Kimi Raikkonen
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Kimi signs for Ferrari (rumour or...?)
Wednesday, 12 April 2006
kimiface2.jpg(Rough translation from Turun Sanomat): A long dispute finally comes to an end. Kimi Raikkonen will drive for Ferrari in next year 's Formula 1 World Championship. The contract will be verified officially in May - June, according to the news received by Turun Sanomat.

Raikkonen himself is still saying that the decision about next season has not been made yet. The same is said by his managers David and Steve Robertson. As the team only has the right to go public with mega-contracts like this, what else could the inner cicle of the driver say?

The confirmation of all this in this stage is coming from Williams, which knows very well about the relationship between Ferrari and Raeikkoenen. The contract with the 26 year-old Finnish star does not even contain the rumoured conditional clauses. Raikkonen is Ferrari's man from January 1st 2007 - whether Micheal Schumacher will be driving for Ferrari or not...

The Ferrari people have had it difficult to hide the news about the team change. The news leak started from a surprising source of the Williams camp.

According to the German Auto Motor und Sport magazine Raeikkoenen signed the contract with Ferrari already before the last season began. The reporter Michael Schmidt, who has verified this news from many sources, assures Turun Sanomat that the information about Raikkonen 's contract is bullet-proof reliable.

According to the German magazine Michael Schumacher could not give Ferrari leaders  a certain answer, whether he wants to continue his career in 2007 or not, before the start of the season. This forced the team manager Jean Todt to react fast and make sure that Ferrari would have a star driver with plenty of alternatives, if Schumacher would not be available anymore. When Raikkonen 's contract was known to end at McLaren at the end of 2006 Todt made contact with the Finnish star.

Even if Schumacher is currently nearly certain that he wants to continue, the crucial factor to the extension of the contract is the fact, that Kimi is coming to the team. Schumacher is now testing himself with the current teammate Felipe Massa. If he beats the Brazilian convicingly, the German veteran could still drive against Raikkonen, too.

The choices of Schumacher are next to zero. Earlier in the season, a possibility to drive for McLaren Mercedes reached a dead-end, when the team hired Fernando Alonso. Driving as Alonso 's teammate  would be for Schumacher as dangerous as with Raikkonen at Ferrari. Schumacher 's manager Willi Webwer met BMW's director Mario Theissen in Monaco. At this stage it is not probable that the German veteran would go to BMW. Renault 's team leader Flavio Briatore could offer the most fascinating challenge to its former star, but the change to the French team would mean that Schumacher would have to cut his current salary demands by half.

Although there is no official dead-line to  Schumacher's decision to continue at Ferrari, he has to make up his mind before the 1st of June. There are still four races remaining to think about it.

Traditionally Ferrari has gone public with big contract news in the Monaco Grand Prix week-end, which now is sceduled in May 24-28. If Schumacher decides to build a super duo with Raikkonen, Ferrari's driver business will be maximised, and this is what the team wants. At this stage the team still has to be prepared, that somebody else may drive as Raikkonen 's pair.

MotoGP's mega star Valentino Rossi is still serious with his change from the two-wheels to F1 driving. If Schumacher leaves the team, Rossi might drive with Raikkonen at Ferrari. It is more probable that Ferrari will try to place him to Red Bull's ranks for 2007.

Massa 's manager is Jeab Todt 's son Nicolas Todt, so the hopes of the Brazilian to continue in Ferrari with Raikkonen are still alive.

The Italian Auto Sprint magazine, which came out on Tuesday, did not show any mercy to Schumacher. According to the magazine there are more and more doubts about the German star 's current driving form inside the Ferrari team. The paper asks, when Schumacher has driven like true Schumacher - perfectly and totally maximising the performance of his car. The answer is the Hungarian GP nine months and ago.

If Schumacher had driven like the old Schumacher, he would have won in Bahrain and got at least a 5th place in Malaysia and Australia. Then he would have more points than Kimi Raikkonen and a different position in the WDC battle Auto Sprint summed.


Comments: Turun Sanomat is a very reliable finnish newspaper and they rarely get it wrong when finnish drivers are concerned. However, some things just don 't stick

Why would Raikkonen want to sign for any team so early (1+ year ago)? It would be best for him to wait until (current) mid-season, see which teams are the most competitive and choose one of them.

And why would the Williams guys know anything about Kimi-Ferrari contract?

Let 's wait for the official comments about all this... 

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