It is no secret that Kimi Raikkonen will soon be out of favour from Ferrari. The Italian team have admitted that they are eyeing Charles LeClerc as a potential replacement. But where does that leave Kimi? Now, an option has opened up, a very familiar one. McLaren are considering a surprise move for Raikkonen if Fernando Alonso quits the ailing British team.
Alonso is out of contract at the end of the season and looks to be losing his patience. So, McLaren have put together a contingency plan if Alonso cannot be persuaded to stay.
Sources say that Ferrari’s Raikkonen is on their shopping list. The Finn won nine races and was runner-up in the championship for the Woking team between 2002 and 2006.
The 38-year old may be dropped in favour of highly-regarded rookie Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver once again impressed for Sauber at last weekend’s French Grand Prix.
But, Raikkonen will face stiff competition for the remaining seat from McLaren’s British teenage reserve driver Lando Norris.
The 36-year old Alonso is considering his options and may choose to walk away from the sport. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are not interested in signing the Spaniard. A move to another F1 team appear highly unlikely and makes no sense.
The British team would like an experienced, and marketable driver to partner Norris. A bold swoop for Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was also made, but Raikkonen is a Plan B for them.
Wages should not be an issue as McLaren can afford Raikkonen’s £10million-a year wages. A return to his former team might also appeal to the veteran Finnish driver.
Raikkonen has competed in 281 grands prix and clinched the world championship for Ferrari in 2007. Since then, he has not won a race in more than five years. He is fifth in the championship, 48 points behind Vettel.
A McLaren spokesperson said: “We don’t discuss driver matters.”
A possibility is that Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne could be the fall guy. The 26-year old has been out-qualified by Alonso at every race this season.