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Kimi focusing purely on title

2013-05-10 08:05

FOCUSING ON DRIVERS' TITLE: Lotus F1's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen in action at the Bahrain F1 GP in April 2013. Will he be in the same livery in 2014? Image: AFP

JEROME PUGMIRE

BARCELONA, Spain - Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen is confident he can put aside questions about his future and concentrate on the 2013 Formula 1 Drivers' title.

Four races into the season, the 2007 champion is second overall and only 10 points behind triple/defending champion Sebastian Vettel heading into this weekend's Spanish GP. Rather than play down his chances of a second F1 title, the 33-year-old Finn is optimistic enough to predict it could be his year again. He said:

"A year ago we were not in this strong position, so it would be stupid to say we're not going to fight for championships. The only reason why you're here is to try to win championships and races."

'WHY BE SURPRISED?'

Raikkonen has nearly twice as many points - 67 - as he had at the same stage in 2012 when he was seventh with 34 points before finishing the season in third place overall.

"I don't see why we should be surprised," he added. "We did pretty well in 2012 and we've been quite consistent and fast this year. I think I know the team and they know me and we have more experience. We've put ourselves in a strong position."

One area where Lotus must improve is qualifying; Raikkonen managed only one good qualifying result (in China) where he started second and finished the race in second place. He qualified in seventh, 10th and eighth in the other three GP's.

"If we can improve the car we will automatically improve the qualifying and it will improve our race," he said. "They all go hand-in-hand. There's no magic... I cannot predict anything and there's no point to try and guess what will happen (this weekend)."

'BEST FOR ME'

He will get a clearer indication of whether upgrades to the Lotus prove beneficial when practice starts on later today (May 10).

This could yet prove to be his final year with Lotus, however, as he admits he is no closer to knowing whether he will stay next season.

"I don't know what I (will) do. My decision will be purely on what I think is the best overall for me," said Raikkonen, who won the season-opening Australian GP. "I'm not really even putting much (thought) into it, because we only have done four races. So it's still an awful long season to go."

The chances of him staying may have been weakened by the departure of technical director James Allison, replaced by Nick Chester.

LOSS COULD BE DISRUPTIVE

Speculation has linked Allison with a move to Ferrari - where he previously worked. That would reunite him with double F1 champion Fernando Alonso, with whom he worked when the Spaniard won his titles driving for Renault.

Losing such a highly rated technician could prove disruptive to a team challenging for honours on two fronts, with Lotus second in the Constructors' championship, 16 points behind Red Bull.

Whether the transition will continue into 2013 with Raikkonen remains to be seen. A new contract has not yet been offered and there are pits rumours that he could join Vettel at Red Bull; Mark Webber is widely tipped to be leaving.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 MotoGP season – fresh reports every week.
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