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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Raikkonen says he’s not quitting

World champion Kimi Raikkonen says he has no plans to quit Ferrari early, saying he intends to see out his current contract.

Citing waning interest in the face of recent struggles which have seen him drop to third on the drivers championship table, the latest round of silly season rumors have the Finn quitting the Scuderia at the end of the current campaign.

Sky Sports reports Raikkonen told Spanish newspaper El Mundo, however, he has no intention of leaving Ferrari before his current contract runs out after the 2009 season.

After that is anyone’s guess.

“I'm not in a hurry to decide what I am going to do in the future,” Raikkonen reportedly told the Spanish daily. “I have a year left on my contract that I want to fulfil. Later, in 2010, I do not know if I will be in F1. We will see.”

“It is not an easy decision,” he continued. “I have to evaluate many things, and I am not going to give any explanation to anybody. I will make my decision when I am ready. Ferrari are not pushing me on this.”

Slick Vettel quick again

For the second straight day, Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel topped the charts at Jerez.

Vettel, set to make the leap to sister squad Red Bull in 2009, set a time of 1:18.843 in the afternoon as STR tested a 2009-spec, slick-shod car.

“I spent the whole time on the 2009 spec slick tyres and the biggest difference you notice is in the slow corners, where you feel more mechanical grip,” he said. “However, the low downforce configuration in line with next year’s rules means you have a lack of aero which you feel on the high speed sections, but it is balanced out by more grip from the tyres. We tried two types of tyre and it was an interesting experiment, from which we got loads of data to study.”

McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa was second, and Kimi Rakkonen third in the Ferrari.

Reflecting the shift in priorities in the second half of the season, many teams ran some combination of 2009 aero packages and slick rubber.

One exception was Toyota, which focused on setup for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“After yesterday’s preparations for 2009, today we went back to this year’s work. Our focus for the day was the Hungarian Grand Prix, looking at set–up this morning because the afternoons here are too windy and too hot for that,” Trulli said.

And Force India took the opportunity to test a seamless-shift gearbox.

The four day test wraps up Friday.

  1. Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:18.843
  2. De la Rosa, McLaren, 1:19.061
  3. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:19.446
  4. Rosberg, Williams, 1:19.861
  5. Webber, Red Bull, 1:20.021
  6. Wurz, Honda, 1:20.416
  7. Trulli, Toyota, 1:20.534
  8. Liuzzi, Force India, 1:20.577
  9. Piquet, Renault, 1:20.827
  10. Klien, BMW, 1:20.850
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