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F1: Raikkonen Already Regretting Ferrari Return: Danner Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Nov, 07 2013 | 0 Comments

Kimi Raikkonen might already be regretting his impending return to Ferrari - or so former driver Christian Danner says.

The Finn had a particularly bad-tempered weekend in Abu Dhabi, starting with his no-show on Thursday and ending with a rare first-lap crash and rapid return to the airport in thongs.

Danner, now a commentator for German television RTL, thinks Raikkonen is not simply annoyed at his situation at Lotus, but also with his impending move to Ferrari.

"Kimi is annoyed that his manager is sending him back to Ferrari," Danner told the German newspaper Bild.

"He sees that Alonso at the moment is driving for the 'golden pineapple' at best -- far away from winning," he added.

Danner thinks Raikkonen will also not be looking forward to the environment at Ferrari.

"Lotus gave him all the freedom he wants, and at the moment quite clearly a better car as well," he said.

"What's he going to do when Luca di Montezemolo tells him he's going to too many parties?"

Danner's comments are interesting, but in light of Lotus' well-document financial problems, returning to Ferrari is probably a good move for Raikkonen -- particularly with 2014 tipped to be an engine-dominated championship.

Reports are also questioning the legitimacy of Lotus' new backers, Quantum, who promised to buy 35 per cent of the team months ago, but are still yet to deliver a single euro.

Germany's Sport Bild also claims Quantum chief Mansoor Ijaz has often been behind shady deals that ultimately did not happen.

And Livio Oricchio, the correspondent for Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, said the American-Pakistani was even in court last year, for not paying back huge loans.

Der Spiegel magazine reports that one possible solution for Raikkonen is that Bernie Ecclestone will direct Lotus' official prize-money straight to the 2007 world champion's account.

Indeed, the reality of Raikkonen's Ferrari return is that the Finn rightly wants to cash in on his status as one of the best drivers in F1.

Timo Glock was a paid driver for Marussia until the end of 2012, when he lost his seat to a 'pay-driver'. He is now a paid front-runner in the German touring car series DTM.

When asked about Raikkonen's threat to strike over his unpaid wages, Glock said: "It shows what really is going on in formula one.

"The sport needs to have a real think in order to keep itself alive," he told German radio Sport1.

"Apart from Ferrari and Mercedes, everyone is having difficulties," Glock continued. "They need to think about whether it's right that drivers aren't being paid."

Ferrari, meanwhile, is happy with its top lineup for 2014, with Alonso alongside another former champion.

"Kimi suddenly and unexpectedly became available in the summer," team boss Stefano Domenicali told Welt newspaper.

"We had to take the opportunity. It was almost not a conscious choice we had to make," he added.

(GMM)

 

Vettel 'in another category' - press

The international press is running out of superlatives to describe Sebastian Vettel's meteoric rise to F1 greatness.

With memories of podium booing still fresh, the jury had been out on the 26-year-old's recent successes in Adrian Newey-inked Red Bulls.

But his dominance in the second half of 2013, culminating in his near-unprecedented seventh win on the trot in Abu Dhabi last Sunday, has finally won German Vettel an undoubted wave of respect.

"Like Schumacher, Vettel is insatiable," said the respected Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Perfect, unassailable, invincible. It's as though he's in another category."

Another major sports daily, Corriere dello Sport, agreed: "Although he has conquered his fourth title, Vettel shows no signs of fatigue or a lack of motivation."

Italy's biggest daily La Repubblica added: "For Vettel, the track seems shorter, the corners smoother -- he drives like a prima ballerina dances, with elegance and strength."

Corriere della Sera continued: "Vettel is a voracious master, using a racetrack created just for him, with an enemy badly under pressure from such a phenomenon."

Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said this week: "Sebastian is a talent of the century.

"But the extreme cohesion and outstanding performance of the whole team was also exceptional," he told Austrian television Servus TV.

(GMM)

 

Motivation to stay fit 'went away' - Webber

Mark Webber has admitted fading motivation prompted his decision to retire from formula one.

Austin and Brazil will be the Australian veteran's last two grands prix in a career spanning more than a decade, and netting 9 wins and 40 podiums.

Webber, 37, is switching to Le Mans sports cars, to head Porsche's new prototype foray.

