Ferrari say “no foundation” in Raikkonen link as driver market hots up
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Aug 2013   |  12:32 pm GMT  |  301 comments

Rumours that Kimi Raikkonen has signed a contract to drive for Ferrari next season have been played down by the Italian team.

With Raikkonen’s contract up for renewal at the end of the season, the Finn has been linked with a move to the Red Bull seat being vacated by Mark Webber.

Raikkonen, 33, has finished each of the 30 races he has contested since his return to the sport with Lotus in 2012, finishing in the points in all but one of them. He is second in the drivers’ championship, 38 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull and one point ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has said he is “optimistic” of keeping his lead driver for a third season but the rumours about a move to Ferrari began when Alonso was linked with a move to Red Bull next season during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.

And according to Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat, Raikkonen has agreed a deal to move back to the team, where he won his one and only world championship in 2007.

However a Ferrari spokesperson told the BBC there is “no foundation” to the rumours the Finn is set to return.

“Right now, we’re really not giving any thought to the driver-market situation,” said a Ferrari spokesman. “That is our priority,” he said. “Drivers are not a problem for us even if we were to change Felipe (Massa).”

It would be a remarkable turnaround if Raikkonen made a return to Ferrari after he was paid off when they ended his contract a year early at the end of 2009 to make way for Alonso.

The rumours will also put pressure on Felipe Massa once again. The Brazilian, who has raced for the team since 2006, was in danger of losing his drive last year after a poor run of form.

However Massa, who outscored Raikkonen during their time together as team-mates in 2008 and 2009 before his life-threatening crash in Hungary in 2009, saved his career with a strong end to last season and continued that form into this season before tailing off.

All this comes around the time of the 25th anniversary of the team’s legendary founder Enzo Ferrari’s death. It would be interesting to know what he would have thought of the Raikkonen rumours.

And what would he have thought of Alonso’s management talking to Red Bull? Would he have seen it as a mark of strength or disloyalty?

Speaking about the team’s founder, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who was hired by Enzo in 1973, said: “It’s impossible to sum up in a few words what Enzo Ferrari has meant to me.

“Next to my desk in Maranello, I have a photo of the Founder: at times when I have to take an important decision, I instinctively find myself looking at it and asking myself what he would have done. The example set by Enzo Ferrari is always kept in mind.

“Twenty five years on, he would be happy to see what Ferrari has become today, a unique industrial and racing institution, which represents Italian excellence and continues to enchant the millions and millions of fans of the marque, all over the world.”

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1

Ferrari is not interested in taking back Kimi. Let me rephrase that, Kimi is not interested in going back to Ferrari. That’s the damn truth. With Kimi, in a dog of an under developed car, Ferrari has won two constructors and a drivers title and please remind me how many have they won with Alonso.

Alonso and Michael will make it to everyone’s top drivers list, but as a formula 1 fan, they will never make mine (total disdain for cheats). I have always liked athletes who bring a certain individual character to the sport. Kimi and Gilles are very good examples.

I hope Kimi wins the drivers title and Lotus the constructors and not just to rub it into Ferrari.

3

just read in Ferrari website praising Kimi as the King of Spa. So do we take this as a hint that kimi is moving towards prancing horse.

http://formula1.ferrari.com/it/news/grandi-firme-successi-della-rossa-belgio

4

James, now that it’s confirmed by Steve Robertson’s that Kimi won’t go to RBR next year do you think he will go to Ferrari or stay at Lotus?

5

Kimi’s manager Steve Robertson has confirmed they are no longer in negotiations with RBR. Link here (in Finnish): http://www.ts.fi/moottoriurheilu/f1/524442/Raikkonen+ei+siirry+Red+Bullille

6

As a Kimi fan, I have to say his best move now would be to return to Ferrari.

Although Lotus are doing a fine job considering their relatively low budget, they will be treated as as “customer” team by Renault, with RB having the “works” status.

As a team, I prefer Lotus to Ferrari, but if Kimi wants another championship, the best available (possibly only “works”) option seems to be with Ferrari.

7

Well, looks like we have our answer on Red Bull:

http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns26095.html

Not a surprise. The momentum had been going that way for a few weeks- especially since Ricciardo conveniently decided in Silverstone that he belongs in the first 4 rows of the grid and a test that did him some favors.

Can’t blame Red Bull for giving a young driver a shot after he has demonstrated he’s quick. He’s still a project and we don’t know the limit with him, but good for the team for deciding to stick with the project and have patience.

8

What is Buttons contract status? I remember kimi having talks with McLaren before the 2010 season and Whitmarsh courting him. They couldn’t come to an agreement back then but that’s not to say that given time either side may shift on their demands? Ok McLaren have had a rubbish year but they have recently signed what looks to be a works deal with Honda and have publicly announced they have a very healthy long term budget. Might not seem so crazy?

