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Whitmarsh: Raikkonen wants to leave Lotus
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Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Aug 2013   |  1:32 am GMT  |  315 comments

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes Kimi Raikkonen wants to leave Lotus but thinks the Finn will ultimately end up staying with the Enstone-based team next season.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier has said he is optimistic of keeping Raikkonen, amid speculation the team is struggling with its finances, but the Finn has been linked with a move to Ferrari and Red Bull.

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, who won the opening race of the season in Australia, is fourth in the drivers’ standings, 63 points adrift of Red Bull’s leader Sebastian Vettel, having lost ground in recent races.

“Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he will not succeed in that goal, so let’s see how he gets on there,” Whitmarsh told www.f1.com.

McLaren have struggled this season and lie fifth in the constructors’ championship, 247 points behind leaders Red Bull. The team have yet to score a podium, with their best finish fifth in China courtesy of Jenson Button.

Whitmarsh has said it is his intention to retain 2009 world champion Button and Sergio Perez next year, although he stopped short of confirming it.

“I think our guys deserve another go at it,” said Whitmarsh. “They have done a good enough job and they are a good couple of drivers. They deserve a better McLaren next year and that’s what we’re hoping to give them.”

But he has not entirely ruled out a move for Raikkonen, who drove for McLaren between 2002 and 2006, adding that the team had talks with the Finn in 2012.

“Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan of him,” said Whitmarsh. “There is a lot of speculation out there at the moment, so let’s see what happens.

“I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m completely open – last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. This year we’ve had no talks – yet. We are not talking to Kimi at the moment, so let’s see what happens in the drivers’ market.”

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315 Comments
  1. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    Well, I suppose he is saying this for a reason…. not sure what that reason is though?

    1. **Paul** says:

      I’m not sure either, maybe to motivate Perez? It’s an interesting one though. Slightly off topic but I’m not convinved by the RBR Ricciardo deal yet. Everyone was saying it would be announced pre-Spa, it wasn’t. Then they said at Spa, it wasn’t. Marks interview maybe was just a curveball for the media, he’s known to make them look like fools before.

      Makes me think that RBR are still trying to work something out with Kimi, and are trying all they can to get him, if it fails then DR is the fallback.

      I can’t see JB leaving McLaren this season, their best performances have come from him and I’m sure his contract option will be taken by McLaren.

      1. AndyFov says:

        I’m guessing it’s a ‘hurry up and sign whilst you can’ message to JB’s management.

      2. onekerato says:

        JB signed with McLaren in 2011, under circumstances where (1) JB had a great year (2) McLaren wanted JB to sign a long term contract but JB didn’t want one (3) Lewis was expected to renegotiate much higher pay in 2012… so my guess is that Jenson’s contract extension for 2014 has a salary kicker to bring him up to par with Lewis’ 2012 deal or whatever McLaren offered Lewis… If so – and that’s a big if – McLaren may have shot themselves in the foot.

      3. Simmo says:

        It doesn’t add up. If Kimi does want to leave Lotus then why isn’t he going to Red Bull? Unless, of course, he is trying to go back to Ferrari…

      4. shortsighted says:

        I think Kimi is stuck with Lotus as no other top team is bidding for him. His speed relative to his team mate Grosjean is not helping his marketability to the other teams.

      5. onekerato says:

        I don’t think Red Bull can match Kimi’s salary demands. They don’t pay Seb all that much. And Kimi hasn’t signed with Lotus yet because of financial troubles as much as not-a-race-winning-car. Ferrari is probably not an option because Luca would be left red-faced to bring back Kimi. McLaren is actually a realistic option. When Horner said there were some surprise inquiries for the RB seat, perhaps he meant JB…?

      6. Shamino says:

        Maybe Mark’s comment that us aussies would be happy was because there WON’T be an aussie being done over at RBR ……

    2. Nick says:

      Seems pretty clear that McLaren are keep their options open as to their line up and are weighing up keeping Sergio and see what he does in a good car and the money he brings in, or make a play for the Iceman to increase chances of winning and poitns next year.

      Be quite interesting to see what plays out….

      1. Sebee says:

        Mexican GP comming up. If Carlos Slim chooses not to come to the team to replace Vodafone, is there a reason to keep Perez? Perhaps just for 2014 as a cost saving transition measure. But no Slim money comes in then Perez is out in a blink.

        See, it’s all about sponsors even for big teams. See the pattern Kimi?

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Think the Mexican one will be get dropped for 2014 due to calendar congestion.

      3. Sebee says:

        Even if Stephen, McLaren’s plan is to find a replacement for Vodafone. They need to prospect deep and hard. There is no downside during this transition to scouting Telmex money. They have a driver, Honda is coming onboard. Clearly they have done all they can to show their value going forward be it 2014 or 2015 that Mexican GP happens.

    3. Stephen Taylor says:

      Could it be that in his ideal world he would have preferred Kimi as Hamilton’s replacement but they needed a driver with major financial investment behind them so they chose Sergio.

      1. Dave C says:

        Wait a minute if a team like mclaren are now relying on a pay driver’s money then F1 really is in trouble, Kimi over Perez or Ricciardo anyday and also probably a better bet than Massa post 2008, seems like Kimi has no option but to stay at Enstone.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Or he could leave f1 completely.

      3. Sebee says:

        Worse. What do you thik santander are doing at Ferrari? Yup. Paying for Alonso to be there. It’s a brave new world.

      4. onekerato says:

        Lotus had an option on Kimi for 2013, so he wasn’t really available when McLaren went scouting last year. McLaren would have had to buy out his Lotus contract and meet Kimi’s high salary. That would probably cost more than what Lewis was asking!

        I think McLaren were genuinely giddy about Sergio last year when they signed him on. Remember the “giant-killer” quote from Whitmarsh?

    4. Simon says:

      If Witmarsh wants McLaren to return to the sharp end of the field he should do everything to get back Hamilton and stop passing comments about others. Hamilton will bring back enthusiasm & motivation among MacLaren’s engineers.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Mclarens engineers were mostly fed up with Lewis. They’ve always liked Kimi though. Ask anyone who works at mclaren – Kimi is still well liked by anyone who was there and really rated. Lewis was admired and worried over like the kid they had grown up with.

        So yeah it might be different if he came back fresh. But Lewis seems happier in the faster Mercedes now.

      2. James Clayton says:

        I don’t think a return of Hamilton after an absence of just a year is going to particularly motivate the team!

        There’s no way Hamilton would go back to McLaren after just a year away from Merc anyway, especially considering the relative form of the two teams at the moment!

    5. Craig Baker says:

      News just to hand says that DR has had a seat fitting at Red Bull and his hips are too wide for the 2014 car.

      1. James Allen says:

        That was the chat before Spa

        He went back this week presumably for revisions

        Remember he tested this year’s RBR ok on Silverstone

      2. Glennb says:

        “Remember he tested this year’s RBR ok on Silverstone”
        The article refers to the 2014 seat being too narrow for Dan. The 2013 seat is OK. Different animal ;)

      3. Sebee says:

        Can he have hip surgery as such an early age? Get some high-end titanium upgrades?

        Come on DR, do it. It’s worth it to drive the RB.

    6. Quade says:

      Since McLaren can’t have two older drivers, its clear Whitmarshes missive is aimed buttons way.
      One crazy young driver with sponsorship in Perez and an older, steely-eyed, dependable, ice cool head in Kimi.

  2. ACx says:

    I don’t get quite why Lotus would want a driver who doesn’t really want to drive for them, and is already irked at apparently not being paid properly. Add to that that, we are talking about Kimi, who Ferrari let go, for what looked very much like motivation issues. What is his motivation at Lotus? Is a demotivated Kimi offering full value to a team that need every 10th?

    Also, I read it suggested that the clock is ticking, which rules out a team like McLaren who probably wont be up to WDC speed until year 2 of the Honda deal, which would be 2016. But Lotus are unlikely to challenge, I don’t see a team that suddenly will in 2014/5 and have a seat available. So, if Kimi is in F1 to win a WDC again, where is it coming from? What is his motivation? What, Kimi makes up the numbers at Lotus for a year or two more? But then were?

    I’m completely lost as to what Kimi whats to achieve and where he thinks its possible to do it. I cant help thinking that he’ll retire, again.

    Or, in all seriousness, does he need the money?

    1. King says:

      Wow! [mod]. This is a World Champion driver you referring to. Not some GP3 driver.

      1. ACx says:

        Yes, the very same world champion who Ferrari replaced, and paid off.

      2. King says:

        Wow, you are unbelievable. Funny thing is the driver they ‘replaced’ is the driver that won Ferarri’s last WDC. He retired, returned and they STILL haven’t won anything. Sad times for SF. Kimi brought them glory. All they’ve seen is disapointment since 2007!

    2. Phenom says:

      [mod].

      1. Kimi has single handedly kept Lotus at the sharp end of the pack for 2 years. He’s consistent and although not always as quick as Grosjean (who I think could be a real force to be reckoned with in 2-3 years)- has provided the type of feedback to drive forward development that only an experienced driver can. They need him for his racecraft just as much as his technical input for 2014 otherwise they will be a certified mid field team.

      2. They didn’t pay his salary on time, no ‘apparently’ about it, they admitted it and Kimi very graciously said very little on the matter, Boullier was the one who admitted it in the press.

      3. It’s fairly common knowledge now that the supposed motivation issue at Ferrari was a smokescreen to ditch somebody who didnt fit the company culture and simultaneously bring in Alonso and the Santander millions. Fair play from a business decision but not a nice way to repay your World Champion driver is it? Why was Massa ahead of Raikkonen in 2008? Schumacher was a massive supporter of Massa whom he mentored and was close to. As such, the development direction of the 2008 Ferrari was very much geared towards his driving style as opposed to Raikkonen. Do you honestly think any one would win a world championship and then sit back and say oh i’m going to put in half the effort now? Get real.

      4. Of course Kimi is in F1 to win a world championship again, but funny thing these days you cant just up and walk into any team you want. You kind of have to… you know… enter into negotiations and sort out contracts. Which is what he’s been doing. If Lotus is his only option because Helmut Marko wants to vindicate the RB driver development program and Mercedes is full and Mclaren need Carlos Slim’s money and Ferrari don’t want egg on their faces that is not his fault and to suggest that without the option to join those teams means we should lose one of the best drivers on the grid is a ridiculous conclusion to come to.

      5. No. No he does not need the money. He’s not racing in F1 to pay his gas bill is he? He came back and joined what was at the time a totally midfield team to WIN. And he has!

      By the way Raikonnen isn’t my favourite driver, I just have a hell of alot of respect for what he’s done at Lotus and the misconceptions about his departure from Ferrari really annoy me.

      1. Mandice says:

        “He’s consistent and although not always as quick as Grosjean”

        i stopped reading at that point.

        quali stat = 8-3

        Kimi had front row start while romain hasn’t so far.

        On sunday, romain was often found nowhere while kimi was always there.

        I don’t get the hype on Kimi not being fast. Such a misleading stereotype

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Why? Your qualifying statistics show exactly the same thing as you are taking issue with.

        Nobody said anything about Kimi “not being fast” either.

      3. madmax says:

        Massa was ahead of Raikkonen in 2008 and 2009 in points and head to head qualifying and races where both finished. Even in 2007 Massa out qualified Raikkonen 9-8.

        To say the car was more suited to him than Raikkonen is incredibly unfair on Massa and makes no logical sense whatsoever. Why would Luca be saying in the media for the real Kimi to stand up if that was the case.

        The simple truth was Raikkonen was brought to Ferrari as a number one and didn’t out perform Massa the way Schumacher did before or Alonso after.

        Completely agree with everything else said but people have got to give Massa some credit for when he was driving at his best.

