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Heidfeld back in F1, Raikkonen to follow next year?
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Heidfeld back in F1, Raikkonen to follow next year?
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Sep 2010   |  4:53 pm GMT  |  137 comments

Sauber confirmed today that it has struck a deal with Nick Heidfeld to replace Pedro de la Rosa for the remaining races of the 2010 season.

One would expect that if this works out well, he may be retained next season alongside Kamui Kobayashi, who has already been signed. One problem is that de la Rosa’s car has already used 9 engines this season, so Heidfeld could be rather on the back foot when it comes to engine penalties with five events still to go.


This abrupt late season switch is reminiscent of 2006, when Sauber replaced another older driver whose hiring that season had surprised many people; Jacques Villeneuve.

Heidfeld started the year as a Mercedes reserve driver, but quit to lead the Pirelli testing programme. He has done two tests to date and has now grabbed the opportunity to race again with Sauber. Although he will have some idea of the characteristics of the Pirelli tyres from those two tests, it is early days and his information to the Sauber designers will be of use, but its relevance will decrease as the programme evolves.

It will be interesting to see whether Pirelli now decide to take Pedro de la Rosa on to continue the development programme. He is a very experienced test driver, having covered hundreds of thousands of kilometres in the role. He may take the tyres in a different direction.

De la Rosa has had a tough season. Sauber is prone to the odd left field driver choice and has historically tended to like either older experienced drivers or raw rookies. He gave Kimi Raikkonen his first run in F1, ironically in 2001 alongside Heidfeld, and today’s other news is that the 2007 champion has been in contact with Renault about a possible return next season.

Raikkonen has been in rallying this year, driving for the Citroen junior team with backing from Red Bull. “It is true that the summer has passed and we have had more and more requests – and the guy you mentioned [Raikkonen] is on the radar now,” Boullier told Autosport. “He is on the radar because he contacted us.”

Raikkonen: Has he unfinished business? (Darren Heath)


The first thought that springs into ones mind is money; Robert Kubica is one of the middle ranking earners in F1, on around €7-8 million a year, but Raikkonen has been used to earning €30million plus. So if he is serious about a return to F1 he will have to lower his expectations, even if Renault pulls in a title sponsor to cover some of the costs.

The second question is, do they need him? Renault lie 5th in the constructors’ championship table, 31 points behind Mercedes. But most of these points have come from Kubica, just as most of Mercedes’ points are from Rosberg. Renault would like Vitaly Petrov to succeed, but he has had two poor weekends in a row at a bad time and seems to find it hard to string a whole Grand Prix weekend together consistently.

McLaren has shown the benefits of having two top drivers and if they can afford it, hiring Raikkonen would seem a smart move. He’s not political so wouldn’t trouble Kubica much, other than keeping him on his toes. Raikkonen will be 31 at the start of next season, a few months older than Jenson Button and two years older than Fernando Alonso, so he still has plenty of good years in him and if he’s serious about a return it must be because he’s had a good think about where he went wrong last time.

If you look at performance charts of achievement by drivers, Raikkonen’s ratio of 18 wins and 62 podiums in 156 starts is very strong.

There is still some confusion about the finances of the Renault F1 team, after it leaked out that they had asked for an advance on their share of the F1 commercial rights from Bernie Ecclestone, a request which was denied.

At the time the team explained it away by saying that they had a cash flow issue, as payments from some of the new sponsors they had signed, such as Chinese solar company Trina Solar, were not due until later this year.

It has been suggested that internet entrepreneur Gerard Lopez, who holds 75% of the team and is a long time friend of Ecclestone, may be keeping the franchise warm while Renault, which owns 25%, considers whether a full scale return to the sport is viable. Renault themselves say that there is no substance to this story and that Renault are very happy as things are.

My sources suggest that Renault is waiting to see how the share of revenues under the new 2013 Concorde Agreement is resolved.

If the teams are successful in what is likely to be a hard fought and bitter negotiation, and manage to raise their share of the total revenues from 50% to more like 75%, which would make F1 more cost neutral – or even profitable – to participants, then it would be much more attractive.

Either way this will not have happened by next season and so if Raikkonen is offering his services – and one would have to question why team principal Eric Boullier would want to admit that to Autosport at this early stage – it will likely be a Renault team set up essentially as it is today.

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137 Comments
  1. Galapago555 says:

    Sorry for Pedro. I hope he finds a place for the next year…

    James, do you think that Nick could give any kind of useful information re the next year’s tyres to Sauber?

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      He mentioned in the article that it is early in Pirelli’s development. This means that the tires he has driven on now may differ quite a bit from the tires available at the beginning of 2011, so his input will be of more limited use, as Pirelli continues to test and develop.

  2. I can’t imagine why Renault would seriously consider hiring Raikkonen. He’ll be expensive and what if his interest wanders again? He was so distant for a period at Ferrari and it seemed to take Massa’s accident last year to snap him out of it. He’s fast but is he really reliable?

    If they drop Petrov someone like Adrian Sutil seems an ideal choice to partner Kubica. He’s ready to move up from Force India and given the chance I think could do well.

    And if there’s a seat open at Force India that strikes me as a great place for Karun Chandhok to get back in given the trouble he’s having with Hispania.

    1. Andy Fov says:

      It didn’t take Massa’s accident to make snap out of it, it took pairing him with Fisc and Badoer to demonstrate what a good job he was doing with last year’s prancing donkey.

      1. Amritraj says:

        Well said.

      2. Alex says:

        Spot on there mate!

      3. Fuchsia says:

        ‘prancing donkey’ LOL!

    2. Robert says:

      Kimi is well known to not like the political side of the sport. Or the corporate/PR side of the sport. Ferrari expects and demands a driver fit both well, something Kimi was never able to deliver. When Kimi drove for Mclaren he was very focused till he could no longer win a WDC or the car fell apart. Kimi is easily one of the most naturally gifted drivers of the past 20 years.

      Kimi won’t be expensive either. He can’t be since he put himself on the backfoot in terms of contract negotiations. He contacted Renault, he feels Renault will provide a competitive car next year. His actions placed Renault in the drivers seat as far as pay goes. Kimi wants to drive, and if Kimi wants to drive, you provide a seat for him.

      Sutil is a flop, Chandok deserves a shot with a mid-placed team and de la Rosa was a waste of a good race seat.

      1. James Collins says:

        Sutil is not a flop. He is doing a brilliant job, this year and last. I can’t see Kimi at Renault, but who knows. I thought he had had enough of the pressure of F1. Yes he is very enigmatic and distant, but very naturally gifted. One of my fave drivers.

      2. Robert says:

        What has Sutil really done? FI had a car that could’ve won at Spa last year. Fisi fought for the victory; Sutil wasn’t even close.

      3. Wetcoaster says:

        Sutil is a flop? Can’t figure that one….

      4. Robert says:

        Tell me what Sutil has done in his illustrious career …

      5. matt nz says:

        ‘if kimi wants a drive, you provide a seat’…

        Exactly!!

        Kimi is a top driver…no question. Sure he’s got some flaws, but all those other top guys do to.

        Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Button, Hamilton and Kubica have all thrown away races this year through errors, or significantly underperformed vs their team mates…but as a team manager you’d be an idiot not to hire any of them because they’re guys that most of the time get the job done, just like Kimi.

