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Kimi still an option for McLaren?

2013-08-28 08:58

ALL EYES ON KIMI: Kimi Raikkonen’s 2014 seat is still undecided and is in high demand with several teams eyeing the veteran. Image: AFP

ALAN BALDWIN

LONDON, England - McLaren considered signing Kimi Raikkonen in 2012 but there have been no talks - so far - with its former driver since, reports team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Lotus driver Raikkonen is at the heart of paddock gossip with the drivers' market thrown into ferment by Mark Webber's decision to leave Red Bull for sports-car racing.

Lotus says it's confident it can persuade him to stay once the team has secured an investment deal but media speculation has linked the Raikkonen to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.

STILL AN OPTION?

Asked in an interview with the formula1.com website whether McLaren had considered getting Raikkonen back, Whitmarsh replied: "Yes, we have. Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan. There's a lot of speculation out there so let's see what happens.

"We had talks with him in 2012 but for various reasons it didn't happen. We've had no talks through 2013 - yet."

McLaren signed young Mexican Sergio Perez from Sauber in 2012 to replace 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton once the Briton decided to move to Mercedes.

Britain's Jenson Button, 2009 World champion for Brawn GP, is the team's other driver and has been there since 2010. Raikkonen drove for McLaren from 2002-06, when Ron Dennis was team principal and won nine races as well as finishing championship runner-up in 2003 and 2005.

'THEY DESERVE ANOTHER GO IN 2014'

Button and Perez are expected to stay with McLaren in 2014 despite a miserable season for the team; it has yet to finish higher than fifth although Button told reporters at the 2013 Belgian GP that he had yet to sign a deal.

Asked whether having two World champions on board, as McLaren had in 2012 (Hamilton and Button) "might get more-positive media mileage", Whitmarsh agreed that might be the case.

Whitmarsh said: "We'll see. We are not talking to Kimi at the moment so let's see what happens in the drivers' market. We haven't given our drivers the car we should have for 2013 but they've been fantastic ambassadors and deserve another go in 2014."

Button told reporters before the 2013 Belgian GP that he was happy at McLaren and expected to see out his F1 future there.

McLaren will celebrate 50 years in F1 during the 2013 Italian GP at Monza and a contract renewal could come at the same time for the Englishman.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
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