Morto David Robertson
A lungo manager di Raikkonen con il figlio
Lo storico manager di Kimi Raikkonen David Robertson è scomparso questo mercoledì ad appena settant’anni a seguito di una lunga malattia.
Fu grazie a lui che nel 2000 Jenson Button, su cui aveva puntato molto, poté entrare in F1, poi assieme al figlio Steve il lungo legame con Iceman seguito fino all’aggravarsi del male qualche mese fa e di cui ora si occuperà la MB Partners dell’ex pilota Mark Blundell.
E come Roberston parlava di Kimi (2007):
How to manage a champion – exclusive with David Robertson
There are drivers everybody wants to manage and there are driver managers everybody envies. Only as a team do they make it to the very top – Ayrton Senna and Julian Jacobi, Michael Schumacher and Willi Weber, Kimi Raikkonen and David and Steve Robertson.
If the driver has what it takes, it’s up to the manager to take him to the team that delivers. If all goes well the story ends in Monaco, at the yearly FIA Gala, receiving the champion’s trophy. That’s where we caught up with David Robertson…
Q: David, you’ve come a long way with Kimi. How does it feel for the both of you to have finally won the title and trophy?
David Robertson: Well, the words that I have to describe this feeling seem, to Steve and I, to be really inadequate. Sheer ecstasy is the feeling and we are still smiling now. When you think that despite two mechanical failures he still did it – winning the most races and scoring the most fastest laps. It was so close in 2003, when he would have been the youngest driver ever and then in 2005, after more failures than I care to remember, he was to be thwarted again. It began to make you think that it was never meant to be, so to finally do it, in such a dramatic fashion against all the odds, was just unbelievable. As everyone knows, with reliability, he would already be three times a world champion!
Q: Kimi has said that nothing will change – that he will always stay the same. Nevertheless, it must be different now that he is champion and he doesn’t have to prove he is of title-winning material…
DR: I am sure that he feels like he says because that is the way that he is. What he says to you is what he means – there are no sides to the lad. But if it were a normal person I’d agree with you that they would feel like they have had a huge monkey taken off of their back.
Q: How did you and Kimi meet? What was it that convinced you that he had what it would take to become a great?
DR: We met when he was brought to our attention through that well known petrol head Peter Collins. Peter told us all about this kid who was in an inferior kart to the rest but was always there in the frame and that in the wet he was amazing. Steve and I then brought him over to test and he was awesome to say the least – he literally looked like he could make the car talk. I know that it sounds corny, but that is the truth. To Steve, he reminded him of the drivers that he had driven against like Schumacher and Hakkinen and he had the best car control that he had ever seen. From the moment that I first met him we took to him completely, hook, line and sinker. As a person, we trusted him and, if you like, he became one of the family, as we literally love him. To me he was like another son and to Steve like a brother. When we address cards to him, we tell him that it is from his English family and you know I like to feel that that is the way that he thinks of us. That’s not to say that his real parents were not 100 percent behind him, because without them he would not be here. They are amazing people too. With them too, what you see is what you get, there are no sides to them – they are the salt of the earth. They sacrificed a lot to enable their son to do what he always wanted to do.
Q: Kimi hasn’t made a wrong move in his career to date – every team he has joined has moved him on. How much does he get involved in these decisions? Or does he trust you completely to make them?
DR: He has a lot of respect for what we think and we make the decisions together. Of course it goes without saying that it was the right thing to do to go to Ferrari, after all, that is the team that all the drivers on the grid want to go to at some point in their career.
Q: But with several key people leaving after Michael Schumacher’s retirement, joining Ferrari was a bit of a gamble. You must have believed that even with those uncertainties, Kimi would enjoy a better 2007 with the Italian team than if he had stayed at McLaren or headed to Renault…
DR: Yes, contrary to what other people thought, we thought that the team had more strength in depth than that. The one person that we thought was critical to the move was the man himself – Jean Todt. I have never known anyone that works as hard as he does. If he was not going to be there, then it would have been a different story. Like any great leader, though, I have found that his work ethic has been contagious and that all of the people that are there are the same and they follow their leader. The passion there is second to none. Trust me, there is no other single reason why Ferrari are the team that they are, than the passion that lies in their very core and spreads to every man that works in their factories. Italy is a very proud nation and they are behind their team and their drivers.
Q: A driver dubbed the ‘Iceman’ and a team that is known for its big emotions – how could that combination possibly work?
DR: You are right, Kimi is not one for wearing his heart on his sleeve and this was one of the things that attracted Ferrari to him. They thought that Kimi was different. After all, he was Kimi and not Michael. That, though, has not made any difference and the team are already very fond of him because he never moans, never makes excuses and just gets on with the job. He sometimes makes mistakes himself and therefore never sees fit to blame anyone in the team for their mistakes either. I once remember Ron (Dennis) said to Kimi, ‘hey, we are moving this guy from the race team as he is the one that caused the finger problem’. Kimi immediately said to him that he was not to touch any of his team, as they never did it deliberately and that everyone makes mistakes so please leave them alone. That is Kimi and that is why so many still love him at McLaren – and why they do now at Ferrari.
Q: Kimi is world champion and Ferrari the constructors’ champion, so everybody must be on cloud nine. Leaving the celebrations to one side, how was the year as a whole? When Kimi joined, some argued that with the team so focused on Schumacher, any successor would have a hard time…
DR: I think that as far as the press are concerned they run away with their own views and they are normally a long way from the truth. The fact is that of course Michael was important to Ferrari but so were so many other people, if you like they were the unsung heroes. Schumacher was a great driver, but Ferrari are a great team. Some people got carried away with the importance of a few individuals and forgot that it was the team, not that jack built, but that Jean Todt built and that Michael was a part of that team and not the sole reason as to why it did well. The team were unbelievable with Kimi when he started. They made every effort to make him feel at home and helped him through the difficulties that he had with the new tyres and his new crew.
Q: Looking back at that crucial race in Brazil, how was Kimi emotionally in those days. Did you speak to him about it?
DR: There is no doubt that, as you would expect, he was over the moon he had managed to pull it off. We were so proud of him during the post-race interviews. You could not have written it any better than the way that he handled it, it was word perfect. The good news is that with Kimi, you knew that he meant every word of it. That is why the team were so happy, because they are now aware of him and understand that he never just pays lip service – it was absolutely straight from the heart.
Q: McLaren’s appeal of the Brazilian result left the championship open for almost four weeks. How did he cope during that period?
DR: Well when you know Kimi, you know that he has this very unique philosophy and that is that he never worries about anything that he can not change and that is another of his great strengths. I remember reading a book about how to stop worrying and start living and I thought after I had known him for a very short time that he could have written that book himself. It just comes naturally to him.
Q: Kimi – and his alias James Hunt – occasionally enjoy some wild times. How much do you try to control that? Do you trust that as a professional he knows the limits?
DR: Once again, thanks to the press, things get quoted wrongly and then a lifestyle emerges that is, to say the least, a little way from the truth. The fact is, he is a young man and does like a party. But never, and I mean never, has he let it interfere with the job that he does. He, like the pro that he is, always makes sure that he is in good condition to deliver at testing and during race weekends. I have never had to go to him – we trust him totally. When he competed in that race over the winter on the snowmobiles, he used the alias of James Hunt to get rid of the press, but I’m sure that if he does that this year he will get mobbed.
Häkkinen doesn’t approve Permane’s behavior – Was Kimi ‘paid back’?
Mika Häkkinen believes that the knowledge of Kimi Räikkönen’s switch to Ferrari affected Alan Permane’s behavior in India.
Permane screamed and cursed to Kimi Räikkönen when Kimi didn’t immediately let Romain Grosjean past him in India.
- Alan Permane’s behavior was really not smart or correct. In those teams I have raced the team radio messages have always been understood without any cursing, Häkkinen writes in his column in Ilta-Sanomat.
- I understand that the emotions can come to play when a long and difficult race is about to end, but cursing and screaming only make the situation worse.
Later on Permane and Räikkönen continued their harsh discussion on the paddock.
- Sometimes people hold something against other people. Kimi has snapped all kinds of things to the team during the season, so maybe Permane thought that he will now pay him back.
- Maybe he could have controlled himself better if he didn’t know Kimi was changing teams.
Häkkinen has a clear opinion about Räikkönen’s driving – Did Kimi do the right thing?
- Lotus-team’s operation in India looked quite stupid. The situation where Romain Grosjean tried to overtake Kimi should have been handled better, Häkkinen writes.
Räikkönen didn’t let Grosjean immediately past since his tyres were pretty much worn out. After that there was a heated discussion containing swearing words between Räikkönen and Alan Permane.
- I understand Kimi. If he had made room for Grosjean in the fast corner then his tyres would had been in an even worse condition. Kimi would easily had lost 3-4 seconds before getting his pace back again.
- Kimi was thinking just like every experienced driver thinks. If he had let Grosjean past in the wrong place, then someone else could also had passed him – and Felipe Massa was very close.
- Why was the team’s language exceptionally harsh towards Kimi and why didn’t the team give him earlier information about how close Grosjean was? One could also aslk why Grosjean had to go so greedily for the overtake that tyres clashed, Häkkinen writes.
