In the last couple of weeks rumours and speculation about 2012 drive line-ups have been rife in the Formula 1 paddock and media.
It’s at this final stage of the year that the silly season is usually in full swing, only it has become more ridiculous than anything else. The three big teams and Mercedes will remain unchanged for 2012 however for the majority of the grid it’s a pretty big guessing game at this stage.
According to many in the F1 paddock the Williams/Raikkonen deal is all but off and the Grove based team is either to announce Rookie Valteri Bottas or Adrian Sutil to partner up with Pastor Maldonando next season. Yet this could not be the picture at all. The future of Rubens Barrichello is literally hanging on by the tiniest of threads, or so it seems. The Brazilian remains adamant that he will be in F1 for his 20th year. What could be making him so ultra confident? Maldonado’s disappointing performances and the investigation into PDVSA a.k.a the sponsor he brought to Williams does. This could see Bottas remain as third driver to a Barrichello/Sutil partnership. Where then does that leave Raikkonen if not at Williams as has been suggested in the last few weeks?
Lotus Renault has recently confirmed that Robert Kubica will not be able to start the season in Australia and from all reports they remain pretty much in the dark as to when the Pole will be able to return. There is also rumour that Kubica has signed a ‘pre-agreement’ with Ferrari for 2013. Not able to get a concrete answer out of Kubica’s manager has left Renault teamboss Eric Boullier with a few ruffled feathers. He is however spoilt for choice should he choose to replace Kubica. Everyone from Bruno Senna to Romain Grosjean to Kimi Raikkonen is on the shopping list.
Ah, Kimi Raikkonen.
At this very moment it’s 3:30 am on Tuesday morning and several forums have been buzzing that an announcement of Kimi Raikkonen’s return to the sport, with Renault, is imminent. Several reputable F1 journo’s, and one very credible Finnish columnist, have also tweeted that an announcement is to be made shortly.
You have to know what it takes to be a fan of Kimi Raikkonen. He won’t be found on Twitter or Facebook and rarely grants interviews. However, when he does talk he gives sincere answers. Yes, it takes some real grit to be a Raikkonen fan and determination to be drawn into the rumours too much. It’s mostly – let’s wait and see what happens.
South Africa runs parallel with European time thus making it the middle of the night for where ever the announcement is supposed to come from. Yet, the forums, Facebook and Twitter are all filled with sleepless Kimi Raikkonen fans throughout the world waiting for some kind of an announcement. The same fans that have been nervous and expectant for the last few weeks are now sleeplessly hitting the refresh button every five minutes in the hope that it will finally reveal the answer to the question that has surrounded the Finn since he left the sport…Will he or won’t he?
Signing off…a sleepless Raikkonen fan.
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