Every F1 season has its wild cards, but in his typical style, few have proven as wild as Kimi Raikkonen. When Ferrari cut his contract short at the end of last season, the 2007 world champion – who came within spitting distance of stealing the title in 2003 and 2005 too – shocked the motor racing world when he simply packed his helmet and switched disciplines to the World Rally Championship.
Now learning the rally ropes with highly-rated promise, Raikkonen is still proving the wildest of wild cards for next season and beyond. As a contracted Red Bull driver in the WRC, speculation has been rampant that the "Ice Man" could make his triumphant return to the grand prix scene behind the wheel of a Red Bull F1 car.
Infamously resistant to interviews, the Finn refused to comment on his next career move, but the brakes seem to have been put on the rumors when Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner nixed the idea. However, the team's influential "advisor" Helmut Marko – himself a former F1 driver and Le Mans winner – is reportedly in favor of replacing current championship leader Mark Webber – whose contract expires at the end of this season – with Raikkonen. Kimi's manager isn't ruling anything out, neither committing his client to another season in the WRC nor refuting the possibility of his return to F1.
So could Raikkonen be back in single-seaters with Red Bull next season? Entirely too early to say for sure, especially with reports that Felipe Massa is slated to stay with Ferrari, thereby closing that door for Webber. But for a talent as versatile as Kimi's, the sky is the proverbial limit.