Venerable publication Autosprint is reporting that Renault is giving one-time Ferrari champ Kimi Raikkonen a serious look as a replacement for Vitaly Petrov. (Raikkonen was rumored to be looking at Renault last year — or vice versa, I suppose — after Kimi was kicked to Maranello curb.)
Now, I think Petrov has shown some good signs (Canada not being one of those instances), but it would be difficult to argue that Kimi wouldn’t be an improvement. But he’d also be a big hit to the bottom-line, especially with Petrov’s being a pay driver. (I do think Kimi might draw some sponsor interest, however.)
Yahoo Sport in the UK has the details:
Now, however, authoritative Italian magazine Autosprint has reported that Renault is interested in bringing Raikkonen back in 2011 â€“ and in fact the 30-year-old was previously linked with the Enstone-based outfit last September. It is claimed that the Eric Boullier-led concern is not altogether convinced by Petrov, the first Russian ever to compete in F1 but a driver who has generally struggled in qualifying and proven erratic â€“ if extremely rapid on occasion â€“ come the races.
To-date, the man dubbed the â€˜Vyborg Rocketâ€™ has notched up a mere six points from the opening eight grands prix of the 2010 campaign, compared to the 73 tallied by team-mate Robert Kubica. The 25-year-oldâ€™s sole points-scoring finish to-date has been seventh place in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. It is understood that Renault will only renew Petrovâ€™s contract should he score 25 per cent of the points total of Kubica; he currently sits at 8.2 per cent.
OK, so half my reason for posting this is because it is the first time I’ve seen Petrov referred to as the “Vyborg Rocket.” Heck, I think “Vyborg Rocket vs Ice Man” was a ’70s sci-fi flick that played on my local TV station.
But it also points to the fact that there are not many seats “up for grabs.” The eight best slots — at Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren — are all set for next year. You have to figure Robert Kubica is set. And we know both Williams drivers are staying put.
I’d be tempted to say that Adrian Sutil is a lock at Force India, but the Yahoo story suggests he might be in line for the Renault seat if Kimi doesn’t take it or Petrov ups his points total.
That seems like a pretty lateral move, to me, and one that would involve becoming the No. 2 driver behind Kubica.
Speaking of being No. 2 behind Kubica, I’ve also seen some reports that Nick Heidfeld is realizing he may have to go to DTM if he wants to keep racing.
It all seems to be making for a boring Silly Season, I’m afraid.