Rumours persist over the 2012 driving line up at Williams. The loss of high profile sponsors such as RBS, Phillips and Air Asia have been well documented and have seen the team opting to hire Venezuelan, Pastor Maldonado, who has come with significant backing from the state owned oil company, PDVSA. The ongoing financial difficulties experienced by the team have fuelled rumours in the paddock that veteran, Ruben Barrichello, will be replaced by another driver ‘with a budget’.
Some of the name that have been mentioned include: Bruno Senna, Gio Van Der Garde and Adrian Sutil. German Sutil has recently been spotted at the teams factory in Grove, Oxfordshire but insists his first choice is to stay with Force India.
Although Räikkönen doesn’t come with a budget, having an ex world champion as a driving for you will considerably increase their attractiveness to potential sponsors.
With precocious few drives available for next year and the fact that the Iceman has been away from F1 for two years should put Sir Frank in quite a strong negotiating position when it comes to his wages. If the deal fell through, Williams could choose from half a dozen other drivers (including Rubens).
Since Kimi won the drivers title in 2007, his critics have questioned his motivation and leadership qualities at Ferrari. In 2008, he finished third, behind Hamilton and Massa taking two wins and in the largely uncompetitive, F60 in 2009, he finished sixth behind the Brawn’s, Red Bull’s and Hamilton’s McLaren.
After two years competing in the World Rally Championship, Räikkönen, appears to have found his desire to compete in the sports highest echelon once again and if Williams were to secure his services, that would be a big coupe for them. With a fresh design team working on the FW34 lead by Mike Coughlan, Williams rekindling their legendary partnership with Renault. Could Kimi be the missing link in the ‘new’ Williams team?