      4. Maybet says:

        michael schumacher admitted the car was developed in Massa’s direction.

        Masssa never really beat Kimi in 2009. Kimi just had more retirements and strategy blunders.

        Kimi was the one that scored first point for Ferrari, first front row qualifying (qualified 2nd in monaco 2009 and first podium (3rd in
        monaco) )

      5. madmax says:

        @Maybet

        Have you a link to Schumacher saying that?

        Perhaps when Massa was leading Raikkonen in the title chase but otherwise it’s laughable.

        Why would Ferrari get Kimi and then focus on developing the car in Massa’s direction all the while with the Ferrari president pleading in the media for Kimi to show his true form?

        I have no doubt Raikkonen at his best is the better driver between them but when they where paired together Massa was consistently better.

      6. 027 says:

        madmax, Massa was consistently better? Raikonen WDC’s at Ferrari = 1 from 3 years, Massa WDC’s at Ferrari = 0 from almost 8 years including the 3 when Kimi was there. Read the link above explaining the Kimi-Ferrari debarcle and have a bit of a ponder, you will also find references of Schuey directing the development of the car to suit Massa more so than Kimi. Kimi wont move next year, he will be at Lotus where he is the #1 driver, he wont go to Red Bull and be Vettels lap dog, he wont be in a McLaren because the car he is in now is as good if not better, and he will never be in a Ferrari again after they burned him the first time around.

      7. Rich B says:

        the 2008 Ferrari being developed for massa was nothing but a rumour and quite a fanciful one.

      8. crndl says:

        well said, phenom, even if Iceman IS my favorite driver :)

      9. ACx says:

        1) Again I have not suggested Kimi is demotivated now.

        2) I didn’t want to risk libel on JA’s blog.

        3) “Common knowledge” to you, but I watched that season.

        4) Yes, after 30 years of watching F1, I know that. Its why Im saying what Im saying.

        5) I assumed so.

    3. F1 Badger says:

      A demotivated Kim set the record for most consecutive points finishes, finishes and won Lotus (that brand’s) only gp wins!!

      1. ACx says:

        I didn’t NOT say Kimi has been demotivated thus far. I’m saying if he has to stay at a team he wants to leave he is likely, based on past record, be demotivated.

      2. Marpabel says:

        Sorry, but there are some misundestanding. At least Lopez said last week that Raikkonen first priority and concern is, how team develop the car. Of course he didn’t want only drive. Kimi wants win races.

    4. Simmo says:

      They want him because, even if he doesn’t want to be there, he is still giving them the best results possible.

      1. ACx says:

        Was he doing that at Ferrari in his last season there?

    5. Sebee says:

      Personally, I always found the 2007/2008 WDC seasons quite flukish. Not that I contest teh results, simply that I was not satisfied with how they were won. WDC should be won convincingly, and I wasn’t convinced with Kimi’s 2007 effort. It’s as if the whole SpyGate thing resulted in a McLaren that knew they could not win the WDC for integrity sake, and it fell into Kimi’s lap.

      Money is Kimi’s motivation. He’s driving and wants to be paid for it. Except as I’ve said, everyone now brings sponsors – he doesn’t. That means Kimi is a pure expense. He can be justified at Lotus, because he delivers consistancy and points which pull them up the WCC order, and thus give them more money which he can be paid with. Other teams that are already high up the WCC order and likely won’t move up thanks to Kimi’s presence, well to them Kimi is an expense.

      I think Kimi is frustrated. You ask the right questions about motivation adn WDC potential. I myself don’t see it on the cards for Kimi for a few years. All the WDC potential seats are taken in my view.

      1. Nick says:

        1.) Schumacher’s 2003 WDC convincing ? (Won thanks to Kimi’s blown engine at Nurburgring while leading).

        2.) Alonso’s 2006 WDC convincing ? (Won thanks to Schumacher’s blown engine at Suzuka while leading).

        3.) Hamilton’s 2008 WDC convincing ? (Won thanks to Timo Glock slowing down at the last corner of the last lap).

        4.) Vettel’s 2010 WDC convincing ? (Won thanks to poor Ferrari strategy leading to Alonso being stuck behind Petrov)

        Most WDC have an element of luck to them. Kimi suffered enough in 2003 and 2005 due to reliability issues so some luck was what he deserved.

      2. Sebee says:

        Look, I’m not saying WDCs weren’t close in the past, and we can all agree that close finishes down to last race are always better, and that’s what we had in 2007 and 2008.

        Winners of those WDCs are winners – period.

        However, I feel that the drama at McLaren made that WDC fall into Kimi’s lap. And Lewis coming in 5th…well, underwelming. But hey, Vettel did that too, and so have other champions. It’s not like every winner can sprint to the finish, and not ever ending is going to be pretty. I understand that. And yes, I admit it, 2008…that Brazilian GP had me loosing my mind on the sofa. I have never seen such insanity at the end, and if anyone at anytime asked me to name the most exciting WDC finish, I think that was it. But try and tell me that Massa winning that race and stomping his authority on the race didn’t take away from 5th place finish for a WDC. I admit, I felt same when Schumi won the WDC off the podium.

        Oh and 2010 was convincing. That was Ferrari error, Vettel won that race as a WDC should.

      3. Elie says:

        Just to add to that -2005 Kimi won 7 GP’s and his Mercedes engine blew up 3 times whilst leading..today that would easily win WC if he’d finished anywhere in the points for the remaining races ( how many drivers win 7-10 GPs a season in a time when Ferrari was dominant& Renault also). That year defined Kimi as easily the fastest driver on earth. Just listening to our own JA Commentary at SPA talking about Kimi was inspiring in itself. Then his drive at Suzuka was just out if this world.. If you want to talk about unlucky champions – this Kimi is easily the hardest don’t by..He’s easily a triple world champion- except for the “luck”.
        Whenever you hear Sebastian talking about Kimis driving he mentions it.. He’s knows he’s the one that decimated MS on track in those years.. That’s where the respect comes from !

      4. Nick says:

        Why should the be won convincingly?

        The closer they are and more uncertain until the very end the better.

        2007 and 2008 are two of the most exciting championships in recent years for that very reason.

      5. Stephen Taylor says:

        There is no such thing as fluked championship win.

      6. ACx says:

        I fully agree about those seasons. I would argue that are valid WDC wins, but yes, not what ideally one would want to see.

        Thing is, and I sense you would agree, we all want Kimi in a competitive car. Many of us would like to see Kimi win a WDC properly. I wonder if that is his motivation for coming back in the first place. But now, I agree, its looking slim.

    6. Elie says:

      I don’t quite get why people post such ill informed and pointless questions.
      1. Kimi did not have motivation issues at Ferrari- he had car issues- set up how Massa wanted and He had Ferrari wanting to sign Santander for long term sponsorship with Fernando- all out in the open now
      2. The reason why Lotus want to sign Kimi is that he has scored 27 races in the points – no one else in the history of F1 has done that !- This is/ was not someone that lacked motivation.!!!. He has elevated the team since his return. It was 7th in 2011. It has been as high as second in 2012 and now fighting for 4th. Team boss Eric Boullier has rated Kimi a 10/10 this year and we have several other team principals interested for a reason. There is a reason for this.
      3. If Red Bull want him he could win a championshi
      If Ferrari want him he could win a championship.
      If Mclaren want him- he could win with them- replace Sergio or Jenson – it doesn’t matter which he is better than both.
      Lotus will do anything they can to keep him and he may challenge but isunlikely to win because they don’t have resources.
      4. Above all things Kimi is a great racer its in his blood !!-and if he can at least be in the same position he’s in-now he will then challenge for wins that is all the motivation he needs.
      5. People comparing Romain to Kimi are just insane. Kimi has out qualified Romain 8/3 this year and 10/10 last year.
      Kimi has outraced him 10/1 this year and something like 15/3 last year. If people think Grosjean is fast- what does say about Kimi?.honestly people get a grip!!.
      6. Retiring is an option but we would be a great loss of one of the greatest drivers of this century. All your othet suggestions are just plain silly. He is the most sort after driver in F1 at the moment for a reason.

      1. Sebee says:

        Funny think Elie in your post above this one talking about Kimi and his winnings in 2005.

        The funny part is how you don’t mention Adrian Newey and attribute all the craftiness in the MP4-20 to Kimi. Especially since that is the exact opposite of the view many take about Vettel today. Yet very similar circumstances, wouldn’t you say? My or my, how we choose to see things… :-)

      2. Elie says:

        At Mclaren where were Kimis young fast team mates ( Montoya)-How reliable are the Newey cars in this era compared to then ? Where is a the special Ferraris today that Kimi beat in his day against a 7 time WC ?. You have to look at everything – not just cherry pick

      3. Sebee says:

        Elie,

        Please don’t take this the wrong way, but what exactly do you mean cherry pick? What exactly do you mean special Ferraris beaten by Kimi?

        I really need some clarification, because in your case with your comments I feel you are remembering things a bit differently than I do and than facts support.

        Kimi was STEAMROLLED by Schumacher up to 2004, not even a hint of doubt about that. 2003 may be close on points, but it’s 6 wins for Schumi 1 for Kimi – so Kimi is not beating anyone. Consistancy for Kimi helped the points standing, but as wins shows you, neither Kimi nor his car were a match.

        2005 was not a special Ferrari at all as we all know, this is where it went wrong for Ferrari and where Kimi in fact got the special McLaren. Also, let’s be honest, if Schumi went for 6 in a row in 2005 fans would possibly consider playing solitare on Sundays.

        Finally, what happened in 2006 as well Elie?

        I really think my point stands and is quite valid. Kimi earned 7 wins in 2005 in Newey’s McLaren full third of this total. Those 7 are the foundation of his reputation. Yet you give him entire credit for those wins in Newey’s special car, while many on here are giving Newey nearly all the credit for Vettel’s wins. What gives?

      4. Elie says:

        Sebee honestly you don’t have a clew do you. Get a grip
        2001-2- he was a rookie at Sauber and qualified 6th his first GP in Aust- quite extraordinary. He quite often finished in the points when his Sauber finished the race- which was what earned him a Mclaren drive.
        2003 Kimi had 3 mechanical retirements and still almost
        Won the championship
        2004 Kimi had 8 retirements most of those mechanical- that car was a bomb- end of story !!
        2005- Mp4-20 had 2retirements +1 did not start (US Michelin ) and he lost by only 2 points to MS
        2006- he had 6 retirements most mechanical. The car was not up to Ferrari.
        If any driver other than Kimi Raikkonen had half the problems he had he may have given up on a F1 years ago.
        But only guys made of the stuff Kimi go on to win After all that.
        The Ferrari was known to have custom made Bridgestones specifically tailored for MS – Felipe Massa did not even have this !!.
        Please don’t ask pointless questions if you do not have all the facts at hand. Im not Goferet and do not like referring to statistics- once I understand a driver and watch enough races – I begin to know what they are about statistics or not.

        More importantly cars SINCE 2006 were designed with greater reliability in mind which is what the rules were formulated for — one might suggest the perfect tragic example would be one very, very unfortunate Mr Raikkonen.
        So before you start rabbiting on about your Newey designs- understand the history, the regulations and watch almost every race as I have then form opinion.

        Oh yeah your tone has now changed from FA/KR had no opposition to KR being “steamrolled” by MS! .. What happened.. You change your mind more often than underwear

      5. Sebee says:

        Oh yeah Elie…I just remembered! What was Kimi riding on in 2005 in that lovely Newey MP4-20? Oh yes…those super wide Michelins! Is that not of some significance as well?

