Mercedes motorsport chairman Norbert Haug today issued the strongest yet signal that Kimi Raikkonen is on his way to the McLaren team – by saying that the Woking concern could cope with two top-level talents.
Haug refused to confirm Raikkonen was on his way, but word has it that Ferrari are finalising plans to pay the Finn off so he can re-join the British team. The man from Espoo is holding out for his £30m retainer to be paid in full, which Ferrari would have to do if they are to bring Fernando Alonso in for next season.
Haug said that theoretically having Raikkonen in the seat alongside Lewis Hamilton, as Alonso was in 2007 with acrimonious results, would not be an issue.
“Whatever you can do to get the best available drivers, that is what you have to do,” Haug was quoted as saying by Autosport. “It’s a question of money, it’s a question of capability, a question of the amount of talent. Managing two megastars, I don’t think that honestly it [would be] a problem.
The German went on to reflect on the collaboration between Raikkonen – who had to leave the McLaren squad to win the world championship – and the Mercedes marque.
“Reflecting on our co-operation which was five years, I think that it was positive,” explained Haug. “We should have won at least two world championships. I have to say we missed one with two points in 2003 but I think an engine failure was one of the reasons, so without that he could have done it.
“In 2005 he could have done it, in fairness. The engines at that stage were not as good and reliable as they are now. To have Kimi in our team winning two world championships would certainly have been a fair outcome for him. I have a good relationship with him and I’m sure he would say the same.”