As had long been expected, Ferrari confirmed on September 10th that it has signed Kimi Raikkonen in a three-year deal. The announcement came along with confirmation that Michael Schumacher will retire at the end of this season. Raikkonen will be teammate to Felipe Massa in 2007, and Massa's contract has been extended through 2008.
Ferrari's attention is mainly on its retiring star at the moment and the statement about Raikkonen was brief, only confirming the lineup of the Finn and Massa, with Luca Badoer to continue as the team's official test driver.
In a press release from McLaren Raikkonen stated: "Whilst I have taken the decision to leave Team McLaren Mercedes, I want to stress that I really enjoyed my time with the team. I have the deepest respect for everybody and will be giving my all in the remaining races."
Raikkonen debuted in F1 with Sauber in 2001 and after an notable rookie season was snapped up by McLaren. He took his first F1 victory at Malaysia in 2003 and was runner-up in the drivers' standings in 2003 and 2005. He was linked with Ferrari since very early this season and McLaren's lacklustre performance in 2006 has been no encouragement for him to stay.
McLaren has yet to announce who will partner the incoming Fernando Alonso next season. Prot?g? Lewis Hamilton, who clinched the GP2 title this weekend, is thought to be a contender, as is current racer Pedro de la Rosa. The Woking squad also has second tester Gary Paffett but could perhaps look outside the team to fill the second race seat.