Kimi Raikkonen to take sabbatical in 2010 as McLaren talks end

2010 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

  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.

    1. 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!)

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

      1. 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

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. Having said that, I’ve been saying for ages that he’s WRC-bound.

    3. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. Lol, great man. :) Best of luck to him whereever he goes.

        2. cool ones….. He is one guy who is only bothered about driving. That lady reporter had a bad time really.

          So sad to see him not on the grid next year.

      1. The Sri Lankan
        17th November 2009, 23:36

        i agree. i wont miss kimi. he doesnt do any pr. barely even talks and when he does he struggles to make sense

        1. Yeah, PR is the most important thing. We all sit all sunday to watch them do PR. Oh wait, no, we watch them race …

          1. Agree –
            I gotta love the way Hamilton puts his thoughts across.. Hypnotic like Obama ,,

            This PR stuff is exactly what is bloody wrong with F1.

            If you love PR go and watch the commercials between the races…

        2. Why do you need PR??? Is he an actor trying to lobby for a role??

          He is a racer and a true one. Just coz he minds his own business and doesn’t talk much, he is disliked !!! Very strange…

          Anyway, Button’s a@@ is gonna be on fire at McLaren. Hamilton is surlye gonna put him in his place, if at all he tries to show off his ‘recent’ champion status..

          1. I like Raikkonen and the most important thing for a racing driver is to race so I have never had any problems with his attitude as some seem to. However, ultimately the sponsors pay the wages and if a driver is not prepared to do any promo events he has to accept he will get a lower salary.

        3. That’s not true. Kimi has excellent sense of humour. One of his specialties are self-criticism which very have been seen in this sport. He doesn’t blame others for his own mistakes. Never. Drivers on the grid 2010 do not have similar street credibility, even close. Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey and Kimi are biggest star in this sport since Schumi and Hakkinen.

          1. When that idiot Hamiltion crashed in Kimi’s back Kimi didnt rave and rant (which others including Lewis would do I m sure)

            We love Kimi just because of his aloof and mind yr own business attitude…

            He is not running for political office so he is under no obligation to be politically correct or do interview..

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

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

        1. I mean “and NOT the interviews!”

    3. Terry Fabulous
      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.

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

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

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

            One original Lewis is enough for me thanks.

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

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

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. lewisisoverated
            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 formula1.com.. 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..

      4. 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.

    4. 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?

      1. Dude – Leave out Vettel and Kimi is worth all of the others combined.

  3. 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. 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.

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

      1. 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?

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

  5. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    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.

    1. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
      17th November 2009, 22:55

      Kimi has probably missed out because

      “I was taking a SH**!”

      1. LOL :)

        I think that is hands down the best ever remark to be made by an F1 driver. Ever.

        1. …but the best by a driver in any series is still Gronholm: “We had to stop, because… it came some stone, or something, through Timo’s seat… UP in the ass of Timo!” [looks very serious and punches fist in the air]

          Gotta love the Finns!

        2. Crikey! Really?

          1. Soumya Banerjee
            19th May 2010, 13:47

            Give my kindest regard to Lewis,Hughes.

  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.

    1. *some of the money, rather.

      1. don’t forget it is his managers who take a cut from his pay are the ones that are negotiating the deal…

        1. I’m sure Kimi controls his managers, not the other way around.

  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. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 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

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 :(

    1. If Kimi’s sitting out 2010, expect it to become a permanent retirement, a season in F1 is an eon…

  12. Penelope Pitstop
    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.

    1. 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.

      1. Penelope Pitstop
        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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. Red Andy beat me to it, damn error 500…

  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. 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.

  16. Really sad if this is confirmed. Whatever people think of him Kimi is one of the best in F1 at the moment and it will be a needless loss.

  17. McLaren chooses its drivers. That’s it. Roll on 2010. The last two world champions are with us. Exciting!

  18. Very sad if he retires. Deserved more than one WDC for me.

    A pity he’s not willing to back down on his pay demands.
    A sabbatical and then back for 2011?

  19. Good riddance! Come back in 2011 if you can.

    I will miss Toyota more than him.

  20. It will be a big loss to Formula 1!

    Kimi Will Be Back!

    Hes already said, he wants to be in F1, but if he cant find a competitive team then he will bide his time, which is what he is doing.

