Motorsport

Published: Friday July 4, 2014 MYT 1:42:02 AM
Updated: Friday July 4, 2014 MYT 1:42:51 AM

Raikkonen likely to retire at end of 2015

Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg June 22, 2014. REUTERS/David W Cerny

Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg June 22, 2014. REUTERS/David W Cerny

SILVERSTONE England (Reuters) - Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 Formula One world champion, said on Thursday he expects to retire when his contract runs out at the end of 2015.

The fan favourite, who won his title with the Italian glamour team in 2007, returned to Maranello this season on a two-year contract.

However, the Finn has struggled to match team mate Fernando Alonso in the eight races so far with only 19 points to the Spaniard's 79 and a best finish of seventh.

"Until my contract is finished and then I will probably stop. That is what I think is going to happen," the 34-year-old said when asked by reporters how long he expected to stay at Ferrari.

Raikkonen took two years out of Formula One to compete without much success in the world rally championship, returning with Lotus in 2012.

"When I feel it's time to finish Formula One, it's time to finish that," he said. "Even doing something else at the same time makes no difference because obviously the decision is about F1 and if it is the right time to stop."

The championship is approaching the halfway point, a stage where speculation about likely driver moves starts to pick up speed.

Raikkonen's results have inevitably focussed attention on the famously taciturn driver while Alonso's future at Ferrari has also been questioned after apparent overtures from his former McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, is out of contract with McLaren at the end of the season - but has said he wants to stay - while Lotus' French driver Romain Grosjean is starting to feature in the rumour mill.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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