    3. gil dogon says:

      I guess Kimi wont be that expensive to Renault as he was to Ferrari. I do not think he will move here or there for the money only, as he has more than enough. Like James said Maclaren this season show the advantage of having two strong star drivers, that are not busy fighting each other. Actually you can even argue that Red -Bull also shows the advantage of having two top driver, where would they be now in the Championship battle if they had a Vettel – Petrov lineup ? difficult to answer, probably Vettel would have more points than now, but would that be more than Webber has ?

    4. ian says:

      100% agree.

    5. Rory says:

      The Raikkonen “lack of motivation” meme really needs to stop.

      You need to remember that Raikkonen was most active during a period where Ferrari were getting special privileges, and Maclaren were producing lemons for cars.

      He then moved to Ferrari, who decided to try out Massa as second driver. At the same time, all the key people from the dominate era decide to leave.

      The reliability of cars was all over the show at both teams during his last four seasons. I am sure that Raikkonen (if the rumors are true) is looking forward to competing in an F1 where the top five drivers all have a good shot at the championship so late in the season.

      Redbull have proved that with the right aerodynamics, the Renault engine could win it all with the right drivers. I think a Raikkonen-Kubica pairing being as effective as Button-Hamilton have been, as in motivating each other instead of infighting.

      1. Robert says:

        Very accurate statements.

        Martin Whitmarsh has come out and stated that Kimi is/was very good at developing cars.

        Kimi had enough motivation to win a very narrow championship. He was motivated at Mclaren to win and came damn close to beating Schumi to a title. People like to criticise Kimi because he doesn’t give it all in a shat car. They feel they would do everything and appreciate every minute they had to drive an F1 machine. That isn’t Kimi. Kimi has the talent and he most likely sees his talent going to waste by driving a non-competitive car.

        Red Bull needed to reign in their drivers earlier than they did. They do push one another but at one point in the season they were detrimental to the team. Button-Hamilton have now set precedent for how two Championship calibre drivers should interact.

      2. Thomas says:

        And imagine the Kubica-Raikkonen battle. Yum!

    6. Marybeth says:

      Tim, “…it seemed to take Massa’s accident last year to snap him out of it.”
      It took Massa’s accident to make Kimi Ferrari’s 1st driver again. In today’s, 9/15, article by James on team orders, he said that Ferrari has a pact with their present drivers. It was the same for Kimi. He won the WDC in 2007 & ran as Ferrari’s 2nd driver for ’08 & ’09, before FA bribed his way in with Santander money and was afraid to race fairly against Kimi, so he picked Massa for his teammate & Kimi was out with another year on his contract. Kimi could have won the WDC in 2008, but probably not in the 2009 turkey. Anyone who hires Kimi is going to get a very motivated driver, & not by money, with some unfinished business in F1.

  3. Sam says:

    So James, do you think Kimi is really interested in a comeback?

    I did read something a month ago that said Kimi’s management was offering his services for 16 Million Euros. Still a lot but less than even what Alonso earns.

    Also, why has he had a change of heart if he didn’t want to come back to F1 2 weeks ago?

    1. F1-Tips.com says:

      Bargaining power.

      Although as James says quite why Boullier is broadcasting this to Autosport is unknown. Perhaps he’s hoping that by pushing things into the open it will bring the price down. Think of an auction where only one person is interested and there’s no reserve.

      Boullier just has to hope nobody else wants to take the Raikkonen gamble.

  4. Shane says:

    Whatever Renault’s decision is regarding their drivers and potential sponsors I hope they maintain their current livery.

    That bright yellow and black car is striking!

    1. Olivier says:

      They need a bit of white to make it the real vintage Renault look. That’d be awesome!

  5. Andy says:

    It certainly is interesting that Renault would so publicly “confirm” that Kimi has been asking to drive for them. To me, it seems like Renault wants to attract sponsors and linking Kimi to them certainly would help with that, given the huge interest people still have on him. I’d take any news of Kimi actually returning to F1 with a grain of salt, he seems so much happier in rallying that it’s hard to understand why he would return to F1 that lives on the things (media, publicity) he hates the most.

    Nevertheless, would love to see him back!

    1. zadrav says:

      Maybe he’s happier in the moment, but his long-term commitment to rally is blind alley, and he is certainly aware of that. His main reason for living f1 was lack of seat in competitive car, as he repeatedly claimed “I don’t want to cruise around in mid-pack…”. So why would he want to cruise in mid-pack in Rally? He want to fight for victories, nevertheless where. Will he ever have a chance for that in WRC? Realistically, no chance.

      1. Andy says:

        I think the reason why he left F1 was that he wanted to get to rallying for real. After all, McLaren wanted him, but he turned them down in the end, so it’s not like he didn’t have a competitive seat available. I do agree that he certainly will not stay in rallying (either?) if he feels that he can’t challenge for the wins eventually. I just don’t think that he is giving up on it yet, I feel this is just Renault trying to get some publicity/sponsors and that Kimi is not all that available to them as they make it sound.

      2. James Collins says:

        I think Kimi does have a chance of winning WRC. It will take a few years to learn the ropes.

      3. Alias says:

        I dont think Kimi has no chance in WRC, he is doing a good job this year. He is basically on the same pace as Wilson who have been driving in WRC for 5 years. Of course he crashes more, because he is learning how to drive to the pacenotes. But Kimi has shown flashes of speed in WRC and that is the most important thing. Kimi is improving he has just won his first stage and he was much closer to the top on a gravel rally for the first time this season. Many people think that given a year or two Kimi could be a very good WRC driver. This year he is just a rookie with next to no experience, rallying isn’t easy Kimi just have to the learn the ropes. But he has worked so hard this year it would a shame if he didn’t continue when everyone will be starting with new cars next year and he would perhaps know the roads a bit better after this year.

      4. dren says:

        I agree. It would be a long road, but I fully expect Kimi to fight for the WRC title one day if he sticks it out. I would love for him to return to F1 though.

      5. Michael says:

        He has the same chance in WRC as any other Citroen driver (Loeb, Ogier, Sordo etc.) as the Citroen Junior team run the same car as the works team. Loeb even won one of his titles with the Citroen Junior team when the works team decided to leave for a year to focus on developing the C4.

        The only thing holding Kimi back in WRC is experience and talent. And at the moment it’s purely the lack of experience. He won his first WRC stage at the German Rally last month, so he’s definitely improving with experience.

  6. Heifield deserves the drive with his more recent experience of competing in F1, rather than just 10 years as a tester he is ideal. And with 2011 tyre knowledge, Sauber were right to snap him up after he was released from Mercedes.

    for Kimi to come back, ok he did look bored and done with it, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover, he still is raw talent with speed. To have him back next year in a competitive car alongside Alonso in a Ferrari built around him and Schumacher in his 2nd year with a car made more to his liking, this should get all the old school fans thirsty for what hopefully will be another excited, unpredictable and awesome year similar to this years five way battle.

    No doubt if Kimi does come back they will be comparing his 1st year back to Schumachers. Which I’m also now wondering if people will compare Michaels to Pedro’s?

    I’m definately going to be watching this space.

    1. gil dogon says:

      Assuming Webber takes the Championship this year, Kimi returns , and Michael stays we would have a season with six WDC winners on the grid, which would be something quite special to say the least !

  7. Ronan Baird says:

    I would love to see the iceman back in F1. He inspired me to drive more confidently and calmly on the open road.

