Tag Archives: Kimi Raikkonen

Webber extends Red Bull contract until 2011

Mark Webber will continue to drive alongside Sebastian Vettel next year

Mark Webber will continue to drive alongside Sebastian Vettel next year

Mark Webber has signed with Red Bull Racing until 2011, alleviating fears of him possibly making way at the end of this year. He will continue to be alongside Sebastian Vettel, whose contract also expires at the end of 2011. This should also help concerns after their Turkish Grand Prix collision.

Webber said this about his new contract:

It was an easy decision to remain with Red Bull Racing. We began 
talking very early this year and were in a position to sign by 
the Barcelona Grand Prix.

The decision to extend for a further year was a mutual one; it’s 
widely know that I’m not interested in hanging around in Formula 
One just for the sake of it and at this stage of my career, I’m 
happy to take one year at a time.

Christian Horner also seemed happy with Mark:

He is an important member of our team and is currently in the best 
form of his career, as the current leader of the drivers’ 
championship. The team is extremely happy that the driver pairing 
of Mark and Sebastian will remain unchanged for a third season in 
2011.

A no-brainer really in my opinion, as despite their collision, Webber and Vettel are up there with Hamilton and Button as the best driver line-up on the grid. Mark should be around for a good few years more, and I don’t think that Sebastian would have any reason to move any time soon.

However, this practically gets rid of any possibility of Kimi Raikkonen returning to F1 in 2011, as many rumours were linking him to Red Bull. Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes already have solid line-ups, so I don’t think we’ll see Kimi ever again.

Schumacher voted most popular F1 driver

The FOTA logo

The FOTA logo

A few weeks back, FOTA launched “the most exhaustive F1 fan survey ever”. A huge range questions were put to the fans, and one of these has become the first result to be published from the survey. Michael Schumacher has been voted the most popular driver in F1, ahead of Fernando Alonso.

However, the margin of how popular he is is quite surprising. Schumacher took 19.5% of the entire vote, compared to Alonso’s 9.7%. In third place was a driver who isn’t even in Formula 1 any more – Kimi Raikkonen.

This is the first result of a huge survey. Over 90,000 (knock off a zero there, and I can make a good few jokes!) people took part, and there will be a huge degree of expectation to see some of the answers, such as how they feel about races, and how they could be improved. These results should be out within a few weeks.

Domenicali: Alonso can beat Schumacher

Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali (he’s popular today isn’t he?) has claimed that Fernando Alonso can beat Michael Schumacher, provided Ferrari can give him the car that he needs.

After the Schumacher domination years of 2000-2004, Alonso broke the German’s streak with back-to-back championship wins, which included the titanic battle between the two in 2006. Michael retired at the end of 2006, but he is finally back, and will put the challenge to Alonso.

“Everyone will look at Michael as very strong of course,” said Domenicali during Ferrari’s traditional winter ski event. “As Michael decided to address this challenge he is convinced he will have a car which can give him the possibility to show once again the driver that he is.

“Last year when we tackled the issue of substituting Felipe [Massa] we thought about him because we are convinced that Michael is an extraordinary, very strong driver. From this point of view, Fernando has all that is necessary to defeat him.

“But a driver can be the best in the world but without the best tools, even the best in the world will have problems winning. It will be up to us to give him the right car.”

Regarding the battle between team-mates Alonso and Felipe Massa, he said:

“If by explosive you mean a couple of drivers that are strong, aggressive, competitive and have the ambition to win, this is the minimum goal that Ferrari must have together with its drivers,” said Domenicali when asked about the potential for intra-team fireworks.

“Let’s not forget that our characteristic has always been putting the interest of the team at the core of everything, both Felipe and Fernando know what our context is, how they have to move and the rules of our team.

“When you have strong drivers you have to manage them, this is true, but what is most important is to give them a car which may be a winning car or a competitive car from the start, and they will be able as professional as they are to take it to the end of races in the best possible position.

“I tackle things calmly. The rules are very clear: whoever comes to Ferrari knows where they are working and they appreciate how we work.

“In the case of Felipe and Kimi [Raikkonen], in one year one driver was ahead of the other, in the second year the opposite happened, and so there was a form of respect.

“To be the fastest doesn’t only depend on oneself, it depends on the context, on races which come out in a specific way which allow you to tackle the championship or lead you to help your team-mate to win the championship. This is something that from the outside people try to generate competition within our team and to attack us on this front, but it is more rational and calm that what might appear from abroad and the outside.”

He believes the atmosphere has already improved within the team, saying: “It’s a sparkling environment. It’s like a gush of fresh air which brings new stimuli.” This may be construed as a shot against former driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Kimi Raikkonen joins Citroen WRC team

Kimi Raikkonen- driving Fiat Grande Punto in the Rally of Finland

Kimi Raikkonen- driving Fiat Grande Punto in the Rally of Finland

Citroen has announced that Kimi Raikkonen will join their junior Red-Bull backed WRC team for 2010. He will be partnered by former Junior WRC champion Sebastien Ogier, who joined the team last year. Next year, they will take part in 12 of the 13 rounds, missing the New Zealand rally.

Raikkonen has signed a one-year deal with Citroen, and has not ruled out a return to Formula 1 in the future, but only with a team with the potential to win championships.

Kimi said: “I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career. Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge. For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future. I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally.”

Citroen team boss Oliver Quesnel said:  “Red Bull’s commitment and energy are a perfect fit for Citroen’s ongoing thirst for victory,” Quesnel said. “We will continue to count on Sébastien and Dani to defend our world titles in 2010, and we will also be prolonging our association with Sebastien Ogier who showed outstanding potential this year. Last but not least, it is with immense joy that we welcome Kimi Raikkonen to our ranks. We are very proud that he has chosen Citroen.”

“In addition to the confirmation of these four crews, we will hopefully be able to announce other programmes over the coming weeks.”

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