Raikkonen signs with Ferrari UPDATE #4 Kimi Raikkonen didn't bother trying too hard to deny his growing link with the 2007 Ferrari team. Currently at pacesetting McLaren, the 25-year-old Finn only rejected talk that he has already signed a red contract.
He told the German 'Handelsblatt' newspaper: ''I only want to sit in the fastest car.'' In the Monza paddock, flocks of press harried the blonde haired 'iceman' on Friday. He told them he hasn't decided where his future lies.
''There are always things said,'' Raikkonen added, ''rumors. I'll be with McLaren as long as I have a strong contract. At the moment I'm happy here. It's normal F1, who's going where, but I've got one contract, with McLaren, and one year to see what happens.''
However, Bernie Ecclestone is ready to bet on Kimi Raikkonen moving from McLaren to Ferrari for 2007. "[Michael] Schumacher will end his career at Ferrari. I think he will stop at the end of 2006," the 74-year-old Briton told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Saturday. "And I am ready to bet that, in 2007, Raikkonen will be in a Ferrari. I would like it if he were together with Valentino Rossi, but I don't have any information about that," he said.08/26/05 Denials, denials, everywhere -- but not a certain word spoken. Reliable and well connected sources all over formula one insist that Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 switch to Ferrari is more than unfounded speculation -- and the Michael Schumacher-to-McLaren add-on is perhaps a Willi Weber ploy to mask the German's impending retirement.
The newspaper in the middle, Germany's 'Bild' tabloid, stopped beating around the bush and asked the seven time world champion, at the Monza test, exactly what the score was. ''I don't know if I will stay (in formula one) after 2006,'' said 36-year-old Schumacher.
What about the McLaren-Mercedes link? ''That is the same speculation as the Raikkonen to Ferrari story,'' he answered. No denial, then? ''I wouldn't have a problem driving with Kimi at Ferrari in 2007. Even if things don't go perfectly at the moment, I feel great in the team and I do not want to stop. I think there are some good years still left in me.''08/25/05 Raikkonen has moved quickly to deny the reports of his imminent departure. "As I have said on a number of occasions this season already when asked about the rumors, I'm completely happy with my team," he said in a statement.
"I don't think there is any doubt that we have the fastest package on winning races, I'm still challenging for the world championship, the team is fantastic and I have a great relationship with everybody here so why would I want to consider changing?
"Surely I am in a position that most drivers in Formula One want to be in."
McLaren boss Ron Dennis added he anticipates a "long-term relationship" with both Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya.08/25/05 Usually reliable sources are now telling us that Kimi Raikkonen will definitely be moving to Ferrari in 2007, which clearly upsets the applecart of the Formula 1 driver market, unless we are to believe that Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher will agree to be in the same team together. This being the case there would be no room for Felipe Massa. However, if there is no future for Massa at Ferrari in the long term, Jean Todt would have been unlikely to have signed up the Brazilian because a Todt Family company manages Felipe and it would have made no sense at all to have made such a move. The Todt company could have put in any driver for 2006, without needing to burn its major asset. Thus, if the sources are correct, Michael Schumacher will not be at Ferrari in 2007. This is unlikely to have happened without Michael knowing about it, because he and Jean Todt have always been close and it is unlikely that Todt would have pulled such a stunt. So, one must presume that Schumacher knows he is retiring and all the talk of moving elsewhere is a smokescreen to cover what Ferrari is really up to.
The validity of all these arguments rests on the source of a Raikkonen deal but we have found this source to be highly reliable over the years and sufficiently connected to know who is going where.
So the next question that leaps to mind, is who is going to be going to McLaren to replace Kimi in 2007? Grandprix.com [Editor's Note: Recall the other rumor that Schumacher may go to McLaren to end his career with a German manufacturer, which would indicate a possible Raikkonen/Schumacher swap.] 08/25/05 Germany's 'Sport Bild' tabloid has had a busy formula one news editor this week. First, Michael Schumacher was in talks with McLaren-Mercedes about a 2007 switch. Now, the publication claims McLaren 'iceman' Kimi Raikkonen will replace the German.
'Bild' said the 25-year-old Finn signed a 'preliminary agreement' with the Maranello based team in May. Raikkonen would therefore become the scarlets' new 'number one' driver.
Bild said the information was obtained from a 'very safe' source.
Asked about Fernando Alonso earlier this year, Ferrari boss Jean Todt made it clear who he favored among formula one's young guard. ''I consider a young man, who drives for a German-English team, to be the better choice.'