Manager dumbstruck over the way Räikkönen was treated
Steve Robertson sighed deeply on the phone even on Tuesday. You could hear his sigh from Dubai to Turku when he was asked how he felt about Alan Permane’s public cursing in the team radio when drivers battled for positions in the overtaking situation.
– I have never heard any person from any team management shout at Kimi like that, Robertson wonders.
– Grosjean squeezed Kimi the same way three weeks earlier in Korea. Of course his tyres were now worn out, but Kimi always tries to fight for as long as his machinery allows him to do that, Robertson said.
Some reporter colleagues asked me after India if Räikkönen only drives for himself without listening to anyone.
I asked his manager the same question.
– Just like all top drivers Kimi drives firstly and mostly for himself – otherwise none of them would win championships. But of course Kimi can play for the team. If his teammate drives for the championship when he is out of it already, then he doesn’t make his WDC-battle difficult.
– Grosjean is not driving for the WDC, so in that sistuation he was just like any other competitor to Kimi who threathens his position, Robertson told TS.
Bouillier’s apology and Mika Häkkinen’s words (already translated)
Lopez tips Raikkonen to agree to new Lotus deal
Team owner Gerard Lopez is hopeful Kimi Raikkonen will soon sign a new deal to stay at Lotus in 2014.
As a weekend of fever-pitch speculation nears an end, the Finnish driver’s manager Steve Robertson has now clearly denied rumours Raikkonen has inked a Ferrari contract.
"It’s a load of rubbish," he told the broadcaster MTV3.
"We are in the same place as we were a month ago in Hungary — we do not have an agreement," Robertson insisted.
MTV3 claims Raikkonen staying at Lotus next year is backed by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who wants as many top drivers as possible spread across all the top teams.
So if Raikkonen stays put, Ecclestone thinks McLaren with Jenson Button, Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari with Fernando Alonso and Red Bull with Sebastian Vettel is an ideal situation for the sport.
Raikkonen hinted on Friday that one pertinent issue is the fact Lotus has often been late to pay wages.
But according to another rumour in Belgium, also crucial to Raikkonen staying next year could be a deal that brings engine supplier Renault – marginalised at Red Bull due to the Infiniti deal – closer to Lotus.
That would tie into speculation Raikkonen has demanded certain ‘guarantees’ about Lotus’ competitiveness in 2014.
"We do not need to give any guarantees," Lopez insists. "We are very competitive.
"Rather, the question is about next season. We are very close to reaching an agreement with Renault.
"I believe that we have very good chances. We’ve done a good job to give Kimi what he wants."
And, ultimately, he thinks that when the time is right, sitting down with a new contract and Raikkonen will be a straightforward matter.
"We already talk a lot," said Lopez. "As long as we are able to give him what he wants and we can react calmly, I believe we can reach an agreement quickly."
Lotus remains convinced Kimi Raikkonen will stay on for F1 2014
Lotus still remains convinced that Kimi Raikkonen will stay at the team next year, despite the speculation linking him with both Red Bull and Ferrari.
Raikkonen had held talks with Red Bull, but the team looks almost certain to hand its second seat to its junior driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari is also currently considering whether or not to replace Felipe Massa, and Raikkonen is understood to be on a shortlist of candidates.
Lotus, however, remains Raikkonen’s preferred option – and his manager said last week that if the Enstone-based team can give the former champion the assurances he wants then he will commit to a fresh deal.
Eric Boullier, the Lotus team boss, admitted he was still optimistic that Raikkonen will stay on board, even though a major financial deal with investment partner Infinity Racing is taking longer to finalise than originally anticipated.
When asked if he was still confident Raikkonen would be at Lotus in 2014, Boullier said: "Yes I am. He loves this team, he likes to be here and he likes the environment.
"But you need to be rational: we have to sort out the strength of the team financially and there is a technical challenge we face for next year.
"It is still up in the air, but as soon as we know we can deliver what he wants then we will obviously sit down."
NO CONCERNS ABOUT INFINITY DEAL
Although progress on concluding the Infinity deal has been slow, Boullier thinks that such complications are to be expected when a team like Lotus aims to put in place such big partnerships.
"There was an effort in this team before to compete at the highest level, and you need to establish another strategy to reach that step," he said.
"It is like playing in the Premier League and fighting for some wins against going for a top three position. If you want to consistently be like Manchester United then you need another level of investment and commitment.
"This is what we are working for, and this is why we are working on getting stronger.
"We have solved most of the issues now, but we expect for Monza to get the deal completely done."
Kimi-Red Bull, non è ancora finita: assalto finale a Spa
MERCATO. Colpo di scena nella telenovela legata al futuro del finlandese, il cui manager incontrerà i vertici del team austriaco in occasione del Gp del Belgio. E tre indizi mettono in forte dubbio l’ipotesi di un ritorno di Raikkonen in Ferrari
Kimi-Red Bull, ultimo tentativo – Come ogni telenovela che si rispetti, anche quella legata al futuro di Raikkonen potrebbe avere un colpo di scena finale. La notizia è stata rilanciata da Tony Jardine, ex dirigente McLaren e oggi opinionista per Sky Sports: a Spa, la Red Bull incontrerà il manager del finlandese per sottoporgli una sontuosa offerta per il 2014.
Le dichiarazioni del manager di Raikkonen, Steve Robertson, che aveva escluso l’ipotesi di un passaggio al team austriaco, sarebbero state solo un mezzo per alzare la posta in gioco. Altri indizi in tal senso sono arrivati da tre protagonisti della vicenda.
Un campione per Vettel – Eric Bouiller, team principal della Lotus, ha affermato che non farà follie per trattenere l’ex iridato a Enstone: "Kimi è un grande pilota – ha detto ad Autosport -. Ma non possiamo permetterci di spendere una fortuna".
Un’altra dichiarazione che spinge Raikkonen in Red Bull è quella del grande capo, Dietrich Mateschitz, che ha puntualizzato come il team stia cercando un pilota competitivo sul "medio termine". Ricciardo, grande favorito per il sedile di Webber, sarebbe un investimento sul lungo periodo.
Infine lo stesso Helmut Marko, a capo del progetto giovani di Milton Keynes, ha smentito l’ipotesi che a Spa la scuderia campione del mondo possa annunciare l’ingaggio di Ricciardo: "Non ci sarà nessun comunicato in Belgio", ha detto all’agenzia Sid. In tutto questo, il manager di Raikkonen fa melina: "Abbiamo molte offerte. Stiamo valutando tutti i team del campionato. Credo che Kimi nel 2014 sarà ancora nel circus".
Jordan, Kimi andrà a Maranello – Nonostante le continue smentite (l’ultima alla Bbc), la Ferrari è realmente interessata a far rientrare in Emilia il figliol prodigo finlandese.
Secondo Globo Esporte, i vertici della Rossa spingerebbero per un ritorno di Kimi, ostacolato però dal Presidente, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, che non apprezzerebbe una minestra riscaldata.
Per Eddie Jordan, ex patron dell’omonima scuderia e attuale opinionista della Bbc, l’accordo tra Raikkonen e la Ferrari si farà. Detta dalla persona che lo scorso anno anticipò il clamoroso matrimonio tra Hamilton e la Mercedes, l’indiscrezione sembra essere più di una semplice voce. Red Bull permettendo, naturalmente.
Raikkonen admitted Ferrari move at Finnish party
Kimi Raikkonen, no fan of the spotlight, is the man of the moment as F1′s summer slumber ends this weekend in Belgium.
The Finn’s manager has ruled out a move to Red Bull, but some sources at Spa-Francorchamps think the fact the team has put off announcing Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 deal is a sign Raikkonen might still be in the running.
At the same time, Lotus has made clear it wants to keep the 33-year-old on board, while reports continue to insist there is a real chance Raikkonen will return to Ferrari.
The German newspaper Die Welt even reports that Raikkonen recently admitted to friends during an alcohol-fuelled night out in Helsinki that he will be wearing red again in 2014.
Reporting about the Helsinki party, the German broadcaster RTL suggested Ferrari has put a EUR 11 million contract on the table, including bonuses and sponsorship of his motocross team.
As ever in the ‘silly season’, though, there are conflicting reports.
Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat is now quoting Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson as saying the driver actually wants to stay at Lotus in 2014.
“Kimi likes it at Lotus,” said Robertson. “But we are waiting for information on certain issues that are still outstanding.
“About Kimi’s future, the ball is in Lotus’ court.”
Il caso Raikkonen
Da quando Steve Robertson, il manager di Raikkonen ha fatto sapere che “Kimi non andrà in Red Bull nel 2014″, le speculazioni su un arrivo di Raikkonen in Ferrari sono cresciute a dismisura. Ma è stato anche l’effetto-internet a ingigantirle. Sapete come funziona. Uno lo ipotizza (in questo caso il primo a rilanciarle è stato il giornale finlandese “Ilta Sanomat”), un altro lo riprende e la voce automaticamente s’ingrossa e si fa più “vera” non perché nel frattempo arrivino conferme, ma perché, a furia di ripeterlo, qualcun altro ci aggiunge ipotesi e speculazioni e man mano che rimbalza da un sito all’altro la notizia si fa più verosimile agli occhi dei lettori. E assume sempre più credibilità solo perché ormai lo dicono tutti. Ma cerchiamo di dividere i fatti dalle speculazioni per capire cosa c’è sotto.
