Renault F1 Eyes Raikkonen, Sutil for 2011

Mark Webber signed a one-year extension with Red Bull Racing for the 2011 season of Formula One, but that isn't to mean Kimi Raikkonen has stepped out of the rumor mill for the season to come. According to some recent reports, it seems the Finn is eyed by Renault for a return to Formula One from as early as the upcoming campaign.

Italy's Autosprint reported earlier this week that Renault's owner Gerard Lopez – who controls the team's main backer Genii Capital – would fancy a Robert Kubica-Kimi Raikkonen lineup for the upcoming season. So far, neither of those two drivers have signed anything with the Enstone based organization, as both have ongoing contracts that end this season.

While Kubica's situation is obviously more controllable by Renault F1 – the Pole publicly admitted his desire to extend his stay at Enstone, as all the big teams have already secured their lineups for 2011 – Raikkonen's still depends on his success in the WRC.

Although some might say that the Finnish driver has had moderate success in his WRC career so far, former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi begged to differ.

Imagine what it means for a driver to start anew in a discipline the exact opposite of what he has always done. For that, for his courage to challenge himself in such a way, I admire him,” said Alesi, who has recently competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours race for Ferrari last weekend.

Past experiences have taught us – and have probably warned Renault – that Raikkonen's financial claims for a new F1 contract might be higher than what Genii Capital are willing to give up. In case that should happen, the team seems to have already considered a second option, eyeing Force India Mercedes' Adrian Sutil.

The German's deal with the Indian team runs out at the end of 2010, and he recently admitted he had some thoughts about changing his team prior to this year's campaign.
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