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.
Fernando Alonso leaves Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel confirmed as Alonso's replacement for 2015 season
Sami Khedira: Arsenal and Chelsea target signs pre-contract with Bayern Munich - reports
Daniel Sturridge injury latest: Brendan Rodgers ready to buy a striker as setback rocks Liverpool
Amir Khan exclusive: 'Manny Pacquiao has been beaten in his last few fights, beating Floyd Mayweather would be massive'
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims