JULY 12, 2010

Does Raikkonen have a Mercedes future?

Two things to emerge over the British GP weekend could be inter-linked. The first was triple world champion Jackie Stewart saying he thinks that Michael Schumacher will retire again at the end of the year. And the second was Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug confirming that he recently paid a visit to Kimi Raikkonen.

Stewart, talking to a German newspaper, said: "The first question should be: will Michael do another year? I believe he will stop after the season."

The story about Haug's visit to Raikkonen, with whom he enjoyed a working relationship when Kimi drove for McLaren-Mercedes between 2002-6, was first printed by a Finnish newspaper but was confirmed to a TV station by Haug over the British GP weekend.

"I have been in contact with Kimi as a friend," Haug claimed. "Kimi will make a decision for himself but I do hope he comes back because it would be a good thing for F1."

Raikkonen was dropped by Ferrari in favour of Fernando Alonso and now drives for the Citroen Junior Team in the World Rally Championship. When he left F1 he said he had an open mind about a return but would only drive for a top line team.

Schumacher's performance level could well be raising concerns at Mercedes. While team mate Nico Rosberg scored his third podium of the season at Silverstone, Schumacher finished ninth after making a mistake on his 'out' lap following his pit stop and was a few tenths shy of his team mate's pace all weekend.. After 10 of the season's 19 races, Rosberg has scored 90 points and Schumacher, 36.

"After my pit stop I pushed hard to get in front of Barrichello but I made a mistake in a slow corner, went wide into the dust and that cost me places, not only to Rubens but also to Kobayashi," the seven times champion admitted.

Schumacher does not have the appearance of a man who wants to stop again, but admitted that he needs to raise his game.

"I hope I can improve my game for Hockenheim," he said. "I haven't yet got in a result that I am looking for but I'm patient, I know how things can turn around and I'ms still very much enjoying everything I am doing, so let's just take time and these things will come. I'm willing to try and up my game and I'm confident still."