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

Leave a comment

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.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.