Kimi Raikkonen to take sabbatical in 2010 as McLaren talks end

2010 F1 season

Kimi Raikkonen is running out of options for 2010

Kimi Raikkonen is running out of options for 2010

Kimi Raikkonen will not drive for McLaren in 2010.

Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat negotiations between the two parties had ended. An undisclosed source confirmed the story.

There are still many places available for 2010 but few of them in teams that are likely to be competitive enough to attract the 2007 champion.

His best bet for a drive could be the new Mercedes Grand Prix team – if it is indeed not looking for two German drivers next year.

And there’s no room at championship runners-up Red Bull unless contracts are broken.

With Raikkonen no longer in line for a McLaren drive it adds more credence to the rumours that Jenson Button is about to be announced as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate.

Is this the end of the road for Raikkonen in F1? Might he take a seat with a lesser team to guarantee he’ll stay in the sport? Or will he just go rallying instead?

Update: According to Autosport Raikkonen will take a sabbatical in 2010. But will he return in 2011? We’re still waiting for Mika Hakkinen to return from his 2002 ‘sabbatical’…

Read more: 2010 F1 drivers and teams

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180 comments on Kimi Raikkonen to take sabbatical in 2010 as McLaren talks end

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  1. Well thats pretty much it then, looks like its almost certain that Button will be at McLaren next year, i hope Kimi gets a drive with Mercedes as it will be very sad to see him go, the sport will be different without him.

    • sato113 said on 18th November 2009, 3:08

      how typical of the iceman, to leave in such a chilled, low-key fashion. he has so many fans worldwide (notice all the Finnish flags at GPs? they’re certainly not for Kovalienen!)

    • If Merc/Brawn are not willing to pay the 6M to Button, how can one expect them to pay the 15M+ to Kimi?

      • Ronman said on 18th November 2009, 10:58

        UKK, i guess then Raikkonen will go there just for the fun of it…
        I’d be interested to see what a Kimi Ross combination turns out to… a polar bear cooperating with an Iceman… it can only lead to good things i think…in a cold kind of way

        • Nitpicker said on 18th November 2009, 13:08

          i guess then Raikkonen will go there just for the fun of it

          Unlikely since Kimi has said he wants a race-winning car next year.

      • LewisC said on 18th November 2009, 12:27

        Ferrari pay Kimi $17m if he doesn’t drive in F1, $10m if he does.
        So if he takes Button’s $3m from Merc he still gets $13m next year, which buys a fair amount of Krug and ice-cream.

    • Raksha said on 10th February 2010, 20:59

      win lose or draw i have always been a ferrari fan. it is sad 4 me that i will only b able 2 support one of their drivers, felipe massa. i will miss kimi racing. it takes away some of the lustre of formula one 4 me. atleast shumi is back even if he is not in a ferrari.

  2. Ned Flanders said on 17th November 2009, 22:41

    Hmmm… it’s a shame. It seems crazy to say it considering the countless boring press conferences he has been in, but Raikkonen is one of thee true characters of F1. Anyone who disagrees, watch the video of him falling off the boat or the infamous ITV interview at Interlagos 06.

    • S Hughes said on 17th November 2009, 22:46

      He may be to you, but not to everyone. I don’t mind him, but he is so boring and uncharismatic. Falling off a boat does not an interesting man make.

      It’s still a shame he’s not in F1 but I blame him alone for being too greedy, unnecessarily so considering his Ferrari payoff. His only option is Mercedes if they want him.

    • I like Kimi but to be honest I don’t care at all about the press conferences he gives. I watch F1 for racing and he is one of the best. If he goes I will be very upset. I still won’t give up hope for Mclaren or Mercedes or even Red bull.

      • Dakshin said on 18th November 2009, 1:41

        Agree completely. I couldn’t care less about his verbal proficiency, and actually some of his interviews are quite funny. As a racing fan, his driving skills are what matter to me and they will certainly be missed.

      • couldn’t agree more… a true F1 fan watches the race and the the interviews!

    • Terry Fabulous said on 18th November 2009, 2:34

      Hi Ned
      How does falling off a boat drunk and being offensive on tele make you a character?

      What he said to Brundle wasn’t funny, it was just rude, like listening to someone swear at an inappropriate time. Brundle’s response is actually the clever bit which reveals who the character is.

      • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 3:41

        I agree. It says a lot about a person who admires rudeness and defines it as being “characterful”.

        • I should have expected you to pop up with a self-righteous comment. Perhaps you would prefer an entire grid of ‘Lewis’.

          • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 10:00

            I should have expected you to pop up with a counter comment to my comment.