Il fatto di partenza è che Kimi non ha accettato l’offerta Red Bull 2014 per affiancare Vettel. Siccome la proposta era vera e confermata, vuol dire solo due cose: primo, non c’era una sostanziosa offerta economica dietro (ricordiamo che Kimi da almeno cinque anni guadagna fra i 10 e i 20 milioni di euro a stagione e a parte Senna che nel 1992 si offrì gratis alla Williams pur di avere la macchina vincente, a nessuno piace svendersi). Oppure semplicemente che la bozza di contratto con Red Bull (di cui non conosciamo i dettagli) prevedeva un ruolo di subordinazione a Vettel.
Qualcosa, col senno di poi si era intuito, quando Raikkonen a fine luglio ammise più o meno che aveva già in cuor suo preso la sua decisione (senza svelare quale) e che qualcuno si sarebbe stupito perché poteva non sembrare la più logica. Ora sappiamo qual è parte della decisione.
Ma a questo punto l’attenzione si sposta sul rapporto Raikkonen-Maranello. Per prima cosa la proposta Ferrari è reale o no? Sicuramente sì perché il manager di Kimi ha ammesso che è una soluzione che stanno vagliando, e nessuno vaglia una proposta se la controparte (Maranello) non è interessata.
In tutto ciò si inserisce la freddezza di rapporti Alonso-Domenicali che è nata nelle ultime settimane, alimentata dalle critiche dello spagnolo verso la macchina e l’organizzazione ferrarista. Fino a ieri ad Alonso è stato concesso tutto, compreso il fatto di avere un secondo pilota ai suoi servizi che non lo ostacolasse e lavorasse per lui. Ma dopo aver fallito per tre anni di seguito (ahimè si teme anche per il quarto vista la difficile situazione in classifica) l’assalto al titolo mondiale sia Piloti che Costruttori la Ferrari deve aver riflettuto che una squadra con un solo pilota di punta non è produttiva. Le critiche di Alonso e il duro richiamo di Montezemolo sono un indicatore: in pratica il messaggio allo spagnolo dev’essere stato più o meno di questo tono: finora abbiamo fatto a modo tuo lasciandoti il controllo della squadra, ma visto che la strategia non ha funzionato e non possiamo mettere a rischio ogni anno anche il mondiale Costruttori, da domani faremo a modo nostro. Con due piloti vincenti a pari opportunità.
Montezemolo ha detto chiaramente nello sfogo di inizio agosto che vogliono “il meglio” che il mercato può offrire. La possibilità Raikkonen è reale a questo punto (anche se è stata blandamente smentita da Maranello per non ammosciare nelle ultime gare ancora di più Massa) ma non dimentichiamo che la Ferrari potrebbe anche ripiegare su un Hulkenberg senza però – questa è la novità – che sia sottomesso a fare il n.2 di Alonso.
Raikkonen però si lasciò in malo modo con la Ferrari a fine 2009, pagato per un anno sabbatico senza guidare pur di lasciar libero il posto per Alonso. Ci starebbe a tornare? Sicuramente sì perché per lui sarebbe una bella rivincita morale. Cercato e corteggiato dal team che ti aveva mandato via. Che volere di più per il proprio ego? Quante sono le probabilità che questo possa avvenire? Secondo noi molto alte perché non si capisce altrimenti perché uno come Raikkonen, a 33 anni, debba buttar via un’occasione come la Red Bull e restare in un team precario come la Lotus. Che oggi va forte ma domani (e senza Allison) non si sa. Anzi, a ben guardare proprio l’arrivo di Allison a Maranello può essere l’indizio ulteriore che il suo pilota degli ultimi due anni stia per raggiungerlo. Resta da vedere soltanto quale sarà l’impatto di tutta questa vicenda su Alonso che quando si sente non più al centro delle attenzioni del team (vedi Renault 2005 e McLaren 2007) è capace di reazioni imprevedibili.
Di certo c’è che la potenziale coppia Alonso-Raikkonen sarebbe sulla carta fortissima, degna della miglior formazione Senna-Prost dei tempi d’oro della McLaren.
Raikkonen e Ferrari: cosa c’è di vero
Che succederà, d’ora in avanti, con Kimi Raikkonen? Dopo che il manager del pilota ha confermato la rottura delle trattative con la Red Bull (ma gli indizi c’erano già al test di Ricciardo con la RB9 a Silverstone…) il mercato si riapre. E a quasi 34 anni – li compirà nell’ottobre prossimo – Kimi è ancora un “pezzo pregiato”. Anche se finora, sulla scacchiera, non si è mosso molto bene.
La domanda sulla bocca di tutti è: Raikkonen può tornare in Ferrari? La risposta: sì, ma è sempre più difficile. Smentite sistematicamente da Maranello, le trattative hanno invece trovato conferma presso lo stesso Robertson, manager del pilota, che ha confermato lo “stop” della Red Bull.
In Ferrari vorrebbero – non ancora tutti – liberarsi di Felipe Massa e negli ultimi mesi sono state valutate le alternative di mercato. Compreso Raikkonen, anche se ad avviare i colloqui è stato il management di Kimi e non la squadra italiana.
Il problema è che, a quanto risulta ad Autosprint, Raikkonen ha già fatto trascorrere un termine di scadenza senza dare una risposta precisa alla Ferrari. Dove, fra l’altro, il suo possibile ritorno non è visto con favore da tutti. Il motivo è semplice: per far posto a Fernando Alonso, a fine 2009, fu sacrificato proprio Kimi. E la Ferrari gli pagò un altro anno di contratto per… non farlo guidare. L’operazione-Alonso fu fortemente voluta da Stefano Domenicali, naturalmente con l’avallo di Montezemolo. Ora la coppia Alonso-Raikkonen viene vista con un certo sospetto.
In tutto questo gioco delle parti, la Ferrari non ha fretta, mentre Raikkonen deve cercare di tenere alto il suo valore di mercato. Se gli restasse la Lotus come unica possibilità, dovrebbe accettare un taglio di stipendio. La squadra di Enstone ha già fatto sapere che non intende “rapinare una banca” solo per pagare lo stipendio di Kimi.
La Lotus vorrebbe comunque allungare il contratto al finlandese. E intanto gli allunga… la macchina. Per il Gp Belgio, è in preparazione infatti una versione della E21 con passo allungato di ben 10 centimetri. Modifica realizzata – per motivi di aerodinamica e distribuzione dei pesi – spostando in avanti la sospensione anteriore e di conseguenza allungando anche il muso.
Kimi Raikkonen’s priority is to stay at Lotus for F1 2014
Kimi Raikkonen will commit to a fresh deal at Lotus if the team provides him with the assurances he is seeking about its future, AUTOSPORT has learned.
After a wave of speculation this week linking the Finn with Ferrari in the wake of talks with Red Bull coming to an end, it is understood that Raikkonen’s priority is actually to stay put for 2014.
The former world champion is relishing his place at the team and the way it is working for him, but wants to know it can keep its current status as one of the top teams.
Rather than be actively chasing a move to Ferrari as some have suggested, Raikkonen is in fact waiting on Lotus to deliver him the guarantees he wants about its future financial and technical platforms.
If the team can do that then Raikkonen will agree to a fresh deal.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson said Lotus was well aware of the situation, and knows what it needs to do in order to retain the Finn.
"Lotus holds the key to Raikkonen’s future," Robertson told AUTOSPORT.
"If the team can provide him with the answers he is seeking, which will ensure he has a car that can fight for race wins and the championship, then he will stay."
Lotus is equally eager to keep Raikkonen, but team boss Eric Boullier has made it clear that it is important any deal works for both the Enstone-based outfit and its star driver.
Although Ferrari is Raikkonen’s best alternative if Lotus cannot provide him with what he wants, the Maranello-based team has not yet put serious thought to its 2014 line-up.
There is also the chance that there will be no vacancy there anyway if Felipe Massa can deliver strong results after the summer break.
Raikkonen is prepared to give Lotus more time to shore up its future plans anyway, meaning that it is too premature for him to seriously consider a fallback option.
Lotus won’t break the bank to keep Kimi Raikkonen for F1 2014
Lotus says there is no point in busting the bank to keep Kimi Raikkonen next year, as talks intensify to finalise the Finn’s Formula 1 future.
Raikkonen is considering his options for 2014, but hopes of a switch to Red Bull appear to be over after his manager Steve Robertson revealed on Monday that talks had collapsed.
While Lotus is eager to keep Raikkonen on board, and the former champion has expressed privately that he wants to stay there, the situation depends on the Enstone-based outfit proving that it has the financial and technical package in place to maintain its strong form.
The money situation is a key factor, with Raikkonen having had issues in the past with wage payments being delayed.
That background means there is no guarantee Raikkonen will commit to a fresh deal with Lotus, with the team admitting that there will be no point in it over-stretching its budget just to keep him.
