"bangle for president"
- Jan 14, 2004
- Volvo V40 & Yamaha Banshee
this popped up on my twitter today
Renault have confirmed that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, the enigmatic Finn who left Ferrari to drive for Citroen in the World Rally Championship this season, has been in contact about their second seat for 2011.
Back in the frame? Kimi Raikkonen has expressed an interest in taking over the second driving seat for Renault next season Photo: EPA
Robert Kubica currently has one of Renault?s two places wrapped up, but with the team uncertain as to whether Vitaly Petrov will make the grade - or pull in enough sponsorship revenue to warrant his place - there has been much speculation as to who will get to drive alongside the Pole next year.
Raikkonen was a cult figure during his time in F1. Although he tended to mumble through press conferences and could be a PR?s nightmare, his many supporters loved his refusal to toe the corporate line while his driving was beyond question.
A natural, Raikkonen entered F1 with Sauber having previously only raced in very junior open-wheel categories but very soon won a move to McLaren before joining Ferrari where he pipped a rookie Lewis Hamilton to the driver?s title on the final day of the 2007 season.
It looked as if Raikkonen might return to McLaren and partner Hamilton this season, but the team opted for Jenson Button instead and Raikkonen moved to WRC, saying he would only race for a team capable of winning the championship. Renault?s form this season has suggested they are not too far away from doing just that.
Raikkonen has impressed speed-wise in his debut season in WRC, without remotely challenging the frontrunners, and although he claims to love the less corporate aspect to rallying he clearly still has unfinished business in F1.
?It is true that the summer has passed and we have had more and more requests - and the guy you mentioned [Raikkonen] is on the radar now," Renault team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport.
"He is on the radar because he contacted us."
Boullier suggested that the choice did not boil down to Raikkonen?s wages, which would likely be astronomical, but to the team?s sponsorship strategy. Petrov opens up commercial possibilities in Russia and Renault would have to change its route if it took on the Iceman.
"It would be a different strategy for the team," Boullier said. "And that is not a question of personality or having a world championship title - it will cost me more if he is world champion than if he is not. It is not a question of this - it is a different strategy.
"You work differently if you have a rookie - and in supporting him - than if you have two experienced drivers. So it is different.
"We need to think about it. But the priority is Vitaly, and to see how he will develop. If we are convinced then we will keep him definitely. This is the first option. But there are several other options, and one of them is Kimi."