    1. Alias says:

      That is a bit funny actually, now that Kimi is in WRC we get to see and more interestingly hear his onboards. And he is lot more hot headed then his iceman image seems to imply. :-)

  8. Jason says:

    Hi James. Great story but…might be that english is not my mother tounge but I dont understand what you are referring to in the last sentence.

    Anyway… if Kimi comes back I will attend my first race next season. Spa is the most likley choice.

    1. Tex says:

      Same with me. I do not fully understand the last sentence. James, please, could you explain?

      1. Simon Donald says:

        What James means in that sentence (and it took me a couple of read to get it too) is that even if Renault are thinking of buying the team back fully from Lopez to create a full works Renault team again, rather than the kind of “privateer” Renault team we have this year, it wouldn’t be for 2011 – the proposed year of Kimi’s return with Renault. I guess what he is suggesting is that Raikkonen is being tempted back from rallying to F1 by the thoughts (or possibly promise) of a full works Renault team that after all won the 2005 and 2006 champions with Alonso, but it wouldn’t be a full works team until 2012 or 2013 at the earliest. Hope that makes sense.

        For my tuppence worth, I would absolutely love to see Raikkonen back in F1. He is an exciting, fast and aggressive F1 driver when he is on it, but in poor machinery, like the 2009 Ferrari, he loses interest a bit. I think any current F1 driver (with the noted exception of Rubens Barrichello) having reached the highs of F1 race wins and in his case a world championship would get dispirited by being back in the pack. Just remembering some of the drives he has had – the most memorable being the race in either 2005 or 2006 at Suzuka when he reeled in Fisichella in the Renault – I don’t see how anyone can think of him as any other. I would welcome him back with open arms and I think he would do very well at Renault.

        As for Heidfeld coming back for the rest of the season, the fact that he didn’t get a drive for 2010 is the biggest mystery of last year’s silly season. He was as impressive if not more so in that dog of a BMW as Kubica was in 2009. He is a reasonably fast and consistent driver, and whilst he is unlikely to ever win a world championships, he is a solid points and podium scorer and in the right machinery would be in the shout for wins. He has done well with BMW and Sauber in their previous incarnation and I was extremely surprised to say the least that Peter Sauber went for PDLR rather than Heidfeld at the start of the season. With all of the upheaval and uncertainly at BMW-Sauber over the second half of the season and winter you would have thought that having some consistency in driver line-up would have been a good idea. I’m sure the reason why Heidfeld signed for Mercedes was because he thought that Schumacher may have done a Nige a la McLaren 1995 and left after a few unsuccessful races and as soon as it became evident that wasn’t going to happen, he decided to jump ship at the earliest opportunity so as not to end up like the de la Rosa’s or Olivier Panis’ or Ricardo Zonta’s of this world – a permanent test driver. Again, I’m glad Quick Nick’s back, hopefully he will be able to guide, mentor and give Cowboyashi a run for his money!

      2. Jason Greer says:

        Thanks Simon – that makes sense.

  9. Kimi should be in F1, although probably not in a Renault that I think won’t be able to ever match the top 3. It was only their illegal traction control that helped Alonso to his 2 titles with them. Kimi should hold out for a Redbull Seat, as I can’t see the current partnership lasting forever there.

    1. sorry “alleged” illegal traction control. ;-)

      1. rfs says:

        Traction control was legal when Alonso won his two titles. Do you mean the mass damper?

      2. oops yes, mass damper, that’s what I meant!

      3. dren says:

        The mass damper was found to be a moveable aero device. I do not classify it as such. Cars now run similar J-dampers. The Renault that year was legit. It was built around the mass damper until the FIArrari banned them. Odly enough, the FIA now with Todt seems to show no favoritism.

  10. jmw says:

    It would be great to see Kimi back in F1 – it is where he belongs. That said it would be a shame if Petrov left F1 altogether. Might he (and any finance he could bring) be of interest to one of the “new” teams?

    1. Robert says:

      Petrov is too good for a new team. If Heidfeld can’t beat the pace of Kamui, it’d be smart for Sauber to bring the Russian into the team. Petrov has money and talent, just needs to be polished.

  11. grotos says:

    It’s interesting – Renault said they are going to build the team around Kubica. Is Kimi going to accept the role of second driver? In fact, is he a second driver as a World Champion?
    Petrov is in better situation when it comes to marketing – Renault want to enter Russian market and Vitaly is here the advantage (opposite to Kimi).

    1. Mark V says:

      Proven winners are marketable. Raikkonen has 18 victories, 62 podiums and a world championship to his name. He did all that in 156 races, slightly more than twice as many races as Kubica’s 71 in which he has 1 victory and 12 podiums. In other words, he knows what he’s doing. Kimi is 30, Kubica is 25. Kubica can learn a lot from Kimi, and the team will also benefit from his being there. He would probably cause quite a stir which may bring in more sponsors, and he could bring more championships which means even more sponsors. Even if Robert isn’t the #1 driver (at least on the track)for a couple years until Kimi inevitably moves on, it would still be worth Renault’s investment for the long term.

  12. Buffy Minton says:

    Given the way that this news has appeared, I would say that the chances of Kimi going to “Renault” are zero. Any team that was serious about signing Raikkönen would not start out by bragging about it to the press – F1 just doesn’t work that way.

    1. Tomi says:

      I have to admit that even though the news came from Autosport, it just doesn´t make any sence Renault bragging about this. Could it be some kind of mutual agreement in order to get A) better sponsors for Renault and B) better contract for Kimi from Citroen?

  13. Banjo says:

    Kimi and Kubica at Renault would be a very strong pairing and a very popular one. It would be great to see him back on the grid after a year out, and yet another world champion coming to an all ready hugely competitive driver line up. Fantastic!

    It’s a shame to hear about De La Rosa, so many years as a tester and he gets another shot, his final shot most likely, and he doesn’t even make the end of the season. Saying that, i do like Nick so will be pleased to see him back. Hopefully he’ll obtain that illustrious win before the end of his career now. I read else where he’ll be asked to continue with his tyre duties for Pirell, making him all the more valuable to Sauber for next year.

    James, is there any reason why he could not do both ?

    1. Galapago555 says:

      I fully agree with you, re Kimi and Robert and also Pedro. I think he hasn’t had the luck he deserved after so many years in the sport.

      Talking about your second paragraph, I am not sure, but probably there would be some kind of a conflict of interests, wouldn’t it? I mean, maybe he could access some relevant information and give it to Sauber, wich does not sound too fair for all the other teams…

      I guess that’s precisely the reason he was hired by Pirelli as a test driver.

      1. Banjo says:

        I would have thought there would be a conflict of interest of some sort stopping him also, which is why I was surprised to read otherwise. They’re due to have another test soon so we shall soon find out.

        This year was billed as the fight of Champions and the most exciting in years – and it delivered. With next year having a revamp of the rules and potential another explosive driver line up F1 is in rude health. This really could be a golden era.

  14. Phil Bishop says:

    personally I’d love to see Kimi back.

    1. theRoswellite says:

      Agree….a real talent who, with any kind of luck during the McLaren years, could now be a multiple world champion. His Spa record is testament to outstanding speed and more than adequate, as David Hobbs is want to point out, “attachments”.

      He would be a brilliant pairing with Kubica, if teammate competition promotes improved performance. That being said, I would hate to see Petrov loose his seat. Being a rookie and teaming up against RK is truly the definition of being tossed into the deep end!