Speaking before it emerged that the Red Bull discussions were over, team principal Eric Boullier said he would only be happy to keep Raikkonen if the circumstance made sense for both driver and team.
"We haven’t finished the story with Kimi, so we want to keep going," he told AUTOSPORT.
"Kimi is a good figure for the team. Obviously he is a very good driver, and everyone knows how good he is.
"He’s also helping us in terms of awareness to get us into the right place of where we want to be. I think he is a natural fit for the team and the team naturally fits around him.
"I would like to keep him, to be honest, but I want to keep him with the right conditions.
"If we can’t afford him because of finances, then I don’t want to have him because he will be a pain in the arse – and it will difficult to build something on this.
"But if we can have him, then I would like to keep him."
Lotus is still finalising a deal with investment partner Infinity Racing that it hopes will provide it with exactly the kind of financial stability that Raikkonen is seeking.
Analysis: could Kimi Raikkonen rejoin Ferrari for F1 2014?
With Kimi Raikkonen no longer in the Red Bull running, his best alternative outside Lotus if a deal cannot be agreed appears to be Ferrari.
The Italian team, which Raikkonen drove for from 2007-09, winning the title in his first season, could have a seat available if it chooses to replace Felipe Massa in 2014.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson has rubbished talk that an agreement is already in place for him to return to Maranello, but admitted to AUTOSPORT that Ferrari was on Raikkonen’s radar as a consideration.
"It’s an option," said Robertson. "My job is to talk to all the teams that have available seats, and that is what I will be doing."
Ferrari, however, is not yet devoting any effort to worrying about its 2014 driver line-up, because its priority is to rediscover the on-track form that Fernando Alonso will need if he is to win the championship.
Sources suggest that Ferrari’s senior management will only be ready to consider its driver options after the Italian Grand Prix – by which time it should have a clearer picture of its competitiveness and Massa’s form.
That means Raikkonen may have to wait for a few more weeks before he can make progress on his Formula 1 future.
Although Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari to make way for Alonso was not on the best of terms, it is understood there is no underlying reason that would make it impossible for him to return – and that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo would accept it if he was the best driver available.
However, there is also no shortage of other available options – including Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta.
RECAP: RAIKKONEN AT FERRARI
Michael Schumacher was edged towards the F1 exit to allow Raikkonen to join Ferrari in 2007, as the Finn left McLaren after a promising but ultimately frustrating five seasons of showing great pace but missing out on titles.
Raikkonen rectified that in his first season at Ferrari, winning on his debut in red in Melbourne.
He then put a mid-year lull behind him to surge through and beat McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Alonso to the crown amid the backdrop of the McLaren/Ferrari spygate scandal.
But Raikkonen ended up playing second fiddle to team-mate Felipe Massa in 2008 and could only win once in ’09 as a furious Ferrari was caught off-guard by rivals’ interpretation of diffuser rules. He left for the World Rally Championship at the end of the year.
RAIKKONEN’S FERRARI STATS
2007 2008 2009 Wins 6 2 1 Poles 3 2 0 Champ pos 1st 3rd 6th Points 110 75 48
Kimi Raikkonen’s Red Bull talks end, Daniel Ricciardo set for seat
Daniel Ricciardo is now set to secure the second Red Bull Formula 1 seat for 2014, with talks between the team and Kimi Raikkonen having come to an end.
Amid growing speculation that Red Bull had decided to pick Ricciardo, Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson told AUTOSPORT on Monday that the Finn was no longer a contender to line-up alongside Sebastian Vettel next year.
Robertson confirmed the news, which first appeared in Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, that the former world champion’s discussions with Red Bull had come to an end.
"It’s true," said Robertson. "Kimi will not be driving for Red Bull in 2014. We held some talks, but a deal will not be happening."
Red Bull had openly admitted that its choice for Mark Webber’s replacement was between Raikkonen and Ricciardo – despite being made aware in Hungary that Fernando Alonso could be available too.
Raikkonen had always been happy to stay at Lotus for 2014, but the prospect of racing for reigning champion Red Bull was given serious consideration.
The Finn’s representatives opened negotiations with Red Bull, as the team weighed up whether to opt for Raikkonen’s experience and guaranteed speed, or put its faith in a youngster like Ricciardo as a long term prospect.
Although Red Bull is insisting that it is not in a position yet to announce its 2014 drivers, Robertson’s revelation that Raikkonen is now out of the running points to a Ricciardo deal being a formality.
An announcement about Red Bull’s plans could be made as soon as this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, although the team may opt to wait for the following race in Italy.
Should Ricciardo be confirmed, he will move up to Red Bull’s main team after two full seasons with its junior Toro Rosso outfit. He also competed in 11 races for HRT in 2011.
RAIKKONEN HAS OTHER ‘OPTIONS’
The collapse of the Red Bull talks means that Raikkonen’s best option to remain in competitive machinery in 2014 is to finalise a fresh deal with Lotus.
But such a deal is not a formality, amid questions about the financial health of the team, with Raikkonen having been paid late on some occasions.
Robertson said that Lotus was just one possibility for Raikkonen as talks continued with a number of teams.
"We are pretty confident that Kimi will be in F1 next year," he explained. "There are options – and that is plural – out there and I will continue to talk to teams. I am hopeful we will sort something out in the not too distant future."
Vanzini a SkySport24:
Kimi Raikkonen ‘wants Ferrari return’ claims Eddie Jordan
A deal for the Finn to return to the team for whom he won the 2007 title may be announced as soon as next month’s Italian Grand Prix, Jordan said.
Ferrari said the claim was "not true" and that no decision had yet been made.
Jordan added that Ricciardo, 24, had already signed to partner Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next season.
Ricciardo’s promotion from junior team Toro Rosso is to be announced at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, Jordan said.
A Red Bull spokeswoman said: "We don’t have anything to announce at present but will advise when we do."
A Ferrari spokesman said the Italian team were concentrating on improving their car to boost Fernando Alonso’s title challenge.
He added: "This is the exact same scenario as last year – with not only Kimi but a long list of other drivers allegedly going to Ferrari.
"At the moment our priority is produce the car for Fernando and Felipe (Massa) and a decision on the 2014 line-up will be made at the appropriate moment, which is not right now."
On Monday, Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson told BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson that the 20-time grand prix winner, 33, would not be driving for Red Bull next year.
Robertson said: "Talks broke down. We haven’t spoken for a little while and it’s clear Kimi won’t be driving for Red Bull in 2014.
"Kimi’s a free agent. He still has options out there.
"There’s a lot of things happening behind the scenes and I’m pretty confident he will be in F1 next year."
Asked specifically whether Ferrari were an option, he said: "Until they confirm their seats, my job is to speak to all the teams and see what’s available."
Jordan said Raikkonen had made a return to Red Bull his first priority but when talks with the world champions broke down, he turned his attention to Ferrari.
He could also stay with current team Lotus for a third season.
Alonso is under contract until the end of 2016, but Ferrari are considering replacing Massa, who has had an inconsistent season.
BBC Sport understands that senior figures within the Ferrari team want Massa out and are keen for Raikkonen to return but that Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo is not keen on the idea.
Signing Raikkonen would be an admission they had made a mistake when they chose to end his contract a year early at the end of 2009 and pay him not to drive for them in 2010, when Alonso joined.
They preferred Massa as the Spaniard’s partner, despite the Brazilian at the time recovering from a fractured skull sustained in an accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Although Raikkonen won the title for Ferrari in 2007, Massa outscored him during the first of their two years together as team-mates, and was doing so again in 2009 at the time of his injury.
World champions Red Bull had made it clear they were choosing between Raikkonen and Ricciardo for the seat that has been made vacant for next season following Mark Webber’s decision to leave F1 to drive for Porsche in sportscar racing.
Raikkonen was a known quantity and would be a choice they could guarantee would at least match the contribution Webber made to three consecutive constructors’ world titles since 2010.
But Ricciardo’s promotion will be a vindication for the Red Bull young driver programme, from which so far only Vettel has graduated to the senior team.
The 24-year-old is also likely to be a malleable choice who will play a support role for Vettel without the friction that developed between the German and Webber and which may well have emerged had Raikkonen, a former world champion, joined the team.
It remains to be seen whether Ricciardo has the ability to cope with the step up to the highest level of F1, and the pressure that brings.
His best result for Toro Rosso is a seventh place, although he has three times qualified sixth.
Raikkonen will be in F1 in 2014 says manager
While admitting talks with teams are already taking place, Kimi Raikkonen’s manager said he believes the 2007 world champion will be on the grid in 2014.
Hinting that staying at Lotus or moving to Red Bull are possibilities, the inimitable Finn has also insisted leaving formula one altogether can’t be ruled out.
Manager Steve Robertson, however, doesn’t think so.
"Frankly, it is my firm belief that Kimi will be in F1 next year," he told Turun Sanomat newspaper.
"At the moment I think that’s the most important news for everyone.
"With Kimi driving the way he has been, there is demand, and when Kimi enjoys his driving and wants to continue, there’s supply and demand," Robertson smiled.
