen and Lotus have fallen off the pace and the Finn is 88 points behind pacesetter Sebastian Vettel.

His relationship with Lotus also appear to have deteriorated in recent months as he warned the Enstone squad on numerous occasions that he will not enter into any contract negotiations until they sorted out some "issues", which is believed to be related to their inability to pay him.

With Lotus not able to get their act together, the Finn was first strongly linked with a move to Red Bull, but nothing came of the deal after which Ferrari decided to pounce.

© 2014 - 365 Media Group

Any reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of 365 Media Group is strictly forbidden.