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Grapevine: Raikkonen's Future is Open

Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson has dropped further hints on Thursday about his driver having a future outside McLaren, after sources told Autosport-Atlas that the Finn does actually have some kind of preliminary option in place with Ferrari for 2007

Although all parties have strongly denied that a firm contract is in place with Ferrari and Raikkonen for 2007, the denials have not actually gone as far as dismissing out of hand that the Finn has the option of moving to the Maranello team after his contract with McLaren runs out at the end of next year.

And Robertson, speaking to The Independent, has added further evidence to the possibilities of a move by admitting that Raikkonen's future is open - especially because of some unhappiness about McLaren's reliability this year, which has dented his World Championship hopes.

"It's just speculation," he said about the stories regarding the switch to Ferrari. "Kimi is not happy with the reliability at McLaren this year. He is happy with the speed of the package at his disposal, but he knows he should be leading the World Championship.

"He has a contract with McLaren until the end of 2006, so we'll wait and see what happens then."

If a preliminary option between Raikkonen and Ferrari does actually exist, then it does not necessarily mean that the two parties will actually agree a formal contract for 2007.

The likelihood is that circumstances will have to fall into place for talks to progress to discussing an actual deal - on Raikkonen's side probably relating to McLaren's form, while Ferrari will need to cover their options in case Michael Schumacher chooses to retire.

And although Schumacher has said he would happily race alongside Raikkonen in 2007, the chances are the Finn would not switch to Ferrari if the seven-times World Champion was still there.

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