While moving to world champions Red Bull might seem the obvious choice for the former Ferrari and McLaren driver, however, Raikkonen enjoys the freedoms that Lotus permits him — like very minimal sponsor and other ‘non-racing’ duties.
"I think yes," team boss Eric Boullier said at Silverstone, "Red Bull is chasing Kimi and we want to keep Kimi.
"I think so far he is happy with what he has," the Frenchman added.
Robertson’s took the back seat
David and Steve Robertson have withdrawn more and more to the background from their manager work after Kimi switched back to F1 from rally.
Their co-operation has not ended because Räikkönen will always get help in contract negotiations from Robertsons whenever he needs it.
– We came to the end of one road at the end of year 2009. Kimi didn’t need our services in rallying and to be honest I can say that we aren’t any rally-fans. It’s strange to us since we know F1 inside and out, Steve Robertson tells.
– When Kimi wanted back to the F1-tracks he turned for our help in getting a contract. We worked for a few months and in the end Kimi got the contract he wanted.
– Although Kimi is driving in F1 again we aren’t working in a daily manager-relationship and go to his every race.
– I have known Kimi for 11-12 years and he has become really close to me and David. When Kimi asks for help he knows that we are always ready to give it to him, Robertson said.
Enthusiasm for F1 will never die
– I’m an eternal F1-fan. Even though Kimi didn’t drive there anymore I still followed it as closely as before and read everyday what they wrote on Autosport’s website. That will never change.
– But now that Kimi is in again we talk about sport on a regular basis and at least when it comes to Kimi I have information that comes completely from the inside circle, Robertson said.
Robertsons live in Dubai
– We have our own business in Dubai. In addition to that I also have a young family and don’t want to stay away from them all the time.
Of course Robertson promises to go to a few races. As a F1-fan he is delighted that Räikkönen is back.
– I was happy when we got Kimi back to the royal class of motorsport where he genuinely belongs to. There has been so much BS that Kimi would at some point have had some problems with motivation. The truth is that Kimi decided to come back for one reason only – because he is very motivated to race in F1!
Robertson already waits with anticipation for Lotus-team’s first GP.
– It was a good team in 2010 and last year also started well until the result-level crashed. When the team took Kimi as their driver they showed to outsiders that they want to succeed. I think that Kimi and Romain Grosjean are a good driver combination. By changing the drivers the team showed that they were not satisfied with their last year’s level and wanted to take a leap back to the big teams, Robertson says.
Da TS.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForum Ufficiale
Managerduo put things in motion
Managerduo David and Steve Robertson are known to be men of action. When Kimi asked his managers to get him back to the F1-tracks in August, they rolled their sleeves up and on Tuesday Kimi was announced as Lotus-Renault’s driver for seasons 2012-13.
– It was only and solely Kimi’s own decision. He wanted to return with 100% certainity and you can’t question his passion for driving a F1-car again, Steve Robertson emphasizes.
– When Kimi asked us to make a survey over the possibilities he was all the time pushing us forward.
– Kimi has been and he still is very close to us. If he is happy when getting into a F1-car, then we are happy for him.
– Kimi is back where he belongs. Personally I thought after season 2009 that he left F1 too early and that he was too good. He still has a lot to give to this sport, Robertson said.
One call turned everything upside down
Then how did the comeback road take shape?
– Everybody seemed to know about our negotiations with Williams. They went on for many weeks but we didn’t agree upon a few things. When it didn’t happen I called Eric Boullier just before Abu Dhabi GP-race, a sudden turn took place and both parties wanted to settle things quickly.
– Kimi wanted back and that’s why we had to act quickly because there were so few seats and so many drivers on the market.
How does the manager believe that Räikkönen adapts to the current F1-cars with DRS-wings and Pirelli tyres?
– DRS-wing? Maybe it takes Kimi one day to learn it properly. The tyres are the question mark but normally Kimi doesn’t need more than a few laps after adapting to them quickly too, Robertson estimated.
Räikkönen-Williams: questione di stipendio
Le voci intorno a Kimi Räikkönen si susseguono. La stampa tedesca attende un annuncio prima del GP del Brasile da parte della Williams. Ma le negoziazioni tra la squadra inglese e gli agenti del pilota finlandese sembrano girare attorno a un punto preciso: lo stipendio.
Ritenuto un pilota costoso, Räikkönen dalla sua uscita dalla F1, ha visto tuttavia il suo valore abbassarsi col tempo. Di fatto, è un gioco della famiglia Robertson (che si occupa della gestione di Räikkönen) con il team Williams, intorno al ritorno del pilota finlandese. Gli agenti hanno lasciato intendere tramite la stampa tedesca (loro terreno di gioco favorito) che lo stipendio del campione del mondo 2007 nel 2012 sarebbe di 30 milioni di euro. Un salario elevato tanto quanto quello di Fernando Alonso e tre volte maggiore di quello di Sebastian Vettel.
Tuttavia, questo stipendio sembra troppo elevato per la scuderia inglese che ha fatto una contro proposta che non sembra aver soddisfatto gli agenti del pilota finlandese. Williams proporrebbe la stessa somma spalmata su due anni circa: con una quota fissa e un’altra sotto forma di premio sui risultati molto importante. Sembrerebbe che questo famoso premio si sia trasformato in stock options (con circa il 10-15% delle azioni Williams). Questo gioco di trattative dovrà tuttavia essere accelerato, visto che un’altra voce ha cominciato a circolare.
Auto Motor und Sport ha confermato quello che era stato un rumor, il 7 novembre scorso, tra il GP d’India e quello di Abu Dhabi: ovvero che i Robertson hanno contattato anche la Lotus Renault. Soprattutto per fare reagire la Williams.
I manager di Räikkönen ad Abu Dhabi con la Williams
Kimi Raikkonen ha fatto un altro passo in avanti verso il suo ritorno in F1 con la Williams per il 2012. Alla fine di un intenso weekend di voci sul futuro del campione del mondo 2007, i manager del finlandese sono stati avvistati nel paddock di Abu Dhabi.
La presenza di Steve e David Robertson è stata ancor più evidente dal momento che il loro assistito stava partecipando al rally del Galles. Secondo il giornale Turun Sanomat i due hanno assistito alla gara dal’hospitality della Williams.
La firma di Raikkonen appare quindi ogni giorno più sicura. Sir Frank Williams ha confermato all’emittente MTV3 sabato che il team di Grove “ha un forte interesse” nell’ingaggiare Raikkonen per il prossimo anno.
“Ovviamente, c’è una trattativa in atto, il che è piuttosto normale. Devo scegliere le mie parole con cautela per dire che è possibile che accada” ha aggiunto Williams.
Il co-fondatore del team Patrick Head ha confermato ad Abu Dhabi che l’interesse della Williams per l’ex pilota di McLaren e Ferrari non è nuovo.
“Eravamo interessati a Kimi quando guidava per la Sauber” ha dichiarato l’inglese. “Avevamo proposto al nostro partener BMW di fargli un’offerta ma pensavano si trattasse di un ingaggio troppo alto”.
Da TS.fi, traduzione Nicole@KRForumUfficiale
Räikkönen’s managers in Williams premises
Kimi Räikkönen’s managers David and Steve Robertson made a quick visit to Yas Marina Grand Prix -paddock on Sunday. What do you know, the Robertsons followed the beginning of the F1-race in Williams premises.
Frank Williams assured on Friday night to MTV3 that he is very interested in getting Räikkönen to his team.
Robertsons were completely silent about the matter.
– The times are completely different from those times for example in 2001 when Kimi started in Sauber, because these days even being a top talent isn’t enough to assure a team seat, Robertson told Turun Sanomat.
Co-founder of Williams-team, Patrick Head, admitted before the race when asked once again, that they have thought about getting Räikkönen earlier too.
– We were interested in Kimi when he drove for Sauber. We proposed to make a deal to our partner at the time, BMW, but they thought it would be too expensive, Head cleared.
So far only Pastor Maldonado’s continuance in Williams next year is sure.
Manager: No F1 negotiations for Räikkönen
Steve Robertson, manager for Kimi Räikkönen, has moved to ease speculation over the Finn’s potential return to Formula 1, revealing exclusively to GPUpdate.net that although the 2007 Champion completed a visit to the Williams factory two weeks ago, no current negotiations are taking place for a seat at the Grove squad.
"At the end of the day people know Kimi visited Williams, but there’s nothing more to say apart from that," Robertson, who also manages British F3 Champion Felipe Nasr, told GPUpdate.net. "There is nothing more to report."
Following his title-winning campaign with Ferrari, Räikkönen finished third and sixth during his next two seasons before taking up a career in the World Rally Championship. In recent weeks a possible return for the 31-year-old has been hyped up by the media, but Robertson insists this is not the case at present, with Formula 1 remaining off the current agenda.
When asked to confirm whether or not talks have been taking place, Robertson plainly replied: "No," before going on to explain that the pair will make a comment about their future motorsport plans when they feel it is suitable to do so.
RÄIKKÖNEN: Nessuna trattativa per un ritorno in F1 ma…
Scritto da Carlo Vanzini alle 11.09
A parlare è il manager di Kimi Raikkonen, Steve Robertson a rispondere alle domande di GPUpdate.net
“Tutti sanno che Kimi ha visitato l’azienda della Williams, ma tutto è finito lì”.
