Renault eyes Raikkonen, others for 2011 seat UPDATE #2
(GMM) As the 2010 season speeds towards its mid-way point, Kimi Raikkonen is still not ruling out taking a seat on next year's grid. The 2007 world champion stepped out of his Ferrari last year and into a full-time debut in the world rally championship.
|Is F1 really an option for Raikkonen in 2011, or will he stay in rally cars (above)?|
"Yes, I watch races on television, but I don't miss anything except for the driving," 30-year-old Raikkonen is quoted as saying by Italy's Autosprint.
"I will make my decision completely calmly and without outside pressure," said the Finn, who has been linked with the Renault seat alongside Robert Kubica. "I have only a one year contract (in 2010) but I don't have any hurry to make any decisions," he added. 06/16/10 Renault is evaluating the possibility of replacing inconsistent rookie Vitaly Petrov with former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen in 2011, sources suggest – with Force India ace Adrian Sutil allegedly also in the running should the Finn prove unattainable.
Raikkonen is currently competing in his maiden campaign in the World Rally Championship with the Citroën Junior Team, having been released by Ferrari last year and having proven unable to agree terms with either former employers McLaren-Mercedes or reigning double world champions Mercedes Grand Prix.
Opinion is divided as to whether the 18-time grand prix-winner has gone for good or is sticking to his original plan of merely taking a sabbatical from the top flight to indulge his second love of rallying, but the recent confirmation that Red Bull Racing will retain both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber next year looked to have closed the door. Red Bull was previously viewed by many as his most likely destination should he return, as the Citroën Junior Team is similarly sponsored by the Austrian energy drink.
Now, however, authoritative Italian magazine Autosprint has reported that Renault is interested in bringing Raikkonen back in 2011 – and in fact the 30-year-old was previously linked with the Enstone-based outfit last September. It is claimed that the Eric Boullier-led concern is not altogether convinced by Petrov, the first Russian ever to compete in F1 but a driver who has generally struggled in qualifying and proven erratic – if extremely rapid on occasion – come the races.
To-date, the man dubbed the ‘Vyborg Rocket’ has notched up a mere six points from the opening eight grands prix of the 2010 campaign, compared to the 73 tallied by team-mate Robert Kubica. The 25-year-old’s sole points-scoring finish to-date has been seventh place in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. It is understood that Renault will only renew Petrov’s contract should he score 25 per cent of the points total of Kubica; he currently sits at 8.2 per cent. Yahoo Sports06/15/10 (GMM) There might still be opportunities for Kimi Raikkonen to return to formula one in 2011. The Finn is currently driving full-time in the world rally championship, having ended his Ferrari contract one year early and failed to agree terms for a switch to McLaren.
A Red Bull seat for next year had been touted, but the energy drinks-owned company has instead secured its current lineup for 2011 of Sebastian Vettel alongside Mark Webber.
However, Italy's Autosprint reports that Renault might be an option for 30-year-old Raikkonen. zzzz
The magazine says majority team owner Gerard Lopez wants to replace Vitaly Petrov with Raikkonen for 2011, to be the highly rated Pole Robert Kubica's new teammate.
Fellow former Ferrari race winner Jean Alesi, however, is impressed with what Raikkonen has achieved so far in rallying.
"Imagine what it means for a driver to start anew in a discipline the exact opposite of what he has always done.
"For that, for his courage to challenge himself in such a way, I admire him," added the Frenchman.
Autosprint also reports that Renault might have its eye on Adrian Sutil, the long time Force India driver who often admits he would like to finally step into a top team.