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Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 20:21 UK

Raikkonen given Ferrari backing

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen has fallen off the pace since his last win back in April

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has backed out-of-form world champion Kimi Raikkonen amid reports Fernando Alonso is in line to replace him.

Di Montezemolo played down speculation surrounding the Spaniard and insisted Raikkonen and Felipe Massa will stay as Ferrari's drivers for next season.

Raikkonen's current contract runs until the end of 2009.

And when questioned on whether the drivers would remain the same for 2009, di Montezemolo said: "Absolutely, yes."

Reigning Formula One champion Raikkonen has not won a race since April and has been behind Massa on the grid for the last three races in Germany, Hungary and the European event in Valencia last Sunday.

The Finn is third in the world championship standings with 57 points and trails Britain's Lewis Hamilton (first on 70 points) and Massa (second with 64 points).

606: DEBATE

But speaking about Raikkonen's recent form di Montezemolo said: "All this criticism of Raikonnen reminds me of when (Filippo) Inzaghi was at Juventus. If he did not score in three matches, everyone said he was in crisis.

"He is motivated and we must work hard so that he is in a position to make a quick start - especially on the new circuits which I don't like and are doing harm to Formula One.

"You can't overtake and nine times out of 10 whoever takes pole position wins.

Raikkonen's lack of form had prompted rumours that Alonso would replace him at Ferrari.

But di Montezemolo said he had not been impressed with Alonso's showing in the European Grand Prix, adding: "I was disappointed to see a champion like him not make the top 10 in Valencia".


see also
Raikkonen defiant over poor form
28 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari admit to engine concerns
26 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Massa closes on Hamilton with win
24 Aug 08 |  Formula One
As it happened - European Grand Prix
24 Aug 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen pips Hamilton to title
21 Oct 07 |  Formula One


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