Formula 1 Paddock: Latest Gossip and Rumours
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Kimi Raikkonen admits to joining Ferrari
Amid growing speculation that Red Bull are set to announce Daniel Ricciardo as Sebastian Vettel’s partner at the team for the 2013 season, Kimi Raikkonen has let it slip at a party recently that he will be once again wearing the red of Ferrari next season.
Raikkonen’s manager, Steve Robertson, told Autosport on Monday that the Finn was no longer a contender for Red Bull, but details have emerged in Germany’s Sport Bild (via gptoday) that Raikkonen admitted to friends on a night out in Helsinki that he will be driving for Ferrari again in 2014.
Although Robertson denied Raikkonen would be joining Red Bull he did admit to Autosport that they are in discussions with other teams and that Ferrari is one of them.
"It's an option. My job is to talk to all the teams that have available seats, and that is what I will be doing."
But Ferrari was quick to play down talk of Raikkonen returning to Ferrari.
"Right now, we're really not giving any thought to the driver-market situation," a Ferrari spokesman told BBC Sport.
Where will Kimi Raikkonen be in 2013?
Whatever the outcome, it may not be after the Italian Grand Prix until the identity of Ferrari’s second driver is revealed. According to Paul Weaver of The Guardian, Ferrari will make a decision on Felipe Massa’s future within the team after Monza.
"Ferrari will not make a decision about his [Massa's] future until after next month's Italian Grand Prix in Monza, at the earliest, which gives the Brazilian at least two races to make his claim for a fresh contract, beginning with Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa."
And German paper Die Welt takes a different tack, stating that Nico Hulkenberg is the front-runner for the seat.
Heikki Kovalainen to drive for Caterham in Spa and Monza
Caterham team has announced that former first-team driver Heikki Kovalainen will once again get behind the wheel of the car for the first free practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix, according to Autosport.
Kovalainen, who was dropped by Caterham at the end of the 2012 season, will take over Charles Pic’s car for the Friday morning session and will also run in the first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix in place of Giedo van der Garde.
Sergey Sirotkin to drive for Sauber
Sauber has announced that Sergey Sirotkin will get his first taste of driving a F1 car at the under-construction Sochi circuit next month.
"We are proud to be doing the demo run next month," team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said. "It will be a historical moment when a Russian driver drives a Formula One car for the first time at the track in Sochi."
The Russian has been hotly tipped for a future first-team drive with the team and visited the Sauber factory last week for a seat fitting in preparation for the drive on September 27.
"My visit to the Sauber F1 Team headquarters was busy," said Sirotkin. "I learned a lot about the team and many other things. I had a seat fitting, met the engineers and learned about the car and what happens over a race weekend. I also had a lesson with the steering wheel. I am happy because, if you had told me six months ago that one day I would visit this workshop and meet this team, I would have never believed you. It's great. The dream is so close to becoming reality now."
Michael Schumacher to partner Sebastian Vettel?
ESPN F1 has reported that Michael Schumacher will once again take part in the season-ending Race of Champions showpiece event for team Germany.
The seven-time world champion, who left Formula One at the end of the 2012 season after a three-year comeback with Mercedes, won the last Six Nations Cup titles in partnership with Sebastian Vettel.
"I announced after last year that I wanted to come back to win again," said Schumacher. "Both Sebastian and I are competitive guys and once we are sitting in any car and the visor goes down we just want to be first over the finishing line. The fact that it will be the seventh title this year makes it even more interesting, at least for me. So be prepared for a hot Team Germany to enter the ROC Nations Cup."
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