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Ferrari confirms the return of the prodigal son
Ferrari finally confirmed the rumours that had been circulating for weeks when it confirmed it had re-signed Kimi Raikkonen to partner Fernando Alonso in 2014.
In the curtest of statements, Ferrari dealt with the matter in two lines: "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 leaves Lotus to return to the team which released him from his contract on full pay a year early at the end of 2009 to make room for the arrival of Alonso. After winning the world title in his relationship with Ferrari soured and after his release he spent two years away from the sport in the world of rally. But he was lured back by Lotus in 2012.
Fire and ice
- The Iceman and Alonso. Formula One's most taciturn Finn, paired with one of the paddock's most eloquent talents. A passionate and fiery Latin temperament coupled with one of the most laid-back men in motorsport history.
Ferrari are either total geniuses or completely mad (geni or scemi, maybe…), and we'll have to wait until mid-2014 to work out which is which.
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It proved a successful move and as he prospered and Felipe Massa's fortunes stuttered, speculation grew that Raikkonen would move on. For a while he was linked with Red Bull until it became clear that the team did not want such a strong partner for Sebastian Vettel. And so to Ferrari.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said he was "delighted" to have Raikkonen back at Ferrari. "I sense he is very happy to be returning to Maranello and very determined to tackle the work that awaits him in the best way possible."
Although Alonso has been the No. 1 driver at Ferrari for the last four seasons the team is yet to win a drivers' championship since Raikkonen's success in 2007. Nico Hulkenberg had also been linked with Ferrari earlier this year, but he is now one of the favourites for the vacant seat at Lotus.