9

James,

Off topic but do you know anything about a completely revised Lotus for the Belgium GP ? It should come with a 10cm (!) longer wheelbase (thus new crash tests, revised aero etc)…

10

Here’s a left wing option:

Would it be possible that we see a double-shuffle with both RIC and Kimi?

RIC takes Kimi’s spot at Lotus, Kimi moves to Red Bull???

Why?

A) Red Bull have the fastest combo right now.

B) Red Bull continue to cultivate RIC’s talent at a sister Renault team.

C) Lotus have a fast driver that can push to the front, and yet have their financial commitments eased through a smaller salary of Dan.

D) RIC’s will be WDC ready by the time Kimi retires completely.

James, I’d be interested to hear your comments on this theory as to how feasable it is.

I don’t believe this idea has been floated yet on this forum (there’s a lot of posts to check!) please excuse me if it has.

11

if tires become even more important next year then he will be the one to beat…

12

Kimi is the only one out of top drivers who do not care about who is in the other car!

Hope he goes to Ferrari or Red Bull, then finally we get to know who is the best!

13
The Spanish Inquisitor

Kimi’s divorce was very expensive.

That’s the key of the problem……

Kimi need money, money, money

14

Kimi was married?

15

Yeah since, 2004.

16

About time to do more and talk less..too much of break between races :)!!

17

This is extremely promising news for the sport (for once), either way he goes he will be up against the best of either Vettel or Alonso. I don’t see him staying at Lotus. If he wins it is the stuff that legends are made of.

18

My guess is that Alonso stays at Ferrari, Massa is booted, and Kimi comes back to the Scuderia. Ferrari needs 2 good guys to get that Constructors trophy back. RBR will put Daniel in Webbers car as not to rock the boat with Seb. Kimi likes big money and Ferrari are the ones with it. All the talk about Kimi being pissed I think is over blown. I really don’t think he was as ticked as the media let on. After all, he got 30 mil to go on vacation. Also alot of people say he hates PR, but I don’t think that is an issue either. Again, probably just media opinion more than anything. Besides, it is all conjecture at this point anyway. 🙂

19

Massa is booted, not Botted. 🙂

20
Christer Hammarström

Ferrari will be good for both Kimi and me, then i can use my old Ferrari skirt from Spa 2009. A fine day to remember.Ferrari will do fine in 2014 with Kimi and James Allison.

21

+ Kimi considers it one of his very best wins.

22

That settles it. That is hands down the absolutely best reason I have heard for Kimi to move to Ferrari.

Kimi, are you listening? SIGN NOW! 🙂

23

In my experience watching F1 (of two decades), one thing I know for sure is that there are always rumours going around and a lot of them are untrue.

However, rarely has there been a case, where a rumour about a “signed contract” is proved to be baseless (note it may not always have materialized, but it always means there is something real and tangible abotu the content of the rumour)

So, I think this is no different.

Either way, I think Raikkonen will be Vettel’s teammate in the next couple of years… (Redbull or Ferrari seems to be the only question)

24

“Drivers are not a problem for us even if we were to change Felipe (Massa).”

It is very unprofessional of the team to say this. Why even mention Massa in the context of this rumour? I do find Ferrari’s habit of continually making inappropriate comments in public quite remarkable.

25

Felipe has had it pretty rough as well as smooth.

One minute they’re smothering him with love and kisses, next minute they’re throwing their shoes at him.

The lad will be nervous walking up that pitlane in spa into the Ferrari garage.

26

Perhaps it’s called “laying the groundwork”?

27

Hasn’t Massa pretty much been doing that himself for the last two and a half years?

I like the guy and I’d love him to keep a seat in F1, but…

28

I love a good driver rumour! Maybe there will be a proper merry go round with Kimi to Red Bull, Fernando to Lotus and Seb to Ferrari. Or maybe Kimi to Ferrari, Fernando to Red Bull and Seb goes to drive sportscars for Porsche! Who knows? I would love to see either Seb or Fernando go up against Kimi in equal machinery, but I just don’t see it happening. I think that no matter what all the teams say publicly, they all only want “one rooster in the hen house” and so wherever Kimi goes, it will be to replace a “Top Dog” rather than as a number 2. We know how ruthless Ferrari can be with their superstars, so maybe he could go there, we also remember all the Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 rumours, so maybe RB is Kimi’s destination.

29

If the contract or the contract negotiations did take place, that could explain Alonso’s manager paying a visit to Red Bull and the ‘tuning’ words of LdM which stressed that at Ferrari, the team always mattered first. Interesting times ahead.

30

Kimi’s helmet design would go better with the Ferrari than with the Red Bull. 🙂

31

Always an important factor 🙂

32

Regardless of what happens with the driver market now, Mercedes are the favourites to win both the Drivers and Constructors Championships next year.

