Kimi Raikkonen could depart Ferrari as soon as the end of this season, according to reports. Germany’s Auto-Bild-Motorsport said the beleaguered Maranello based team has already commenced its search for the Finn’s successor, after failing to live up to his reputation and newfound status as the highest earning F1 racer following his switch from McLaren for 2007.
Not only is the 27-year-old struggling to keep up with Felipe Massa in the other F2007, Ferrari bosses are apparently also concerned about Kimi’s lack of focus and rookie errors — such as failing to get his car quickly off the line. Part of the Auto-Bild-Motorsport rumour is that newly retired Michael Schumacher is the obvious choice to replace Raikkonen, but paddock rumblings have also hinted at McLaren’s disgruntled Fernando Alonso or Williams’ impressive Nico Rosberg to fill the seat. The speculation may also be related to new gossip this week that says Toyota could be eyeing Raikkonen as a replacement for Ralf Schumacher next year and beyond.
Ferrari is now coming under intense pressure from the notorious and influential Italian media, with La Gazzetta dello Sport headlining this week that the trip to North America was a “total failure” for the Prancing Horse. Regarding Raikkonen, meanwhile, the sports daily wrote: “Hopes that he is Michael Schumacher’s heir are gradually fading.
“Australia aside, Kimi has never been brilliant in a Ferrari.” (GMM)