London – Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen will race for Ferrari next season in a two-year deal that takes the 2007 world champion back to the glamour team he left in 2009 and creates the strongest pairing in Formula One.
Ferrari said in a statement today that the 33-year-old Iceman, currently driving for Lotus, will replace Brazilian Felipe Massa alongside Spain’s double world champion Fernando Alonso.
“Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement with Kimi Räikkönen. The Finn will join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons,” the statement said.
There were no quotes from the famously taciturn Finn, whose future team-mate had made clear he would have been happy to continue with Massa. The Spaniard has a contract to the end of 2016.
Massa, championship runner-up to Lewis Hamilton in 2008, had already announced on social media that he would not be driving for the Italian team in 2014.
Ferrari last had two world champions in their line-up in 1953, when Italians Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Farina were together.
Räikkönen and Alonso should be a force to be reckoned with, although there could also be fireworks.
By contrast, other top teams have opted to pair a champion with a driver whose CV is less glittering.
Red Bull have a new face in Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who has yet to stand on the podium, as team-mate to triple champion Sebastian Vettel while 2009 winner Jenson Button has Sergio Perez alongside him at McLaren, but the Mexican is not yet a race winner.
Germany’s Nico Rosberg, who partners Hamilton at Mercedes, has been on the top step of the podium twice this season but only three times in his career.
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