        So Fernando wins with Michelin rubber and awesome front dumpener keeping it glued up front plus the lovely lauch software Renault had. And Schumi is best Bridgestone runner. Kimi just gets the benefit of Newey’s car and Michelin tires in 2005 yet is given all credit for it in your comments. 2006, it all changes, doesn’t it?

  3. richy says:

    where the hell did i put it… ?
    i SWEAR i had it just a minute or two ago, where IS that wooden spoon ?

    oh there it, MW is using it to stir the pot merrily

    1. Sebee says:

      MW is just stating facts. Why do you think Kimi’s team is shopping him so vigorously?

    2. Tyemz says:

      Glad you got your wooden spoon back. Mine’s been missing for a while now cos the other MW has been using it to stir the RB pot, merrily too. Thing is, I can’t get it back from him before Brasil cos by then, the pot-stirring would have just begun.

  4. Gabrielle says:

    Pretty sure that if Kimi is avaible and willing to come back, McLaren will ship Perez back to Mexico in the first plane. Raikkonen and Button would form the most tyre-gentile duo in the current grid.

    1. Doug says:

      I agree, McLaren need 2 ‘A’ drivers.

      Perez is like Massa, quick but lacking in consistancy. At less than 50% of his team mates points he’s not having the best season.

      I feel that McLaren will only keep him as long as the money keeps rolling in. If he doesn’t improve massively by 2015 when Honda return I feel it could well be ‘Adios Amigo’!

      1. Sebee says:

        Perez equals potential sponsor replacement for Vodafone. He will get another shot for 2014. But if Telmex doesn’t come in, bye bye Sergio.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        I think whether Telmex or whoever joins Mclaren is partly down to whether Sergio can get in the points consistently between Monza and Interlagos.

      3. Sebee says:

        Agreed. I’ve said it all along Stephen, McLaren and Sergio are in it together. If he doesn’t deliver results over this period it’s not because he wasn’t supported or got the hardware. It’s in McLaren’s interest to have Sergio succeed.

    2. Robert says:

      +1. And one of the most experienced and mature. Yeah, I can’t believe I just called Kimi mature either….

    3. Quade says:

      Sorry, but no team keeps two older drivers. Its always either young/old or young/young.
      If McLaren take Kimi, its clear who will be leaving. Also, Jenson does not yet have a contract for next year and only last week, made embarrassingly fawning noises about Ferrari – rather strange.

    4. AuraF1 says:

      They’d also form the oldest duo on the grid once Mark has left. While I believe that drivers can continue much longer than previously considered due to modern training techniques and better lifestyles etc – mclaren would have to be wary of either JB or KR ditching F1 for another career once they get a few more years in.

      I always assumed Perez was taken on to be moulded into a future winner – they did say up front they weren’t expecting him to challenge JB but would be learning the ropes.

  5. KRB says:

    Whoa! Such an odd interview, very White Goodman-esque (i.e. Ben Stiller’s character in Dodgeball), throwing things out there, then pullin’ it back, then hangin’ it out again.

    Goodman: “There’s no reason we need to be shackled by the strictures of the employee-employer relationship. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In which case, I got some shackles in the back. I’m just kidding. But seriously, I’ve got ‘em.”

    I’d be very nervous if I was Perez. I think it sends the message that he will only get one more year to show he can cut it.

    1. Donald says:

      Haha! I think this is actually about right, your second point.

      Well made, though!

  6. Michael S says:

    I wish Martin would make Kimi an offer to join McLaren. I like Button, but he is not on the same level of Kimi overall. I also would love to see Kimi at Ferrari again, but just can’t see Alonso going for that at this stage in his career.

    My fear with Lotus is of course budget and the small odds they build a car as competitive to this one without James Allison.

    1. Yak says:

      If Kimi were to join McLaren, I don’t think it’d be Button who’d have to vacate his race seat.

    2. Allan says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Ferrari and Mercedes seem to have tried to corner the marked on top technical people. With James Allison gone, that is Lotus’ biggest challenge…

      As much as Kimi might like the environment and personnel, one has to think that he would be concerned about the ability of the technical team, especially with so many new regs…

    3. Rudy says:

      It’s more about having a factory car. It involves Renault commiting to a works contract with Lotus. It won’t happen. Nissan (Infinity) and Renault are partners in manufacturing cars the world over. Kimi wants Lotus to agree such a deal. His only real option is going back to Maranello. It’s not in his hands and that’s why he could end staying at Enstone. For the those who say Kimi isn’t motivated or the real thing here’s the fact: Schumacher with all his 7 titles couldn’t win a single race in his return to the sport. Kimi, on the other side, has won twice in a midfield team and harvesting podiums and points like crazy! Schumacher recently admited he had no longer the energy required to mount a championship challenge and that was when he (helped by Mercedes) decided to call it a day. Don’t get me wrong but Hamilton is harvesting on the Schumacher effort. The german excelled in leading the development of cars. Many say it was the Pirelli test in Barcelona. Ha ha!! 1000 kms make the difference? One wonders why Marussia or Caterham didn’t tested also!! They’d be winning! Nonsense. A great part of that success mas due to Schumacher and Brawn working closely. Some say the magic is because Paddy Lowe, Toto Wolff and Niki are there. Come on! We are smarter than that. It takes years to achieve good results. Certainly Lewis is a great driver, as also Alonso, Raikkonen and Vettel.
      The questions are: does Lewis jumped ship to Mercedes knowing McLaren was going towards a revolution with the 2013 car, instead of evolution, and decided to harvest Schumi’s efforts?
      Does Raikkonen sees in the horizon the end of a profitable development of the Lotus and wants to pick-up on someone else’s work?
      Do we believe Alonso is perhaps more a racer than a developer? No winning car in 3-4 years.
      What does Raikkonen knows about engines (2014) that we don’t know? 2014 will be about engines and fuel management.
      Hope these questions will be answered in the following weeks.
      Thanks James Allen for the insights and this wonderful blog/news site. The best all-around!

  7. Goob says:

    Sack Button – Get 100% improvement in performance. It`s so simple.

    1. monktonnik says:

      Or get Massa, he had the better of Kimi at Ferrari over their time together.

      Or get Lewis back. He outscored JB during their time together.

      Oh :(

      I think Raikkonen and JB would be a pretty interesting pairing.

      1. Basil says:

        Massa, a 7/10 in his good days.
        Kimi, a 10/10 in most of his days.

        Besides, I wonder how many teams are courting Massa right now… eat your words!

    2. Tyemz says:

      Sack Button.
      Yes because last time I checked, Button designed the 2013 McLaren.

      1. Gareth says:

        Button is doing a good job. If anyone should be sacked its Perez.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        +1,000,000

    3. Michael S says:

      I agree… Button is good, but not on the level of Kimi. Once they lost Lewis they lost overall performance from the drivers.

      1. Dave C says:

        This year’s car performance has nothing to to with Hamilton leaving, Jenson was winning races every season he’s been with Mclaren and this year he can’t even get on the podium its just that the pullrod suspension system has failed Mclaren this year.

    4. Andrew J says:

      The driver who’s got them most of their points this season? And who’s achieved their highest finish so far? And who scored more points than his former team-mate in their time together?

      Explain how it would improve the dog of a car that is the 2013 McLaren…

      1. Goob says:

        It was Button’s leadership that turned a top car into a dog… credit where credits due please.

        Whitmarsh is a terrible decision maker, and is killing McLaren with every turn.

        It surprises me Whitmarsh is not already replaced to be honest. Even Microsoft are getting rid of Ballmer as CEO, as he has a trash track record with Windows 8 failures etc…

      2. Andrew J says:

        If the car this year was an evolution of last year’s then there’d be some validity to your argument. But Button doesn’t lead the team, and it wasn’t his decision for McLaren to build a new car for this season rather than carry out further development on last year’s as other leading teams have done. A bold gamble which didn’t pay off.

        Look at where McLaren were in 2008, and then the relative slump that followed in 2009 when they finished the season a poor third more than 80 points behind the second place team, Red Bull. By your logic they should have sacked Hamilton for a 100% improvement.

        Where I agree with you more is around Martin Whitmarsh. he would have sanctioned this new car and it was clearly a mistake. In fact, I’m surprised that, seeing how fast the 2012 car was (even with JB at the wheel!), when the 2013 car turned out not to have been what it was planned to be, why they didn’t take the dust covers off last year’s car and tweak it a bit more.

        A dog of a car is down to management decisions and design flaws. It’s not the driver you need to get rid of.

    5. Quade says:

      Someone posted this link higher up the page.
      http://www.planetf1.com/driver/3213/8884495/McLaren-yet-to-re-sign-Button
      There’s enough innuendo packed into it to fill a bus.

      McLaren is out of love with Jenson, Whitmarsh has won the political battles with Ron Dennis and can now get rid of his tools and methods to rebuild a team in his image – that’s what I see happening.
      Right now, we have two dud drivers and something needs doing. Of both, Perez is young, has shown some spirit and comes with a load of dosh – he’s the pet McLaren want to train and Kimi will make a great master.

    6. Doug says:

      I’ve got to say that JB is driving really well this year in a duff car..he beat Kimi at Spa in an inferior car. Respect Jenson!
      I’d love to see JB & Kimi togather but Perez looks to have had his 2014 season ticket already bought by his Uncle Carlos! ;-)

    7. AuraF1 says:

      Wait so Perez is out scoring JB right? The same way Lewis out scored JB? I don’t think 100% means what you think it means…

    8. Alec Tronnach says:

      How about a Raikkonen AND Alonso dreamteam at McLaren!

  8. Jagan says:

    Button to Ferrari is the only way that kimi will go to Mclaren. I think Jensen will do very well at Ferrari, similar to webber at RBR and is the kind of personality that would be very compatible with Alonso. Kimi at Mclaren would be a homecoming of sorts

    1. Robert says:

      Not just compatible, but Jenson and Alonso are actually pretty good friends, having come up together, and have similar maturity about them. The problem is that Ferrari then doesn’t have anyone in the pipe for when Alonso DOES retire, as he and JB are likely to both retire about the same time.

      1. TimW says:

        I think Vettel is their long term target to replace Fernando. I agree with you that Jenson would do a very good job for Ferrari, but I think we may just see Massa get yet another last minute reprieve.

      2. Doug says:

        and just to stir…I think JB would be awesome at Red Bull…a well balanced car+JB= one unhappy SV!

      3. Paige says:

        Well, I think it’s clear Ferrari would love to have Vettel. It also fits with how Ferrari historically usually does things: they don’t develop their “#1″ drivers, but instead poach them from other teams when they become available. They started the Ferrari Driver Academy a few years ago when they saw the value of such a program, given that arguably the two quickest guys on the grid now are the products of such a development program. (Hamilton and Vettel.) Their only two successes in terms of drivers making it to F1 are Perez and Bianchi, and one of them has already flown the nest (and hasn’t done much since to show that he’s championship material). Bianchi has shown some progress, and Ferrari seem to believe in him quite a lot and want to bump him up the grid next year.

        Maybe the pre-contract with Vettel exists. If it doesn’t, then Ferrari is going to have one hell of a time convincing Vettel to make the switch when Red Bull- who have given him all he could ever ask for from a competition perspective- will clearly fight tooth and nail to keep him. Mercedes will certainly make a strong offer to lure him over, and they could be very well primed given the rate at which the team is building and advancing. (And I’m sure they would love to have Hamilton and Vettel as their two drivers.)

        There is also the Hulkenberg option. He’s not going to be slogging about in the midfield forever, I can assure you of that.

        Ferrari’s immediate concern is that they need to improve on the technical side. They’ve got a two-time champion and proven ace locked up for the next three years already. They can certainly win at least a WDC with him. They can definitely upgrade the other seat to compete for the WCC. But on the whole, they need to build faster cars. Bringing in James Allison is the first step. They need to fix their wind tunnel and other facilities. It sounds like they need to do a lot of work on the new V6 engine, and quickly. Then they can worry about who they are going to put in the cars after 2016.

