An angry Kimi Raikkonen has hit out at Renault, revealing his 'disappointment' at the manner in which he contends the Enstone-based outfit has exploited his name for publicity purposes in recent weeks, and bluntly asserting that he 'never seriously considered' racing for the former F1 World Champions in 2011.
The motorsport media has been abuzz recently with rumours that the 2007 title-winner could be on the verge of rejoining the grand prix grid next season with Renault, with team principal Eric Boullier conceding only this week that it was 'flattering' for the Oxfordshire-based concern to have elicited interest from a driver of Raikkonen's calibre [see separate story – click here
Both Boullier and team owner Gérard Lopez have repeatedly hinted that – subject to ascertaining the real reason behind his motivation to return – the Finn is a strong candidate to replace Vitaly Petrov alongside Robert Kubica next year, but personally speaking out for the first time since all the speculation has been swirling, the famously taciturn Raikkonen has admonished Renault for very publicly perpetuating something that as far as he was concerned was never a viable option.
“I am very disappointed with the way they have used my name for their marketing,” the 18-time grand prix-winner turned Citroën Junior Team World Rally Championship star told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat
, explaining that his management contacted Renault once 'weeks ago and that is all'. “I have never seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you 100 per cent that I will not be driving for them next year.”