Formula 1 News: Räikkönen in line for F1 return?

By Gareth Llewellyn
Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen has been linked with a move to Renault (Photo: Mark McArdle)

The Sport Review rounds up all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1.

Williams appear to be the latest team to confirm their 2011 driver line-up with Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenburg both retained for next year. Mercedes reserve driver Nick Heidfeld has already conceded that the top 10 race seats for 2011 are already taken, and could move into a Mercedes DTM seat alongside his duties in F1.

Organisers of the Korean GP expect the race to go ahead and have played down political tensions as a reason for the race being called off. Many teams have yet to book flights and hotels to South Korea amid growing political concerns with North Korea. The circuit and facilities at Yeongam are expected to be completed in the summer.

Pedro de la Rosa hinted at last week’s Canadian Grand Prix that he may not race for Sauber beyond 2010. After a disappointing season, de la Rosa told the BBC’s The F1 Forum that “if anyone wants me, I am available. I am usable, even if I have to go back testing or as a reserve driver.”

Pirelli have an offer on the table to become F1’s tyre supplier from 2011, and it is believed they have the backing of many big names in the sport, but McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh would favour rival bidder Michelin.

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has confirmed that he is seeking a drive for 2011. The 39-year-old had been lined up as a driver for Stefan F1 for 2010, as the Serbian outfit attempted to replace the disastrous USF1 team, but the team were not awarded a place on the grid. Villeneuve concedes that he will not race for a top team, but is determined to return. Anyone remember his last comeback?

Kimi Räikkönen could be in line for a return to F1 after all as recent speculation hints at the former world champion replacing Vitaly Petrov at Renault. Unable to secure a drive with McLaren or Red Bull for 2010, Räikkönen is currently driving in a Red Bull sponsored Citroën Junior Team in the World Rally Championship. Petrov is believed to need 25 per-cent of team mate Robert Kubica’s points to retain his seat for 2011, but is currently languishing on 8.2 per cent.

Toro Rosso’s Sébastien Buemi looks even more likely to drive for Red Bull from 2012 as speculation increases over a possible switch to the senior Red Bull team. Buemi is seen as a long-term replacement for Mark Webber, with the Aussie only agreeing a one-year extension despite recently leading the drivers’ championship.

And finally, Bernie Ecclestone showed off trials of F1 coverage in High Definition and 3D following the Canadian Grand Prix last week. Fans have demanded HD F1 coverage for some time now, and it seems it could be ready for the start of the 2012 season after trials last weekend. 3D however, is still some way off. A further announcement is expected sometime this year.

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