      4. Paige says:

        Bianchi

      5. Stephen Taylor says:

        Hulkenberg

      6. Yago says:

        Button and Alonso are not friends. Alonso only had a friend in F1, and it was Robert Kubica. Then there is Webber, who is a friend just during the weekend of GP.

    2. Quade says:

      Button + Alonso would be a spectacle for the sheer ugliness of politics that would be unleashed on the innocent F1 World. It would be real daggers in the night stuff from two men whose pores ooze F1′s darkest arts.

      That would be something to behold indeed.

    3. Yago says:

      Sorry but if Button would do a similar job at Ferrari to Webber at Red Bull, sure Ferrari would not get him. Except 2010, Webber’s performance at Red Bull is even worse to Massa’s performance at Ferrari. The image is distorted because the competitiveness of the Red Bull car. How can anyone say Webber is doing a good job at Red Bull is beyond me. For me, even if I like him as a person, he is wasting one of the best cars in F1 history.

  9. Rich C says:

    So, let’s see… that would be 3 “so let’s see’s” in this piece… is that any sort of record?
    I’d say a rather transparent attempt to upset somebody’s applecart a little bit.

  10. Paul Wible says:

    As much as I like Jenson, he probably will not be at his peak in the Honda era. McLaren needs to match the Mercedes duo. Kimi would be a perfect fit – adding consistency in the driver’s department as Jenson sees out his career.

    My guess is they are trying to put together a package that lands Kimi with an additional sponsor who would off-set the sponsorship (or hoped for sponsorship) Sergio brings.

    If it’s a net-neutral for them, for sure they’d like to have a Jenson/Kimi paring.

    This rhetoric from Whitmarsh could also be reminding Jenson there are other drivers on the market, while they sort out a contract moving forward.

    1. Yak says:

      I imagine they’d need a pretty big sponsor if they wanted to break even on switching from Perez to Raikkonen. The pay difference between the two drivers would be significant.

    2. Dave C says:

      If Button won’t be at his peak in just over a year’s time then what makes you think Raikkonen will be either? If you’re talking about age and fitness then Jenson and Kimi are of similar age and Jensonis probably the fittest driver out there, if anyone seems a bit tired these days its Alonso, he’s the one showing signs of struggling in recent races on the the last few laps. Jenson and Kimi would be a strong line up for Mclaren.

      1. Basil says:

        You are underestimating the fitness levels of the modern F1 pilot. Age is not such a huge restrictor in motor-sports, and it never was.

      2. Yago says:

        “if anyone seems a bit tired these days its Alonso, he’s the one showing signs of struggling in recent races on the the last few laps”

        I would like to know how did you get to that conclusion. By the expressions of the drivers after the race or by the lap times towards the end of the race? Amazing, how do you do it? Perhaps you did notice tiredness on Alonso’s expression after the Hungarian GP, with those super high temperatures (sure nothing wrong with the lap times). Although for me his expression was perfectly normal, it could well be, as he did the entire race without drinking a single drop of water, due to a problem with the water pump.

        Come on…

    3. Paige says:

      I don’t think McLaren will have problems bringing in sponsors. Their name and history speaks for itself, and they will again be a works team in 2015. The Honda connection will surely be attractive to potential sponsors.

      I may be out on the limb on this, but I really don’t think that they hired Perez for the Telmex money. That could be a consideration, but I don’t think it was the main one. I think they saw what many of us saw, which were the very strong podium performances that Perez delivered last year. And they WERE strong performances. The question with Perez was always whether or not he could put it together perform consistently. He’s not off to a good start here. I think he’s done enough to get another year. I don’t think McLaren right now is an attractive option for drivers who could replace him for next year, given that it will be a lame duck year while they wait for Honda to come on board. Let’s also not forget Jan Magnussen, who impressed in the Silverstone test and for whom McLaren seem to have very high hopes.

  11. Jay Smithers says:

    So I guess this means Mclaren are open to replacing Perez then James?

    Is the Perez deal 1 year only?

    1. James Allen says:

      It is and he’s been underwhelming. But (and its a big but) Carlos Slim is in the background, not necessarily to sponsor big himself ( although Claro is on the car now) but to help broker a big deal with global companies

      I’m not so sure they have a new title sponsor lined up yet

      But Kimi would not bring that and would cost €12-16 million.

      1. Donald says:

        Very direct of you to say; good stuff.

        What I’m surprised by is how he’s not closing on Button at all, as the season’s progressing. He was almost closer early-mid season.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Yes but Kimi would get Mclaren more money than Perez in other respects as I feel he would surely get more points for the Constructors Championship.

      3. Alec Tronnach says:

        Good point you make… You have to spend money to make money… a €15m investment in Kimi might be the difference in finishing 4th or 5th in constructors champ. (Actually Lotus are only about 30 pts behind 3rd place Ferrari and could even overtake taken by seasons end)

        Does anyone know how much € each finishing position for constructors is worth?

      4. zootrees says:

        What about Hulk or DiResta not huge salaries, but prove time and again they have real potential. Mclaren likely will have to wait tell honda to have a good shot at a wdc or wcc.
        Why would they want to get kimi now? I am a kimi fan, but he has high standards and doesn’t want to wait anymore for a chance for a wdc.
        I really didn’t think Perez was the best choice and hasn’t been great.
        Kimi is great but I don’t know if there is another place for him.

      5. Truth or Lies says:

        Last point is most crucial regarding Raikkonen, €14M is an awful lot of money and looking from afar I am not convinced he is really motivated to work hard to be the very best.

        I read a quote from Eric Boullier yesterday speaking about the simulator work for their new long wheel base car and he stated bluntly that Kimi was not interested in even trying the new configuration in the simulator. That’s hardly what McLaren, Red Bull or Ferrari would accept from an employee.

      6. Mandice says:

        he has enough natural talent not to drive a PS2.

        you don’t see simulator drivers performing at the level of gp driver dont you?

      7. Dave C says:

        Maybe Kimi doesn’t think Enstone’s simulator is that detailed and wouldn’t actually benefit him…

      8. Peter says:

        You are right he is not going to do simulator work, BUT he had been still second in the drivers championship with a Lotus, until the brake issue and showing one of the best race craft and performances, not to mention the record breaking consistency.

      9. DK says:

        Kimi has said many times he learn to drive on race track, no simulator.

      10. Quade says:

        The simulator is what is used to develop the car. Its the only place Kimi can drive the 2014 car, so if he isn’t doing that eagerly already, then he might not be the best employee for a top F1 team.

        The simulator is ALL important.

      11. Paige says:

        Kimi has more than proven his capability to sort out a car without having to go into a simulator. Ask the McLaren engineers about his ability in this respect. It’s been reported many times that they thought admirably of his ability in this regard.

        If that’s not enough, read the radio transcripts pre-race from formation laps. He is very detailed in his analysis of settings that need to be changed. If I’m Lotus, I would rather let him try the car out after it has been tested in the simulator to see if the simulator is actually working.

      12. Marybeth says:

        Schumacher got riding sick on simulators. Maybe Kimi does too. It is a good thing that he is such smart, quick driver. :)

      13. yassin says:

        What about Kimi replacing Button, I hear Mclaren have not confirmed his contract yet(contract option)?

      14. Quade says:

        That option seems the more probable one to me.

      15. Stephen Taylor says:

        Button won’t be replaced. From what has been said I would say if Kimi were to rejoin Mclaren it would be Perez that would move aside at this moment in time.

      16. unF1nnished business says:

        This is what I’m afraid of with the current direction of F1. I understand that money and sponsorship has and will always play a major role in any sports event, however, there seems to be a growing inbalance of this in F1. The past few years especially where quality and talented drivers yield to sponsorship/paid drivers.

      17. Alex says:

        Is the Honda deal just a straight engine supply or is there further support from Honda? Will Honda want to exploit its participation in terms of ”advertising real-estate’ on the car and in terms of McLaren’s marketing and commercial capabilities? Would Honda not compensate for this or at least have the means to help McLaren out in terms of finding a sponsor? Or is it that Honda made the deal with the expectation that McLaren will have the resources to develop the car in place already? Also, just out of interest, is the McLaren F1 influenced or affected by other activities within the group of companies?

      18. Dave C says:

        If Mclaren are desperate for Carlos Slim’s money then they don’t deserve to be a top team and are in the leagues of Williams and Sauber, its looking more and more likely it’ll be Vettel vs Hamilton for the title next year whilst Kimi and Alonso taking the occasional win when they get the chance, I suspect Kimi has no choice but to stay with Lotus.

      19. Fireman says:

        Consider this point of view. McLaren should drop Perez just because of the Carlos Slim connection. It’s just too risky. If the driver doesn’t deliver, it’s hard to sack him.

  12. bk201 says:

    I still would prefer that he joined Red Bull, although Ricciardo seems a done deal.

    I hope to see further driver shake-up for 2014, to coincide with the new regulations. I trust that Ferrari will not renew Massa’s contract. He seems a good bloke but his form isn’t good enough.

    Personally, I’d like to see Bianchi and Hulkenberg move to teams running near the front end of the grid.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      I think Ferrari want to retain Massa and move Bianchi to Sauber.

      1. Christos Pallis says:

        That would be a good move for sauber and Bianchi, who would go at sauber? Hulk seems too good for them to keep hold of but then where would he go?

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Hulk will have to start praying for something to happen. Things like Mclaren showing Perez the door or Kimi retiring if he doesn’t decide to stay with Lotus and can’t find employment elsewhere.

  13. Hiten says:

    Of course both drivers deserve another go Martin..its not their fault if they are not able to score points or podium!!! You cannot even think of replacing any of them as it will not be fair!!

    1. NickH says:

      Perez was pretty lucky to get that seat anyway (Carlos Slim), any team would obviously rather have Kimi than Perez

  14. onekerato says:

    To me, the casual viewer, McLaren seems to lack “energy”. Management interviews are soaked in corporate-speak while drivers swing from rosy optimism to deep pessimism. Is this the soul of a great racing team? McLaren needs a reboot.

    1. bj says:

      Maybe a Lucozade would help?

      1. chris says:

        I read that as luzziade, which sounds a terrible idea

    2. Chris says:

      Excellent point onekerato.

    3. Random 79 says:

      Reboot? Here’s some suggestions…

      Casino McLaren.
      Judge McLaren.
      McLaren Begins.
      McLaren the 13th.
      McLaren Trek.
      McLaren Wars: Episode 7
      Nightmare on McLaren Street.
      Rise of the Planet of the McLaren.
      The Amazing McLarenMan.
      The Texas McLaren Massacre.

      Hmm…could go either way…

  15. Random 79 says:

    So here are Kimi’s choices:

    Possibly join Ferrari, a team that actually paid him to leave not so long ago.

    Possibly join McLaren, a team that has gone downhill faster than a cement factory with no brakes, is about to lose it’s major title sponsor, and is not even talking to him…yet.

    Or stay with Lotus, a team he likes, is at least competitive, and should be about to get a big cash injection from Infinity.

    That’s a tough one.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      You forgot the fourth option
      That is for Kimi to walk away from f1 altogether.

      1. Random 79 says:

        True, that is an option – a very real option if he doesn’t get paid soonish – but I’m going on the assumption that he wants to stay in F1.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        He would prefer to stay but if he feels lotus are not up to it then it would seem unlikely in my view that he would be able go elsewhere.