      1. Brandon says:

        I thought Heikki had it worse against Lewis in Lewis’ team but I disgress. Would love to see Kimi in F1 again.

  15. MAS says:

    Pity to see de la Rosa go but Heidfeld will at least be solid for Peter Sauber.

    In regards to Raikkonen I can see another possible issue besides the money.

    The Renault team have come out on several occasions this year to say how much they appreciate Kubica taking an interest in the technical aspect. They even went so far to compare him favourably against Alonso.

    Raikkonen on the other hand has been widely reported to have no interest at all in testing, let alone be more involved with the engineering side of things. When Alonso had been at Ferrari a week team members quipped that he had already spent more time at the factory than Kimi had in a year.

    It’s quite a difference in mentality though perhaps the Renault team won’t mind Kimis passivity on the technical front when they can rely on Kubica.

    Kimi will bring them good results and it will be good to see Renault have TWO good drivers for the first time in years.

    On the other hand I do like Petrov. In interviews he comes across as earnest and sympathetic and he’s not without talent. I would like to see him become more consistent and earn his place alongside Kubica. From the autosport item on this development I gather Boullier feels the same way, fortunately:

    “We need to think about it. But the priority is Vitaly, and to see how he will develop. If we are convinced then we will keep him definitely. This is the first option.”But there are several other options, and one of them is Kimi.”

    1. Alias says:

      I think those “widely” reported things like no interest in testing and the engineering side is not necessarily correct always. All of these thing have often been disproven, but unfortunately people are not always interested in that. Martin Whitmarsh and Jean Todt have given some very positive comments about Kimi recently. Surely there is no need for them to do so at this stage.

      But Kimi has really proven himself in rally this year, the mechanics loves him. He has often stayed up late with the mechanics, until around 1:00 at night, while he still had to get up between 4 – 5 in the morning for the next day of rallying. Now that is commitment, I dont see many F1 drivers doing that on race weekends, and there is even videos to prove this. And we saw Kimi digging himself out of the snow, co-drivers would usually do that kind of thing. On top of that Kimi has tested so much in WRC this year that the Citroen Jr. team where fined for too much testing.

      I think people need to start thinking realistically, you dont become a good F1 driver and WDC by doing nothing. It sometimes just seems that people just like to repeat the same stories, even if it isn’t always realistic. Kimi has been able to show a lot more personality and more of his working ethics in WRC because the journalist in WRC isn’t against Kimi, while in F1 there are a few journalist who just like to repeat the same thing over and over again when it comes to him.

      The whole idea about Petrov and his money is a bit counter productive in a sense. If Kimi were driving for them this year, they might perhaps have stood a chance to win Spa for example. Better results and a WDC brings more interest. and then there is the small matter of the more points you get or the better your standings in the WCC the more money you get.

      But I dont think Kimi is really interested in Renault it is properly just the Robertsons fishing around.

    2. Mark V says:

      “Raikkonen on the other hand has been widely reported to have no interest at all in testing, let alone be more involved with the engineering side of things.”

      Widely reported or widely rumored?

      Who would benefit from such rumor mongering? A team that was firing him so they can insert another driver with huge money behind him, using the “advantage he brings to development” official party line as an excuse?

      It has also been widely reported that many of Raikkonen’s engineers at former teams greatly valued his testing input because his lap times are so consistent, and his no nonsense approach made gathering useful data a lot easier.

      So who to believe, a team that has a lot to gain by badmouthing these abilities, or former teams with nothing to gain by praising them?

      1. MAS says:

        I didn’t mention those reports to cast any doubt on his abilities (including his consistency in testing). I do think they are reliable enough to surmise form them that there is a difference in approach. Raikkonen seems to be more at home with the McLaren and Williams way of doing things (get in car, drive well, no nonsense).

        From the remarks Renault made about Kubica I got a more Ferrari-ish impression. “Inspiring the team”, “showing commitment”, “leadership” and all that. It doesn’t reflect badly on Kimi at all if he doesn’t go for that, it’s just a different approach. It’s not a major obstacle, if it is there at all. And if it is it’s more Renault’s issue than Raikkonen’s.

        There van be no doubt Raikkonen is one hell of a driver and he wouldn’t even mind Renault “building the team around Kubica” as long as he gets a good car.

      2. Mark V says:

        Well, this is moving a bit off topic, but it’s rhetoric to say that a team needs leadership from a driver. That’s management’s job. After all, over at Mercedes they aren’t touting Schumacher as the leader, Brawn is perfectly capable in that capacity. (Ferrari seem lost in this respect).
        Sure, the driver can bring a winning attitude to a team, but leadership comes in many flavors and realistically a driver’s main form of leadership is by example on the track and in the press room. The truest measure of a leader’s value isn’t when things are going great, it is when things are going badly and the temptation to lose one’s cool and give up is highest.

  16. JimmiC says:

    I’m intrigued as to why Heidfeld has leapt back into F1 so quickly. Surely, if he had decided to see the Pirelli tests until the end giving him more experience with the Pirelli tyres his cache in the sport would’ve been even higher for a drive next season.. maybe in a vacant Renault?

    I don’t think Kimi will come back, as much as I’d like him too. I figure this is probably just a throwaway comment designed as a warning shot across Petrov’s bows to get his act together.

  17. onyx says:

    What about the rumours of Sergio Perez and Telmex money to Sauber next year?Wouldnt that rule out Heidfeld for 2011?Is he just giving it one last go to try and secure a seat with another team for next year? Sauber hiring De La Rosa was one of the worst ever driver choices in F1!
    Are Raikkonen’s management team not just stirrings things up?I think he will go to Mercedes to replace Michael who ,lets face it,has been rubbish this year!

  18. Monika says:

    If either Webber or Vettel wins the current championship and Kimi goes to Renault, can you imagine a more exciting 2011 grid with 6 World Champions!!!

    Wishful thinking of course but I definitely would be delighted if Kimi comes back to F1.

  19. John M says:

    I’ll be curious to see if Heidfeld is up to pace or not. As several drivers demonstrated last year, it is no easy task to jump into a car mid-season and be on the pace. Good luck to him regardless.

    As for Kimi…I’d love to see him return. As a fan of Kubica, I’d even love to see both of them in the same team, pushing each other and the team.

    Ah, silly season.

  20. Merc says:

    Anyone can see this is a PR stunt by Renault to get sponsors’ attention (they have money problems as the article stated), by dropping Raikkonen’s name, especially in this almost patronizing tone.

    Maybe Kimi’s manager called around some teams months ago (like we all knew he did) and that is what Renault is now using for their own advantage.

    I don’t see how Kimi would drive for a team that has blatantly said Renault will be built around Kubica. And is it not a winning car too.

    The only way is maybe if Kimi will do it to have a practice year at Renault to go to Red Bull when Webber gets off the train the next year. And Kimi in a Red Bull is championship over after 10 races tops.

    Other than that option, no way in hell this will happen.

    1. Nathan says:

      i was thinking the same thing re practise season before going to Red Bull. The pre season testing is so short now that that won’t be enough for him to get used to the new regs. But i still think its wishful thinking-

  21. bdog says:

    Lets hope Kimi comes back. I think his performance with Ferrari was as good as any one could of done. Still can not figure out everyone’s wining about him during his last two years in a crappy Ferrari. And good to see Heideld get a chance to come back.

