Raikkonen returns to Ferrari, joins Alonso


The Finn is back and the Italians rejoice. It’s an interesting day for Formula 1 as Kimi Raikkonen’s move back to Ferrari from Lotus-Renault is confirmed. As his contract with the latter ends, he will return to the team he previously had three seasons with to replace his former partner Felipe Massa. This gives Ferrari two of the top-ranked F1 drivers in the form of Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. The team will be an even stronger rival next season to the leading Red Bull, which will have to race with No. 1 driver Sebastian Vettel but without No. 5 Mark Webber, who has earlier announced he is quitting Formula 1 to drive race cars for Porsche. For a time, Raikkonen was favored to replace Webber, amid rumors also of the Finn joining Ferrari. Raikkonen left McLaren-Mercedes for Ferrari in 2007 but was paid off by the Italian team  to leave a year shy of his end-contract to give way to Alonso, who actually filled Raikkonen’s spot in McLaren-Mercedes after driving for Renault. After a couple of years off the sport, Raikkonen came back and joined Lotus-Renault in 2011. After the dizzying team-hopping, the two caught up with each other and will start driving side-by-side in 2014. How is Lotus-Renault taking it? With a “tongue-in-cheek” (according to Lotus team spokeswoman) tweet: Lotustweet Glad to see that the team’s sense of humor didn’t leave with Raikkonen. Some feel this Alonso-Raikkonen marriage is one made in paradise but others are predicting a conflict between the two racing stars. This gives us more reason to watch the next F1 season closely, if only to find out how the dynamic between the two is going to be. And of course there’s the possible renaissance of Ferrari, which has not finished a season on top since the 2008 lineup with Raikkonen and Massa. Words Aritha Zel Zalamea