Raikkonen visited the team’s Maranello factory yesterday (Tuesday), making his first appearance since undergoing back surgery that caused him to miss the final two races of the 2013 season.
‘It was an opportunity to go over the current state of play on the design of the 2014 car, as well as a chance for Kimi to meet up with many old friends who, in a few weeks’ time will once again be his team. These include Antonio Spagnolo, who next season will [be] the Finnish driver’s race engineer,’ the team said on their website.
Raikkonen will return to Ferrari after driving for them between 2007 and 2009. He won the team’s last drivers’ title back in 2007, his debut season, before leaving to compete in Rallying.
Spagnolo joined Ferrari in 2005 after previously working for Minardi. He worked on Fernando Alonso’s engineering team in 2013 and will be Raikkonen’s third race engineer after Chris Dyer and Andrea Stella.
The 34-year-old will partner Fernando Alonso at the team next season. The Spaniard has already sampled Ferrari’s 2014 machine in the simulator. “I’m pleased with the way the day on the simulator went,” he told the official Ferrari website.
“We managed to get through everything on the programme that we had in the pipeline. It was nice to be driving again, even if only in a virtual way. We went through a lot of ideas with the engineers: we are only at the start of a learning process which is moving forward all the time and it’s nice to be able to contribute to it.”
The confirmation of Raikkonen’s race engineer will only fuel rumours that Rob Smedley looks set to follow Felipe Massa to Williams.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic