Aug.27 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has hit back at claims his current performance trough is caused by waning motivation.
At Valencia, the reigning world champion and Finn was overtaken in the points standings by his teammate Felipe Massa, as rumours gain momentum that retirement looms around the corner.The latest reports, in the Spanish newspaper Diario AS, claim that former double world champion Fernando Alonso is more than ready to step into the Ferrari cockpit next year."If somebody has doubts concerning my motivation, let them doubt," Raikkonen, 28, said on Wednesday."One thing I can say is that right now I am more motivated than ever."He insists his slump, particularly with getting the F2008 to perform over a single lap, has been exaggerated."Obviously there has been a lot of talk about my qualifying problems."But in Hungary I just went wide on my last lap of Q3. Without that we would easily have been third."Amid the open criticism of the Italian media, it is no surprise that Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali strongly backed the team's highest paid driver.Less predictable has been the backing of his former team, with separate comments of defence coming from McLaren chiefs Martin Whitmarsh, as well as Ron Dennis."Kimi is a fierce competitor, a highly talented racing driver and I wouldn't levy any criticism at him at all," Dennis said.