    His biggest mistake was not lowering his asking price so that Mclaren would have already snapped him up which means Button would be in this position! :L

  21. Well it certainly adds a unique new vibe to the upcoming season. It is a shame to see Kimi go. A WDC Button is, and even a deserving one, but Kimi had 18 wins to his credit, is very nearly a 3 time WDC and has more points, podiums and far more fastest laps than any other active driver and yes that includes Alonso. The only drivers that currently come close to his level are Alonso and then a small gap back to Massa and Hamilton. It’s a shame we won’t see a McLaren line up with drivers sharing 29 wins between them go up against a Ferrari lineup sharing 32 wins between them.

    1. LOL @ RIP

  22. I’m disappointed in Raikkonen that he’s taken the sabbatical option. Whether it’s the case or not, it makes you suspect he cares more about the money than racing. He’s gone down in my estimation today.

    1. I´m with you on this one, Keith.

    2. Agreed. I can understand Kimi having so many fans because of his obvious brilliance behind the wheel, but to be fans of his attitude, well, frankly I am perplexed. The Magnum and shorts in Malaysia while Lewis was still sitting in his dog of a car raring to go, sums it up for me!

      1. To be fair to Kimi, his car had a technical problem so even if the race had restarted, he wouldn’t have been able to join Hamilton (and the other 15 or so drivers still out there, also “raring to go!”) in driving the remainder of the race.

        That said, his attitude has been a problem down the years. I don’t particularly care if a driver is media-savvy or not, but Kimi rarely looked like he cared even on the track.

    3. He wants to win, not just race. And who can blame him? He’s a former world champion and feels no need to muddle around in mid-pack. He has already proven what he can do by beating Massa in an equal car and winning the world championship.

      I think it is a horrible shame, and for those of us who are more interested in racing instead of press conferences are going to suffer next year.

      He won’t be back. Bye, Kimi, and thanks for all the good memories.

    4. Agree with you Keith but if he doesn’t love it anymore then why stay? I want to see him at his best not when he’s a zombie in the car.
      I’ve heard it was also because Mclaren wouldn’t grant him enough freedom to do rallies.

    5. how can you say that, you know about 2% of the facts, you only know any figures from what you’ve heard in the media. They might not of even offered him a drive. I dont see how someone can go down in your estimation from suspecting something.
      We all know hes a great driver and no one knows the circumstances!

    6. I think it is a sign that his heart is not with F1 anymore. If he hadn’t won the Drivers Championship I think he would still have that hunger and would have accepted a lower salary to have a shot at the title. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes rallying full time and doesn’t come back to F1.

    7. I’d rather he took a year off and assessed the situation than took a multi-million EUR pay cut to struggle in a second rate car. He’s struggled in crap equipment for the past three years and there’s no need for him to continue to do so. I didn’t enjoy Alonso’s wilderness years, he may as well have been on sabattical. This way Kimi can give rally a go (in a decent car, not a POS Punto) and see what is what at the end of this year. There will most probably be a seat available at Ferrari and Mclaren, given the team friction that’s bound to exist there and he can replace Webber to make a Red Bull Dream Team. Who knows, he might even be giving Loeb a run for his money in a year or two and win a championship there.

      Good on you Kimi! If they can’t afford you then they don’t deserve you!

    8. Quite the opposite.
      He’s a racer, he wants to race everything. When Surtees was racing cars and bikes no-one said “oh, his heart’s not in F1”.
      Kimi wants to have a go at racing something else and I think it’s great. Might give Loeb a run for his money :)

    9. I am not surprised to see this kind of comments from you Keith, it has always been pretty obvious you don’t like Kimi. Maybe you are bitter about 2007? :)

      Kimi didn’t even discuss with anyone else than McLaren, he wants to win. Sad truth is that in F1 there are only 3-4 teams that can win.

      And come on, if he’s in F1 only for money, why not picking some other team? It’s unlikely he’ll earn more in WRC than F1.

      Also, I’m eager to hear your opinion on Button, does he care more about racing than the money?

      1. Allow me to clarify my comment above a bit.

        I think this site is great and the analysis you make are awesome and reading your articles is really entertaining and provides F1 fans a lot of information. However the thing preventing F1Fanatic to be the ultimate F1 site is that at times you clearly aren’t neutral.

        For instance, when Hamilton lied at the beginning of 2009 season, you barely mocked Hamilton at all while you thought the biggest issue was slightly unclear rules.

        However you’ve kept lot of noise about Raikkonen going wide in Spa (even though most of F1 fans don’t think he should’ve been punished and if I remember right even Brundle said going wide in that corner doesn’t give any benefit).

