One of the nice things about being around auto racing as long as I have is that you get to know a lot of people.
And while some of those folks might be involved with some of the lesser formulae, they are usually well-connected to the big boys and are inclined to tell you stuff that the guys in the big leagues won’t.
Such as this little nugget.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Is Kimi Raikkonen being "persuaded" to leave Ferrari to make room for Fernando Alonso?|
Ferrari is trying to “move” Kimi Raikkonen out of the team in order to make room for Fernando Alonso in 2010. This is because of a five-year contract the Scuderia signed in recent weeks with the Spanish banking giant Santander. One of the conditions – denied by one and all, of course – is that Alonso would have a seat.
One scenario had Raikkonen moving to the World Rally Championship for the last year of his contract with Ferrari. Which explains why Ferrari didn’t object when Kimi said he wanted to give the WRC a shot, which he did in Finland in August and wounded up crashing the car.
Although he brushed it off at the time, Raikkonen let his friends know that rally driving is not for him – at this time in his career, in any event.
The latest suggestion is that Ferrari is trying to convince McLaren to take Raikkonen back. The reasoning is that second-driver Heikki Kovalainen hasn’t been pulling his weight and for Lewis Hamilton to continue improving, he’s got to have a teammate who can really push him and the Kimster would certainly fit that bill.
McLaren is said to be lukewarm to the idea. To sweeten the offer, Ferrari has apparently offered to pay part or all of Raikkonen’s salary for a year while he’s driving for the British team.
As they say, where there’s smoke there’s fire. Don’t bet against it.