Former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo believes the unexpected return of Kimi Raikkonen to Sauber may involve a hidden agenda for his fellow Finn. Eighteen years after his F1 debut with the Swiss outfit, Raikkonen will return to Hinwil, prolonging his career in F1 by two years. Rumors of the 2007 world champion’s departure from Ferrari and his possible return to Sauber emerged over the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
“I heard about this possibility already at Monza,” former team owner and boss Peter Sauber told Switzerland’s Blick – “That it has happened is a great signal for the team and the fans. A year ago he probably would not have taken this step.”
Indeed, Sauber has undergone a significant management and financial restructuring in the past 12 months, with Fred Vasseur assuming the role of team manager, while the outfit’s commercial partnership with Alfa Romeo has also boosted the team’s foundation. However, there may be more to Raikkonen’s endeavor than the will to race on in F1 as a dashing 40-year-old according to Mika Salo.
“F1 is a business, and Kimi’s name brings sponsors, finances and a better financial base. It’s a big deal for Sauber,” admitted the former Toyota and Ferrari driver – “As expectations are not terribly high, he can race without pressure. Maybe he can drive a bit more relaxed. There are also a few stories around that Kimi would like to buy into Sauber as well. In my opinion this is about more than just driving.” – he concluded.