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Todt - Raikkonen was our favourite 12 Sep 2006

(L to R): Second place Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren, Jean Todt (FRA) Ferrari Sporting Director, race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari and third place Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2006

Ferrari’s Managing Director Jean Todt has revealed that Kimi Raikkonen was always the team’s number-one choice to join the team, even before Michael Schumacher’s plans to retire had been confirmed.

Raikkonen, who confessed in Monza’s post-race press conference that becoming a Ferrari driver was a personal ambition, will partner Felipe Massa next season at the start of a three-year contract with the Italian squad.

“We looked at the three quickest drivers available,” explained Todt. “One was already driving for us, one was our favourite and we have him, so honestly, it was an easy choice, and fortunately it was an easy discussion because he wanted to join Ferrari and we wanted him to join Ferrari so it was easy."

Although Raikkonen’s signing was something of an open secret in the paddock, media speculation throughout the summer suggested that the Finn’s move may have a number of conditions attached. Todt, however, confessed that this was never the case.

“Sometimes I was smiling a bit when I saw those speculations or private meetings to try to get Kimi,” he said. "What is important is that we never had any kind of pre-contract, we had a signed contract, that's all.”

Todt also put pay to rumours that Raikkonen’s signing may have helped sway Schumacher’s choosing to retire. "Some people have speculated that Michael made his decision because he did not want to compete with Kimi - they are simply stupid," he added.