Renault Keep Options Open As Raikkonen Motivation Questioned
Renault boss Eric Boullier has said the Enstone based squad are keeping their options open with regard a team mate for Robert Kubica next season. While current Renault number 2, Vitaly Petrov, has not been ruled out of racing in 2011 the speculation has been high that the Russian would make way for a new driver at the resurgent team.
Kimi Raikkonen has been hotly tipped by many, including ourselves, for a race seat with the team. The Finn, who was world champion in 2007, has contacted the team twice and Renault say they are flattered by the interest. However Boullier is concerned about the motivation of the former Ferrari and McLaren driver.
“He [Raikkonen] contacted us but, once again, our main issue at the moment is whether we should keep Petrov; only if this question is negated we will look for replacement.” Boullier told Formula1.com
“I would have to speak personally with him first, look him in the eyes to see if I see enough motivation there for him to return to Formula 1.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire somebody – even a former World Champion – if you can’t be sure that his motivation is still one hundred percent. Why should you invest in somebody who leaves you guessing?”
Boullier added that there were possibilites away from Raikkonen in the form of Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld.
“Now I have to choose my words very carefully” Boullier continued when asked about Sutil and Heidfeld,
“Let’s put it this way: we don’t have a direct contact right now and the door is not open yet, but we have signaled that it could open under certain circumstances.”
Raikkonen is still the hot favourite for the race seat, but looks like he will have to prove himself to the team if he is to be on the grid at the start of 2011.