Sunday, September 26, 2010

Million dollars and a bird sign

The Finnish flag is not waving as impressively at F1 venues as it used to but our small country has still not been completely forgotten in these circles

Bernie Ecclestone himself revealed to a British journalist friend of mine that he's talked to Kimi Räikkönen about a comeback to F1 circuits. Apparently it's not looking good. Kimi is expensive and Renault can't afford him.

Kimi has a lot of fans but he's not a cash magnet equivalent to Michael Schumacher so there's a limit to what amount of money teams will try to lure him away from rally with.

But at the paddock people are on their toes wondering whether the 2007 world champion will get excited about coming back. Every other person I know first says hello and then asks what a Finnish reporter thinks Räikkönen will do.

Operative director of Force India, Omar Szafnauer, asked me to inform Räikkönen that if a million dollars and a Kingfisher logo on his helmet will be enough, he'll have a seat at the Indian team.

The usually seemingly dead serious Helmut Marko denies having anything to do with rally but the ex-driver known as Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man has according to the German media hinted that the energy drink giant might withdraw from rally altogether. The reason for this would be the brand's disappointment with rally's low visibility around the world.

That would mean that also Räikkönen's oars would be pulled out of the Citroen boat.

In August I asked Ford's team boss Malcolm Wilson whether he'd be interested in Räikkönen if he wants to continue his rally career. Wilson told me then that absolutely but only if they would get a so called commercial deal made with him.

Since now there are rumors circulating that Räikkönen might drive next year with the new Ford Fiesta S2000 car with backing from the Monster energy drink, it's possible that Wilson has proceeded from words to deeds.

There's also discussion about Heikki Kovalainen's future plans in the F1 media. Since Heikki himself has only said that he knows where he'll drive in 2011, all kinds of conclusions have been drawn.

But Lotus is already Kovalainen's home that he's furnishing to his liking. And there probably won't be room for anyone else at the Renault which is waiting for Räikkönen either. I heard from very close to the team that Vitali Petrov will continue there – with 99,99% certainty.

Singapore/Heikki Kulta

Source: Turun Sanomat
Courtesy: Dracaena

No comments: