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Toyota targeting Raikkonen?

NEWS STORY
02/10/2009

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Japanese GP, Toyota team boss John Howett claims that the Cologne-based outfit are looking at the possibility of signing Kimi Raikkonen for next season.

Speaking to reporters at Suzuka, when asked about his team's potential line-up for next season the Englishman replied: "We have always expressed interest in Kimi".

At a time when there is continued speculation as to the team's commitment to the sport, despite its assurances, the possibility of Raikkonen heading to a team that has yet to win a race is intriguing, to say the least.

Only yesterday, Raikkonen hinted that he might yet choose to leave F1, possibly for a season or two in world championship rallying. However, other than the financial rewards that Toyota might offer him there is the attraction of giving the team its maiden win.

Earlier this week, the Cologne-based outfit confirmed that while it is still considering its options in terms of drivers, Singapore hero Timo Glock has been told he is free to talk with rival teams. While Howett acknowledges the German's performance, and doesn't rule out another season for the former GP2 champion, he insists that the team needs a proven winner, a driver who can regularly get results.

"I think he did a fantastic job in Singapore and we are talking to him," he said of Glock, "but honestly speaking we feel that could have been the result in other races if we could qualify in that position. I am sorry, it is very a tough life, but our job is to deliver results. He could still be in the car next year but we wanted to keep our options open. And if we didn't release him by a certain date, we would be fixed for 2010."

Despite a lack of results, indeed, a lack of consistency, Howett is confident that Toyota has what is needed to attract a top flight driver.

"We know who we would like in the car and we are working hard on it," he said. "We need to keep all our options open, and to be able to catch somebody if the opportunity comes, we need two seats available. We like Timo very much, he did a great job, but still we have a car that is more regularly capable of being on the podium and much closer to the top this year. We are not delivering, and there are things beyond the team and the chassis itself."

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