    2. Robert says:

      WTH? Gone downhill faster than? Where exactly did McLaren finish last year to a rampaging Newey Red Bull? And the year before? And the year before? Being a consistent top 3 team in the days of the Newey/RB combo is hardly underperforming. This year’s car has design issues related to changing to a high-nosed chassis and lacking the CFD information to do so well (aero simulation data). A learning experience needed to get that data since there is no testing. But that is hardly representative of the last 5 years…

      1. Dave C says:

        What are you talking about now? Mclaren had the fastest car overall on the grid last year that was clear, so yes they’re the team that has gone backwards more than anyone else, Newey this Newey that… Kimi couldn’t win the title whilst driving 5 Newey cars, same with Newey in 2007 and 2008 they needed a 20 year old rookie in their 2nd team to gain Newey’s first win since 2005 and all them years Webber, Kimi couldn’t do a thing, without Sebastian Vettel Redbull would be a strong team but not dominant, just look at Webber’s result at Spa, Mercedes and Alonso had him under control yet Vettel was in a different league, I doubt anyone on that grid could have beaten Seb even if they were driving that Redbull at Spa on that day, yet the Newey car was clearly beatable.

      2. Maximo Perez says:

        Yes, the same adrian newey that designed a car so unreliable in 2003 that mclaren could not race it and probably cost Kimi the championship that year, also the PS of 2004 and then in 2005 the merc engine was like a hand grenade and also cost kimi another championship. so I do not think it was the driver lacking.

      3. Basil says:

        While you are right in most points, I disagree with you regarding Kimi. Kimi was on his way to become wdc multiple times only to be let down by his Newey-built cars: not his performance was to blame, but Neweys’ cars.

        Not even your highly praised, rightly so, Vettel could fight against a fragile and DNF’ing car.

      4. Yago says:

        Yes the Newey car was clearly beatable at Spa… But Vettel is from three to four tenths faster than Alonso on average in a race situation, even while conserving car and tires… If both were in the same team with the same car Vettel would cross the finish line more than 20 seconds ahead of Alonso… Every body knows this, of course…

      5. Bartholomew says:

        Spot on, Dave C.

      6. Andrew says:

        If Vettel is so magnificent why could he not win the euro F3 series in 2 attempts? He was absolutely hammered by Hamilton (and Sutil) in F3. Then the season after he was beaten by Di Resta.

        Yes I know it was many years ago but you seem to be suggesting he is much better than Alonso/Hamilton/Kimi.

        Look at Vettel’s record pre F1 and compare it to Senna’s or Hamilton’s. They dominated, Vettel was just another good driver.

        He is obviously very good now but it is utter nonsense to suggest he is better than the other top drivers.

      7. KRB says:

        Uh, that wasn’t clear at all. Fastest in patches, but not consistently fast at every track. The Red Bull was the best car to have in 2012. Fast, well-balanced, consistent, with decent reliability. Any driver would pick the 2012 Red Bull for that season, having seen the traits of the various cars through the season.

        The McLaren was fastest in AUS, MAL, CAN, HUN, BEL, ITA, ABU, BRA. Equal fastest with RB in SIN and USA. So that’s 8 races where they were fastest, and 2 where they were co-fastest. In MAL their advantage was negated by the rain in the race; they had mech failures affect at least one car in ITA, SIN, ABU; and two no-fault collisions took one of their cars out in BEL and BRA, denying them a 1-2 in BRA, which would also have meant 2nd in the WCC.

        So in the 10 races where they had a car capable of challenging for the win, they only had incident-free weekends at half (5) of them!

        But along with those good weekends, they had stinkers in BHN, MON, GBR, JAP, and KOR.

        Whereas RBR was always there or thereabouts (took over the WCC lead 4 rounds in and never relinquished it), bagging useful points at each round.

        As for the rest of your post, same old dribble, no serious person believes it.

      8. Bartholomew says:

        @Andrew
        “If Vettel is so magnificent why could he not win the euro F3 series in 2 attempts? He was absolutely hammered by Hamilton (and Sutil) in F3. Then the season after he was beaten by Di Resta.”

        About as relevant as Alonso being beaten by Webber in F3000. Besides, Seb was testing full time for BMW Sauber in 2006, which Mario Thiessen blamed for his F3 title loss. Lewis and Adrian didn’t win in their first attempt either.

        “He is obviously very good now but it is utter nonsense to suggest he is better than the other top drivers.”

        Hardly “nonsense”. The top four drivers all have their positives and negatives, so it is hardly outrageous for someone to suggest that Vettel is better than the other three, in their opinion.

        @KRB
        “They had stinkers in BHN, MON, GBR, JAP, and KOR.”

        As did RBR, in MAL, CHN, SPN, HUN, ITA, BRA.

      9. Robert says:

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to diss Seb at all…he is hugely talented for sure. But the strength of the CAR is best shown by the number of front-row lockouts Red Bull have had over the past few years…and that is not a short list.

        Rather than worry about what makes RB so dominant, my point was that for a combination of reasons they ARE that good, and McLaren have done well to mix it up in the top three given the RB and Ferrarri’s strength. And, I might add, huge budgets.

      10. Andrew says:

        Bartholemew,

        My point is that if you look at Vettel’s career pre F1 there was no period of dominance at all.

        Compare that to Senna, Prost, Hamilton, Raikkonen etc pre F1 and you will see a stark difference.

        To answer your point about F3000, Webber is 5 years older than Alonso, there is only 2 years between Vettel and Hamilton. Alonso struggled to score points at first in F3000 but by the end of the season was scoring regularly and finished just a few points behind Webber.

        It’s silly to think that Vettel has suddenly tranformed himself to the level of a Senna or Prost just because he wins all the time in a Red Bull.

        Although at times other cars have been fast in qualifying or in odd races (as with the mercedes this year) it’s clear that the best overall car for the last 4 and a half years over the whole season is the Red Bull.

        Webber has declined badly, just like Massa has after his accident and as drivers generally do in their mid 30′s.

        It’s all about the car.

      11. KRB says:

        Bart, Vettel lost out to his teammate Di Resta in F3 Euro in 2006, which was his 2nd season.

        Of the five races I listed for McLaren, there were only 3 top 5 finishes, while there were 5 for Red Bull in the 6 you highlighted. Throw in Valencia in there for McLaren, and that’s an average of 7.67pts/race. For RBR, the avg is 13pts/race.

        In Malaysia, RBR was on for a possible 3-5 finish, 4-5 certainly, until Vettel’s tangle with Karthikeyan. Even then, RBR scored 12 pts to McLaren’s 15 there. Same with Spain … RBR 8 pts, McLaren 6!

        You can’t win the WCC with a patchy car … that’s what the MP4-27 showed. In this era where all results count towards the finl total, it’s always better to have the consistent car able to bag decent points at each and every race.

      12. Bartholomew says:

        @Andrew -

        “My point is that if you look at Vettel’s career pre F1 there was no period of dominance at all.”

        Actually, Vettel did dominate in Formula BMW (18 wins in 20 races). You listed Raikkonen, who only had a full year of Formula Renault (in which KR also dominated) before F1.

        “Compare that to Senna, Prost, Hamilton, Raikkonen etc pre F1 and you will see a stark difference.”

        There isn’t a “stark” difference. What happened was Vettel finished runner-up in F3, as opposed to winning it (which was partly down to him testing for BMW Sauber in F1, as highlighted by Mario Thiessen), and didn’t get to finish wrapping up the title in WSR (which is acknowledged as a near-GP2 equivalent), because he was called up for F1, at 19.

        “It’s silly to think that Vettel has suddenly tranformed himself to the level of a Senna or Prost just because he wins all the time in a Red Bull.”

        No-one is suggesting that he’s “suddenly transformed” because he’s in a front-running car. He improved in his time in the midfield early in his F1 career, and his stats from junior series didn’t tell the full story, as I have already explained.

      13. surya kumar says:

        Robert,
        I beleive you are forgetting something here. The input of Lewis Hamilton. I will not say that he single handedly did it, however the major part of Mclaren last few years can be attributed to him.

      14. zootrees says:

        I believe you are both right but there is another missing point Mr. surya kumar. McLaren made the bad 2013 decisions back in mid last season when things looked like they were going down hill fast. The 2012 car did great not long after, but it was too late, too costly, or both to switch direction after that.
        http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/27/sport/motorsport/motorsport-mclaren-martin-whitmarsh

      15. Random 79 says:

        Tell you what Robert, if McLaren finish in the top three next year I’ll eat my words and say McLaren have gone back uphill faster than a badger that just sat on a chili.

        Deal?

    3. Sebee says:

      Lotus 100%.

      Face the truth Kimi! End this endless speculation. Think of all the data your indecisiveness is generating. So many wasted bits and bites!

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Or he could retire.

      2. Basil says:

        I don’t think that he holds all the cards at this table.

      3. unF1nnished business says:

        It’s more the media that’s making the spin on this and creating the speculation ala the silly season. Robertson has made it quite clear that Kimi wants to stay at Lotus, it’s just the team’s financial situation that they have to straighten out.

    4. Kimi4WDC says:

      *Trying to imagine cement factory with no brakes*!!!!!

      Thank you! :)

  16. Timo says:

    “Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he will not succeed in that goal, so let’s see how he gets on there”.

    James — I am not sure you have correctly interpreted this statement from Whitmarsh. My take is that he believes RAI is determined to go to a specific team (Ferrari), and that Whitmarsh senses that RAI will not succeed in that goal (going to Ferrari). Furthermore, he leaves the door open to the possibility of engaging with RAI if the move to Ferrari does not go through — this wouldn’t make sense if he thinks RAI will be unsuccessful in moving to ANY team other than Lotus.

    1. Kbdavies says:

      But the have “gone downhill” since last year; which the point i’m assuming the OP was trying to make…..so i don’t understand your point.

  17. bj says:

    I hope this is code for “Kimi come and talk to us”

    1. Racer89 says:

      This is also possible, but I think they missed their chances last year by preferring money instead of pure talent.

      1. Sebee says:

        Money can help pay to train tallent. We were all born without a Super license. If my dad was willing to give Sauber a few hundred mil, I would get the needed training no problem and be on the grid.

        Can’t you guys see that F1 is now ALL pay drivers and Kimi’s situation exposes this reality.

        No sponsor money behind the driver? NO SEAT!

      2. Quade says:

        No amount of money can give you the truly insane reflex levels of an F1 driver. That comes with genetics.

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        Sometimes there are situations where you must see beyond money . This could be one of them.

      4. Sebee says:

        Quade, Stephen,

        James did an excellent piece months back about paid drivers, depth of tallent, tallent development.

        We know that this is a money sport, and only drivers who have serious corporate money get to drive. You could fill a whole discussion about all the tallented drivers that are out there that never made it because big money wasn’t behind them, or because they weren’t handsome looking poster boys.

        Ask yourself, why is F1 in today’s world such a exclusive thing? Why is there no academies, no races. Take 2 year old cars, slap them on the track, let a bunch of pre-selected guys race all week long day-in day-out to find the true best tallent. After 50 GPs in a year guess what – they will be ready to move to a newer F1 car in a blink. Why isn’t that the case?

        I belive, it is because in the end with proper training, and money to pay for the ride large % of population would be capable to deliver performance in F1 car given seat time. Granted, physical strength and male/female differences due to physical makeup, twitch muscles, strength exist. But we would all be able to drive an F1 car well given the seat time.

        And so, F1 needs to ensure that 99.99999% of F1 fans never get a chance to sit in a real F1 car, never mind drive one that’s race ready. This to ensure that the illusion of exsclusivity is maintained.

        I say it’s high time for China to mass produce F1 cars to bring down unit cost so that all of us can have one! You know unit cost would come down with volume.

