“I’m a big fan of Raikkonen” – Whitmarsh

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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admits he’s a big fan of Kimi Raikkonen but hasn’t spoken to him so far this year about returning to McLaren.

Asked if he had considered bringing his former driver back Whitmarsh told the official F1 site: “Yes, we have.”

“Kimi has always been great and I am a big fan of him. There is a lot of speculation out there at the moment, so let’s see what happens.”

Whitmarsh believes Raikkonen is keen to leave Lotus but thinks his options are running out: “Obviously Kimi is determined to go somewhere else and I sense that he will not succeed in that goal, so let’s see how he gets on there.”

“Last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn’t happen,” Whitmarsh added. “This year we’ve had no talks – yet.”

Raikkonen drove for McLaren between 2002 and 2006, winning nine races and finishing runner-up in the 2003 and 2005 drivers’ championships.

Over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend Jenson Button revealed McLaren were yet to take up an option on his services for 2014. Raikkonen has been linked to Ferrari and Red Bull, but the latter seem increasingly likely to take Daniel Ricciardo next year, as Mark Webber indicated at Spa.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”