WRC » 2 November 2011
Your views: Where next for Raikkonen?
What could the future hold for Kimi Raikkonen in 2012 and beyond? Crash.net viewer Mike Nichol ponders the options...
In the past three years we've seen Kimi Raikkonen move from one form of automobile racing to another, first from Formula One where he accomplished the ultimate goal of becoming World Champion, onto his own privately owned World Rally Championship team.
To keep us all guessing, and perhaps to eliminate the onset of boredom – and as if flying through the trees wasn't challenging enough - Kimi took an interesting detour testing a NASCAR racer in the US, and competed in a race, just to see if he'd like it.
Recently the Finn has completed a test with the ultra fast French Peugeot sports car team in Spain, alongside the factory's current drivers. And now, rumours again surface of a return to F1 with the legendary Williams team.
That's four different types of vehicles! Normally three years is a lifetime in motor sports but for Kimi, aka 'The Iceman', aka 'The Kimster', they must have been three very quick years indeed.
For the legions of Raikkonen fans worldwide what's important is not where he's been lately but where he will be next year. Let's review some of his possibilities for future employment in the world of motor sports...
(Note; At this time we'll leave out snowmobile racing as, although it is certainly a motorised sport Kimi Raikkonen has participated in previously, under the name 'James Hunt', it is regarded as unlikely he will enter on a full time basis!)
First, let's look at perhaps the most likely place Kimi will be using his considerable talents next year, and that is, dare I say, Formula One.
Currently on the F1 grid there are several teams which at this late date remain unsettled as to their driving assignments for next year. These teams are; Lotus Renault, Force India, Toro Rosso, Williams, and the newer teams such as HRT, and Virgin. All in all quite a selection of teams showing varying potential short term. Using the process of elimination, since after all, he is a former World Champion, it is probably safe to say his management team will be entertaining offers from the better financed, and performing organisations. As we near the end of the Formula One season you can assume much of the remaining interest within the sport will focus on just which teams pursue Raikkonen more forcefully than the others.
In the other racing series which Kimi has expressed varying degrees of interest the World Rally Championship probably holds the greatest affinity for him, simply because so many of his Finish countrymen compete there. NASCAR, which his friend and former McLaren team-mate, Juan Pablo Montoya now calls home is a more relaxed, and competitor friendly environment than F1, or so say the drivers themselves. And lastly, Sports Cars are returning to their former glory with the competition between Peugeot and Audi, with the promise of more manufacturers to join. Who wouldn't want to run at Le Mans?
It has been a very interesting past three years for the man from Finland. Wherever he choses, I for one, will be happy to see Kimi Raikkonen in any race car.
by Mike Nichol
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