  22. Charlie B says:

    It would be great to have the Iceman back in F1, but I can’t see it, I hope I’m wrong.

    He said he would only come back if he had a winning car, at the moment Renault are around 4th/5th best team. So I wouldn’t have thought that Kimi would want to go to Renault. If Kimi does come back, I think he needs to do it for the next season. I think that it would be a waste for him to do 2 seasons of WRC, even if he enjoys it.

    If he wants to rally and become a contender for podiums, then he needs to stay for at least 3 years. If he wants to race in F1 he needs to start again next season so he is at no disadvantage when he comes back.

    I don’t think we will see Kimi back in F1, unless Red Bull replace Webber, but why would they, he’s the championship leader and arguably the fans favourite in the team.

    1. Brian says:

      Just think of someone with the Iceman’s, or Hamilton’s skills in the RBR….

      Boy would Vettel whine then!

    2. Mark V says:

      Isn’t Renault’s KERS system regarded as the best around? Along with Raikkonen’s experience with KERS, surely that is worth something significant next year.

  23. Richard S says:

    Hope he comes back. Its waste of talent without Kimi in as on his day he is as fast as anyone!

    P.S There seems to be a rumor that Jonathan Legard might be quitting at the end of this season..have you heard anything abut this James?

    1. Cali says:

      His anti-Vettel attitude is too much, he is way too pro-Webber. This is the BBC, should be unbiased, not FoxNews.

      Webber starts 4th ends up 6th after whining a lot that people aren’t letting him pass, Legard “what a blistering drive!”

      Vettel starts 6th and finishes 4th after brake problems and running the soft tire until the last round, lapping faster than Webber on better tyres, Legard “well, he got some nice points there but still a poor weekend for the German’.

      Ok?

      This also goes for Brundle and Coulthard, who are close friends with Webber. They protect him way too much, being his lawyer and attack Vettel for the exact same things he did too (like Webber crashing out Hamilton earlier in the season and of course Kovalainen).

      We need commentators who have are nor private friends of drivers and just report unbiased. And the BBC at the moment is doing that poorly, with the exception, of all people, Eddie Jordan.

      Time for a huge change in commentators, including Brundle (which of course won’t happen).

      1. Bob Tiff says:

        That’s absolute rubbish, Cali. The BBC have done a damn good job on coverage since they took over from ITV. It’s impossible for Brundle, Coulthard etc. not to take a side sometimes because they’re asked for their opinions as part of the show. I would imagine most folk are quite pleased to hear the opinion of experts who have competed in the sport. If they just stated the facts and didn’t express their opinions it would be boring as hell.

        As for Legard favouring Webber, I’ve not noticed this myself but it’s of no surprise to me that people are rallying around Webber, given Red Bull’s blatant favouritism towards Vettel earlier in the season with regard to swapping front wings etc.

        I think it’s also fair to say that people were upset that Vettel and Red Bull blamed Webber for the incident in Turkey, when most pundits and a lot of people at home thought Vettel had turned into him before completing the pass.

    2. Jon Wilde says:

      If there is any truth in the rumour, I hope the BBC look to hire from within, David Croft deserves a shot. Not so sure about Charlie Cox, his heart seems to be with Moto GP.

  24. Rafael Lopez says:

    Does anyone else think that people are giving Petrov too much of a hard time?

    He seems like a pretty good rookie to me! Give him more time…

    1. tobias stuyts says:

      As a Petrov fan but also a long-term Kimi fan, this situation is bittersweet!

    2. Ian H says:

      I like Petrov and agree he’s doing a good job, but that’s not to say that Di Grassi/Chandok/Senna haven’t been doing a good job.
      Off the top of my head, I can’t think of many mistakes by them – simply slow cars with poor reliability, whereas I can think of mistakes by both Petrov and Hulkenberg who seem have got a lot more respect from the public just because they happen to have landed in faster cars for their rookie year.

      It’d be a pity for him if Petrov is replaced as I think he deserves more time, but if it’s Kimi instead then I won’t be disappointed.

  25. Rusho says:

    At last kimi realized that rallying has no future for him. It will be great if kimi joins renault and if renault can build competitive cars. F1 will be lot richer.

  26. Alias says:

    Kimi has worked really hard this year in WRC, and he doesn’t seem that interested in F1. On top of that Citroen and Red Bull have repeatedly stated they really want Kimi for next year. This news just seems a bit strange two weeks ago Renault said they were interested in Kimi, and now they are saying that Kimi has contacted them first. It all seems a bit contradicting. However, it does seem like the Robertson are waiting for something to happen, it might be that they could have contacted Renault. But Renault might not be the seat that they are aiming for.

  27. michael grievson says:

    If kimi came back he’d be great with Kubica. Both no nonsense drivers. It would be great for the sport. 5 world champions in the field. 6 depending on who wins this year.

    I personally don’t think Kimi would be back.

  28. Rodrigo says:

    there does seem to be less PR requirements for Renault than Ferrari or Mac… and more freedom to try other things… so maybe Kimi would take less pay for less PR and more freedom to try to slowly improve his rally skills?

    RK & KR in the same team would be interesting though :)

    -R

  29. Mitch says:

    I think the Raikkonen news is a silly season red herring. It wouldn’t make sense to just do a single season, given the learning curve which appears to be very steep. Looks like he has set himself some quite modest targets for this year: pacing himself, learning the craft and finishing races….

    1. AlexD says:

      I want to see this happening.

  30. Nick H says:

    If Raikkonen does come back and Schumacher continues next season that would mean FIVE world champion winning drivers would be competiting in 2011 possibly SIX if Webber or Vettel won the WDC this season.
    Surely that would be unprecedented?

    1. Monika says:

      Hi Nick, we are on the same boat, check No. 18, Let´s hope so!

  31. Philip says:

    @Alastair:

    Are you sure traction control was actually, you know, -illegal- in 05/06?

    cf:
    http://www.forumula1.net/2007/f1/f1-news/f1-drivers-welcome-traction-control-ban/

    “Formula 1 drivers have welcomed the impending ban on traction control. Last month, the FIA confirmed that traction control will not be allowed after 2008. Traction control was banned in 1993, however it was reinstated in 2001.”

    I think you’re confusing Alonso / Enstone / 05-06 with Schumi / Enstone / 94-95. And even then, I’ve not heard of any allegations about the ’95 car, after the FIA established their right to look at the each car’s source code. Johnny Herbert won two races in that car…

    1. Cali says:

      It wasn’t the traction control, but the suspension and related parts, if I remember correctly.

      It is a fact Alonso won 2 championships with a car, or rather parts on the car which was/were later deemed ‘illegal’. They had to change it final part of 2006 and they were suddenly a second slower.

      They should have been stripped off the points and therefore the championships, but the FIA, like they showed last week with Ferrari, are all hot air.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Mmmm, if I remember well – and I do – the results of the last three races of the season for Reanult in 2006 were as follows:
        - China: Fernando 2nd, Giancarlo 3rd
        - Japan: Fernando 1st, Giancarlo 3rd
        - Brasil: Fernando 2nd, Giancarlo 6th

        Not bad for a car that was “…suddenly a second slower”.

      2. Mark says:

        Are you claiming the car wasn’t slower after they took of the illegal parts?

        Laughable.

