Leave Kimi alone, he’s still focused on F1

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Kimi Raikkonen has rejected claims suggesting that he may no longer be interested in Formula 1, affirming his focus on returning to winning ways with Ferrari in 2014.

The Finn famously walked away from Ferrari and the sport at the end of 2009 in order to pursue other ventures, including rallying and a one-off NASCAR appearance. When he returned in 2012 with Lotus, he appeared to have his old spark back, but after being forced out of Enstone due to a lack of payment, he returned to Ferrari for this season.

However, it has not gone entirely to plan. Raikkonen currently sits 12th in the drivers’ standings with just 17 points, and is some 44 points behind teammate Fernando Alonso. Nevertheless, he remains as determined as ever.

“I have more experience compared to when I won the title and I am a few years older but I don’t feel [different], and I still have a great desire to race,” Raikkonen explained.

“As for rallying? Certainly I would like to do more of it but for now I’m completely focused on Formula 1.”

In terms of the championship, though, Raikkonen has written off his hopes of a second title this year, believing that Mercedes will continue to dominate as it has done so far this year.

“I think it is very difficult for anyone to battle with the Mercedes drivers but you never know,” he said. “I would like it to be us even if that will be hard, especially for me personally, given the position in the championship.

“But I have always been used to fighting and together with the team, which is still hard at work on the development of the F14 T, I hope to be able to get some good results.

“As I’ve said, we are doing an incredible amount of work and I think we will sort out our problems, but you need time. If we manage it before the end of the season the results will come because my motivation is intact.”

Williams to wait until new year before making 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams will wait until the new year before making an announcement regarding its Formula 1 driver line-up for the 2018 season.

Williams holds the final vacant seat in F1 for next year, with Felipe Massa retiring at the last race of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

The Brazilian’s departure has opened up a seat alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, which looked poised to be taken by Robert Kubica, over seven years after he last raced in F1 before injuries sustained in a rally accident appeared to cut his career short.

Doubts emerged about Kubica’s comeback following a test with Williams in its 2017-spec car in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, leading to Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin becoming the favorite.

Besides Kubica and Sirotkin, ditched Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also an option, but Williams has now confirmed it will make no decision on its line-up until the new year.

Sirotkin first entered the frame in F1 in 2013 when he became a development driver at Sauber, with Russian backers SMP Racing pushing to get him a race seat for the following year.

Sirotkin missed out on a full-time role at the team, leading him to focus on racing in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2014 before spending two years in GP2, where he finished third in the standings in both seasons.

Renault struck an agreement to sign Sirotkin in a junior role in 2016, leading to a number of practice run-outs over the last two seasons, but he was passed over for a 2018 race seat when it signed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Williams emerged as an option for Sirotkin following a successful maiden test with the team in Abu Dhabi alongside Kubica, with talks now set to continue over the holiday period.

Sirotkin has not taken on a full-time race program this year, making just a single competitive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Sirotkin has also been involved in the development of the team’s BR Engineering-designed LMP1 car for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and is likely to secure a seat should he miss out on the role at Williams.