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McLaren drivers swerve musical chairs debate

Written by: Staff

MELBOURNE, Mar 30 (Reuters) McLaren team mates Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya dodged questions about where they would be driving next season, saying they were focused only on this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren's decision to sign world champion Fernando Alonso away from Renault next season has intensified speculation about where the two drivers will be next year.

Raikkonen has been linked with a possible move to Ferrari but the flying Finn was giving nothing away at a news conference in Melbourne today.

''I don't know, a lot of things can happen in the next few years,'' a tight-lipped Raikkonen said.

Montoya, whose next drive will depend largely on whether Raikkonen stays or goes, was also playing his cards close to his chest.

''I'm just concentrating on this year,'' he said.

''When I was in America and I was moving to Formula One I signed the deal eight months before but I was still pushing as hard as I could for the team and it's the same here.

''I think we have a good chance of winning the championship this year and I need to try to score points every race and have a chance of winning.'' Raikkonen, runner-up to Alonso in the drivers' championship last season, said he was trying to ignore the constant speculation.

''It doesn't make any difference to me at all,'' he said.

''I don't care who my team mate is. The team makes the decision and all I do is drive the car.'' Montoya won three races last year to finish fourth in the championship but was plagued by mechanical problems.

But the Colombian is confident the car will be more reliable this season after finishing the first two races and being fitted with a new engine for Albert Park.

''I think we're going to be really quick, the car really has the potential and I feel a lot more comfortable last year and let's hope it carries on to the end of the year,'' he said.

''I think we have a big handicap because we had trouble with the engine but now it's running well so it's looking good.'' REUTERS PM KP1244

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