Nov.23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Kimi Raikkonen’s chances of returning to formula one next year with Williams seem to have receded.

The Italian magazine Autosprint reports that the 2007 world champion’s prospective sponsors may have withdrawn their interest, leaving fellow Finn and rookie Valtteri Bottas at the top of the candidates list now.

German commentator and former F1 driver Christian Danner would not mind if Raikkonen’s comeback attempt fails.

“Quite simply, he was already past his best when he stopped,” he told German broadcaster RTL, referring to Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari in 2009.

Swiss commentator Marc Surer agrees: “Whenever I think about Kimi I always worry about his motivation.

“His rallying did not bring him the desired result so he tries formula one again?

“I think he would fit well with Williams, who have the motto that the driver drives and the team worries about the technology.

“But he would be only in the midfield,” he told Germany’s T-Online. “I would rather see a hungry, young driver there.”

A current competitor of Raikkonen’s, Mikko Hirvonen, hopes the 32-year-old stays in the world rally championship.

“Two years is not enough to get the experience you need,” he is quoted by World Rally Radio. “The last rally of the season was not so good but (if Raikkonen stays in 2012) it would be good for the world of rallying.”

Typically, Raikkonen himself is giving nothing away.

“What happens in the future is still an open question,” said the winner of 18 grands prix.