F1: Iceman Raikkonen to rejoin Ferrari

Finn agrees two-year deal, to replace Massa, partner Alonso

F1: Iceman Raikkonen to rejoin Ferrari

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, September 11 - Ferrari announced Wednesday that they have reached a deal to bring back Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen next season. Raikkonen, who won the 2007 Formula One drivers' world title with Ferrari before leaving the team in 2009, has agreed to sign a two-year contract. He will replace Felipe Massa and partner Fernando Alonso in a formidable all-world-champion driver line-up. "I'm really happy to return to (Ferrari headquarters) Maranello after spending three fantastic years there," said Raikkonen, who is nicknamed Iceman for his taciturn nature and coolness behind the wheel. "I have lots of memories linking me to Ferrari and I've always carried them with me," added the 33-year-old, who currently competes for Lotus and is fourth in the drivers' standings. "I can't wait to work with Fernando, an extraordinary driver, to give the team the successes they deserve". Raikkonen is the last man to win the drivers' championship for Ferrari after prevailing in his debut season at the Italian glamour team, after joining them from McLaren to replace seven time-world champion Michael Schumacher. He also helped Ferrari win the constructors' championship in 2008, when he finished third in the drivers' standings. His level of performance declined the following season, amid rumours drinking was affecting his work, and Ferrari let him go. He left Formula One after that and had stints in the world rally and NASCAR series. He returned to Formula One with Lotus last season and impressed, finishing fourth in the drivers' championship. "I am pleased to welcome Kimi back to the team with which he won his world championship title," said Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. "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". Lotus had been hoping to keep Raikkonen after enabling him to revive his Formula One career and said his departure "hurts a little bit" on the team Twitter account, @Lotus_F1Team. The tweet had a link to a photo of two rabbits having sex. On Tuesday Massa confirmed reports he would leave Ferrari at the end of the season via his Twitter account, @Felipe1Massa. "From 2014 I will no longer be driving for Ferrari," said Massa. "Right now I want to push as hard as possible with Ferrari for the remaining 7 races. "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!" Massa joined the Ferrari factory team in 2006, having raced for three seasons with Sauber, who used Ferrari-designed engines. The Brazilian came within a whisker of winning the world championship in 2008 when he won his home grand prix in Brazil on the last day. He was denied when Britain's Lewis Hamilton overtook Timo Glock on the second-last corner to finish fifth and win the title by a point. Many believe Massa has not been the same since he suffered a horrendous accident in qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, which ruled him out for all the remainder of that season. "I wish to thank Felipe with all my heart and also on behalf of all our fans around the world, for the extraordinary job he has done for the team over so many years," Domenicali told Ferrari's website Wednesday. "Felipe has always behaved like a real team player. Together we have lived through some great times and also a few dramatic moments, which have helped to cement a truly unique relationship on both a professional and personal level. "He will always be part of our family and we wish him all the very best for the future. "Now we must concentrate all our efforts on the remaining seven races of the season and we know that, as always, we can count on Felipe's contribution, while we work together to reach our goals. "Our determination will not waver one iota right to the very end".

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