- Raikkonen 'a real threat' in 2012 - Whitmarsh
- 'All teams' ready to enter 2013 season - Whitmarsh
- McLaren to follow Ferrari's 'pull-rod' lead in 2013
- Drivers relax during August shutdown
- Wolff rules out testing Williams car
- Force India eyes F1 return for Aussie Chris Dyer - reports
Raikkonen 'a real threat' in 2012 - Whitmarsh
Martin Whitmarsh, a former boss of the famous Finn some years ago, has admitted he has been impressed by Kimi Raikkonen in 2012.
The pair worked together between 2002 and 2006, when the now 32-year-old won nine Grands Prix for McLaren.
Raikkonen switched to Ferrari in 2007, winning nine more races and the title, but after 2009 he quit F1 to go rallying and Nascar racing.
He has returned to F1 with Lotus this year, and despite not yet adding to his tally of career wins, the 'Iceman' is tipped as a dark horse for the 2012 championship.
When asked about Raikkonen, McLaren team boss Whitmarsh told Brazil's Totalrace: "He is very talented.
"I think he is one of the fastest men on the planet," he added.
"People tend to underestimate Kimi, because of how little he talks. But he is a very intelligent and impressive driver.
"The Lotus is a good car and so, put together, they're a real threat," said Whitmarsh.
"I'm sure you've noticed that Kimi does not make many mistakes; he always does a good job.
"So I'm not surprised and I think he has the ability to improve even more throughout the season," he added.
Raikkonen's former McLaren stablemate, Pedro de la Rosa, told Spain's El Confidencial that Raikkonen is "definitely one of the best drivers I've ever seen".
And at the wheel of the impressive black and gold E20, it looks like a winning combination.
"Well, it hasn't won any races, so it's not a winner," Raikkonen insisted.
"We are still pretty happy but of course you want to do better. We'll see what we can do in the second part (of the season)," he added.
Lotus' technical boss James Allison thinks a shot at the title is not out of the question.
"Why not?" he told the British broadcaster Sky.
"There are an awful lot of points for coming first and an awful lot of races left. The lead is miniscule compared to the points available."
'All teams' ready to enter 2013 season - Whitmarsh
Despite the current Concorde Agreement uncertainty, all 12 competing F1 teams will almost certainly line up on the 2013 grid.
Originally, the FIA imposed a June 30 deadline for teams to apply to contest next year's world championship.
But that date came and went, shortly after the World Motor Sport Council approved an extension of the deadline to the end of September.
However, it has emerged that all of the teams met the original June 30 entry deadline anyway - even though some teams, most notably Mercedes, have yet to agree a new 'Concorde' with Bernie Ecclestone.
The FIA also has not signed on with the sport's 81-year-old chief executive, despite Jean Todt saying in mid June that he wanted a new deal to be finalised "in the coming weeks".
"I believe all teams entered (for 2013)," McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh said, "but the FIA has redefined the entry time at the moment, so I presume all of the teams will re-enter within the new time frame.
"The FIA has asked us to resubmit our entries at a later date," he added.
McLaren to follow Ferrari's 'pull-rod' lead in 2013
Another publication is reporting rumours McLaren will follow Ferrari's lead in opting for innovative pull-rod front and rear suspension for its 2013 car.
A little more than a month ago, the Spanish sports daily Marca said the British team's MP4-28 - like Ferrari's current F2012 - will have pull-rod front suspension.
Until 2012, the configuration had not been seen since Fernando Alonso raced a Minardi more than a decade ago.
Ferrari struggled initially this season, but Marca said the Italian team's giant strides of progress since then piqued the interest of McLaren's technical director, Paddy Lowe.
"Obviously, at the start, after the winter tests, we were a bit behind," Ferrari's British technical director, the former McLaren man Pat Fry, said this week.
"I think we learned a lot in this period and used that later on.
"In my opinion, we have overtaken a large part of the other teams in terms of development over the season - we staged a good recovery, but there is still a long way to go."
Similar information about McLaren's pull-rod approach for 2013 is now being reported by Autosprint, the authoritative Italian motor racing weekly.
"A few months ago it would have been unthinkable," said the publication's Alberto Antonini.
Antonini also said it is "likely" Ferrari will keep the pull-rod layout for its 2013 car.
Drivers relax during August shutdown
Ping-pong or the Olympics?
It's a tough choice for F1 drivers as they contemplate how to spend their rare free time during the August break.
Felipe Massa, having returned to his native Sao Paulo, has posted on Twitter photos of his downtime on the saddle of a four-wheeled motorcycle, and playing mini table-tennis with his brother Eduoardo.
Red Bull's Mark Webber has headed to the real Olympics, watching his countryman James Magnussen grapple with the pain of losing Gold in a swimming race he was hotly tipped to win.
"It's called the journey," said Australian Webber. "That's the amazing thing about sport."
Champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are also enjoying sport of a different flavour.
2009 title winner Button, and his model girlfriend Jessica Michibata, headed to the Philippines for an Ironman competition.
"Triathlons aren't ever going to make me money," the McLaren driver told the Daily Mail. "But whenever I have any time off it doesn't take me long before I am pining to get back out on one."
2012 championship leader Alonso, meanwhile, won a 20 kilometre cycling time trial - at a speed of almost 45 kilometres per hour.
Lewis Hamilton is holidaying in Grenada, the country of his father Anthony's heritage, while Lotus' Romain Grosjean is enjoying a honeymoon with his new wife Marion Jolles, a French television presenter well known in the F1 paddock.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is just enjoying some downtime with his young family.
"I'm more focused on living a quiet and private life, so I would rather avoid lots of people," he said.
Wolff rules out testing Williams car
Toto Wolff, a shareholder and now Williams' new executive director, has ruled out testing the famous British team's 2012 car.
Williams test driver Susie Wolff's husband, and Friday driver Valtteri Bottas' manager, Wolff is also a racing driver.
He raced single seaters in the 90s and in 2002 finished sixth in the FIA's NGT (now GT2) championship.
He also won a race in the GT1 class and more recently achieved success in Austrian rallying and won the 2006 Dubai 24 hour race.
And a Youtube video of his Nordschleife lap record and spectacular 270kph Porsche crash is legendary in racing circles.
But Wolff, 40, insists he has no plans to test the Renault-powered FW34.
"As you know, I was more ambitious than talented and there is no ambition to drive a formula one car because I think it would just look ridiculous," he said.
Instead, in the wake of chairman Adam Parr's surprise departure, Wolff is taking his new job - helping Sir Frank Williams to run the Oxfordshire based team - very seriously.
"The answer is yes, I'm going to spend more days at the factory and I enjoy it, it's what I want to do now," he said.
Force India eyes F1 return for Aussie Chris Dyer - reports
Triple title-winning engineer Chris Dyer could be set to return to F1.
After serving as Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen's championship-winning race engineer at Ferrari, the Australian was promoted by the famous Italian team to the role of head of engineering.
But Dyer, now 43, was shunted aside to the road car division at Maranello after bungling Fernando Alonso's race strategy in the 2010 Abu Dhabi finale that cost the Spaniard the title.
He then stepped aside completely, his last appearance in a F1 paddock now dating back to a full year ago, when Italian publications linked him with a possible return with Mercedes.
But reports (Omnicorse, Italy and Auto Bild, Germany) this week suggest Dyer's return could actually be with Silverstone based Force India.
The team, just eighth in the 2012 constructors' championship, said recently it has now switched its main focus to the 2013 car.
"It (the switch of focus) started a while ago," said techncial director Andy Green.
"For a team of our size we can't afford to develop a car much beyond this point in the season."
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