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Kimi Raikkonen addresses departure from Ferrari: ‘It’s not my decision’

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SINGAPORE — Kimi Raikkonen was hardly in the mood to talk about why he’s leaving Ferrari next season.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, he reverted to his typically monosyllabic and nonchalant style when asked about the reasons for his departure. It was announced this week that Ferrari will not be renewing the Finnish driver’s contract in 2019.

“This is what happened. It’s not up to me and it’s not my decision,” Raikkonen said on Thursday. “This is the outcome. At least we have an outcome.”

His seat is going to Charles Leclerc. The 20-year-old from Monaco is joining from Sauber, while Raikkonen is heading to Sauber on a two-year deal.

Raikkonen was asked if he was happy to join a lesser team like Sauber, where he started his F1 career in 2001. He replied bluntly, while staring ahead with his piercing gaze.

“Why not?” Raikkonen asked the news conference interviewer. “Because I want to go. Why do you make it so complicated?”

Raikkonen won F1 in 2007 driving for Ferrari, and has 20 wins among his 100 career podiums.

Aside from driving skills, he has become a huge hit with fans for his sense of detachment and disinterest when talking about himself. He even seemed to be reveling in his role this time, veering into sarcasm as he fielded a question regarding his age.

Raikkonen will be 39 when he takes the grid for Sauber next year, making him comfortably the oldest driver on the grid.

Asked if he is still passionate about racing, despite his advancing years, he replied stone-faced: “No, I’m not, actually.”

Raikkonen was informed of Ferrari’s decision a little less than two weeks ago, during the team’s home race at the Italian GP in Monza.

After finding out, he quickly turned to some old friends at Sauber and contract discussions proved straightforward.

“I obviously know people from the past and it started after that,” he said, adding that this will likely be his last contract. “There’s a big chance for sure.”

Raikkonen lies third in the ongoing series.

“I will stop (racing) when I feel it is right for me.”

Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel has enjoyed a trusting relationship with Raikkonen, and will miss him.

“The most important thing as teammates is the respect you have for each other,” said Vettel, a four-time F1 champion. “Obviously, it’s a great chance for Charles, but sad to know Kimi’s not there anymore, because we get along very well even though we’re different.”

IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

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