Grosjean keen for Raikkonen to stay at Lotus

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Romain Grosjean has said that losing Kimi Raikkonen as a teammate in 2014 would be a shame even if it mean that he would become team leader at Lotus.

Raikkonen is rumored to be angling for a move to another team amid reports of financial crisis at Lotus, but his chances with Red Bull appear to be over after his manager revealed earlier this week that talks with the world champions had ended. However, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is out of contract come the end of the season, sparking rumors that the Finn could yet return to Maranello despite leaving on uneasy terms in 2009. However, Grosjean is hoping that Raikkonen remains with Lotus.

“Well, I always say that losing Kimi would be a loss for the team, he’s very good, he’s a World Champion, it’s good to have him as a teammate,” the Frenchman explained in the FIA press conference.

If Raikkonen were to walk away from the team after two seasons in Enstone, Grosjean does feel that it would be his responsibility to take the team leader role and gun for race wins, relying he is re-signed for 2014.

“We push each other to the limit but if he leaves then we still have to do the job and to try to win races and score a lot of points. So at the moment I think we have a good way of working together but yeah, if he leaves then I would be more than happy to get the deal and try to keep Lotus where it is or still improve.”

Grosjean’s recent form suggests that he has the makings of a grand prix winner, having come close at the German Grand Prix where he led early on but eventually dropped to P3 come the chequered flag. However, quite whether he has done enough to lose the ‘crash kid’ label he received from many last season remains to be see.

Plans for Alonso sports car debut in Rolex 24 gathering speed

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Plans for McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to appear in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona are gathering speed as the two-time World Champion angles for a drive at Le Mans in 2018.

Alonso announced on Thursday he had signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with McLaren in F1, but has left the door open to continue his pursuit of the Triple Crown of Motorsport and become just the second driver in history to complete it.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and made his Indianapolis 500 debut this year, retiring with an engine issue, and has made no secret of his ambition to race at Le Mans one day.

With no date clashes, the possibility exists for Alonso to race at Le Mans in 2018, potentially with Toyota in the LMP1 class following McLaren’s split with Honda.

However, Alonso could make his 24-hour race debut five months earlier, with reports emerging on Thursday that he could be in line to appear in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

First reported by Sportscar365, Alonso could be set to race for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s team, United Autosports, at Daytona in January, with no clashes existing with his F1 commitments.

Alonso remained coy when asked about the chances of him appearing at Daytona, but admitted additional preparation for a possible Le Mans appearance would be of interest.

“For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it,” Alonso said, as quoted by Reuters.

“If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”

He added more about his other race program in Thursday’s pre-race Paddock Pass episode, speaking to NBCSN. “To be the best driver in the world you have to win in different series at different times. It’s possible I can compete in different races next year,” he said.

Brown said he would be happy to field Alonso at Daytona, and confirmed their pair had already loosely discussed it.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown said.

“We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time,” he added, referencing the eventual entry to the Indy 500.

United Autosports will field two Ligier JS P217 cars at Daytona in January, and has already confirmed ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta, McLaren junior Lando Norris, American endurance racer Will Owen and British youngster Philip Hanson in seats.

McLaren reserve and 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button had been linked with a drive for United Autosports at Daytona, but Brown confirmed to Sportscar365 this was no longer an option.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us. I don’t know what he’s going to be doing,” Brown said.

“I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”