    2. Steve says:

      Code? Can no one use the telephone anymore? All they need to do to let him know they are interested is to ring him up and say: “Oi, misery guts, come and talk to us about a drive next year”.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Lol

    3. Fireman says:

      In F1, for every statement, exactly the opposite is true.

      So, Whitmarsh is saying: “Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he WILL succeed in that goal. I think our guys DON’T deserve another go at it. We ARE talking to Kimi at the moment.”

      :D

  18. bj says:

    Mclaren, Honda and Kimi 2015 WDC (i can dream can’t I)?

    1. Ali says:

      i second that.

      three of my favorite ingredients. hope they mix and grind.

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Hahaha and why will that happen? Honda’s been mediocre since they joined up with BAR and Jordan and Kimi is a driver that will let his head drop if a team don’t perform, even if he were to join the team he won’t be winning the title, I mean how on earth will it be possible for him to beat the might of Mercedes and the best/fastest driver ever in F1 Lewis Hamilton?

  19. Stu says:

    Bye Bye Jenson

    1. Doug says:

      Jenson is a WDC & one of the elite drivers like Kimi…and he doesn’t mind doing all the McLaren PR which Kimi hates.
      If anyones head is on the block it’s got to be Perez…but as Jessie J sang…’It’s all about the Money, Money Money’! :-)

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        How about ABBA’s Money Money Money.

      2. Random 79 says:

        @Stephen

        NO NO NO!!! *shudders*

        Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’

        One one Money, but three times as good ;)

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      How about bye bye Perez and Whitmarsh?

  20. AlexD says:

    Kimi staying with Lotus will be a massive dissapointment….he should be fighting for championships

  21. Harshad says:

    No idea why is he commenting on what Kimi wants to do if he is not interested to sign Kimi for next year!!!

    But Anyways, it is clear Kimi wants to move on from Lotus and join some other top team in the hope of having a shot at championship.
    At Lotus, no matter how much effort they make they will always be ‘outspent’ in development by other teams and hence, Kimi’s Chances of winning championship with Lotus are slim :(

  22. luqa says:

    Instead of pining after Kimi, Whitmarsh should sign JB asap.
    He just might end up at RedBull if he hesitates too long. Because of the $$ he brings in Checo seems to be untouchable unfortunately.

    But I suppose MW is being cagey while still trying to sign Kimi. JB and SV would make an interesting pairing at RB since there seems to be mutual respect and cooler heads in play.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Button won’t be going to RB. Ricciardo has already had seat fitting very recently I understand.

    2. TheBestPoint? says:

      No idea why anyway thinks Button ever stood a chance with Redbull, Ferrari perhaps, but never RedBull.

      Horner just about surviving WebberMedia onslaught, to invite Button, with a bigger case of mediatitis? you’re having a laugh. Come on guys Horner way to quick to scorch that flame, months ago, before it took off.

      Now it does appear from Button recent backtracking that McLaren haven’t appreciated the Button2Ferrari speculation either. He pulled the same stunt of inviting the Media to apply pressure last time his contract was up. fool me, once good on you, fool me a second time …?

      Apart from latest report “3yr contract” (which i bet you comes from Button mgt – we had similar last year around Lewis – $100 mil over 5years anyone remember – well how did that turn out?) and this weirdly wonderful Raikonnen comment from Whitmarsh i expect further negotiations between Button & McLaren to take place in private henceforth.

      Neither have covered themselves in glory this season but certainly Button is now shifting commentary from blaming the car to rallying around towards a podium – which is the least one expects from a so called #1 driver

  23. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

    This is response to Button.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Could be to both Button and Perez!!!

  24. RogerD says:

    I’ve managed to secure the details of a Twitter DM exchange between Horner & Whitmarsh from a friend at GCHQ (via the NSA):

    Horner: hvn troubs keepn up “Haven’t made a decision on 2014 seat, all options open” thng – lol

    Whitmarsh: ikr its bn totes gr8 u da man

    Horner: lss bernie sz its yr turn 2 stir

    Whitmarsh: kul maybs i say i want kimi 2

    Horner: ha! u 2? amazeballs! checo & jb’ll spew

    Whitmarsh: pmsl my bad :D

    Horner: nice! l8tr bro

    1. Random 79 says:

      If that was any more authentic it would have a wax seal on it lol

    2. Random 79 says:

      As an afterthought you couldn’t get your buddy to decode it for us could you? If it’s not asking too much?

      Cheers :)

      1. RogerD says:

        I’ve had the smart-alec twelve-year-old from across the street have a look at it to decipher:

        Horner: My attempts at keeping up the façade of “Red Bull are yet to make a decision on the second F1 seat for 2014, and we are keen to look at all options” seem to be flagging somewhat.

        Whitmarsh: Yes, I see. It’s been fun to watch. You’ve done very well, old chap.

        Horner: Cutting a long story short, I’ve been talking to Bernie and he says that your number is up and you it’s your turn to keep the silly season pot boiling. Domenicali is next.

        Whitmarsh: Sure I’ll pitch in as per the agreement. Maybe I can indicate that McLaren would be happy to have Kimi back, he seems to be the flavour of the month. I have an interview with F1.com tomorrow – the perfect opportunity to get it out there. Every F1 site on the planet will generate a story based on what I say.

        Horner: So you want Kimi, too!? That’s funny! Not very original, but funny nonetheless. I must say that your drivers are likely to be somewhat perturbed to read your comments in the press.

        Whitmarsh: Yes, I can see how our boys will be slightly put off. It’s a shame that. Oh, well…

        Horner: Good one. I’ll see you at the club later on then.

      2. Robert says:

        +1. Perfect.

      3. Kbdavies says:

        Excellent analysis and deciphering!!

      4. Random 79 says:

        Nicely done :)

      5. Sebee says:

        You’ve just dated yourself!

      6. Random 79 says:

        My username did that long ago…

    3. Jock Ulah says:

      You’ve perfectly captured the sound of the new engines as they hit the rev limiter . . .

      Onomatopoeia at its finest.

      1. RogerD says:

        We’ll get used to the new tune soon enough. I thought the SR20DET in my SEiW sounded like a bleedin’ Detroit Diesel when I first got it but I like it now :)

    4. Karim says:

      Thats hilarious RogerD. I was just thinking the same, this is some serious hot air coming from Whitmarsh, trying to make us believe that McLaren are also throwing their hat in the ring for Kimi. Yeah right!. They have been very happy with Button as their number 1 experienced driver and Perez, has some good pace and they didn’t recruit him just for one season to then decide to ditch him……. its total nonsense. Raikkonen will stay or drive for Ferrari

  25. dimitris says:

    The silly season is alive and well! It is sad,however, that Kimi’s name is used to resolve issues teams have with drivers and sponsors. Ferrari had a problem(?) with an impatient and disatisfied Alonso, a rumour was started that Kimi has signed with them. Whitmarsh, who probably wants to pressure the Mexican tycoon to come up with the money, says that Maclaren wants to retain its current drivers but he may also hold talks with Kimi. I something going on behind the scenes we are not aware of? Could it be that major sponsors are coming into play or are changing teams and wish to take with them the drivers they support? Maybe Perez to Ferrari together with the Mexican money?

    1. onekerato says:

      Luca was right yo! Perez need experience in a midfield team some more before being worthy of Ferrari :) Thanks McLaren!

  26. goferet says:

    Oh I see.

    So basically Kimi wants to move from Lotus but unfortunately for him there’s no top team with an opening that can accommodate him as it’s number 1 driver.

    Yes Jenson said this too that ultimately there will be no major changes in the top teams i.e. Kimi to remain at Lotus and Massa at Ferrari.

    If this turns out to be the case, I can only see Kimi heading to Red Bull in 2015 after Vettel vacates the seat or perhaps Ferrari in 2016.

    Regards Mclaren, I read somewhere that Jenson has a job for life and with Perez bringing in a major sponsor, I think this partnership will remain for quite sometime.

    However, it has to be said a Perez-Jenson partnership may hurt Mclaren in the WCC points in the future.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      I don’t think Kimi will be around by 2016.

    2. Paige says:

      I think McLaren will give Perez one more year to show progress. If he doesn’t, I see two possibilities. One is that they try to rectify their mistake last year and sign Hulkenberg, if he’s available. If not, I would look for Grosjean or Di Resta in this space, as they are really next in the young driver pecking order. I think their current project, Magnussen, would still be too young and inexperienced by that point.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        You don’t get time in F1 much anymore so if Perez does retain his seat he should count himself lucky. I feel he’ll need to at least score points in half the remaining races to be sure of his seat.

  27. John Turner says:

    Hmmm, I couldn’t see Raikkonen doing the ‘Pour Student’ Advert!

    1. Sebee says:

      Great topic, beside the hair slick Kimi selling us deodorant, what products would we like to see Kimi to try and sell us?

      Right away Ice Cream and Vodka suggestions are weak. Think deeper, don’t go for the easy punchline.

      Oh…this will be good! :-)

      1. Timmay says:

        “I like ice cream it is quite good” – Kimi

      2. Random 79 says:

        Hearing aids?

      3. KRB says:

        I loved Kimi’s comment about Indian food in India last year:

        Q. Do you like the food here?
        A. If it’s like the Indian food we have in Europe, then sure.

        Haha!

        So my vote is for him to be the ad man for those Patak simmer sauces.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Automatic gate opener?

      5. Sebee says:

        Well, I guess we determined that there is no products we see Kimi selling. Hence, we have an explanation for lack of sponsors backing Kimi.

        I for one thought he would be an outstanding spokesman for an english elocution program. I would buy that CD/DVD package in a blink.

  28. James Hunt says:

    RAI needs a team with good technical backing and good strategists. On top of a decent car of course.

    Right now the Lotus team have given him a great environment to work in and the car is decent if not fast enough in quali, but I fear that now that they’ve lost James Allison they may be lacking next year when technical nous will be very important. Also Lotus have made some strange strategy calls this year (even more so last year) for RAI’s side of the garage which has left RAI to drive more aggressively to limit the damage.

    I really don’t care who RAI drives for next year, just as long as we can see one of the best drivers in one of the best cars/teams.

    1. JimmiC says:

      I read your post with James Hunt’s voice in my mind, and it worked quite well

  29. jmv says:

    Very clear invitation to Kimi´s management to open talks with Whitmarsh.

    McLaren need a first class driver. Button is good (in great cars) but last year Lewis was consistently a few tenths faster (and less lucky) than him, churning out last bits of speed out of the car.

    Perez, since his signing he basically slumped in form.

    Kimi, if given the right operating environment can achieve amazing performances.

    But are McLaren with their off track sponsor related activities the right place for Raikkonen? Especially given their 2013 form (and sub par form over the past years?).

    If McLaren consistently had the fastest car, no matter sponsor related obligations, Raikkonen would be considering them.

    I would be surprised to see Kimi end up at McLaren.

    Mercedes would be a more attractive place for him.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      They won’t sack Nico. They would be crazy to do that.

      1. Paige says:

        They won’t sack Nico now. I agree. That would be stupid. He’s been quick. He’s produced. He gets on great with Lewis.

        But honestly, I think once 2015 comes along, Mercedes will very much be looking for an upgrade in the German driver who they pair with Lewis, and we all know who that would be. (That is, if said German upgrade over the current German teammate of Lewis doesn’t have the rumored pre-contract with Ferrari.) it would just make too much sense for them not to.

      2. Sebee says:

        German Team, German Driver, who’s doing quite a bit to connect with fans, reach out and market the brand.

        Please, name one driver who is on the grid right now who can top Nico’s level of engament, videos, promotion for the Mercedes brand. Just one.

      3. Paige says:

        There is none, Sebee. You are absolutely right.

