Only days after speculation that Michael Schumacher could be angling for a move to McLaren when he contract with Ferrari runs out - a rumour the seven time World Champion has strenuously denied - reports have emerged saying that Ferrari are looking to sign Kimi Raikkonen for the 2007 season.

The German newspaper Bild - the publication which started the Schumacher to McLaren story - cited a 'secure source' saying that Raikkonen has signed an advance contract to race for the Scuderia from the end of next season, although the reports have been denied by all concerned.

"As I have said on a number of occasions this season already, when asked about the rumours, I'm completely happy with my team," Raikkonen said in a statement. "I don't think there is any doubt that we have the fastest package on winning races, I'm still challenging for the world championship, the team is fantastic and I have a great relationship with everybody here so why would I want to consider changing? Surely I am in a position that most drivers in Formula One want to be in?"

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis also denied the speculation, both that Raikkonen could be moving to Ferrari or that McLaren was in discussions with anyone - Schumacher included - about joining the Mercedes powered team.

"Our team is locked in an intense battle for the 2005 Formula One drivers and constructors world championship and everybody within the organisation, including our drivers, are and will continue to be 100 percent focused on this," he told Reuters. "Loyalty from both the team and its drivers have always been a given in our environment. This has been clearly demonstrated by Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard who were with the team for nine years.

"We anticipate long-term relationships with both Kimi, who is in his fourth season with us, and Juan Pablo [Montoya]. Consequently the team is not in discussion with any other driver, including Michael Schumacher, about a possible team McLaren Mercedes race seat."

Ferrari also moved to deny the rumours, with a spokesman saying it was too early to talk about driver line-ups for 2007.

As things stand, the Scuderia have no drivers signed to race seats for 2007, with Michael Schumacher's contract coming to an end at the end of next season and new signing Felipe Massa only signed on a one year contract.

 

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