But he admits he was already starting to think about retirement last year.

"Porsche wanted me for 2013," revealed Webber, "but I said that I wasn't ready yet.

"But during that year (2012) I started to think about a change. I had already been at Red Bull for a very long time, so you do think about doing something else. That's human nature," he explained.

Webber admits he courted a move to Ferrari, but ultimately decided last Christmas to quit F1.

Another factor, he said, was his fitness.

"A lot of people have trained with me," Webber told Speed Week, "but most are gone after less than two years. I never had to be motivated to keep fit.

"But over the past year the urge went away. So I had to ask myself why. Then it becomes clear - 'Mark, you're not 19 anymore!'

He admitted that, increasingly, the desire to do things other than F1 crept in.

"In my case, the reasons are very personal," said Webber. "I want to spend more time with my family, my partner, my friends. Suddenly there are things on the radar that weren't there before.

"I had often heard other sportsmen and woman talk about the problem of their motivation going away, but I always thought to myself, 'What?'

"But the fact is that it does go away!" he admitted.

"Also, when you're 36, you think differently to when you're 25, and that doesn't just go for drivers. As an athlete, you put so much into your career.

"I wouldn't say that we make sacrifices, but if you start thinking that, then maybe it is time to do something else. You have to believe that it's all worth it.

"I'm enjoying the summer in Australia and then suddenly you have to go to Jerez for winter testing and you think, 'Hmm...'

"But I also knew that I wouldn't be happy if I stopped racing completely. You have to find a balance, something that stimulates you and I've found that with Porsche.

"I know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but it will not be like formula one. Next year there will be 20 grands prix again and if you're in a top team, it's pretty exhausting," he said.

"I want a different balance in my life and the timing is right, and that (finding the right time to retire) is not easy for an athlete. Look at Roger Federer, look at Valentino Rossi.

"I have the feeling I'm going pretty well at the moment, even if I don't have the results to prove it, for reasons that we both know," he told correspondent Mathias Bruner.

(GMM)

 

Vettel tells Newey to forget yachting

Sebastian Vettel has urged the designer of his dominant Red Bull cars, Adrian Newey, to forget about switching to the world of competitive yachting.

Before meeting with British sailor Sir Ben Ainslie in Abu Dhabi last weekend, Briton Newey admitted he was interested in getting involved with designing an America's Cup boat.

"I can't imagine him doing that," new quadruple world champion Vettel told Austria's Servus TV.

"I've never seen him go boating -- he loves driving and has a lot of fun doing it," the German smiled.

"If he goes boating, he will always come back with a huge sunburn, which is not right," Vettel joked.

Vettel might have delivered the comments in jest, but the message was dead serious -- Newey plays a crucial role in Red Bull's success.

"Maybe someday," Newey answered when asked if the America's Cup is in his plans, "but not in the near future."

He told Servus TV that the all-new rules for 2014 could shake up the pecking order in F1.

But the team's Dr Helmut Marko is much more confident.

"We have Adrian Newey!" he exclaimed.

"Whenever there is a change of rules," added Marko, "his cars are unbeatable."

(GMM)

 

Neither Caterham driver secure for 2014

Neither of Caterham's current race drivers have been confirmed for the 2014 season.

Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic, both heavily sponsored, were new to the team this season, but Caterham has struggled at times and so the experienced Heikki Kovalainen is back on the radar for a possible 2014 return.

Widely regarded as the most secure of the pair is Frenchman Pic, who has the solid backing of the Lagardere Group and, it is believed, a longer contract.

But Pic's manager Olivier Panis admitted to French television Canal Plus that: "You are never 100 per cent sure.

"In any case, stability is important for Charles, but we have been approached by other teams.

"I think that decisions will take longer than last year, so it will not be until the end of the season that we know about Charles in F1 next year," the former F1 driver added.

Caterham's other race driver this year is Dutchman van der Garde.

His manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen told De Telegraaf newspaper: "We have spoken with four teams who have serious interest in Giedo."

It is believed those teams are Caterham, Williams, Force India and Sauber, and ten Hoopen said "follow-up appointments" will "definitely" take place.

"I think everyone has seen his development," ten Hoopen said in Abu Dhabi, "but the musical chairs in F1 is like playing in a casino."

(GMM)

 
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