Jul.24 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Rumours continue to swirl around the future of Kimi Raikkonen.
Media reports have suggested Ferrari’s talks to replace him with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas are well advanced, but the older Finn insists he has heard nothing.
“I don’t know any more than I knew at the start of the year,” he said in Hungary.
“When the team makes its decision, I will be the first to get it so I won’t need to read the newspapers,” Raikkonen is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper.
The 2007 world champion had to defend himself from the accusation his speed and precision have declined in the past couple of years.
Raikkonen insisted: “I have not done as well as I’d like, but it has not been like the disaster of last year.”
Sebastian Vettel, who would clearly like to keep his Finnish friend as his teammate, agrees with Raikkonen, backing technical boss James Allison’s recent quote that – purely on speed – the red-clad pair are evenly matched.
“That’s not a bad quote,” the German smiled.
“I still remember sitting in awe in front of the TV and enjoying Kimi’s onboard footage. It’s still the same guy sitting inside the car,” Vettel insisted.
“If we go in the pitlane, I’m not sure you could find many drivers who are better than him.”
Vettel said the new cordial atmosphere is another reason Ferrari should stick with its current lineup, particularly as his former Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo is also still being linked with the seat.
Indeed, the Australian was quoted on Thursday by Auto Motor und Sport as insisting: “I will not continue for another season with the current Renault engine.”
Ricciardo is contractually bound to Red Bull for 2016, but so too is Renault — despite the French carmaker not hiding its deliberations about the future, which could involve buying back Lotus.
Regarding 2016 and the future of the Red Bull-Renault collaboration, “We should know where things are headed in the next two weeks,” Ricciardo revealed.