        But there is a German driver out there who is a 3-time defending WDC who looks very much on his way to being a 4-time defending WDC by season’s end. Mercedes at the corporate level will certainly want to be associated with this level of success, just as they wanted to be with Schumacher’s level of success. The board in Stuttgart will certainly be keen to add Vettel to their team, and given the trouble that the team has at times with lots of members of the company’s Board of Directors, there will certainly be plenty of momentum to sign him up- even if it costs a well-liked driver who makes quality effort on behalf of the brand. And the idea of pairing arguably the two quickest drivers on the grid in the same team would be extremely attractive not only from a competition perspective, but also a marketing perspective- moreso than what Nico can offer in terms of marketing.

        Nico could resolve this by beating Hamilton and winning a WDC in his own right in the next couple of years. He’s shown he can beat Hamilton at times this year, but Lewis has gotten the measure of him on the whole. You can’t tell me that Mercedes doesn’t want Vettel in their car- not only because of what he has accomplished as a German driver, but what he could accomplish as a German driver in a German car. He’s a proven German champion. Nico isn’t.

        Of course, everyone and their cousin in the F1 journo community is saying that Vettel has some sort of pre-contract with Ferrari. That may well be true, and he may well be in red rather than in silver in the future. But Mercedes will definitely make a play, and they will do it without concern for Nico’s place in the team. (Maybe not even with concern for Lewis’s place, either.) And advance contracts have been broken plenty of times in the past. (ex. Jenson and Williams for 2006.)

      4. Tealeaf says:

        Why would they want to keep Nico? He’s been treated like a 2nd class citizen ever since he joined the team in 2010 first with Schumacher and then Hamilton, the fact is Nico deserves a seat at Mclaren or Redbull and have joint number 1 status unlike this farce.

      5. Stephen Taylor says:

        I don’t agree with you at all. Merc have given him as much opportunity to win as Lewis this year. It’s just Lewis has that X factor which Nico doesn’t have or hasn’t shown yet.

      6. Basil says:

        First, he has to beat Hamilton.

      7. Quade says:

        Merc has a dream pairing. They have two fast drivers who are friends and whose families have also been friends for years.
        Why rock the boat?

      8. Stephen Taylor says:

        Exactly

  30. Peter says:

    Having seen how Kimi has lifted Lotus in the last two years, he is exactly what McLaren would need. However I see two problems here: Telmex-Perez money and the kind of freedom Kimi would need. If they could fix these two factors they would be able to challenge Mercedes, RBR, Ferrari. With the current pairing they are not in the position to beat the others if they do not have the outright fastest car. Button is occasionally great, other times nowhere, Perez is a question mark. The fact is there are only four stand out drivers out there, the others are only good. Any team that could get two of them would take some risk, but on the other hand could become the ultimate top-team. Raikkonen in a McLaren was one of the all time fastest cobmination, but I am not sure technically will work again. “We have to wait and see..”

  31. Richard says:

    Go to Red Bull and go hard.

    1. Simon says:

      Yeah Richard Yeah! Raikonnen will “go hard” by showing who is the new boss at RBR. I reckon Raikonnen (and Lewis & Alonso) can easily lap Vettel in the same car.

      1. Bartholomew says:

        What a comedian this Simon is.

    2. Basil says:

      I’d sign that!

  32. kulpach says:

    It’s better for Kimi to stay in Lotus next year. It seems he think so. Nobody knows which team will be leader with 2014 turbo engines. Maybe Red Bulls dominating will over. Maybe Newey “gives them wings” again. Maybe Ferrari with Ellison will create miracle. Maybe Mercedes motor will be faster then others. So many reasons to wait

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      You mean Allison.

  33. Neshaen says:

    Kimi will stay at Lotus next year. The silly season games are becoming a little too much me thinks.
    James – Why the huge delay by RBR with regards to the second driver announcement?

    Thanks.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      I don’t think he’ll be in f1 next year you heard here first.

      1. Quade says:

        Second time you said that. Share the secret.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        To me this has all the hallmarks of the end of 2009 again.

      3. Sebee says:

        That is bold.

        I don’t think he can get a WDC capable drive. This may be Stephen’s logic. No WDC potential, Kimi won’t play.

        Would you play Ms. PacMan if you knew you couldn’t get further than Apple level? I know I would put down the joystick.

    2. Basil says:

      They are discussing with Alonso.

    3. Random 79 says:

      Keeping the seat open for prospective drivers destabilises the other teams – simple as that.

  34. Richard says:

    I think if Raikkonen was interested in McLaren and a deal could be struck he would replace Perez their next year as asecond choice, but that probably too many if’s and Raikkonen is probably waiting to see what Ferrari will do as a first port of call.

  35. John M says:

    The main reason why Kimi won’t go back to McLaren?

    Tooned.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      I agree with you but I think he would make it even funnier. They would have to tell Kimi to mind his language though.

  36. Bob Montgomery says:

    As I said in a previous post the only move that makes sense for Kimi is to McLaren, probably at the end of 2014.

    Would you agree, James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Difficult to say, with a new Honda engine coming in against other engines that have done a season. Could go either way.

      He’ll be 35 then, so how long is he planning to race for?

      I reckon he has two more years in him, then we’ll see (as he would say!)

      1. Sebee says:

        Button too old…I never thought the day would come!

      2. Sebee says:

        Seriously…I remember when Button was a weee lad. Compaq was a top PC maker back then. Nortel was $140 a share. Two tall towers stood in New York City.

        The world was a simpler place it seems.

        Wait a minute…who the heck is this? Or should I say, WHEN the heck was this? :-)

        http://www.speakerscorner.co.uk/media/image/James-Allen-P.jpg

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        He was referring to Kimi.

  37. JimmiC says:

    Nice try at stirring Mr Whitmarsh – it’s a good game. But without a winning team that people would want to go to, you’re no Christian Horner.

  38. Adnan says:

    Hi James,

    This is slightly off the topic but would it be possible for you to shed some light on Lotus’s long wheel base car due to debut at Monza (how having a long wheelbase would benefit the pace of the car from a technical perspective).

    Thanks,

  39. Dale says:

    Jenson to Ferrari and Kimi to McLaren makes perfect sense to me.
    Jenson as nice a bloke he may be just isn’t at the same level of the 3 top guys (Alonso, Hamilton ans Vettel) or is he as good as Kimi.

    McLaren loosing Hamilton was a blow I think only now they truly realise, the really top drivers are paid the bucks because they’re worth it and I am as sure as I can be had Hamilton still been at McLaren they would have considerably more point ad better qually results than the have.

    If they retain their current line up, unless they produce a car half a second faster than the rest they will not be in with the slimmest of chance in winning the 2014 or 2015 championship (I should say I have been a McLaren fan for more over 40 years though watching Mercedes this season and seeing how dismal McLaren are, coupled with them letting (arguably) the fastest current driver in F1 leave my supporting is slipping.

    McLaren must have one of the acknowledged top drivers in their team and realistically it won’t be till the second year of their Honda deal that they will likely be a real position to challenge for the championship so they need the next 2 seasons to ensure they’re in a potion to attract one of the very top guys to McLaren as their current drivers are not now nor will they ever be it!

    1. Kbdavies says:

      Very well said. I couldn’t agree more as an ex McLaren fan. I left after their 2012 season, the their treatment ofLewis regarding the contract negotiations. Guess which team i support now?

      1. Quade says:

        That’s sad, you should take a second look. Much as I love Lewis and have become something of a Merc fan due to that, there’s still a place for McLaren.

        There’s still a lot going for McLaren; their illustrious sporting history, their top engineering history and the exquisite beauty of their cars. It is a team that has years of sporting pride behind it, don’t let a few hiccups shake your love.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Let me guess Merc by any chance.

    2. gazz says:

      Dale, its easy to see that you are no fan of Jenson and laud the arrival of the choosen one (Hamilton). Lewis is a fantastic driver and as you say questionably the quickest, but arguably not the fastest. Jenson does not need a car 5/10s quicker to win as he proved several tims against lewis. I have no problem admitting that I support Jenson, through all the hard times and the good, pity your loyalty is being called into question regards McLaren during this lean period.

      My belief is that Jenson is off to Ferrari for two final years and Kimi will be back at McLaren. OBTW: No way would Lewis be much better in this dog of a car than Jenson is. Paddy Lowe knew what he was doing when he designed this car, knowing that he was off the Mercedes.

      1. Quade says:

        Don’t blame Paddy Lowe.
        Firstly, like James Allen said in another topic, he is not a designer.
        Secondly, Jenson said they took a wrong turn with the 2013 car at the end of last season. That’s after both Paddy Lowe and Lewis had left or had lost all influence in the 2013 direction.

  40. Richie Hezz says:

    It would be great to see Kimi back at McLaren, 2005 was one of my favourite seasons watching F1. However, surely this is just a case of Martin taking his time and using Kimi’s situation to negotiate reduced salaries for Button and increased sponsorship from Perez?

    1. Heinz says:

      Agreed, I too remember 2005 as a special year. These times now are special too, with the top four in their prime. Enjoy it while it lasts!!
      And you’re also spot on about Whitmarsh

  41. Stuart says:

    Personally, I am more cynical of MW motives here. McL are having a dog of a year, Merc are flying and showing real progress in comparison, so this statement from MW is a dire attempt to get McL some headline space….lets not forget McL are facing real troubles with F1 sponsorship next year, dire results this year, and financial pressures because of Ron’s road car experiment. That together with two current drivers that aren’t in the top four (SB, FA, LH, KR), I can’t see what selling angle they use for prospective sponsor…I am gutted for McL, have been a fan for over 15 yrs and hope Honda can bring the back to form and hopefully they will push out MW and Sam Michael…

  42. Crom says:

    James, speaking of Team Principles, there are some very interesting comments from Stefano Domenicali -

    http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2013/8/14919.html

    1. Sid says:

      Indeed, they’ve been very direct with their questions and really asked questions that no other dares to ask. Cool interview but this Italian chap handled pretty well. Great read!

  43. Stephen Taylor says:

    Not sure about that.

  44. Erik says:

    Clearly a press statement aimed at getting Kimi’s attention no? Whitmarsh is saying to Kimi – hey if you’re looking arround don’t forget about us…

  45. Paige says:

    I think this was Martin’s way of trying to start negotiations with camp Kimi. Can’t say that I see Kimi being very interested. He’s tried twice now to negotiate a return to McLaren, and talks have failed both times. Why the hell should he give it another go? Clearly, McLaren weren’t giving him what he wanted, and now they are behind with the car.

    I actually think Kimi does want to return to Lotus. Why? Because he said so. Kimi says what he thinks. It’s as simple as that. He also said what he needs in order to stay at Lotus: getting the team’s financial condition in order, making sure the technical side is up to par, closer cooperation with Renault, etc.. I am just really not sure that Lotus will be able to pull it off. I would bet on Ferrari right now, as they are really checking all the boxes.

    But I would keep an eye on the Red Bull side. There are so many ways to read the team’s comments this weekend, your head could spin. Still, all the momentum seems to be with Ricciardo.

  46. aveli says:

    i think herner and raikkonen are bluffing. they both want to work together but are not in agreement with the price. kimi gets renault to say they want to keep him and horner gets webber to say richiardo has already been signed to spook the opposition. raikkonen gave it away when he said’go and ask them’ after being asked about his talks with red bull.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Sorry to burst your bubble but Ricciardo has apparently had a seat fitting at RBR.

      1. aveli says:

        i think that is a further bluff because richiardo did test for red bull at silverstone so what is the point in having a further seat fitting? how useful will that be when testing hasn’t begun for the 2014 season?
        we’ll find out soon enough when horner decides to tell us.

      2. aveli says:

        don’t be sorry. we’ll be certain when horner makes that anouncement. further bluffing!

