Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Räikkönen To Replace Webber?

Image by Nelson Wu
Former world champion Kimi Räikkönen is planning a comeback with Red Bull claims German newspaper Bild. Räikkönen left F1 at the end of 2009 after being replaced at Ferrari by Fernando Alonso.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as recently as Monday said "I believe he[Räikkönen] has put F1 behind him" but Bild states the information about Räikkönen replacing Webber is "top secret" and comes from a source "at the highest level"

The Facts
  • Kimi Räikkönen left Formula 1 in 2009. Since he has been competing in rallies for Citroën. His main sponsor there is – Red Bull. The Finn has a contract until the end of 2012 with the beverage manufacturer. Already in 2010, Kimi was in conversations with the bosses to be Vettel’s team-mate, but he wanted to keep on rallying. Now he seems to have changed his mind.
  • Red Bull Motorsports-boss Helmut Marko told Bild two weeks ago: "Webber wants to drive in 2012 for us. But we have other options. I don’t want to talk about it now. "
  • Webber himself has upset the bosses with his resistance against the team orders on Sunday at Silverstone ("Stay behind Vettel" - but he kept on pushing). Webber has to report to his bosses and stated: "If they want to fire me, I have to accept that."
  • Young drivers like Daniel Ricciardo (HRT) or Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) are not yet ready. Marko: "We need a second winning driver to win the Constructors' Championship. It brings a lot of money."
  • McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton, who had brought himself into play at Red Bull, got rejected by the top boss Dietrich Mateschitz: "He definitely doesn’t drive for us."

When Vettel was asked recently who he wanted as a team mate he replied "Kimi". Whether that is because Seb thinks Kimi will be hanging around the fridge too much to be a threat to his dominance or that because they are mates is hard to know!

Hopefully these reports are true as would be great to have Räikkönen back but when I hear the words "top secret" and from an unnamed "source at the highest level" I'm not so sure.

Update: Looks certain Mark Webber will be at Red Bull next year Red Bull Boss Says Webber Will Definitely Be Re-Signed 

Also now Red Bull team consultant Helmut Marko has quashed the rumours stating  "Kimi Raikkonen is not and will not be an issue for us,"  Marko carries on to say "He will not drive at Red Bull. The rumours are far-fetched and total nonsense."

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