Kimi Raikkonen has signalled a green light to the concept of retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher getting behind the wheel of his Ferrari this year.
Schumacher, who notched up five drivers’ championships and more than seventy victories for the Maranello based marque during a more than decade-long tenure, will return to Ferrari in 2007 as an “assistant” to team principal and CEO Jean Todt.
But Finn Raikkonen, 27, admitted at the traditional news conference in the Italian Dolomites on Wednesday: “I do not know if Michael is going to test the car, but it would be useful because of his experience and knowledge.”
Kimi’s incumbent teammate Felipe Massa, who knows Schumacher well after playing a deputy role last year, said Schumacher’s absence in a red driving suit will be missed.
“He was very, very important on the technical side — how to work with the people, how to set up the car.
“He was definitely a big teacher and he will be very useful in the future because of his experience,” the Brazilian 25-year-old noted.
Notably, Raikkonen is not renowned for his technical abilities, nor his work ethic, which could further explain Schumacher’s reported $6m pay-packet for a role that will not involve the German’s presence on a single GP grid this year.
Massa said of Schumacher: “He is a very intelligent driver with great experience, so Michael could be very useful for both drivers and technicians. He could help a lot of people.”