Grapevine: Kimi: No Plans to Leave McLaren

McLaren have joined Ferrari in denying a German press report that Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the Italian Formula One team in 2007

Grapevine: Kimi: No Plans to Leave McLaren

Citing a "completely secure source" Germany's Bild newspaper said on Thursday that the Finn, who won last weekend's Turkish Grand Prix for McLaren, had signed an advance contract with Ferrari.

Raikkonen, who has won five races this season, said he had no intention of leaving McLaren.

"As I have said on a number of occasions this season already, when asked about the rumours, I'm completely happy with my team," he 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 added: "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.

"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 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 discussuion with any other driver, including Michael Schumacher about a possible team McLaren Mercedes race seat."

World Champion Schumacher will be joined at Ferrari by Brazilian Felipe Massa next season after Rubens Barrichello departs to BAR. Ferrari have suffered a disappointing season in 2005.

Bild said first talks about a possible move for Raikkonen to Ferrari took place last year. Parties began discussing an advance contract in February and March, and agreed it in May, it said.

The paper added such a move would open the way for Schumacher to move to Mercedes-McLaren when his contract with Ferrari expires in 2006.

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