        With the illegal parts in 2006 they won 7 races out of 11, without the illegal parts they won 1 race out of 7. See the difference? You seriously want to defend that by just mentioning the last 3 races where the rivals had mechanical problems or just dropped out? ;)

        If they hadn’t have those illegal parts in 2005 and 2006, no way in hell they would have won any championships. Maybe winning a few races both seasons combined, tops.

        And this year with Ferrari, if Alonso wins it, it will be devalued too because of what happened in Hockenheim. They should have been stripped off the points, they did something illegal in the race.

        Massa should be ashamed of himself to let himself be used as a puppet for Alonso.

      3. Philip says:

        “It is a fact Alonso won 2 championships with a car, or rather parts on the car which was/were later deemed ‘illegal’. They had to change it final part of 2006 and they were suddenly a second slower.”

        Quite true. You’re talking about the Mass Damper.

        What you don’t mention is, that those “illegal” parts weren’t secret, or discovered by surprise.

        The FIA had been fully informed about them, their principles of operation and purpose, and signed them off as legitimate in late 2005, before they were fitted to the Renaults just for the last few races of that season.

        Long before they were banned, the pitlane knew all about them, and most other teams had copied them and were also running them. Mclaren gained less, and benefited from the ban, as they were using the Z-damper to achieve similiar effects more elegantly). So at the time of the ban, pretty much the whole field was illegal on that argument. Of course, having invented the concept and optimised the car around it, Renault lost most from the ban.

        Does the FIA claim that the mass damper was illegal before being banned? Does anyone seriously claim that?

      4. John says:

        Stripped of the points and the championships for mass dampers? Teams were fully aware of the mass dampers and as they do even now, can complain about illegal features on a car.

        As we’ve seen this year and last teams routinely push the envelope and take risks, and while some fail, many reap the benefits (Brawn last year, Mclaren f-duct and Red Bull blown diffuser this year). It is then up to the FIA to decide, and in the past we’ve seen virtually every top team (Mclaren, Ferrari) asked to remove specific components to comply, so your challenging Renault alone is entirely shortsighted.

  32. Blade Runner says:

    James, having lurked here since the start, or nearly. I would just like to say that this website is by far the best available.

    No slagging matches and serious insite to the current F1 scene.

    Thank you again for this, my first page I look at every day.

    1. James Allen says:

      Cheers. Thanks for that

  33. Timo says:

    James — the last sentence in your piece says it all. Renault’s statements make it appear highly unlikely for Kimi to go there. There’s no way a team thinking seriously about Kimi would about saying “he contacted us first”, and “Petrov is still our first priority”, etc. My view is that they can’t afford him and are making this noise for the benefit of sponsors, much like what Toyota did late last year concerning the same driver.

    My money would be on Kimi joining Mercedes next year IF Schumi decides to walk out (seems increasingly likely) — remember Haug went to visit Kimi a few months back?

    1. DiegoP says:

      You are totally right!

      This piece of news helps Renault to get attention from the sponsors and helps Raikkonen to put pressure on Mercedes (and some WRC teams).

      I’d love to see him back in a good car, but with so many technical changes for next year (and the easter eggs wrapped in Pirelli tyres) it won`t be easy to extrapolate supremacy from this year to 2011.

      We’ll see.

  34. Ed says:

    I’m sorry for Pedro as well. He’s form wasn’t too bad, he’s outqualified Kamui 4 out of the last 7 races, but maybe spinning out of the points on the 2nd last lap in Spa sealed his fate.

    As for Kimi, I would like to see it happen. If it did, it would be almost a perfect F1 grid – and probably one of the strongest of all time.

  35. Rishi says:

    Forgive my cynicism but if Raikkonen is evaluating a return to Formula 1 its probably because he hasn’t found the World Rally Championship to his liking.

    His performances have not been too bad for a debutant and the overriding logic is, no matter how good you are, its going to take a couple of years’ experience to get up to speed. But maybe he was still expecting more from this season – particularly the asphalt rallies (though there are still a couple of these remaining I think).

    Also, while WRC doesn’t have the media scrutiny and politics that F1 has (the “bullshit” as Raikkonen sometimes referred to it), there’s still a strong element of detail involved in working with your co-driver – preparing the pacenotes and so on. So maybe it hasn’t been quite as relaxing as he had hoped.

    The move could still work for Renault but they would definitely need to be title contenders in 2011 and that’s a big “if” even by their impressive standards of development this season. If not, there’s a likelihood Raikkonen could return to the inconsistency by which his time at Ferrari is remembered.

    Of course, there’s also the question of how serious Kimi currently is about coming back to F1. It could be that his management are simply keeping options open and a good result in one of the remaining rallies will convince him to reman in the WRC for 2011 after all.

  36. Fausto Cunha says:

    I´m a Kimi fan and F1 is dificult for me without him,so i spend the year trying to forget him as a F1 driver and i found myself cheering for Lewis and vibrating with is agressive style.

    I´d love that Kimi cameback but i´m afraid that this news will bring his fans hopes up and then let them down by not happening.

    I think if he comesback he will be even a better driver, i think rallying really helps to improve driving skills, and i think he knows that.

    If he really wants to comeback, money won´t be a problem and a team like Renault might be a good place for him and we never know whose gone have a winning car, so many clever people at so many teams that we never no.

  37. Jim says:

    Seems unlikely for a number of reasons:

    1. Kubica signing was based on “building a team around him” – I am quite sure he would have something to say about Kimi joining

    2. As a rookie, I have been impressed by Petrov. Not as quick as Kubica, but he is still learning and was on an upward curve (bar mistakes in the last two races which cost him badly)

    3. Renault are heavily relying on Petrov bringing in cash from sponsors (or his self funding, i remember reading). Kimi will not bring that. Add to that the wage differences between the two

    4. One of Renaults main sponsorships to date is that of Lada car manufacturers based in Russia. They surely would not want to lose their home driver.

    5. Why would Renault leak it to Autosport if they wanted to sign him? Makes no sense to announce drivers well in advance of negotiations

    I personally feel that Kimi has not had as much short term success as he thought he would have in rallying, and is desperate to get back into F1 at the front end. He will most likely go to Mercedes.

    Happy days with Heidfeld back in the pack. Always rated him as a driver – and clearly DLR doesnt have much long term potential and is a bit sluggish in comparison to his very rookie team mate. Probs was on the cards ever since Heidfeld left Mercedes.

  38. Ronald Ooms says:

    It’s hard to believe Kimi would be seriously interested in returning to F1. Last month in Germany he said he wasn’t returning anymore.
    Has it something to do with his negotiations with Citroën and Ford in the WRC? I think so. Making Ford and Citroën worry he would leave WRC after one year. I think it’s all strategy on the part of Kimi’s entourage to get a good contract.
    Just my 5 cents…

    1. Bo Amato says:

      Why worry about him in WRC, he crashes out of every race.

      1. Ronald Ooms says:

        It’s only normal that such things happen if you do it for the first time in your life. It’s called learning. Finding the limit is hard and sometimes you have to pay the price for it.
        All in all, his debut year has seen some bright lights aswell. And a tenth place in the championship is not that bad considering.
        He’ll do better in his second year for sure.

  39. M__E says:

    I for one hope its for real, you can speculate untill you get bored but we’ll only really know one way or another if and when a deal is signed and announced.

