Engine failure dogs McLaren to deepen Raikkonen's unrest

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.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot