Reports that Kimi Raikkonen is also eyeing the Renault team for next season appear accurate, with Eric Boullier confirming contact with the 2007 world champion. Asked about the former McLaren and Ferrari race winner on Friday, Renault chief Boullier answered: “What about him? I have just explained how we want to go about our driver lineup for next season.”
Boullier had told F1.com that if Robert Kubica cannot return from injury in 2012, Romain Grosjean is at the top of the list to join Bruno Senna or Vitaly Petrov.
The Frenchman said “the driver market is closed anyway for 2012 so our priority is not to have a big name in the car but to have a fast car”.
But Boullier also acknowledged that a “big name” driver would “help to make the car better”, hence the Raikkonen question.
“Yes, there has been contact (with Raikkonen),” he told the interviewer. “Look at this call,” added Boullier, holding up his mobile phone. “This was from his manager.”
It was previously believed that Vitaly Petrov was definitely locked in for one 2012 seat, having signed a contract, but then came the Russian’s astonishing outburst during an interview and the admission he might be ousted.
“Some steps on the matter have already been taken,” admitted his manager Oksana Kossatchenko to RIA-Novosti news agency.
“The team’s management decided to limit Vitaly Petrov’s communication with the media,” she revealed.