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Raikkonen to Ferrari for 2007?

NEWS STORY
25/08/2005

Having already claimed that Michael Schumacher is heading to McLaren, the German media is now reporting that Kimi Raikkonen will be heading in the opposite direction in 2007.

The 'news' comes at a time when Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, is known to be seeking a new contract for his star driver, since his current contract with Ferrari ends at the end of 2006.

With Weber said to be looking for a substantial increase, it makes sense that certain stories might be 'fed' to the German media.

According to Bild, Raikkonen has already signed a "preliminary agreement" with Ferrari for 2007, though we all know the value of contracts these days.

Although Ferrari's senior personnel, including Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, have made no secret of their admiration of Raikkonen, it is widely believed that the Finn is happy at McLaren.

Furthermore, especially based on current form, there is no guarantee that Ferrari can offer the Finn a winning package, especially since McLaren appears to be the in-form team at present.

Also there is the fact that many of Ferrari's 'old guard' will be moving on within the next couple of years, including Brawn and (designer) Rory Byrne. In addition, there is the fact that at present Ferrari is one of only three teams committed to F1 from 2008, with the manufacturers and seven F1 teams still threatening a breakaway series. Consequently, with so much 'up in the air' it wouldn't make sense for the Finn, or his management, to commit to Ferrari this early.

Bild claims that the story of the preliminary agreement comes from a "safe source", and states that talks between Raikkonen and Ferrari began last year, when Ferrari was storming to both titles in its most dominant season yet, and that negotiations began in earnest in February/March this year.

Bild talks of a driver swap featuring Schumacher and Raikkonen, but it was always supposed that the German would see out his F1 career with Ferrari before taking on some form of ambassadorial role with the team.

We have a feeling that this is one story that will run and run... the 2007 'silly season' has officially begun.

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