At first I thought "no way will this ever come to fruition", but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Here are the pointers that make me think this wasn't just a friendly Adam'n'Kimi tour.
- Kimi has never truly immersed himself in WRC; he competes only a partial season, and only rents his car and crew from someone else. To me, this suggests that he's not currently fully committed to WRC.
- By not turning up for the Australian Rally a week past, he got chucked out of the WRC standings. He can compete in upcoming events but won't take any points. IMHO, it looks like he's lost interest in WRC for this season atleast.
- Martin Whitmarsh said last year that McLaren chose the option of Button; yes they did speak to Kimi and his salary demands weren't that high, and nor were they the reason that they opted for Button instead. Reading between the lines, I got the impression at the time that maybe Whitmarsh realised Kimi had his heart elsewhere.
- There's never really been any satisfactory explanation as to what happened to Kimi in the second half of 08 and then 09. Like others have said here, it's a naive outsider's view to simply roll out the "lack of motivation" cliche repeatedly, but other drivers have walked away from F1 mid-season when they felt their heart wasn't in it anymore (Mansell, Lauda and Hakkinen to name but three high-profilers) so why did Kimi finish 08 and then stay for 09? Furthermore, as soon as Massa was out of the scene, Kimi all of a sudden became the best driver on the grid for the remaining races. Of course, this could simply have been his way of showing other teams what he was capable of, but it just happened to coincide with Massa's absence... The point here is that the poor second half of 08 and then 09 were IMHO no due to KR's motivation but possibly some team politics, which undisputedly play a large part at Ferrari.
Kimi, should he want to return to F1, has no option with one of the front-running teams: Ferrari have Alonso and there really is no point in having Kimi and Alonso - aside from budgetary reasons Alonso and/or Santander would simply not tolerate it; McLaren look likely to take up an option on Button and already have Hamilton on long-term; Red Bull recently re-signed Webber and have Vettel long-term.
Looking further down the grid, if Schumacher's not at Mercedes next season then it's more than likely to be di Resta or possibly Hülkenberg.
Also, if Kimi were to return in a front-running car, the expectation would be enormous. It was with Schumacher, and Kimi's a lot younger and hasn't been out of the car as long. Were Kimi were to return in a middle-running car, the only real expectation would be that he beats his team-mate.
- Williams are a public company. As someone has heretofore pointed out, he could be paid (atleast in part) in shares, and his presence alone would bump up the value. This in turn would bring in more sponsors, giving the team more money to develop with. Win-win.
- The other option would be that Kimi, who obviously has financial backers for his WRC setup, ICE1, as well as his outings in NASCAR, could pay for his drive just to get back in, for whatever reason. After a season he moves back to his old hunting ground at McLaren or onto Red Bull.
- This could all be smoke & mirrors. Although both parties seem keen for it to happen, Button has yet to sign for McLaren next season. This Williams factory tour could be Kimi's way of showing his enthusiasm and willingness to get back into F1.
- Kimi drove for 3 different teams, 2 of them are the most successful in F1's history. Why would he want a tour of the Williams factory? What could Williams be showing him that he hasn't already seen?
- Sutil was also given a Williams factory tour, which reinforces the impression that Williams are attempting to lure a replacement for Barrichello.
- As tweeted by F1lite.com last week, Hakkinen, who knows Kimi well, said just 2 weeks ago that he expects to see Kimi back in F1 soon.