Spotlight on Raikonnen, Ferrari at Spa

  • AFP, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 23, 2013 02:11 IST

Formula One returns this weekend after its now traditional mid-season European summer break with speculation swirling around Ferrari as the circus heads to the Belgian Grand Prix.

A month on from Lewis Hamilton's victory in Hungary, the Italian team is the focus of intense attention both on and off the circuit as they prepare for action at the majestic Spa-Ardennes circuit in the Ardennes. Two-time champion Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa are expected to mount a second-half challenge to defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull.

And the team is fending off suggestions that they are poised to re-sign Kimi Raikkonen, currently with Lotus, as the sport's 'silly season' for driver transfer speculation also intensifies.

Team chief Stefano Domenicali, dogged by talk of crisis and upheaval throughout his summer holidays, said: "There is much talk outside the company regarding the future, but we must concentrate only on the present, on the fight for the championship.

"The words of our president before the summer break must serve as a stimulus, because they were meant as the words of a good family father, who, first and foremost really roots for our team. Keep those words in mind and let's all pull together, starting in Spa."

As Ferrari regroup, Lotus are set to make serious overtures in their bid to keep Raikkonen, who left Ferrari in 2008 to test himself in the world rally championship before returning to F1 with Lotus in 2012. According to Raikkonen's agent Steve Robertson Lotus remain favourites to retain him next year.

"Lotus hold the key to his future," said Robertson. "If the team can provide him with the answers he is seeking, which will ensure he has a car that can fight for race wins and the championship, then he will stay."

 

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