Engine failure dogs McLaren to deepen Raikkonen's unrest
Saturday 08 October 2005
In a masterpiece of spin, McLaren quoted the Finn as saying: "I'm a bit disappointed with the engine failure which stopped my first practice session prematurely. However, we managed to get some running in the second practice."
Nevertheless, for the Finn it is an unwelcome hat-trick for the season: the third time he has suffered the penalty levied on drivers for the shortcomings of their engine supplier. The lack of reliability from Mercedes-Benz is one of the factors that is believed to lie behind Raikkonen's recent talks with Ferrari.
That deal is all but cemented, according to insiders, though Raikkonen himself fudged questions by saying: "They're not new rumours, they are already three years old. But of course, now, everyone knows my contract is only to next year with McLaren, so maybe it becomes more exciting to write about those rumours.
"The fact is that I have a contract next year," he added, "and I'm happy with the team and for sure the car will also be good next year and I don't see any reason to go anywhere else. OK, after next year, we will see again, but I'm happy to stay."
For the record, all of the rumours acknowledge that Raikkonen has a firm contract with McLaren for 2006 and refer to 2007 and beyond, something he neatly managed to sidestep.
The Suzuka circuit is narrow and demanding, and though the McLaren has thus far proved to be the fastest car, as usual, it will still be difficult for Raikkonen to work his way from 11th place (or worse, depending on how fast he can go in qualifying today) to help the team's quest for points.
An additional complication, this time for everybody, arose yesterday afternoon when rain interrupted the second practice session after the Brazilian Ricardo Zonta had taken his Toyota round in a time scarcely slower than the McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa had achieved in the morning.
Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were also well up in their hitherto uncompetitive Ferraris, but mainly because the rain subsequently slowed everyone else down before they got their quick laps in.
"Driving at Suzuka is always fun," Schumacher said, "but I find it difficult to judge how we went today. We definitely did better in the second session, but the time difference is down to the fact that we were probably the only ones to run on new tyres before the rain came."
The new world champion, Fernando Alonso, was sixth in the morning and eighth in the afternoon, but was not too bothered. "We expected rain in the afternoon so ran a lot in the first session, which was quite difficult for the drivers" the Spaniard said. "We looked reasonably quick and there is a lot more potential in the car and myself to improve."
Jenson Button was happy with the third fastest morning time in his BAR-Honda. "I hope we can continue to get stronger during the rest of the weekend," Button said.
Newcastle 0 Manchester United 1: Louis van Gaal describes performance as 'maybe our best match of the season'
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid superstar 'sends his hair stylist to look after his waxwork once a month'
Liverpool vs Burnley match report: Reds extend their run after Jordan Henderson's stunning opening strike
Newcastle vs Manchester United match report: Ashley Young scores late winner as Angel Di Maria fails to shine yet again
Brooklyn Beckham to be released: Why Arsenal could regret letting David Beckham's son depart
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin