Raikkonen talks up Alonso after confirming his return to Ferrari

Frank Dalleres
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FORMER world champion Kimi Raikkonen insists he is looking forward to racing alongside Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, despite predictions they will clash.

The Italian team yesterday confirmed Formula One’s worst kept secret when they announced Raikkonen would return next season, five years after his first stint.

Track greats Sir Jackie Stewart and Eddie Jordan believe the Finn’s arrival from Lotus could spark unrest at Ferrari, where Alonso is used to being No1 driver.

The 2007 world champion is expected to rival the Spaniard for that status – a scenario Alonso grew frustrated with at McLaren during Brit Lewis Hamilton’s sudden rise.

But Raikkonen said: “I can’t wait to be driving a Prancing Horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves.”

Raikkonen pipped Hamilton to his only world championship in 2007 but left Ferrari in 2009 with two years left on his contract. After a dalliance with rallying, he returned to F1 with Lotus in 2012 and proved his enduring class by finishing third last season.

He added: “I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years.”