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Toyota target Raikkonen for 2010

Tmio Glock and Kimi Raikkonen
Finnish driver Raikkonen (right) could replace current Toyota driver Glock (left)

Kimi Raikkonen is one of the drivers Toyota are targeting for next season as they consider a new line-up for 2010.

"We have always expressed interest in Kimi," said Toyota's motorsport president John Howett on Friday.

Raikkonen says he has not yet decided what to do when he leaves Ferrari in November, though he is being tipped for a return to former team McLaren.

The Finn said he would only consider driving for a competitive team and that he could even walk away from the sport.

Toyota, who made their debut in 2002 but have never won a Formula 1 race, have Italian Jarno Trulli and Germany's Timo Glock driving for them at present but are now hoping to lure more high-profile names such as Raikkonen, who won the drivers' world championship in 2007.

There should be at least one or two [top drivers] seriously interested to come

Toyota F1 president John Howett

Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Howett said Trulli was very unlikely to stay.

He added that the team have allowed an option on Glock, second in Singapore last weekend, to lapse.

"I think he did a fantastic job in Singapore and we are talking to him, but honestly speaking we feel that could have been the result in other races if we could qualify in that position," said Howett.

"I am sorry, it is very a tough life, and our job is to deliver results.

"He [Glock] could still be in the car next year but we wanted to keep our options open. And if we didn't release him by a certain date, we would be fixed for 2010."

Howett also insisted Toyota was an attractive option to the top drivers.

"We know who we would like in the car and we are working hard on it," he said.

"We need to keep all our options open, and to be able to catch somebody if the opportunity comes, we need two seats available.

"We like Timo very much, he did a great job, but still we have a car that is more regularly capable of being on the podium and much closer to the top this year. We are not delivering, and there are things beyond the team and the chassis itself.

He added: "I think there is a lot of uncertainty about a lot of teams to be honest, we seem to be the focus of everybody's attention.

"But to be blunt, there are a lot of teams that on the inside we hear rumours of that are more severe than our condition.

"I think there should be at least one or two [top drivers] seriously interested to come."

BMW-Sauber's Polish driver Robert Kubica, who is widely expected to take Fernando Alonso's place at Renault when the double world champion replaces Raikkonen at Ferrari, could be another target.

"Definitely we would be interested but we're probably fighting with Renault," he said.

"We have to see what happens, hopefully we can manage but if not, there are alternatives. I think we have an even chance."

Speaking to BBC Sport, Howett also dismissed talk that Toyota might not compete in F1 in 2010.

"I'm sure we're going to be here next season," he said. "We're working flat out on the 2010 car."



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see also
Japan GP practice as it happened
02 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari confirm capture of Alonso
30 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen wins exciting Spa duel
30 Aug 09 |  Formula 1
Wary Raikkonen ponders F1 future
09 May 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen pips Hamilton to title
21 Oct 07 |  Formula 1
Kimi Raikkonen
01 Nov 09 |  Drivers & Teams


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