PARIS: Finnish Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen will rejoin the Ferrari stable from the 2014 season, the team announced on Wednesday.
Raikkonen, 33, the 2007 world champion, will drive alongside Spain’s Fernando Alonso, the man who replaced him at the Italian stable in 2009.
“Welcome back, Kimi! read a headline on the team website.
“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,” continued the statement.
He will take over from Brazilian Felipe Massa to form an experienced partnership who can boast more than 50 Grands Prix wins — 32 for Alonso and 20 for Raikkonen — and three world titles between them.
“I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years,” Raikkonen said on the team website.
“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, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves.”
Raikkonen’s success in 2007 was the last time Ferrari won a world title, after which British duo Jenson Button, in a Brawn, and Lewis Hamilton, in a McLaren, claimed the championship before Red Bull’s Sebatian Vettel began his three-year reign.
Raikkonen left Formula One in 2009 and spent two seasons driving in the World Rally Championship.
The flying Finn won nine Grands Prix with Ferrari, having also won nine during a five-year spell at McLaren, where he twice finished runner-up, in 2003 behind Michael Schumacher and then in 2005 to Alonso.
After a stint in NASCAR he returned to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, where he has won two Grands Prix.
The departing Massa said he wanted to remain in F1 but has yet to find a drive for 2014.
“For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective!” he said.
Massa will have spent eight years with Ferrari after joining from Sauber in 2006.
In 2008 he came within a couple of bends of winning the world title, only for Lewis Hamilton to snatch it by overtaking Timo Glock two corners from the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
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