Williams should sign Raikkonen, says McLaren principal


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The Independent Online

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has today urged Sir Frank Williams to bring Kimi Raikkonen back to Formula One.

Williams has described as "a lot of supposition" suggestions Raikkonen will be driving for his team next season, although it has emerged talks have taken place with the Finn.

The question for Williams is whether they can afford the 2007 world champion who, in his time at Ferrari before spending the last two years in rallying, was reported to be earning £20million.

It is understood Williams are working on ways of financing the deal that would enable the 32-year-old to make a comeback.

Certainly Whitmarsh, who worked with Raikkonen for five years from 2002-2006 when he won nine races and was runner-up in 2003 and 2005, feels Williams should do whatever he can to lure him back.

Should it happen, it would give F1 six world champions on the grid next season for the first time in the sport's history.

Asked what advice he would give Williams with regard to Raikkonen, Whitmarsh replied: "Try and sign him."

He added: "We all know Kimi is quick, and people underestimate how intelligent he can be.

"I hope he is hungry. I'm sure he hasn't lost the capability to thrill us in Formula One, so I think it would be fantastic for Formula One (if he returned).

"I wouldn't ordinarily presume to advise Sir Frank on who he should sign, but I think it would be exciting if he did."

Like Whitmarsh, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has also had experience of working with Raikkonen, whom he believes would return with a point to prove.

"Of course, I would not give any advice to Frank. He has a lot of experience, more than me," said Domenicali.

"But I know Kimi very well. He is very talented, very strong.

"If he wants to come back, it will be because he has something he wants to show to everyone about him, about the fact he was the last driver to be champion with us, and to show he is still one of the strongest."

Williams, though, has insisted no decision has been made, either with regard to Raikkonen, or current drivers Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado.

Williams said: "It's not clear exactly who will be in both cars. Pastor may be in one car, Rubens in the other. We haven't really made up our minds."