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.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.