        Of course, you are a British F1 fan and it’s hard to be neutral, but I still hope you could be a bit more fair : )

      2. He will earn more Rallying.

        He will get paid 17m by Ferrari for not having a F1 drive plus whatever he earns from Rallying.

        Most people on here if they were in that position would take the money and have the year off too. F1 is a job, especially for Kimi who’s not a fan of all the mandatory media, PR and marketing appearances.

  23. so many biased, jealous racist haters on here of Kimi. By far and large, he was the fastest driver on the grid…but because he didn’t wet your vaginas in his interviews, oh he’s boring and sucks. Never again will I come here.

    1. Terry Fabulous
      18th November 2009, 2:37

      Bye NickF1!!

    2. Why racist? No-one said they didn’t like him because of his race. I think you should look up the definition of racist.

  24. Prisoner Monkeys
    18th November 2009, 0:31

    Raikkonen gone?

    Meh.

    I doubt he’ll be able to make a comeback at his age, though.

  25. I’m not surprised. His heart hasn’t really been in it – except for when Massa got injured and he had to carry the team.
    He’ll pop up in WRC and I’m looking forward to seeing him.

  26. 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’…

    :(
    By then, he’ll probably have taken up rally and wouldn’t fathom a return to F1. Both sides are really to blame for this.

  27. :(
    My favourite driver…

    I suspect that this is the same kind of sabbatical that Mika Hakkinen took in 2002.

    On the bright side, I’ll get to see Button get hammered by Hamilton at McLaren next year, love to see what Mr. Legard has to say about that.

    1. I’m sure he’ll describe it as “a feature of” something…

  28. Who in their right mind would chose Button over Kimi? I feel cheated – I was looking forward to a straight scrap between Lewis & Kimi. We know that Lewis will just wipe the floor with Jense.

    1. I hope so but making such sure predictions in F1 is a mistake.

      1. Whereas a fired-up Raikonnen would have wiped the floor with Hamilton.

        1. Easy to say now, ha ha.

          1. Easy now as it always was and probably always will be ,,, Very Easy in fact

            LH is no contest to Kimi by a long way !

            LH just doesnt have any balls and struggled to get the WDC from so far ahead ,,, BAsically if Timo Glock hadnt helped him out it would be kaput for him that year ,,,

            I have a sneaking feeling that even JB will prove a match for the bigmouth LH.. Exciting!!

    2. We know that Lewis will just wipe the floor with Jense.

      which is exactly what McLaren want. They clearly want a 2nd backup material and they are not willing to pay more then they have.

      They should simply rename their team from McLaren into “Hamilton”. Either way Button has made a poor choice, but I understand him wanting the best pay, as I would if I had the option.

    3. bernification
      18th November 2009, 7:11

      Who in their right mind would chose Button over Kimi?

      Errmmm, maybe someone who wants their driver to try all the time?
      Really, has Kimi really made any effort in the last few years?
      It’s been the same story year in- if it comes to him, he takes it with both hands. if it’s hard work, he snoozes, wakes up less than 12 laps from the end and sets fastest lap, gets 3/4 points.
      Arguably his best opportunity to win the wdc was with McLaren.
      The one he won with Ferrari, he lucked into, via Hamiltons’ inexperience.

      1. how did he luck into it? he won the most races and suffered more mechanical failure!

      2. “has Kimi really made any effort in the last few years?” Err… were you asleep in 2007, when he came back from a 26 point deficit to win the WDC, in 2008 he came THIRD due to a lot of problems with the car that the team couldn’t fix and had to support Massa mainly due to being rammed by Lewis when he was leading a race, effectively putting him out of contention. Ferrari won the WCC in 2008 thanks to his points and in 2009 he got a string of podiums in an abandoned car described by his own team boss as ‘very difficult to drive’, also demonstrated by his team mates.

        The reason Kimi has so many fans is that he is chock full of sisu. He’s also very intelligent. Ferrari have basically paid him not to race and no team can match the amount that Ferrari are paying him. So he can afford to take a year off and give rally a serious go. He was doing really well in Rally Finland, but his Punto sucked and he had an off. If he has a decent car and a full season, he might actually do quite well. If he doesn’t enjoy it, he’ll come back to F1 and still be able to get a seat in a top team.

      3. Did you watch the years when Kimi LUCKED OUT of the WDC?/ That too because of McLaren Engines mainly

  29. Given the previous discussions regarding car set-up, I wonder how much say a given team’s de facto first driver has a say in it: politics aside, it would benefit McLaren in the constructors’ championship to have two drivers with similar driving styles; on the other hand, if their star driver is assured development priority, he’d probably prefer a different-enough team mate precisely to maintain an edge.

