Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo shunned questions about Kimi Raikkonen on Tuesday amid mounting speculation that the 2007 Formula One champion could be back at Maranello next season.
"We won't talk about Formula One today," the Italian told reporters at the Frankfurt motor show. "I am trying to convince a driver to come back and am speaking to Schumacher tomorrow," he joked.
Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, now 44 and fully retired after his comeback with Mercedes ended last year, is most definitely not in the running. Raikkonen, the 33-year-old with the glacial gaze and ‘Iceman' tattooed on his forearm, certainly is.
Paddock whispers after last weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Monza spoke of a done deal, although Lotus were still hoping to keep their man and Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said no decision had been taken.
Raikkonen has plenty of supporters among the passionate Ferrari ‘tifosi' as the team's first champion of the post-Schumacher era, and last to date, and his return would a break with Ferrari tradition as much as a blast from the past.
When the Finn left Ferrari in 2009 to make way for Fernando Alonso, he went without burning any bridges. When he came back, after two years in rallying, it was like he had never been away.
A Ferrari vacancy, the seat every aspiring racing driver dreams of, is a rare occurrence and the arrival of a champion even rarer. "We are putting on the table all the elements," Domenicali told reporters after the race on Sunday.
"We want to put all the consideration before taking the right decision and we will announce and say something on that as soon as we have finalised our discussion, because it is for sure not an easy decision for us."