F1 News, Views and Reviews

Renault Boss Hits Back At Raikkonen

Renault team principal and managing director Eric Boullier has hit out at Kimi Raikkonen for the way he handled the press following his decision not to drive for Renault next season.

The 2007 World Champion told press yesterday that he had never had any desire to drive for Renault, and that he was disappointed the team had talked up, using his name, the link to him racing with them.

The aggressive manner in which he dealt with the press yesterday angered Boullier enough to hit out at Raikkonen in an exclusive interview with Autosport today from Japan.

“We have not piggy-backed on Kimi’s image at all, which is what he has been claiming in the press,” Boullier said

“We were contacted by his managers after Spa. They wanted to enter into discussions and at that time we said: ‘Please wait. Yes, we are very flattered that you have contacted us, but we need to finish the evaluation of Vitaly’s [Petrov] potential and from that point, when we have our own conclusion, we will get back to you.’ There was nothing else.

“Since then, I had not got back to them because we had not finished the evaluation of the potential of Vitaly and there was nothing else to say. I never used the media, and I don’t see the benefit of telling to the media that Kimi is interested and chasing us. What would be the purpose of this?

“At the end, there was clearly a big interest in the media and during the last week the media kept reporting about our contact. I guess it was because there was nothing else to report, and I guess Kimi got upset to have all this in the press.

“But I always stuck to my word – and when it was public I was fair and courteous. Yes we were flattered to be contacted but I didn’t say anything else. Now, I think it is clear for me, and clear for him, and this is the end of the discussion.”

He admitted he was disappointed the Finn would not be racing with the team in 2011, but that they would now be looking at other targets.  Those targets are said to include Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil.

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