Although there were plenty of reports in recent weeks suggesting that Kimi would chose to stay in the World Rally Championship for a second consecutive campaign next year, it now seems the Finn had a change of heart. Probably discouraged by his recent results in the rallying world, Raikkonen decided to make one last bid to return to the championship that made him famous.
“It is true that the summer has passed and we have had more and more requests - and the guy you mentioned (Raikkonen) is on the radar now. He is on the radar because he contacted us,” said Boullier in an interview with Autosport.
The French manager would fancy a Robert Kubica – Kimi Raikkonen lineup for the 2011 season of Formula One, yet he admitted such a move would lead to a complete change in strategy for his team. And that's because Renault started as a completely new team in 2010, with one experienced driver (Kubica) and one talented rookie (Vitaly Petrov) under the guidance of Boullier, while Raikkonen's signing would alter that in the sense that the team would have two highly experienced drivers who would start the season on equal terms.
More than that, Petrov's being the first and only Russian driver in Formula One has opened up a great market for Renault in Russia – while also benefiting from financial support from the Russian government through the Lada sponsorship deal – that would be lost in case the F1 rookie leaves for another team.
Consequently, Boullier admitted that Raikkonen's bid is being evaluated closely by him and his staff, but that his main focus for the time being continues to be Petrov.
“You work differently if you have a rookie - and in supporting him - than if you have two experienced drivers. So it is different. We need to think about it. But the priority is Vitaly, and to see how he will develop. If we are convinced then we will keep him definitely. This is the first option,” added Boullier.