Raikkonen wants to leave Lotus, says Whitmarsh

2014 F1 season

Kimi Raikkonen, GP3, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Kimi Raikkonen has his sights set on leaving Lotus at the end of the year, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes.

However Whitmarsh denied Raikkonen has had any talks this year about returning to the team he drove for between 2002 and 2006.

“Last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn?t happen,” Whitmarsh told the official Formula One site. “This year we?ve had no talks – yet.”

“Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he will not succeed in that goal, so let?s see how he gets on there,” he added.

Raikkonen was under consideration by Red Bull for the seat alongside Sebastian Vettel next year. But during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend Mark Webber indicated Daniel Ricciardo will get the drive.

Other rumours have linked Raikkonen to a return to Ferrari, who he won the world championship for in 2007.

Whitmarsh admitted McLaren have considered trying to lure back Raikkonen, who won nine races for the team: “Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan of him. There is a lot of speculation out there at the moment, so let?s see what happens. ”

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91 comments on Raikkonen wants to leave Lotus, says Whitmarsh

  1. Hairs (@hairs) said on 27th August 2013, 13:57

    Either Whitmarsh is being unguardedly honest or he’s putting public makers out to manipulate. It’s difficult to tell, to be honest.

    Button isn’t Hamilton, and isn’t setting the world on fire all day every day, but he’s reliable, fast, will fight hard by times and capable of winning. I think any of the top teams would be happy to have him, honestly. Button’s major weakness is one lap pace, but Kimi has been beaten by Grosjean on that front this year. The team said earlier this year he had a job for life, and he hasn’t made any mistakes since. So I don’t think Martin intends to get rid of Button. Perez is still to prove himself in many ways, but has potential. I think based on previous experience McLaren will give a rookie two years at least, like they did with heikki.

    So why make reference to almost getting kimi last year? Maybe to undermine lotus, or maybe to give perez a reminder that he’s not in a golden seat yet. I’d lean towards the latter.

    • LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge) said on 27th August 2013, 14:14

      “but Kimi has been beaten by Grosjean on that front this year”

      What do you meanby stating that?
      Kimi leads Romain 8-3 in qualifying.

    • kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 27th August 2013, 17:20

      Whilst Button may be a pair of safe hands, in this current climate a team needs a driver that can take it to the next level. Button simply isn’t that driver. He is no “safer” than Webber, though much safer than Massa. Unfortunately, unless McLaren make the kind of step forward in relation to other teams a la 2009 Brawn, i can’t see Button winning any championships with them. McLaren needs a top tier driver to come in and rejuvenate/revitalise the team. Kimi is the only driver available at this moment, and if he isn’t signed, then Macca will have consigned themselves to mediocrity or at best also rans for quite a while to come.

    • Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 28th August 2013, 6:21

      I think that at this point Macca isn’t as interested in a WDC as they are WCC. I seriously doubt that Perez is the man for the job.

    • dimitris said on 28th August 2013, 6:58

      Or, his remarks are meant for the ears of some Mexican tycoon who has not come up with the money yet but who got the driver’s seat for Perez. It is sad that Kimi is used by other teams to settle matters with their drivers (Ferrari-Alonso) or with sponsors and potential sponsors.

  2. jonathan102 (@jonathan102) said on 27th August 2013, 16:25

    I would love to see Kimi partnered with Jenson. What a combo that would be. Sadly I doubt McLaren would ditch Perez with his massive financial backing.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 27th August 2013, 17:29

      On the other hand, McLaren must be getting impatient to become constructor champions again. As you said, maybe they’ll keep Perez for 2014, and when Honda comes back in 2015 they’ll go all out and sign another world champion.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 27th August 2013, 19:07

      Well, we still don’t know who their title sponsor will be next year, but Whitmarsh did state that they will have a new title sponsor next year. Will it be telmex or someone else? If it’s not telmex, maybe Perez might be shown the door. Who knows.

  3. “Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he will not succeed in that goal, so let’s see how he gets on there”

    That’s a strange sentence. If Kimi is truly “determined” to leave Lotus then that is a goal he can easily succeed in. I get the impression that Kimi wants to leave Lotus – just as long as he can get a huge pile of money for doing so. He probably figures that if LH is worth twenty million euro, he is worth that much as well. If so that explains why negotiations have broken down with Red Bull. Even Vettel is on a fairly low base salary at RB and while it’s believed he made around twelve million euro last year, much of that was in bonuses for winning races, scoring podiums, and winning the WDC. If that pay structure is unacceptable to Kimi – and it sounds as if it is – then the deal is off for good. No way RB will pay anyone more than their three (four?) time champion driver.

  4. If you look closely you can see Kimi’s nipple in this picture.

  5. JETWAKE GLOBAL said on 27th August 2013, 18:52

    It must be disappointing for Kimi when he does such a great job and his paychecks do not show up in his bank account as agreed. He knows Lotus does not have the money to win championships. He hated driving for Ferrari. So, that leaves RedBull as his first choice. He is good friends with Vettel. I read that Team RedBull spends $360 million USD every year on their entire operation. Kimi once was the highest paid driver at $45 million USD for one season of racing. I would guess that RedBull does not want to pay and also upset the soon to be 4 in a row World Champion, Sebastian Vettel.

  6. anon said on 28th August 2013, 2:30

    Raikkonen and Perez sounds better than Button and Perez on paper, but Kimi is not going to help the team in terms of development. Having two old geezers like Button and Kimi doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either.

  7. Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 28th August 2013, 5:02

    I read this has an indirect invitation to Raikkonen. Saying “the door is open” for him to join Mclaren. Don’t know if its serious or just to put the Mclaren name on the same level as the current more desirable teams. I would say there’s truth in both sides of this reasoning.

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