Raikkonen hopeful of strong result in China

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Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful of a strong result at the Chinese Grand Prix next weekend following a good start to the 2013 Formula One season.

“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t go well there,” explained Raikkonen in a team statement. “We have some new parts for the E21 and the last upgrades we had seemed to help so it will be interesting to see what will happen if it doesn’t rain.”

Raikkonen has a good record in China, and he spoke of his wish to extend this.

“I have been first, second and third in Shanghai in previous years so it would be nice to add to that list.”

However, the Finn did admit that until he had some lap time in the E21 at the Shanghai International Circuit, it would be hard to make any predictions.

“It’s always difficult to predict what will happen in the next race as we haven’t been there yet with this car. Every car reacts differently to each circuit.

“If we get the car working as well as we did on Friday at Sepang, we should do well in Shanghai too.”

Raikkonen won the opening race of the season in Australia, but he had a difficult weekend in Malaysia that saw him finish P7. Lotus do appear to be working well with the new Pirelli tires, and the Iceman will be hopeful of a good showing in China to underline his championship credentials.

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”