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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 21:42 GMT 22:42 UK
Raikkonen retains hopes of title
Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen says it was right not to pit at the Nurburgring
McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen says he has not lost hope of winning the world championship title despite falling 32 points behind rival Fernando Alonso.

Raikkonen lost victory in the European Grand Prix to the Renault driver when he crashed on the final lap.

"There are many races to go; we will just try to win the next races and see where we end up," he told BBC Sport.

Raikkonen said he had no regrets about McLaren's decision not to change the damaged tyre that caused his exit.

The tyre sent heavy vibrations through the McLaren's suspension for much of the second half of the race, which eventually led to it failing.

Raikkonen said: "There was no point stopping. We wanted to try to win the race and if the suspension hadn't given up I think we could have.

We needed to score more points than Alonso so we didn't see any reason to try to come third
Kimi Raikkonen
"It is disappointing but what can you do? We gave our best. You would think it would last one lap more because it had lasted so long, but this time it didn't."

He said McLaren's decision was influenced by the lack of clarity in the rules govering tyres.

These demand that drivers use only one set of tyres for qualifying and the whole race, and say a "punctured or damaged tyre" may only be changed for "clear and genuine safety reasons".

But it is governing body the FIA that decides whether a team was justified in changing a tyre - and only after the race.

If they decide that the driver who has changed a tyre could have continued, the FIA can disqualify him.

"You don't know how bad the tyre needs to be before you are allowed to change it," Raikkonen said.

If you are in any doubt about your car, you should always call it in
Max Mosley
FIA president
"As well, even if we had changed it maybe they would have said it is not bad enough so we penalise you.

"Even then we would have lost the first place if we would have come in so we took the gamble and unfortuntately it didn't pay off.

"But we needed to score more points than Alonso so we didn't see any reason to try to come third and get six points because that is not our aim."

FIA president Max Mosley wrote to F1's teams and tyre manufacturers this week asking them to put safety first.

"It should not be forgotten that a mechanical failure at high speed may involve a degree of risk to the spectating public," Mosley wrote.

"If you are in any doubt about your car, you should always call it in. If you are still in doubt after checking the car in the pits, you should retire it from the race.

"We do not want to feed the localised and ill-considered hysteria about tyres, nor is this letter in any way a criticism of McLaren Mercedes (most of us would probably have done the same in their place last weekend).

"However... we feel this is the right moment to ask everyone to remember their responsibilities.

"The rules of Formula One have always left it to each team to judge how far to go in balancing performance against mechanical integrity.

"Equally, when a car's mechnical integrity has, or may have, been compromised by a race incident, it is for the team to decide whether to continue, make a pit stop or retire.

"The race director does of course have the option of a black and orange flag (to order a car to pit) but would use this only in an extreme situation.

"The team is always better placed to assess the risks than anyone in race control."


SEE ALSO
Alonso grabs win from Raikkonen
29 May 05 |  Formula One
Gamble was worth taking - McLaren
29 May 05 |  Formula One
Alonso accepts title is in sight
29 May 05 |  Formula One


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