Secondo Robertson un ritorno in F1 non rientra nei piani di Kimi Raikkonen.
“Faremo sapere a breve quelli che saranno gli impegni futuri di Kimi nel motorsport”.
Allora cerchiamo di ricostruire i pezzi
1) Kimi visita la Williams. Perché?
2) La Williams avrà i motori Renault cadendo l’accordo più politico che sportivo con Cosworth il che vuol dire nuove ambizioni
3) Mike Coughlan è il nuovo direttore tecnico della Williams ha lavorato con Kimi in McLaren. Il cambio al vertice è un altro segnale che la Williams ha nuove ambizioni
4) Per avere ambizioni non possono pensare di andare avanti con Barrichello e Maldonado
5) L’arrivo di un campione del mondo costringerebbe per clausola contrattuale gli investitori a mettere più soldi
6) Kimi per ora sta ai rally come Loeb sta alla F1
7) La Indycar sta cercando di convincere Raikkonen a correre nella serie americana
8 – Alla Nascar non interessa avere Raikkonen a tempo pieno
9) Quanta voglia ha Raikkonen di F1 dopo 2 anni di astinenza?
10) Raikkonen ha già dichiarato di voler puntare a qualcosa di diverso: Daytona (Nascar) 500 miglia (Indy) e 24H Le Mans
11) Fonti certe parlano di un contratto già completato in tutto tranne che nelle cifre.
12) Kimi tra meno di un mese farà 32 anni
I punti 7, 9, 10 portano a pensare che Kimi in F1 non tornerà mai, ma gli altri lasciano aperta la porta più che mai, soprattutto il punto 1. Non è che Raikkonen passa tutti i giorni da Grove, non è che abita proprio a due passi dalla sede dalla Williams
certo magari Raikkonen è andato solo per cortesia per farsi raccontare il progetto, ma se non ha intenzioni di tornare in F1, sta a casa a giocare a Badminton con Vettel.
Il progetto Williams per il rilancio sembra concreto e per rilanciarsi Williams ha bisogno di un pilota di punta. Che Kimi lo sia ancora abbiamo dei dubbi perché 2 anni di stop sono pur sempre due anni di stop, ma è chiaro che a grandi ambizioni devono corrispondere fatti e un fatto sarebbe quello di ingaggiare un campione del mondo, se no chi di primo piano sarebbe disposto a sposare un progetto che parte più come una scommessa che una certezza?
Wait & See
Il manager di Räikkönen svela i suoi piani futuri
Cosa farà da grande Kimi Räikkönen? L’ha svelato a GPUpdate.net questa settimana il suo manager di lungo corso, Steve Robertson. Il finlandese, vincitore di 18 Grand Prix, è attualmente nel mondiale rally con l’ICE 1 Racing e continuerà a farlo nonostante abbia deciso di correre anche alcune gare in Formula NASCAR.
L’ex-Sauber, McLaren e Ferrari ha firmato un accordo con Kyle Busch in aprile per competere nella serie Truck NASCAR e Robertson ha spiegato che, se Räikkönen si troverà a suo agio in quelle corse selezionate in cui parteciperà, il 31enne potrebbe impegnarsi per questa categoria in futuro a tempo pieno.
"Ha un piano per quest’anno, quindi parteciperà ad alcune gare Truck Nascar", ha detto Robertson a GPUpdate.net.
"Ovviamente ha un programma piuttosto importante nel WRC e vuole combinare bene le due categorie, il che non è così facile da fare, ma questo è quello che vuole lui".
"Il suo trasferimento in NASCAR è previsto per il 2012 e il 2013, forse, perchè prima vuole capire se gli piace o meno, in attesa di una decisione definitiva".
Kimi: “Avrei potuto guidare l’intera stagione Nascar se avessi voluto”
- “Avrei potuto guidare l’intera stagione quest’anno se avessi voluto, ma ci sono troppe gare ora per farlo. Guidiamo intanto quelle previste e vediamo cosa succede il prossimo anno”, dice Räikkönen a MTV3.
- “Sarà interessante guidare insieme agli altri. Immagino ci vorrà del tempo per abituarsi al non poter vedere ai lati”, dice Kimi.
- “L’America è piuttosto diversa. Ed è anche un po’ divertente a volte perchè la loro concezione del motorsport è così diversa. Tutto sommato è abbastanza rilassata, sebbene io l’abbia notata solo ora. L’esperienza è stata divertente”, dice Kimi.
Montoya would welcome Raikkonen
Juan Pablo Montoya says it would be good news for the sport if his former McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen moves to NASCAR.
Former Formula 1 world champion Raikkonen will follow Montoya’s footsteps in moving to America’s most popular form of racing this year.
The former Ferrari driver would start his NASCAR foray next summer with races in the Camping World Truck Series, a national championship where some current and former Sprint Cup drivers compete against young talent.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson confirmed the move on Wednesday: "Kimi will drive in selected races in the NASCAR series."
Montoya, his team-mate during 26 Formula 1 grands prix, would welcome the prospect of having him race in NASCAR.
"Well, people talk a lot and I’ve heard the story already before, but if he’s definitely coming it would be really good for him and for the sport," Montoya told AUTOSPORT.
"He would be very welcome here."
Montoya was Raikkonen’s team-mate at McLaren starting in 2005, winning 10 out of the season’s 19 grands prix between them.
Then in 2006 the two raced together again until the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, right before the Colombian announced a deal to race in NASCAR’s top series for Chip Ganassi in 2007.
Montoya’s early departure from Formula 1 following his NASCAR announcement anticipated his stock car debut to the fall of 2006. He entered six races at lower-level stock car series before making his Sprint Cup debut in the 2006 season-finale at Homestead.
Raikkonen would be the sixth former F1 driver to attempt a move to NASCAR since Montoya announced his deal in the summer of 2006.
Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 world champion, has competed in 15 NASCAR events in the US between 2007 and 2010 but a full-time drive has not materialised.
[…] From Juan Pablo Montoya’s perspective, NASCAR does not always receive the respect it deserves internationally. But the former Formula One racer acknowledges “people are watching.”
“Over the last few years when I came over people started paying attention to how I ran, and I think a lot of people got hooked on it,” Montoya said. “I still receive emails from people from Formula One, good luck in the race, great qualifying. It’s like ‘Oh, you’re paying attention. That is surprising.’
“People in Formula One are very selfish. They think there is nothing better out there. You look from technology wise, there’s not. But the actual racing, this is exciting. It’s exciting to watch, it’s exciting to be here. When you hear about ovals and sometimes you watch them, the first time you watch it by yourself, oh yeah it’s a circle. But if you come and actually see how fast we’re going in real life, they go oh yeah that’s a lot faster than people think it is.” […]
NASCAR has accepted Kimi Raikkonen’s request to race in Truck series
Former Formula 1 driver and world rally competitor Kimi Raikkonen has officially applied to start racing in one of the three top NASCAR series next month.
Following the surprise “rumour” that the ex-Ferrari F1 driver will enter selected rounds of the Truck series this year, NASCAR has confirmed via Twitter that the Finn’s request had been approved.
NASCAR also directly confirmed the news to Auto123.com NASCAR correspondent Lewis Franck.
“I can confirm that Kimi Raikkonen requested and was approved for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 20,” said Amanda Jones Ellis, Manager of Communications, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Raikkonen will race with ICE1 Racing, with which he will also compete in at least eight rounds of the World Rally Championship this season, driving a private Citroen DS3.
However, there’s still no official word about the truck he’ll be driving, and the sponsors.
“That info is not available until the entry forms are submitted,” wrote the NASCAR Truck Series officials on their Twitter page.
Another former F1 driver, Nelson Piquet Jr. who drives in the Truck Series for Kevin Harvick Inc. will battle against Raikkonen in Charlotte. This is what he had to say about Kimi’s arrival in NASCAR.
“I think it’s great for the series to have Kimi Raikkonen decide to enter NASCAR and race in the trucks, and it will be great for him to know what American racing is all about,” said Piquet.
"I think it would be cool and exciting," said Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and four-time Sprint Cup champion.
"Being a fan of Formula 1 racing, I’ve watched Kimi compete and win in that series, and I think it would be great to have him racing in NASCAR."
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion told Auto123.com: “He’s going to have fun. If the news is true, he’s doing the right thing by starting in the Truck series”.
“However, I think the driving won’t be a problem for him. His biggest challenge will be off the race track. He’ll need to open up socially. NASCAR is not a closed environment like F1 is. You need to respect the other drivers and socialise. He’s racing in different series and seems to really enjoy life. But since Kimi has not officially confirmed the news, it’s quite difficult to make comments,” Villeneuve said to Auto123.com.
"I am sure Kimi will do well in NASCAR providing he receives the correct guidance from an experienced team,” said Steve Hallam, Vice-President of Competition at MWR.
“We have seen several notable names from other motorsport disciplines struggle without the technical and financial backing in place to allow them to learn and understand this very difficult discipline."