    I imagine he’ll be a bit like schumacher after his come back, a different man media wise, but will still pile you into a wall if he deems it necessary! :o nah I just mean he’ll be less stiff and more media friendly thats all :)

  40. tom says:

    i don’t know if it has already been mentioned, but i seem to remember reading that kubica has a ‘number one driver’ clause in his contract? i can’t see kimi signing up to be number two…

  41. Steve Smith says:

    Strange decision so late in the season. Can’t see him being more competitive than Pedro in a car he’s not familiar with.

    Is Sauber looking ahead to next year form hereon?

    How do sponsors deal with this sort of change?

  42. sri says:

    Everyone have already said it ….Kimi on track will be awesome. It will just make the grid richer and if Renault matches other cars next year …we could have a very good 8 drivers fighting for WDC.

    I’m suspecting that RBR and Renault will make an arrangement where Kimi will have one year stint at Renault (paid by RBR) to take 2012 seat at RBR after Webber retires.

    If relatively journeymen like Webber and Button can be WDC contenders, Kimi definitely can (even if disinterested).

  43. Andrew C. says:

    hi;

    It is curious to me that most readers define the Renault as a 5th place team… yet Red Bull is running their HUGELY reliable engine and will likely win the constructors championship.

    Doubtful this is lost on anyone seeking a drive next year. Kubica has proven that the car, in the right circumstances, is fast and podium worthy.

    In comparative terms, I would rate Renault Engineering as the team of the season, having moved their 2009 dogsled into a very competitive and durable race car. They finished 2009 in 8th position… and look a solid 5th for 2010.

    Also, the season isn’t over yet! However, with Kubica at 108pts. and Petrov at 19pts. it should be obvious that the disparity rests with Renault’s driver pairing.

    Raikkonen with Kubica would make for a competitive team next year. It’s probably already a done deal!

    regards,
    Andrew C.

  44. Gareth Foches says:

    Oh happy days…

    1) Kimi may come back
    2) BBC considers axing Legard

    I can’t ask for a better day.

  45. Red5 says:

    Good for Nick, that elusive first win is just around the corner.

    Fantastic news for Kimi, Renault and F1 fans alike. Would love to see him back in a F1 car doing what he does best.

    The current field is one of the strongest for many years, having another world champion will strengthen the F1 brand and generate more excitement on the track. I suggest he would fare much better than Schumi, let’s hope the R31 continues to make up ground on the top teams next season.

  46. Alcibides says:

    The way Renault has announced this news seems a bit strange. It is also strange that the Finish media didn’t really comment on this, not even Heiki Kulta who usually knows what Kimi is up to. That being said I do get the feeling that the Robertsons are planning something, they have really been biding their time. I think there might still be an option for that Red bull seat. Red bull have manufactured a fast car for two years in a row, it is difficult to create such a good car. But if a team is able to provide a championship winning car the drivers must be able to deliver the results. If Red Bull doesn’t win the WDC this year with the car they have, surely you can expect some heads to roll. Even if Webber did win the WDC surely it can only sour the relationships within the team, when Vettel was suppose to be the WDC.

    Kimi’s PR spokes said, when he was contacted because of the Renault rumours, that there is still a lot of rumours to come. My guess is that silly season might still become a lot more interesting.

  47. Jon Wilde says:

    I doubt Quick Nick’s Sauber deal will extend to 2011. Peter Sauber has been making noises about sponsors for next year, one has to assume this is likely to be Telmex, who will likely arrive with a Sergio Perez or similar. That said I don’t think the ART Sauber link up is dead, Jules Bianchi is deserving of a seat.

    My opinion, there are too many rookies with backing on the scene for Quick Nick to be in contention for next year’s seat. That said he is definitely deserving of the 2010 seat, if he manages to overcome the penalties he’ll be awarded before stepping into the car it could work out well for him!!

    Mercedes now I have links to a driver who has tested the 2011 concept tyres and will have driven the current Ferrari engine. sounds like an asset they may wish to hold on to!!

    The return of Kimi would be fantastic, where would Renault be this year had they had 2 top drivers? could they have challenged Ferrari for 3rd?? I think so!

  48. Jon Wilde says:

    Who owns the Renault engine? is it Lopez or Renault themselves?

    Red Bull may want to keep Kimi on their books, but use him as payment for an engine next year.

    He has defiantly shown potential in the WRC, and next year with the raft of new cars coming through he could be in a better position with the playing field somewhat levelled. realistically though will he win the WRC with Citroen before Loeb retires? I think not. Over the next 2-3 year the WRC has new manufacturers joining, I’m guessing Red Bull will move to VW when they announce their WRC participation maybe Kimi will do a couple of years for Renault then move back to the WRC for VW Red Bull??? That said why am I trying to map out the next 3 years of a Kimi’s life when it looks like he doesn’t have a clue himself yet!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Renault own the engine division 100%

      1. Jon Wilde says:

        So Renault Automotive sell will in 2011 sell engines to, Red Bull, Lotus and in some form Renault F1. How far off turning a profit is this division of the business?

        Following the recent news about strong financial year for Brawn I’d love to see an article about the reality of F1 teams finances. Yes some teams have lost money in the past few years, but I have a feeling there are some who are doing pretty well!

  49. Chris Orr says:

    If Raikkonen was to return it would be every world champion since 2000. Plus the 94/95 titles of schumi.
    That would be 13 world titles

    Schumacher 7
    Alonso 2
    Raikkonen 1
    Hamilton 1
    Button 1
    + the 2010 champion on the 2011 Grid.

    Have we ever seen that before?

  50. smellyden says:

    Not sure how Kubica would feel about this! Renault came out and said they want to build the team around him. Brining in Kimi may undermine that if he starts putting in the results. Although the working relationship will be fine as Kimi is not a trouble maker like some others in the paddock.

  51. Viks says:

    I agree with James on the last sentence on Boullier. This Boullier guy is actually acts very strange. In two seperate interviews he has almost put the whole blame on Renault’s lack of success in the last 2 years to Alonso, saying he was not motivated and just waiting for the Ferrari move. Then after Spa he says to a French source that they contacted Kimi. And now he shouts out loud for Autosport that its ‘a certain driver by the name Raikkonen’ contacted them and their priority is Petrov and what not.
    Dont think Kimi will be interested to work with this guy.

  52. Peter says:

    Raikkonen – Kubica pairing would be a big statement, in my opinion the strongest line up.

  53. PJ says:

    If Kimi returns and Webber wins this season, and Schumacher stays, we’ll have 6 F1 Champions (Kimi, Schumi, Alonso, Button, Webber, Button and Lewis) on the grid in 2011. I don’t think that’s happened before.

    1. Dave Aston says:

      Also, if Webber or Vettel win it this year, we’ll have 4 consecutive years of drivers winning their first title. ’61-’64 was four, P Hill-G Hill-Clark-Surtees. I guess the record is five from ’78-82, Andretti-Scheckter-Jones-Piquet-Rosberg?

  54. Does anyone else think it may be a bit of “chest-beating” by Boullier to show that Renault are a “big” team and can attract the biggest and best names in the F1 world.

    I can’ help but think if there was a serious chance of Kimi returning he would not be talking about it in the press, they would be looking to keep it quiet till THEY could break the news that he is returning with Renault.

    I think it’s nothing but a bit of a hurry up to Petrov that he isn’t safe for next season.