Mercedes seem to be the most stable team all-round, and are really putting pressure on every other team in the pit lane, particularly Red Bull and Ferrari.

It seems they have got next year signed, sealed and delivered.

33

Mercedes could well get the car design wrong, but right now they do seem to have the advantage in terms of engine development. How big of an advantage it is, we don’t know. But it is definitely worth mentioning that this team has a history of getting ahead on developing a car for a fundamental change of regulations, so I think that is maybe part of the optimism over Mercedes’ chances next year.

I think it is safe to say that Mercedes has to be one of the favorites for next year, if for no other reason than that they have taken a massive step this year toward the top of the table, basically climbing from 5th best team (with a car that was often outperformed by the Sauber, Force India, and Williams cars last year) to being the 2nd best team with the quickest car over a single lap. They have clearly laid the groundwork for future success with the best driver pairing on the grid, an immense amount of talent in the engineering department, and bringing in two guys this year (Wolff, Lowe) who have proven to be very talented individuals to manage their various areas of expertise. And it’s safe to say now that their position with Stuttgart is rather safe now, and this was one of the biggest concerns for the team in its first three years. They may not win a championship next year, but they look very much poised to win championships in the future.

And this is why where Raikkonen signs is going to have a massive impact. With Mercedes’ team strength and two top drivers, they are the team that you have to target if you want to win Constructor’s Championships and bring in more money in the future given the current team staffs and driver lineups. And if you want to contend with them for Constructors points, you better have two top drivers who will score consistently. This is why Red Bull and Ferrari need someone like Raikkonen. Red Bull and Ferrari may judge from their data on Ricciardo and Hulkenberg that they can be top performers and score big points, but while both have shown flashes of this type of ability, they appear to observers to not be nearly as sure of a bet as Raikkonen.

34

And then on the other end of the scale you have Honda at the end of ’08: Pulled out, two drivers out of work, no chance on Earth…and then BAM Brawn came along and they won both championships.

And then there’s a little team called McLaren who had the fastest car at the end of ’12. Sure it’s their own fault: They changed the car too much, but next year all the teams have to change their cars and I mean completely change them.

Having said that Mercedes is a good prospect but:

Signed? Yes.

Sealed? No.

Delivered? We’ll see in November ’14 😉

35

I would like to see McLaren say a proper goodbye to Mercedes in 2014 by besting them in the standings.

What would you think about that? Possible? If the engine is good, why not?

36

What would I think about that?

Here’s another example: In ’08 RBR was woeful to the point of being beaten by their junior team STR. Then came the big regulation change in ’09 nd all of a sudden they were title contenders, second only to Brawn in the first half of the year.

So with a nother big regulation change coming in ’14 anything is possible.

You can (almost) never count out McLaren so them beating Mercedes is definitely possible, but then again there’s the smallest chance that Marussia might come along and blow everyone away!

Whatever happens it’s going to be interesting 🙂

37

i like your optimism but don’t forget that prophecy is the least profitable profession and trampling on a persons dignity is grossly offensive.

we have only witnessed the performance of 2013 cars we haven even seen what the 2014 cars look like let alone how they compete against each other.

i hope the 2nd half of the season is as entertaining as the first.

38

I didn’t even start yet….at least allow them to try the new car first

39

Next season the regulations change dramatically. Mercedes can very well drop the ball, as can any other team.

40

Luca wonders what Enzo would do whenever an important decision comes up? Finally we find out why Ferrari have been so mediocre over the past few years!

41

WWED: Letters to live by 🙂

42

Hey! …that tops the “a la mode” joke for sure.

43

Are you implying Luca’s guesses of Enzo’s decisions are incorrect OR Enzo’s decisions are daft with Luca’s guesses being accurate?

44

Being facetious, really – reflecting on Enzo’s historic form for playing silly buggers with his drivers, staff and team generally, and on the general mediocrity of Ferrari late in his life.

45

My take would be Kimster might be going to Ferrari.

james what is your take on this what does your sources say

46

James mentioned that there is no way he will be there when LDM is at charge

47

…is what my Finnish colleague who is always strong on Kimi intell says

I’m reserving judgement until I speak to all the people involved at Spa

48

James, your personal opinion, do you prefer to see Kimi in RBR or Lotus next year? And what would your educated guess on who goes where in general?

49

James, your personal opinion, do you prefer to see Kimi in RBR or Ferrari next year?

50

RBR

51

it’s also possible Red Bull may want to make an announcement at Spa too. This will certainly limit any other options Kimi may have on the table.

I don’t see the sense in all these contract talks half way through a season. I think all negotiations should happen in November and contracts signed before Christmas. If its a driver outside F1 it can happen any time.

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