Raikkonen goes NASCAR
The world champion of Formula One and current rally star Kimi Raikkonen expands his field of experiences: The 31-year-old Finn is going to race in the most popular North American race series NASCAR
The spectacular NASCAR debut for Raikkonen will be already before the becoming summer. Kimi is going to carry on with WRC Rally, too. He has agreed to do eight more rallies this year.
With the world famous newcomer driver there will be also a brand new team to race in NASCAR level: ICE1 Racing. Raikkonen joins forces with Foster Gillett. He will be the major partner of the Finnish team.
Among others Foster’s family was the former majority owners of the Montreal Canadiens NHL franchise and the former co-owners of Liverpool football club.
Last year Foster Gillett was operating with Richard Petty Motorsport in NASCAR. Now he is about to break new ground with Raikkonen and ICE1 Racing.
American spirit inspires Raikkonen
– I’m really looking forward to get there to familiarize to the world of NASCAR. I have been following it for a long time. I know, it’s a very tough and open top racing series. I just love the American spirit of racing. It feels just great to get involved with that. Obviously, it will be very challenging and great fun for me, Raikkonen assures to Turun Sanomat.
As every rookie Raikkonen will start his NASCAR career with a race in World Camping Truck series. After that Kimi is going to Nationwide and will be adding the Sprint Cup series as well upon successful completion of the NASCAR approval process.
Most of the drivers are competing in all three main series.
The negotations for the car for ICE1 Racing team are just about to be finished. Raikkonen will race both in ovals and normal track circuits.
Racing with Montoya again
NASCAR has hit the top of popularity almost without Formula One champions. The latest F1 champion involved with NASCAR was Jacques Villeneuve a couple of years ago. The local hero Mario Andretti had his spell in NASCAR, too.
With Raikkonen going to NASCAR there will be exciting meeting of two previous McLaren team mates. Juan Pablo Montoya was a thundering pair of Raikkonen in 2005 and 2006. Now the Columbian is one the few F1 stars who have made it to top of this highly challenging class of motor sports.
Former-Formula 1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen in Talks to Join Nascar Team
Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion, is considering an offer to join a team in the Nascar auto-racing series, his agent David Robertson said.
Robertson declined to identify the team the 31-year-old Finn was talking to.
“Negotiations are ongoing but nothing is guaranteed,”Robertson said by telephone. “Somebody had come to us with an offer and we are considering it.”
Raikkonen is set to join a new team, ICE1 Racing, in the Truck series before moving to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup categories, Autosport.com reported, citing Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.
One of the team’s partners is Foster Gillett, the son of George Gillett, according to Autosport.com. George Gillett is the former owner of the Liverpool soccer team and the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team.
Raikkonen was the top-earning athlete after golfer Tiger Woods in 2008 with $45 million in income, according to Forbes magazine.
He was dropped by Ferrari after the 2009 season and left Formula One to compete in the World Rally Championship for Citroen last year. Raikkonen remains committed to his contract in the rally series, Robertson said.
Raikkonen commits to 10 WRC events
More details have emerged about Kimi Raikkonen’s second term in the World Rally Championship following Citroen Racing’s season launch at its Versailles headquarters near Paris on Monday.
Raikkonen, 31, finished 10th in his debut campaign at world level last season but has held off confirming his 2011 programme following the sudden death of his father Matti prior to Christmas, and amid uncertainty over the continued support of sponsor Red Bull.
However, Citroen Racing boss Olivier Quesnel has said that the ex-Formula One world champion will definitely begin his campaign on Rally Sweden next month and will go on to tackle a minimum of nine further events.
Raikkonen will run under the ICE1 Racing banner from Citroen Racing’s base and with a full complement of Citroen engineers and mechanics. He will skip the rounds in Mexico, Italy (Sardinia) and Argentina and is due to get behind the wheel of the DS3 WRC for the first time at a test in Sweden this weekend.
“Kimi has signed up for 10 rallies and if everything goes well maybe [it will be] more rallies,” said Quesnel. “We are very pleased to have him. Of course we would like to have him for all rallies but it depends on him what he does.”
Quesnel said he expected Raikkonen to make more progress in 2011 following an encouraging learning year in 2010, when he claimed a best result of fifth on Rally of Turkey back in April.
“I don’t know when it will happen but when everything clicks for him it will be impressive,” said Quesnel. “I am not sure he can beat Sebastien Loeb or Sebastien Ogier or [Jari-Matti] Latvala and so on but I am sure he can be [in the] top five without any problem.”
Raikkonen to contest majority of 2011 WRC
Former Grand Prix World Champion Kimi Raikkonen “will definitely be racing” this year on the World Rally Championship according to his management who have scotched rumours of the Finn’s retirement from the sport.
The Finn has yet to formally announce a programme for 2011 but his management team say that they are confident he will be out on the majority of the rallies this year, at the wheel of a Citroen DS3 WRC.
Raikkonen has lodged an entry on this year’s World Championship under the ICE 1 Racing banner, and he is likely to compete on at least 10 of this year’s 13 rounds, with funding from private sponsors.
His manager Steve Robertson commented: “Kimi will definitely be out racing this year. The stories that say he won’t be doing anything are very much wide of the mark. But with his limited experience, it may be better for him to do some additional testing while the others are competing.”
In order to contain costs, Raikkonen is likely to give the long-haul events that are not likely to form part of the World Rally Championship in future a miss this year. While the Finn is not ruling out a return to Formula One in 2012 he admitted that it would be much harder to return to Grand Prix racing after taking two years off.
“It’s not impossible, but it certainly makes it harder to go back, the longer you leave it,” said Raikkonen. “If I missed Formula One I would have gone back, but in fact I haven’t missed it at all.”
Rally Sweden, which opens this World Rally Championship from 11-13 February, will mark the first time that Raikkonen takes part on an event in a factory World Rally Car for the second time.
Räikkönen prosegue in Citroën
La notizia che molti aspettavano è arrivata proprio nell’ultimo giorno disponibile prima della chiusura delle iscrizioni al Mondiale Rally. Kimi Räikkönen sarà al via della serie già dal primo appuntamento in Svezia dal 10 al 13 febbraio e lo farà al volante della DS3 Wrc. A darne la conferma il portavoce del pilota Riku Kuvaja ai microfoni di Tomi Tuominen della tv finlandese MTV3, “Abbiamo raggiunto l’accordo per dieci gare, ma è possibile che partecipi anche ad altre”.
Nonostante i tira e molla degli ultimi mesi e le voci che lo volevano una volta in Mini, un’altra in Ford e poi addirittura in Nascar, Kimi ha quindi firmato per un altro anno col team Junior della Citroën il cui nome sarà Ice1.
Stesso team e stesso co-equiper per lui che verrà ancora affiancato, nella sua seconda stagione nei traversi, da Kaj Lindström.
The Citroen Total World Rally Team has submitted a brace of entries for its factory DS3 WRCs that will be driven by Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier during the upcoming season.
The French make will also be represented by the new ICE 1 Racing squad headed by ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Raikkonen, while Norwegian Petter Solberg will drive in a fourth DS3 WRC.
Raikkonen’s entry was submitted shortly before this afternoon’s deadline and ends recent speculation that suggested the Finn would sit out the 2011 season following the death of his father prior to Christmas.
Raikkonen enters under Ice 1 title
Kimi Raikkonen’s 2011 World Rally Championship programme will run under the Ice 1 Racing name, as Citroen moves away from the Citroen Junior banner for its satellite entries.
The 2007 Formula 1 world champion’s entry for Rally Sweden in a new Citroen DS3 was finally confirmed earlier this week, and has been lodged under the new title.
Raikkonen’s fellow privateer DS3 WRC driver Petter Solberg has yet to firm up his team name for the season. Solberg is expected to be entered for the season-opening Rally of Sweden by Citroen under his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team name, but his team manager Ken Rees admitted nothing was confirmed beyond round one.
"For Mexico [round two] we’re not sure if we’ll stay as the Petter Solberg World Rally Team or move into some sort of Citroen team, this has still to be agreed," he said.
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel is keen not to retain the Citroen Junior Team name which has been used for the last two years.
"We don’t really need the Junior team name as we don’t have any junior drivers coming through there, so it will be changed," Quesnel said.
Riguardo alla decisione di effettuare sinora solo 10 gare, il manager di Kimi ha dichiarato:
His manager Steve Robertson admitted his driver still has a lot to learn. "With Kimi’s limited experience, it may be better to do additional testing while the others are competing," he told Turun Sanomat.
L’elenco dei partecipanti: http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/wrc/2011/Pages/2011_wrc.aspx
Kimi: il manager smentisce le voci di un possibile stop
Il finlandese è molto scosso dalla morte del padre, ma a breve annuncerà il suo futuro
Ieri sono circolate molte voci circa la possibilità che Kimi Raikkonen appendesse il casco al chiodo per una stagione. Arrivati ai primi giorni di gennaio, il finlandese è ancora senza un volante (anche se nei giorni scorsi era dato molto vicino al rinnovo con la Citroën), inoltre la morte del padre Matti, forse il più grande sostenitore della sua carriera, è stata veramente un duro colpo per lui.