  55. john g says:

    Well i have always rated nick as a very good driver and a decent racer too as well as being very very smart. i thought his move to pirelli tester was absolutely spot on for securing his future with a decent team for next year.

    so i cannot understand why he has so willingly dropped that role to race a clearly under-performing and unreliable car for a handful of races – what can he prove that he didn’t already show with BMW Sauber? did his heart over-rule his head on this one? clearly all of these guys are born racers and don’t want a testing career, but i think if he’d stuck with pirelli, he’d be driving for a top team next year. now, sadly i think he’ll be lucky to be racing at all in 2011.

  56. Alex says:

    Do they need him? Hell yes! Any team would be mad nit to have him. I’ve posted on here many a time sticking up for Kimi and F1 needs him badly.

  57. bullhorn says:

    Surely Kimi understands he can’t get the same money that he got from Ferrari! You have to put it into context, his Ferrari contract was initially made when F1 in general was very hot and many teams were spending ridiculous amounts of money. That has changed since then simply because of the world-wide recession – it has nothing to do with the drivers, it is not their choice! The teams pay as much as they think they can pay, it was totally fair game that Kimi had a huge salary.

    Now it is totally fair game too that he can’t get the same money, nobody can. It’s fair, and if you think Kimi is so stupid that he won’t understand this, then I think you are very wrong.

    Kimi is much more interested in what kind of a car can they offer him. His priority is to win – he has said this enough times in public, but somehow people seem to miss it.

  58. JD says:

    Given that Gerard Lopez also recently made the statement that “There is a winning mentality back in the team,” the public negotiation with Raikkonen could also be a way to leverage their position with other Petrov replacements that we currently do not know about. There must be many other drivers who have been knocking on Renault’s door.

  59. Dave Aston says:

    I’d be surprised if Renault took Kimi. I think Petrov has shown some promise… and cash. If not, Sutil probably deserves it. I’d have had Kamui; I wonder where he’ll end up if he continues his form through next year? I’d love to see him in a Red Bull…

    1. Alias says:

      I dont think Petrov has shown that much he has scored 19 points to Kubica’s 109, that is a big difference. There is still some question marks about Sutil, he was beaten by Fisi. Out of those three options Kamui is definitely the most interesting one. Kimi would obviously do better then all of them, it is a bit of a no brainer. But it would be great to see Kimi at a team like Red Bull.

  60. JD says:

    If Renault is looking for someone who is “commercially viable” as well as able to maintain harmony within the team and be personable with the public, is sufficiently quick, and can reliably bring the car home in one piece, they should consider Karun Chandhok.

    1. Peter says:

      I agree with this – Chandhok would be a good choice.

      Surprising he isnt racing for force india.

      but re raikonnen and renault – just from reading their comments – I dont know if the Renault management know what they are doing in F1.

      1. JD says:

        Agreed, and for Lopez to come out and say they want to fight for the championship next season is very bold, almost foolish, considering they haven’t even won a race this season.

        I’d love to see Kubica fighting for the championship, but unless they have some trick design for 2011, it is still a huge uphill battle for Renault to even be considered a threat win races on a regular basis, let alone a championship.

  61. Alias says:

    It seems like Renault have been using Kimi’s name for PR. Steve Robertson has confirmed that he did call Renault, but that he is also checking out every opportunity in F1 and WRC for Kimi for next year. It is his job to find as many possibilities as possible for Kimi to choice from. Although he totally denies the Nascar rumours.

  62. S2K says:

    Kimi is a moody driver. He can have a brilliant 2011 or a very bad one. He is very expensive too, thus making him a unsafe bet. Would he agree to drive alongside Kubica? Surely not! If he will replace the Pola, would he be better than Kubica and take Renault back in the championship title fight? Hard to say, I’d incline towards “no”.

  63. Senthil says:

    I believe Kimi has some unfinished business in F1.He produced some stunning drives in the later half of the 2009 season.

    The present Renault is better than the last year’s Ferrari F60.Kimi would have thought if I am able to win in a car like F60 why can’t i win in the Renault?

    Kimi belongs to F1…

  64. mo kahn says:

    I think what Renault is doing here is ‘Regaining Credibility’. For since the Mass Damper Saga, they have always been looked upon rather suspiciously and then Singapore came and they became a Taboo Team.

    They have a serious car and their development has been rather surprisingly refreshing in terms of innovating and applying fresh ideas on their car.

    They have a very quick driver in Kubica and I feel he took up Renault only as a last resort after BMW announced its exit at the point when all competitive teams had firmed up their drivers. If Kubica had a chance to drive for anyone else, I feel he wouldn’t have opted for Renault strictly on the grounds of their credibility and the Taboo factor.

    However, Kubica’s drivers and some intelligent designs and development has resorted some credibility and to a certain degree a sense of sympathy post Flavio, Alonso, Symonds and Piquet’s era.

    Yet their is a serious credibilty deficit that looms over this team. The evidence of which was second grid place at Monaco by Kubica and occassional strong drives have failed to stir up the deserved restoration of value for the team.

    Kimi Raikkonnen is a big name. Bigger than Renault. Atleast for the fans. So the story leak of dialouge with Kimi by Eric was another attempt to cry out to the F1 faternity and more over the fans to take Renault seriously since Raikkonen is.

    This is nothing but a strategy employed by us in the corporate world which is called ‘Trust-Deficit-Errosion’.

    So I feel this is what is happening here.

    Kimi, is exploring all the possibilities. With Pirelli comming in next. Its a year of learning for everyoene, Teams, Drivers, Engineers etc. which gives a level playing field and drivers with natural talent will excel and it is unanimous that there is no better natural talent then Kimi Raikkonen in the current F1.

    I think Renault should offer him a race seat. For I feel the sheer marketabilty and credibitly (as a clean driver) that Kimi brings is most needed for the team.

    If they don’t its a long long journey for Renault to restore their image overall.

    Since I’m on the topic of Renault. I think they should change their colour scheme since their current colour scheme is exactly of that of Jordan. I think reverting to their Pale Yellow would help them in re-establishing their independent identity, since they already have an established history in the Pale Yellow colour scheme.

  65. David Hamilton says:

    Think Heidfeld’s decision to drop the testing role in favour of a place of the grid reflects the fact that he’s a racer – just driving a F1 car is not really enough.

    With his luck though, I’ll bet that he again misses out on a top drive for next year (as he did this year, when Schumacher grabbed the drive at Mercedes). What will happen is that Schumacher will delay making a decision on 2011 until testing the new car starts. By then Heidfeld will have signed with Sauber again to avoid being left out for another year.

    Schuey will bail because of lack of front-end grip, and Raikkonen will stroll back into a Mercedes… which will turn out to be blindingly quick as all Brawn-led cars eventually are.

  66. Lisa says:

    Reading the comments of some Renault people I very much doubt that the deal will work out. Besides I think that Kimi´s true intention is to keep on rallying next year.

    Shame as I miss him at F1 and he could still rally in 2 or 3 years :(

  67. Marybeth says:

    If the rumors of Briatore going to Ferrari in Domenicali’s place, with Alonso as his client, which could put more money in FB’s pocket depeneding on how FA finishes for the year, I take back everything I said about wanting Ferrari to honor the last year of Kimi’s contract. In fact, run as fast as you can the other way, Kimi. But I doubt that Ferrari would actually catch themselves in that kind of mess.

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