Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has conceded that the notion of 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen returning to the grand prix grid with Red Bull Racing in 2011 following a sabbatical year in the World Rally Championship (WRC) is one that might be 'interesting' to the energy drinks-backed outfit.
When Raikkonen renounced F1 to pursue his second love of rallying with the Citroën Junior World Rally Team late last year, both the Finn and his manager Steve Robertson evoked the possibility of rejoining the fray in 2011, and with Red Bull backing and funding his works WRC challenge, its grand prix team seemed like the obvious destination.
Whilst some have suggested that it is at the very least presumptuous to make such a contention, it has been pointed out that both current RBR incumbents Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be out-of-contract come the end of the forthcoming campaign, and the former has been strongly linked with a switch to Mercedes Grand Prix should his compatriot Michael Schumacher's celebrated F1 comeback fall short of expectations. The famously outspoken Marko has done little to pour cold water on the speculation.
“He (Raikkonen) has a contract with Red Bull, so let's wait and see how this develops,” the Austrian told Dutch website formule1.nl
. “We have a large Red Bull family, so there are many options. We will have to see how he goes in rallying and what he wants to do, but the idea is at least interesting.”
The 18-time grand prix-winner himself, meanwhile, seems to be missing little of his previous world, finding the more relaxed, friendlier and less political arena of rallying to be far more in-tune with his free-spirited and laidback approach to life. Regrets, there seem to be few.
“For me it does not matter,” the 30-year-old Espoo native told British newspaper The Independent
, when asked if he misses F1. “I do not follow it closely -- I just read it in the papers like you.”