    When the effects of intra-team rivalry is taken into account, it might even make sense for the team as a whole to keep one driver happy at the expense of another — not many team mates can race each other fairly.

    1. I don’t quite think Hamilton had a say in this, otherwise they’d just keep Heikki.

  30. Kimi was not my favorite driver. But he was without doubt one of the most talented drivers on the grid. Formula One will be undoubtedly poorer without him on the grid.

    But Kimi is the architect of his own demise. He consistently under-performed for a really long period. For a person demanding Schumacher-esque salaries, being beaten by Massa looked bad on his resume. Combine this under-performance with the economic recession and cost cutting, Kimi became even more unattractive to other teams.

  31. Kimi, like Frank Sinatra said, always did it his way.

    1. Actually the Old Blue Eyes reference makes a lot of sense.

  32. Watch out Webber – Kimi will take your seat in 2011! It’s a shame I’m a Webber fan.

    1. I’m not sure if Kimi will come back. If he doesn’t then after Webber’s seat will be Kubica or Massa depening on who gets the Ferrari deal.

  33. If he is gone then he won’t come back,so his only option is Mercedes,but as his salary is too much will you keep him or Button in your team.

  34. What I don’t get is the assumption that Button is heading to McLaren next season to be in a winning car. Also, why Raikkonen is being bagged for his salary demands, yet Button wouldn’t accept Brawn’s offer, and that’s ok.

    For starters, I don’t believe that McLaren won the WDC or the WCC this year. I do believe however, that McLaren’s biggest supporter has just left them for the team that did win the WDC and WCC this year.

    This is potentially the kind of catastrophic event that can send a team into a multi-year slump. Ask Williams what happened when Renault and BMW left them, and McLaren after Honda. I know that Merc will still supply engines, but it’s all the other stuff (including cash) that McLaren will miss, added to the fact that Ron Dennis isn’t running the F1 team anymore, plus the factory team hardly wants it’s customer to outdo it in the Championship (think Red Bull).

    I think that Button may be making the wrong decision – again. I also personally hope that Mercedes GP kicks the snot out of McLaren next season, which would show Button the error of his greed.

    As an aside – what does this mean for Force India?

  35. Terry Fabulous
    18th November 2009, 2:40

    Yes F1 is going to really miss the guy who was slower then Massa and tried to do as little as possible for his sponsors and fans while being paid millions.

    Tragic really.

    1. One bad season doesn’t undo 8 great seasons. David Coulthard beat Mika Hakkinen in 2001, but would anybody say he anywhere near as talented as Hakkinen?

      (sorry for the double post)

      1. Terry Fabulous
        18th November 2009, 4:50

        Gday Kovy

        Kimi was paid like Schumacher and didn’t deliver anything like what the German did.

        And besides, it looks like his fans are going to miss him more then he misses F1.

    2. He wasn’t slower than Massa either.

      He scored less points in 2008 yes.

      1. Terry Fabulous
        19th November 2009, 2:05

        Yeah I was being a bit cute there. Sometimes he was faster then Felipe and sometimes slower

        BUT

        He was paid a huge amount of money and underdelivered on and off the track.

        By the second race next year he will be forgotten.

      2. Terry Fabulous
        19th November 2009, 2:10

        Actually Patrickl are you saying that because of all of his fastest laps?

        Because I find that is why he is so frustrating. He is obviously fast but only on his terms when he wants it. WHERE IS THE HUNGER!!!!!

  36. Kimi who?

    1. One bad season doesn’t undo 8 great seasons. David Coulthard beat Mika Hakkinen in 2001, but would anybody say he anywhere near as talented as Hakkinen?

      1. Kovy, there r 2 things… talent and attitude. Kimi is talented no doubt but somehow he doesnt show enough for someone to be interested in him.
        Manufacturer teams are pulling out and this stubborn was still sticking to his unreasonable demands. F1 is a team sport and everyone got to contribute in its revival. On one hand they are talkin abt the cost cutting, driver’s salary are alos paid by teams only.
        He should have taken MClaren’s offer and should have tried to win WDC and then he could have reinstated his price tag….
        Bye Bye KImi, F1 doesnt need a guy like u

  37. Alonso > Kimi
    Kimi > Massa
    Kimi > Button
    Button > Massa

    Above is who I want to see driving more next season.
    (Sorry, Massa is a good driver but he is not charismatic enough to be a top team driver.)

    If Massa had not got injured, who would have lose the seat?

