McLaren not in the Raikkonen race, yet

McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh admits past interest in Kimi Raikkonen but says current drivers deserve another go.

    McLaren not in the Raikkonen race, yet
    Whitmarsh (C) admits McLaren have not given Button (L) or Perez (R) the car they deserve [GALLO/GETTY]

    McLaren considered signing Kimi Raikkonen last year but there have been no talks - so far - with their former driver since last season, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said on Tuesday.

    Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One champion with Ferrari who is now with Lotus, is at the heart of paddock gossip with the driver market thrown into ferment by Australian Mark Webber's decision to leave champions Red Bull for sportscar racing. 

    Lotus say they are confident they can persuade him to stay once they have secured a new investment deal but the Finn has been linked to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren in media speculation.

    Asked in an interview with the official website whether McLaren had ever considered getting Raikkonen back, Whitmarsh replied: "Yes, we have. Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan of him. There is a lot of speculation out there at the moment so let's see what happens.

    "Last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn't happen," said the team boss.

    "This year we've had no talks - yet."

    Let down by car

    McLaren signed young Mexican Sergio Perez from Sauber last year as a replacement for 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton once the Briton had decided to move to Mercedes.

    Britain's Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion for Brawn GP, is their other driver and has been with the Woking team since 2010.

    Raikkonen drove for McLaren from 2002 to 2006, when Ron Dennis was team principal, and won nine races with them as well as finishing overall runner-up in 2003 and 2005.

    Button and Perez are expected to stay at McLaren next year, despite a miserable season for the former champions who have yet to finish higher than fifth, although Button told reporters at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix that he did not yet have a signed deal.

    Asked whether having two world champions on board, as McLaren did last year with Hamilton and Button, might get more "positive media mileage", Whitmarsh agreed that might be the case.

    "Yes, it might do," he replied.

    "We'll see. We are not talking to Kimi at the moment so let's see what happens in the driver market.

    "I think one thing I have to say is that we haven't given our drivers the car we should have done this year. But they've been fantastic ambassadors and I think they deserve another go with us next year."

    Button told reporters before Sunday's race at Spa that he was happy at McLaren and expected to see out his Formula One future with the team.

    McLaren celebrate 50 years in Formula One at Monza next week and a contract renewal could come at the same time for the Englishman.

    SOURCE: Reuters


     How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    How Britain Destroyed the Palestinian Homeland

    Ninety-nine years since Balfour's "promise", Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed.

    Afghan baby named after 'infidel' Donald Trump

    Afghan baby named after 'infidel' Donald Trump

    Donald Trump is 18-months old, but posting his photo ID on Facebook triggered backlash.

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    Profile: Osama bin Laden

    The story of a most-wanted fugitive and billionaire.