Come se non bastasse, ad alimentare queste voci era stato il suo navigatore Kaj Lindström, che aveva spiegato che era stata proprio la scomparsa del papà di Kimi a bloccare la trattativa per la conferma con la Casa francese. Trattativa che, ad oggi, è ancora bloccata.
Tuttavia, questa mattina ci ha pensato il suo manager Steve Robertson a fare chiarezza sulla vicenda, smentendo queste voci con un’intervista alla tv finlandese MTV3.
"In questi giorni si è parlato un po’ troppo, anche se è vero che Kimi è sconvolto per la morte del padre. Però è una cosa naturale. Sono piuttosto sicuro che Kimi sarà coinvolto nel motorsport anche nella prossima stagione. Essendo un campione del mondo ha molte opzioni da valutare, ma al momento non c’è niente da dire. Comunque siamo in gennaio, quindi non credo che dovrete aspettare molto per avere novità" ha spiegato.
Raikkonen non chiude la porta alla Formula 1
I piani di Kimi Raikkonen per il 2011 ancora non sono definiti, ma sembra improbabile che il finlandese ritorni presto in Formula 1.
Il campione del mondo 2007 sembra intenzionato a rimanere nei rally o con la Citroen sponsorizzata Red Bull o a passare ad un altro team, nonostante in precedenza voci avessero suggerito che sarebbe potuto rientrare in Formula 1.
“Naturalmente uno vuole decidere i piani futuri prima piuttosto che tardi, ma a volte non è possibile”, ha detto il manager di Raikkonen, Steve Robertson, al Turun Sanomat.
“Spero sapremo in che direzione andare entro la fine di novembre”, ha aggiunto.
Robertson ha detto che è probabile che Kimi, 31 anni, resti nel mondo dei rally per ora.
“Non abbiamo parlato con nessuno in Formula 1″, ha spiegato. “Kimi non ha chiuso con la Formula 1; mai dire mai, perchè se si presenta l’offerta giusta non puoi dire di no”.
Inoltre ha sostenuto che Raikkonen, il cui ritiro ha permesso l’arrivo in Ferrari dello sponsor Santander e di Fernando Alonso, avrebbe ben figurato alla guida della F10. “Credo che avrebbe fatto bene più o meno come Fernando. Alonso ha disputato una grande stagione e non voglio privarlo dei suoi meriti. Non voglio essere frainteso, ma credo che Kimi avrebbe fatto un buon lavoro con quella macchina”, ha detto.
Raikkonen vende la sua squadra di Formula 3
La Raikkonen Roberts Racing, squadra che partecipa al British F3 da qualche anno a questa parte, sarà ufficialmente rinominata Double R Racing. Oggi, infatti, Anthony Hieatt ha annunciato di aver trovato un accordo con i fratelli Steve e David Robertson e con Kimi Raikkonen per rilevare le loro quote del team e diventarne proprietario al 100%.
I fratelli Robertson hanno infatti deciso di puntare solo sulla loro carriera di manager. In questo periodo gli spetta infatti l’importante compito di trovare una sistemazione a Raikkonen, che al momento non ha ancora trovato un volante per il WRC 2011.
Sono loro ad aver seguito le tappe principali della carriera dell’ex campione del mondo di Formula 1 e la squadra era nata proprio dalla loro bella amicizia con il finlandese. Tuttavia, ora entrambe le parti hanno deciso di defilarsi, lasciando sul ponte di comando Hieatt, che comunque in questi anni è sempre stato una delle figure di spicco del team.
Raikkonen sells stake in F3 team
Raikkonen Roberston Racing will be officially renamed Double R Racing as team boss Anthony Hieatt takes over full ownership of the British Formula 3 squad.
Hieatt has completed negotiations to buy out co-owners Steve and David Robertson and 2007 Formula 1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
The Robertsons will now focus solely on driver management – the pair already look after Raikkonen’s emerging World Rally Championship career and 2009 Formula BMW Europe champion Felipe Nasr, who finished fifth in British F3 for Raikkonen Robertson Racing this season.
Double R will continue to operate out of its Woking base with Hieatt at the helm, while subsidiary company Formula Merchants, which supplies Dallara chassis and Hewland gearbox parts to other teams, will also continue.
"Since we set up the team in 2005 we have enjoyed many highs, including winning the British F3 championship in 2006 and other races, including the most prestigious one in Macau," said Hieatt. "The Robertson family and Kimi have been very supportive throughout but it is time for all of us to take a different direction.
"I know the team goes forward with their blessing and this gives the Robertson’s management company the flexibility to work with other teams and will allow us to be fully independent.
"It has always been my intention to fully take control of the team and we all felt the time was right. The new ownership will give the team a fresh independence and has already attracted fresh blood to our driving squad for 2011. Two drivers are already signed and their identities will be revealed soon."
Hieatt plans to run four Dallaras in British F3 next season and will continue to use HWA-Mercedes engines.
"Throughout the team’s existence we have been a loyal supporter of the Mercedes F3 engine project," he added. "This relationship will continue following a very positive meeting between us in Macau. We have no doubt the battle between Mercedes and VW will be fierce in 2011."
The team is also looking at entering new categories of racing, such as GT3 with the new Mercedes SLS.
Double R has also recently entered a technical partnership with composites and machining company BRP, a leading supplier to the F1 industry. This will give it a new manufacturing capability within the British F3 paddock. A new simulator project is also underway.
Raikkonen: it’s WRC or nothing
Kimi Raikkonen will still be a former Grand Prix driver in 2011, having indicated that he would not be interested in doing a deal to go back to Formula One next year.
Recent speculation linking him to Renault’s F1 outfit was vigorously denied by Raikkonen, and the Finn is now fully committed to rallying.
“I enjoy rallying and I want to carry on, but we have to find a solution,” said the 30-year-old, who claimed the Formula One title in 2007. “Hopefully we can sort out the situation soon. But there are no guarantees.”
His manager Steve Robertson confirmed that the emphasis has shifted away from Formula One for Raikkonen, the winner of 18 Grands Prix. “We’re no longer looking at opportunities in F1,” added Robertson. “Kimi seems to be focussed on rallying at the moment.”
The Finn has so far failed to conclude a deal with his backer Red Bull to keep him in the Citroen Junior Team, although his management is working on a deal to keep him within the Citroen fold with reduced funding. Options from MINI and the Monster World Rally Team are also on the table.
“We’re talking to lots of different people,” confirmed Raikkonen. “There are some good possibilities. It’s not something I’m worried about.”
While Citroen’s Olivier Quesnel has previously stated that Raikkonen is “not fast enough’, Ford team principal Malcolm Wilson is one of the Finn’s big supporters.
“Some people have said they can’t see the value in what Kimi is doing,” said Wilson. “Well, for me, he’s brought great value in the WRC. Having him in the sport has raised the profile, created a stir and a story this season. Okay, he’s still learning, but there’s a heck of a lot more to come from him – and he’s still Kimi Raikkonen.”
Steve Robertson ha confermato a MTV3 di essere in trattativa per il suo protetto per un contratto nei rally anche per la prossima stagione. Il ritorno in F1 è un’opzione chiusa, almeno per quanto riguarda il 2011.
- “Non stiamo più cercando posti in F1. Kimi sembra essere più concentrato nei rally in questo momento”, ha detto Robertson.
Dunque Kimi ha chiuso con la F1?
- “Mai dire mai, ma al momento lo sguardo non è rivolto alla F1”, ha dichiarato Robertson.
- “Nulla è stato ancora deciso. Ve lo diremo quando avremo qualcosa da annunciare. Al momento nulla è stato firmato. Stiamo negoziando con diversi team ma non posso entrare più nel dettaglio”, ha concluso Robertson.
Raikkonen rules out F1 return in 2011
Kimi Raikkonen’s management team has confirmed that the Finn is no longer looking at Formula 1 race options for next season, as the World Rally Championship is where he wants to stay in 2011.
Speaking to Finnish television station MTV3, Steve Roberston admitted Raikkonen wants to remain where he is.
"We’re no longer looking at opportunities in F1. Kimi seems to be focused on rallying at the moment," said Robertson.
He refused to rule out a longer-term return to Formula 1 or racing for the 30-year old, adding: "Never say never, but right now our eye is not on F1.
"Nothing’s been decided yet [for the WRC]. We’ll let you know when there is something to say. At the moment nothing has been signed. We’re talking to several teams."
In recent days, there has been increased speculation that Citroen will find a solution to keep Raikkonen in its Junior team with the 2007 F1 world champion taking money from a personal sponsorship deal from Red Bull, which is expected to be considerably lower than the £5m he is rumoured to have been paid by the Austrian firm this season.
Beyond Citroen, Mini remains an option for Raikkonen, but the limited programme of 2011 events and the high level of car development would not suit his experience or desire to be driving all the time at the moment.
A seat alongside Ken Block at the Monster Ford World Rally Team is another option, but there are funding issues for the American-based outfit.
Block admitted running with Raikkonen would offer great potential exposure for both Monster and DC Shoes, but he added a decision on a potential second driver may not be taken until early next year.
The final option for Raikkonen is a season away from rallying, with a possible return when there is likely to be more manufacturer interest in 2012.