Whitmarsh: Raikkonen wants to leave Lotus
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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prasanna madhavan

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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)


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Foghorn Leghorn

Nigel Mansell – WDC at 39.

Alain Prost -WDC at 38.

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


Both in supercars though, with patsy teammates.


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


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


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!


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.


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.


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



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.


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’! 🙂


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


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…


Or worse, Williams…


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….


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.


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


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.


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.


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.)


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?


You never know in f1.


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.

Alexander Supertramp

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


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


You are in a minority then.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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…


Not sure about that.


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



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!


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…

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