F1: Montezemolo Happy To Hear Raikkonen Rumours Photo:
Mike Stevens | Nov, 09 2011 | 0 Comments

Luca di Montezemolo has revealed he is happy to hear speculation about Kimi Raikkonen's possible return to formula one.

At the end of 2009, despite the Finn having a year to run on his contract, the Maranello based team replaced Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso in a deal that coincided with the arrival of Santander as a lucrative new sponsor.

The 2007 world champion went off to world rallying and even tried his hand at NASCAR-style racing, but is now reportedly on the verge of returning to formula one next year with the beleaguered Williams team.

"That he might be coming back makes me feel good," Ferrari president di Montezemolo told Italy's La Stampa.

"Kimi is a very likeable guy even though I have never been able to communicate properly with him," he added.

"There are some drivers like him with the flames of speed burning inside them, like Jean Alesi who is going next year to do the Indy 500."

Montezemolo also dismissed rumours Ferrari is looking to replace Felipe Massa with Mercedes' Nico Rosberg at the end of the season.

"Our drivers are Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa," he insisted.



Market waits for last pieces in 2012 driver puzzle

Force India's drivers might have to wait a little longer to learn their fate.

Despite earlier scheduling a mid December announcement, boss Vijay Mallya has been pushed by Adrian Sutil to make an earlier call about the team's 2012 driver lineup amid reports the German will be left out in the cold.

Reportedly in the hot seats for next season are Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, but the pair insisted in India recently that they are not sure if they will be on the 2012 grid with Force India.

"All the drivers have asked me to make an early decision, and I respect that," Mallya said on Monday.

But the Indian billionaire also said he does not want to rush, and denied rumours he has already made the decision and is keeping it quiet.

"I have a big decision to make! But it's not made yet -- I'm not the type of guy who's going to make a decision and string people along," said Mallya.

"When I decide I will just tell them the way it is and that's it."

The holdup could tie in with the similarly unconfirmed seats at Williams and Renault, with Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica regarded as the keys to unlocking the last pieces of the 2012 grid.

"There are many different options and of course a lot of speculation," Raikkonen, in talks with Williams, told the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine.

"Until something is certain, there is no point in speculating because it could go any way. To be honest, I don't know myself yet."

Alongside the Finn, Sutil - who has been with Force India's Silverstone based team since its Spyker days - is also linked with the Williams seat.

"It is time for him (Sutil) to take the next step in his career," Gerhard Berger is quoted by Auto Bild. "He was always quick but he now races consistently without mistakes," the former grand prix winner said.



Young drivers pay dearly for Abu Dhabi seats

The backers of young drivers are paying hundreds of thousands of euros to test formula one cars in Abu Dhabi later this month.

We revealed recently that Swiss 22-year-old Fabio Leimer, 14th in this year's GP2 standings, purchased his Sauber seat for the young driver test.

Earlier, it emerged that Toro Rosso's rides were open to the highest bidder at around the EUR 200,000 mark per day, with Sauber's seat costing even more.

"Yes, we have had to pay for this test," Leimer confirmed. "That's just the way it is in formula one, but first you have to be in the position to do so."

It is a different story at the grandee teams. Red Bull (Jean-Eric Vergne), McLaren (Gary Paffett), Ferrari (Jules Bianchi) and Mercedes (Sam Bird) are taking the opportunity to give their preferred young chargers some rare test laps.

Elsewhere on the Yas Marina circuit, there will be some unfamiliar names like Kevin Korjus (Renault), Max Chilton (Force India), Stefano Coletti (Toro Rosso) and Dani Clos (HRT), while some highly rated young drivers like Christian Vietoris have missed out.

Auto Motor und Sport said the price-tags have been up to EUR 300,000 for a single test day in a midfield car.

"Success in the lower classes is no longer enough," said the German magazine.

Of interest during the three-day young driver test, however, will be the debut of some "prototype tyres", with Pirelli pushing ahead with development for the 2012 season.

And in Friday practice for the Abu Dhabi race, F1's regulars will try two sets of "an experimental soft compound", the official tyre supplier also announced.


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