            One original Lewis is enough for me thanks.

      • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 3:44

        I prefer Sutil’s dry, but non-offensive type of humour – clever but hilarious (see his spat with Trulli recently).

      • english is not his first language, so it can’t be easy to do interviews

        • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 9:58

          Hardly any of the F1 drivers have English as their first language, but they don’t all sound as monotonous and disengaged as Kimi.

          I don’t dislike the guy, just being honest about what he is like.

          • Patrickl said on 18th November 2009, 12:23

            He’s not “like that” though. He just acts like that in most mandatory interviews.

            When people ask him dumb repetive questions, he replies in kind.

            I’ve seen him in a more informal interview on Dutch TV and he was open and funny.

          • lewisisoverated said on 19th November 2009, 2:44

            yes because you know him so well!!! do you have any idea about what type of background he is from and what his personality is at all?? people think lewis is amazing cos his dad worked three jobs or something.. kimi’s dad worked as a road builder and then a taxi driver at night.. kimi worked as a mechanic after 16 till he finally found sponsorship.. this all from apparently they grew up in a house that had no indoor toilet. imagine a helsinki winter and you need a pee in the middle of the night! that guy is just amazing..

      • Maciek said on 18th November 2009, 8:55

        Gotta agree with the negative comments – none of those reactions or moments are offensive, but none of them are particularly interesting either – but he was being a total ass with the german reporter.

    • Too greedy basically. With people like Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg & Kubica in the sport, he has outpriced himself.

      If he had beaten Massa on the track, maybe he could claim a huge salary, but the reality is he couldn’t, so as a team boss, why would you want to pay so much?

  3. John H said on 17th November 2009, 22:45

    I love Kimi, but his apparent non-flexibility with wage demands makes me think he doesn’t care too much about racing in F1 anymore.

    He was earning more than twice as much as the next closest on the grid. That’s also why he won’t be at Mercedes seen as they are “tightening their belts.”

    Sad to see him go, but I bet he’ll be back at some point. Roll on the WRC.

  4. RedBullRacer said on 17th November 2009, 22:47

    I’m sad. Don’t like to think of F1 without Kimi, he’s a much better fit for McLaren than Button will ever be.

    • S Hughes said on 17th November 2009, 22:48

      I must say, if I had to choose between Button or Kimi “retiring”, it would be Button every time.

      • Hakki said on 18th November 2009, 4:08

        I agree. I am not British so I don’t car where Button will go, but as a F1 fan, It is sad to see Kimi leave..
        Hakkinen retired afte one year his break. Will kimi go the same way?

      • Because he’s so ‘polite’ and willing to be a de facto number 2 to ‘Lewis’.

  5. Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 17th November 2009, 22:48

    Kimi must be the best laziest driver of all time. If he is in the mood and has a car with a small chance of winning he is unbeatable. If only he had been switched on the whole time and delivered he could have been the greatest. Certainly should have been champion in 03 and 05.
    How stupid are Mclaren I would choose Kimi over Button everytime.

  6. Gutted. All I can say really.

    Perhaps he’s being a little greedy with the money he is asking for, but Raikkonen surely should be worth so of the money he is asking for.

  7. Thoroughly disappointed.

    As I only got to see him for half this season, I was looking forward to seeing him race next season. For those who don’t think he has a character, in a world that is mostly extroverted, he’ll seem like this. I bet he feels the exact opposite of what people think of him, towards everyone else.

    I doubt he’ll be in any team next year.


  8. rampante said on 17th November 2009, 23:01

    I posted in the forum that Button has signed for Mclaren and Kimi was leaving F1 this morning. This is the best F1 site I have seen but this is now old news. F1 is losing one of its best drivers which is not good but if his heart is not in it he should leave. Drivers without motivation get injured or die in the sport. He has 14 million Euros from Ferrari to enjoy next year.
    Who wants to go chasing reindeers with a drunken Finn on a snow mobile next year? Could be fun.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th November 2009, 23:27

      I posted in the forum that Button has signed for Mclaren and Kimi was leaving F1 this morning.

      I’d be interested to know where you found these out.

      The Guardian reported this morning that Button is going to McLaren. I respect the Guardian’s F1 coverage, I often read it, and I suspect they may well be right. But I’m not going to run the story until I’m happy it’s true. Last year they ran a similar story saying Alonso was going to Honda and that didn’t happen. I’m not saying they’re untrustworthy or misleading or anything like that, but I’m not running it until I’m satisfied it’s accurate.

