'Raikkonen back to Ferrari' rumors swirl in Hungary UPDATE
(GMM) As he pushed for victory on Sunday, rumors Kimi Raikkonen is back on Ferrari's radar continued to swirl and flourish in the Hungaroring paddock.
|Kimi Raikkonen driving for Ferrari in 2007|
The rumor was given life by team boss Stefano Domenicali, when to Finnish broadcaster MTV3 he said Ferrari's number one Fernando Alonso and the team's departed 2007 world champion share "a lot of similarities".
"The talk in the paddock this weekend is that Felipe (Massa) has already lost his drive for next season," Martin Brundle said on British television Sky.
A team 'insider' had earlier been quoted by the Sunday Times newspaper as saying Ferrari sees Finn, 32, as a better alternative than some of the others on the list to replace Massa.
The source said many of the names - reportedly including Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta, Heikki Kovalainen and even Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado - would not necessarily be better than Massa.
"Kimi would be a very good solution," he said.
"Fast, experienced, unpolitical and out of contract at the end of the year. Fernando would have no problem having Kimi as his teammate."
The BBC's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson, however, quoted what he described as an 'unimpeachable source' who said the rumor is simply "rubbish".
And even the Times' 'insider' admitted there is a major stumbling block.
That obstacle, according to British columnist Mark Hughes, is surely Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
The fabled marque's all-powerful Montezemolo and Raikkonen are said to have fallen out badly when Raikkonen was dropped at the end of 2009, pushing him into world rallying.
So while Montezemolo is reportedly "resistant to the idea" of Raikkonen coming back, the driver is said to have "vowed never to work with Montezemolo again", Hughes said.
Raikkonen, after finishing one second behind winner Lewis Hamilton in Hungary, said on Sunday: "I always said that I have no bad feelings and I had a good time with the team.
"You never know what happens in the future and I am happy where I am."
07/29/12 (GMM) As ever during F1's annual stop in Budapest, the Hungaroring paddock is not disappointing when it comes to 'silly season' rumors.
|Button, Raikkonen, others rumored as possible Massa replacements|
The cream of the crop is that Ferrari, who let a 2013 option on Felipe Massa's current deal expire recently, has approached McLaren's Jenson Button.
Livio Oricchio, the Brazilian correspondent for O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, might have heard the same rumblings, revealing that he had "arrived in Budapest thinking the chances of a renewal for Massa were good".
"Today they (Massa's chances) are smaller," Oricchio admitted, revealing he had talked in the paddock with "many people" close to Ferrari.
Italy's Autosprint said Button did not even deny the Ferrari rumor, although he did say the Italian team "know about my contractual situation".
32-year-old Button is firmly under contract to McLaren for 2013.
But Autosprint quoted Button as adding in Hungary: "Never say never".
Another fascinating rumor in Hungary is that Kimi Raikkonen is regarded by Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali as a viable alternative to Massa.
The Finnish broadcaster MTV3 quoted Domenicali as saying on Saturday that Ferrari's 2007 world champion, and the team's current number one Fernando Alonso, share "a lot of similarities".
"He never complained to the outside," said Domenicali, referring to Raikkonen, who left Ferrari at the end of 2009 and went rallying.
"He could have easily said that this is not the kind of car (in 2009) that I need to achieve my goals, but he remained calm and supported the team.
"I think it was important," he added. "He was always trying to push the team and maximize everything."
Adrian Sutil recently visited Ferrari's headquarters at Maranello.
But the former Force India driver's manager denied that German Sutil, 29, is therefore a hot contender to replace Felipe Massa in 2013.
Indeed, the Cologne newspaper Express said Sutil was only at Ferrari's private test circuit Fiorano for a day of road car driving with friends and a factory tour.
"It's true," the out-of-work former Spyker and Midland driver's manager Manfred Zimmermann said.
"Adrian was at Ferrari and also at the test track.
"But he was in a road Ferrari. He was not in the simulator or getting a seat fitted," Zimmermann insisted.
As for the likelihood this might have been Sutil's first step towards a Ferrari future, he admitted: "We definitely would not be opposed, but currently there are no negotiations.
"We are however confident that Adrian will be back (in F1) next year," added Zimmermann.