  47. Alexander Supertramp says:

    I don’t know why, but I think JB will drive in red next year..

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      You are in a minority then.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Why? You know the identity of McLaren’s new title sponsor?

  48. Jake says:

    For the next few seasons at least the winning team will most likely be from one of the engine manufacturers. They all have their top drivers in place and bringing in Kimi could be a gamble. Best chance for him is to stick with Lotus with a move to McLaren when Honda come in.
    We would have the four top driver in different works cars, would be very interesting season.

  49. FW14B says:

    Elsewhere its reported that JB is about to sign a 3 year deal, an announcement set to coincide with McLaren’s 50th Anniversary next week.

    So it looks as if he is staying put, if EJ is to be believed (he’s not been wrong yet) Ricciardo has the RBR seat so Massa’s seat is now the key.

    Don’t see any likely change at McLaren and at the same time Kimi’s return to Ferrari unlikely, maybe a deal for Perez to Ferrari and Kimi to McLaren?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      You never know in f1.

  50. jmv says:

    on second thought… this is all too a public invitation.

    if McLaren want Kimi they´ll call Robertsons and somewhere rumours will start to swell. Mclaren don´t need a public headline to show their interest in Kimi.

    This public headline serves one reason only: to rattle Perez a bit, and make it clear to him, that yes, next year we have a Mexican title sponsor, but don´t you dare to become too complacent with that in mind.

    This isn´t about Kimi (or maybe if Perez don´t respond it will be about Kimi)

    BTW: what is it with drivers that need a kick in the butt to drive faster???

    There is a group of drivers like Massa, Perez, in the past, Trulli, Fisichella, Heidfeld who all needed some threatening of their seat being taken away to go faster.

    1. Paige says:

      And I guess it’s no coincidence that none of those drivers became champions. (And I say “became” because it looks pretty clear that Massa won’t be a champion, and Perez isn’t looking much like one.)

    2. Random 79 says:

      And then you have these other drivers like Hamilton and Vettel who need a kick in the butt to go slower ;)

      Right now there are over seven billion people in the world and only twenty two of them drive F1 cars, so they should be the twenty two fastest most insane drivers who don’t slow down for anyone.

      Unfortunately what we end up with is a few fast drivers, a few reasonably fast drivers and the rest rich drivers. Shame.

    3. Stephen Taylor says:

      Massa still seems to retain his seat even though he has had a shocker the last 2 years.

      1. Sebee says:

        I think the shocker was end of 2012 when clearly Massa was given the hardware and then shamed Alonso. 1 race fluke, OK. 3 races in a row – Ouch. That’s the kind of stuff that should convince everyone that there is clearly more to Massa’s performance than meets the eye.

  51. AMSG says:

    If only Martin would put as much effort in getting his own house in order, that he does stirring the pot on kimi….
    Unless they turn things around in the next couple of years. McLaren will just be another Sauber…

    1. Random 79 says:

      Or worse, Williams…

      1. AMSG says:

        Yes, harking back to old glory days whenever they hire someone new…..who is always gonna return them to the glory….Rubens, Pastor, Mike, Pat….

  52. Cali says:

    Well if I had to chose between those two old drivers then Kimi would be the obvious choice.

  53. Zombie says:

    We must not forget that Kimi will be 34 this October, and will be running 35 when he starts the next season. Wherever he goes next will most likely be his final gig in F1. So whichever team that signs him will know that they have a maximum of 3 years to extract the best from him/and the car.

    1. Quade says:

      Ha! Does Kimi age faster than normal?
      He’d need to be a strangeling to turn 34 in October and be 35 at the start of next season. Wow!

      Beware! The aliens, they be comin’! :)

    2. Tealeaf says:

      How time flys, I remember it like yesterday when Kimi and Alonso got their seats at a top team in Mclaren and Renault respectively and Jenson relaunching his career at BAR after torrid times at Benetton, those 3 were the future of F1 and in some sense its been true as they all gained the world championship but its gone too quick and we’re seeing the twightlight

      1. Tealeaf says:

        Continue…

        We’re seeing the twilight of their career and it’ll be a blink of a eye and the likes of Hamilton will soon be facing retirement and we’ll all be looking back and say “omg I remember Lewis’s debut at Australia 2007 like it was yesterday”.
        Now to the point, these seasons go by so quickly and all these drivers need to grab any chance they can at the world titles and not have the mentality of “it’ll happen next year”, its why Vettel is doing so well and I fear the likes of Alonso, Raikkonen and Button won’t be seeing another championship to their names, time has passed them by and Sebastian has taken all the spoils that these 3 champions should have added to their tally, I believe Mercedes and Hamilton will win next year but IF they fail and Vettel claims his 5th title it’ll be a long decade of Sebastian rewriting F1 history.

    3. Basil says:

      Nonsense! 35 is still a young bloke, especially if one considers the high level of fitness modern F1 pilots entertain. We can talk about age at 40.

    4. SteveS says:

      I imagine that one sticking point in negotiations is that Kimi wants a long term contract, while RB will want a short term one.

      1. Yak says:

        Does he? I would have thought Kimi would be much like Webber, preferring to take it a year at a time and decide what he wants to do as he goes along.

      2. James Clayton says:

        I would think that with such big changes and nobody knowing where teams are likely to be next year, drivers would want as short a term contracts as possible!

    5. Stephen Taylor says:

      Or maybe he’ll choose to have a peaceful retirement.

    6. Foghorn Leghorn says:

      Nigel Mansell – WDC at 39.
      Alain Prost -WDC at 38.

      Kimi isn’t that long in the tooth just yet…

      1. KRB says:

        Both in supercars though, with patsy teammates.

    7. KkrodD says:

      I guess Zombies years are similar to dog years? :)

      1 human year is equivalent to 3 zombie years so zombies celebrate their birthday every 4 months.

      Too bad Kimi is not a Zombie.

      Anyway I don think is going to be physical condition or exhaustion what determines Kimi’s exit from F1, more probably when he gets bored, or if in the next tehnical phase of F1 he ends up in an uncompetitive environment with no hopes of getting out.

      If not for that he could be pushing up into his 40s.

  54. Elie says:

    Bit of a snobby way for Whitmarsh to put it ..

    “I always liked Kimi “..” I really shouldn’t but Im completely open “. – he said this in another interview.
    “We really should give Jenson and Sergio a better car”.. Sounds like the negotiating FAIL he had with Hamilton last year!.. If he’s just trying to add to the rumours and send a shot up Jenson and Sergio – then he’s succeeded. If he’s trying to entice Kimi – that’s no the way to do it.

    If he’s serious and he does not sound like he is , he should Offer Kimi a 2 year deal and loose Jenson. Kimi would be fantastic with the challenges they have with new powertrains in 2014/ 5 Merc/Honda and has proven he is one of the most adaptable quick drivers. They can keep Telmex money and Sergio could settle down and learn how to drive from one of the true greats of the sport before he retires. Kimi can do well in Mclaren he’s already proven that.

    So Martin Whitmarsh, if you want Kimi Raikkonen talk to him ( you already know each other). If your waiting for someone else to fail – he may just stay at Lotus. If you are too stuck up then Kimi won’t be interested which is why he hasn’t approached you yet- he knows your culture- are you prepared to do things differently- I think not. Not after last year.

  55. FW14B says:

    With probably 4 years max left maybe Jenson is off to Ferrari, he would have a better chance of being a part of at least a WCC winning team (with Fernando’s help)

    McLaren are heading for at least a couple more baron seasons, Mercedes won’t do them many favours next season, and it’ll take at least one season for the Honda engine to come good.

    Something tells me though that JB will be staying put, he has strong ties to Honda, a Japanese girlfriend making him the closest the Japanese have to an F1 driver.

  56. fox says:

    Here is an option: with all that wind tunnel mess and lack of technical visionary ferrari is going to get worse machinery in 2014 than merc, mclaren and redbull. May be even williams be strong if Symonds redesign it righf now. To compensate machinery, ferrari might sign Kimi, and get explosive pair of drivers, who will squeeze additional 0.5 sec on the lap.

  57. Simon Joseph says:

    JB and KR would be a very strong driver line up – probably the best on the grid. But I doubt it will ever happen, Martin Whitmarsh is just reminding JB he has other options in order to keep a lid on his salary with his new contract negotiations.

    If there is money to come from a Carlos Slim company then Perez is secure. A shame because there are better drivers looking for a good drive; if KR is too expensive then Whitmarsh should be grabbing Hulkenburg. Ron Dennis was most successful when he had the best drivers in his cars.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Seriously, watch Button’s Canada interviews this and last year. Word “best” next to his name makes me cringe.

  58. Goob says:

    No top class driver will drive for McLaren while Whitmarsh and Button are there… they are a negative force for McLaren.

  59. dren says:

    This almost reads like Button is sniffing around and Mclaren would be keen to replace Button with Kimi if Button doesn’t hurry up and sign.

  60. Sniper says:

    well i think that Massa has a performance Clause and so does Perez and even if they stsy put for 2014 they could be gone in to 2015. What Martin is saying is that last year it did not work out because Kimi did not want. But our offer is still there if Kimi changes his mind.
    P.S
    Oohhh now that we know the 2013 champion it is far more entertaining to talk about the silly season.Once more in 2014 please (Kimi)

  61. JohnBt says:

    At this moment Kimi, Lewis, Alonso and Vettel are the main stars in F1. There has not been any shinning new driver since Lewis in 2007.

    Should anyone from above leave F1 I feel it will not be as exciting IMO.

    Kimi wants to race but I’m sure his salary will be negotiable. What he wants is a winning car and team, easier said than done.

    1. Sri says:

      Vettel came to F1 after Hamilton in 2007 (mid-season).

  62. Sanjog says:

    I can Kimi in red for next year. Not sure RB is an option anymore and Lotus cant guarantee race wins and competitiveness, nor have they got the nous of James Allison. The only roadblock for Kimi to be in Ferrari is his rather frosty relationship with LdM, dont think Nando minds too much. And Domenicali has always rated him.

  63. Ambivalent B says:

    I’ve been a McLaren fan for long but I think Whitmarsh needs to set his house in order and get back to winning ways than offering sound bites on the driver market. Will he make a bid for Kimi next year? Doubtful since we have been hearing about JB closing in on a new deal with McLaren. Perez is invaluable in terms of sponsorship (yet to see any additions from Mexico save for Claro) and McLaren need all the sponsors they can sign up now that backing from Mercedes has ended and the Honda deal will take another year to see light.

    I’ve always thought Whitmarsh is a little too eager to comment and offer his view on anything that concerns F1 as opposed to someone like say Ross Brawn or Eric Boullier. He should probably try and fix things at Macca for next year; commenting on the driver market when McLaren is not exactly making a bid for a new driver can be avoided. Of course, I’m all for being proven wrong if they do sign up Kimi for next year- that’s a pairing that’s got a nice ring to it.

  64. quest says:

    Looks like Reb BUll is having second thoughts about Ricciardo. Guess they assumed earlier that Kimi would be stuck at Lotus. Cos it is one thing having Ricciardo support Vettel when Kimi and Alonso in different teams. QUite another with Kimi-Alonso superteam at Ferrari and Hamilton-Rosberg at Merc. They would have the 3rd strongest lineup at best, seriously hurting their WCC chances. Now they look like they are trying to sign Kimi or Alonso.

    As for Whitmarsh, i suspect he is mostly indulging in a bit of tit for tat with Button, just not quite as smooth as Button. If he is really serious about signing Kimi, this statement is hardly the best way to go about it.

  65. prasanna madhavan says:

    Kimi is a Iceman, he knows what to do. when all driver’s were sitting in there cars when it was raining in Malaysia. he was eating a ice cream.may be that’s why they call him ice man

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