Todt - Raikkonen was our favourite 12 Sep 2006
Ferraris Managing Director Jean Todt has revealed that Kimi Raikkonen was always the teams number-one choice to join the team, even before Michael Schumachers plans to retire had been confirmed.
Raikkonen, who confessed in Monzas 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 Raikkonens signing was something of an open secret in the paddock, media speculation throughout the summer suggested that the Finns 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 Raikkonens signing may have helped sway Schumachers 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.