      • rampante said on 17th November 2009, 23:36

        RAI reported it at 10.00 am wich was followed by Sky Italia and then La Gazzetta on line. I was supprised by La Gazzetta as they are normally the first with news here.

  9. F1 Oldstager said on 17th November 2009, 23:04

    Button is supposed to be at a Brawn employee signing tomorrow. Was the date set by JB or RB/NF? Wonder if there will be an announcement tomorrow confirming JB at Mercedes? Don’t you just love the smoke and mirrors! I’m a long term JB supporter and will continue wherever he goes. Roll on 2010……

  10. Can’t believe they are going to choose Button over Kimi.

    Mclaren are stupid

    • It’ll be fun to see Jenson having a go at Lewis. I think he’ll do well (alot better than Heikki at least) but Lewis will come out on top in the end I think.

    • Remember Ferrari chose Alonso over Kimi as well.

      It’s probably business, I know. But surely, it has to be more than this. Sigh. I just don’t know what to make of it for now.

    • John H said on 18th November 2009, 0:10

      He’s probably about $35m cheaper. That’s why.

  11. I never expected this. Maybe rallying but I always thought that option was unlikely. I’m annoyed his demands were so high and that there couldn’t be a compromise but losing a big talent like him id the worst option. I still hope as to me it would be mad not to see him race. Mp4 months ago said he feared this but it just didn’t seem right. I owe you a big apology if you were right my fanatic friend :(

  12. Penelope Pitstop said on 17th November 2009, 23:08

    And don’t forget the ice cream!

    This probably sounds like a dumb question, but what did Kimi say at Interlagos that was so amusing? Other than attending the US GPs every year, I didn’t start following F1 closely until last year, after the loss of my beloved Champ Car, so I guess I’ve missed some classic F1 moments.

    • Schumi’s last race, in Brazil, he was presented a trophy on the starting grid by Pele in a little pre-race ceremony. Martin Brundle (doing his grid walk for ITV) asked Kimi why he hadn’t been present at the ceremony.

      Kimi’s response: “I was having a s**t.”

      When the ITV feed cut back to Steve Rider and Mark Blundell a few moments later, it was obvious they were trying so hard not to laugh.

      • Penelope Pitstop said on 18th November 2009, 0:00

        OMG, sorry I asked! That might be even worse than Vettel’s inexplicable compulsion to talk about his balls, lol.

  13. Doesn’t he have a contract buyout from Ferrari? My understanding is that if he takes another F1 seat, it makes the buyout void. If so, it would only make sense for him to sign with another team if it was substantially more than his Ferrari buyout. I think we already know that he is no longer racing for the “fun of it”. Anyone know what he is guaranteed to get from Ferrari? Are there any other teams willing to pay more than that for Kimi?

    • I think he gets €17m if he doesn’t race in F1 in 2010, or €10m if he does. McLaren were reportedly only offering Kimi €5m (a slight joke given that Lewis earns nearly four times that). So by choosing not to take McLaren up on their offer, Raikkonen is reportedly €2m better off. Think of all the ice cream he can buy with that!

      To be honest I’m not too sad to see him go. I never believed he was as good as his fans made out and his inconsistency has alienated him from the F1 teams, especially with his huge financial demands.

      • James said on 18th November 2009, 0:31

        He only once had a car that allowed him to prove his ability. 2007

        2006 was the closest thing, although the Merc engine, and the team, obviously didnt want the title enough. After that there is 2008, where the car was developed around Felipe from around Turkey onwards. Before hand, Raikkonen was beating Felipe hands down.

        Situation didnt change this year either.

      • Alastair said on 18th November 2009, 11:31

        Shut up about the ice cream! His car was Kaput, he was out of the race. There was no reason for him to stay on the grid.

        Typical brainless statement based on lack of information.

    • three4three said on 17th November 2009, 23:17

      As I understand it, the Ferrari buyout was for €17m if he did not race but €10m if he secured a drive. I believe he was paid something like €35m by Ferrari for 09 season, significantly more than the rest of the grid.

  14. It will be sad news for F1 if Kimi would leave. His managers are to blame I think as they would rather let him retire or take a gardening leave then take a pay-cut.

    Also, it is a sad day for F1 when biggest plus Button has over Raikonnen is catering to sponsors better. We need more drivers like Kimi in F1, not like Button.

  15. marcus said on 17th November 2009, 23:22

    He will come back look at the money Ferrari will pay if he doesnt drive for next year. Kimi will be back he has still got another 4-5 years in F1. All he should do is relax and do some rally for the year and see how bad it is when jenson and Lewis are at each others throats for the title when Alonso stole it from their noses :p.

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