    1. Kimi. I doubt Ferrari are that sentimental. This is f1 and business. Besides LdM once said Kimi and Alonso pairing would be a bad idea. You give Kimi charisma rating and not Massa? :P I’m joking. I know it’s all personal taste and I’m a Kimi fan. I care more about damn good driving than charisma however.

  38. wat the hell is this ?

    create a new thread and then post this nonsense

  39. It is no good for him, and it would be pretty much where his F1 career ends. Hard to accept, I’ll miss him on the grid. Practically, if he has plans to return in 2011, he can’t make it to Mclaren (They did keep Heikki for years, so no matter what they’ll hold Button for 3 yrs if he signs), neither to Mercedes. Does he havve plans to replace webber at RBR in 2011??? lol… Forgive me, I can’t help thinking! :) Let me keep the hopes up for 2011, but deep inside me, I still want him on the 2010 grid.

  40. Money talks, Kimi walks…

    Why don’t they just put Webber into McLaren and Kimi into Red Bull for 2010? Would be the best option, would really like to see Mark against Lewis.

  41. What if Button stays at Brawn / mercedes?
    Heidfeld to McLaren?
    Heikki to stay?
    somehow this is not over I think (maybe wishfull)

  42. if Button goes to Mclaren, what number would Brawn/Mercedes and Williams car bear ?

    1. There was a little debate about the numbers Mercedes would have if Button joined McLaren in this article

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/11/16/mercedes-grand-prix-take-over-brawn-for-2010-but-what-about-button/

      Sorry I don’t know how to link to a particular section of a webpage, but I would say it is about a quarter of the way down in the same thread as the debate on Heidfeld.

      Usually Brawn/Mercedes would have numbers 3 & 4, as after the team with the World Champion the numbers are awarded based on the Constructors Championship, which is what I personally think but I don’t know the details of the relevant rules.

      Some think that because of the Mercedes takeover it will be classed as a new team and will be at the end of the pitlane with the other new teams with car numbers in the 20s. But may depend on how the takeover is classed as some F1 team takeovers this decade have meant that the new team inherit what would have been the old teams numbers but Brawn this year were classed as a completely new team so had numbers 22 & 23.

  43. HounslowBusGarage
    18th November 2009, 8:56

    I think this is appalling news.
    Kimi started to see through all the hype and the cr*p of F1 years ago and made a decision to get as much out of the business as he possibly could, while he could – and why not? Everybody else was doing it, so why shouldn’t a driver?
    So now he’s off to do something less show-biz oriented, but undoubtedly more satisfying; and good luck to him.
    But it still leaves us with the discomforting fact that one of the best drivers is leaving while some other idiots at the back of the grid will continue to hold on to their seats through good PR, national connections and hassling management.
    F1 is the loser.

  44. This sucks!

    Kimi why didn’t you take the reduced pay man?

    *sigh*

    1. Another Mansell.

  45. I will miss Raikkonen as he was one of my favourites drivers. I think if his heart was still with F1 he would have lowered his wage demands to have a chance at another championship at McLaren.

    If Raikkonen isn’t in F1 in 2010 he will probably do more rallying next year and unless that doesn’t go well and he really misses F1 I doubt we will see him in F1 again.

    Some people have mentioned him being introverted and quiet, but I remember Brundle saying a few times that away from the cameras you often can’t shut him up, which I can easily believe.

    While it is nice if drivers give interesting interviews and attend loads of PR events, they are primarily race drivers, and I think Kimi’s attitude probably endeared him to many fans anyway.

    I remember years ago reading in article that as soon as he won a Championship he would leave F1, while he stayed around for a couple of seasons after winning his title I don’t think he would be quitting if he still hadn’t won the Championship.

  46. sad to say, but I think I would not look F1 next year. Never had think that one driver goes away, I would miss him that much. Maybe mind change when shock has gone…

  47. Thats sad… Looks like I need to check where to watch WRC next year :/

  48. For all kimi’s downsides people need to stop for a second and remember the great driver that entertained and often stunned us over the years, he is statistically one of the greatest drivers of all time and certainly one if not the fastest driver. Slag him of all you want but the iceman is a true f1 talent. He doesn’t put on a big media show which for some reason a lot of people here think is not good.
    My skin crawls when i hear drivers saying how much they love every circuit and walk around with massive fake grins on their faces. Kimi is at least himself which is a lot more than can be said for other drivers. I mean hamilton is a great talent but who is he? What is his real personality? has he got one?
    Kimi has a good time and to question his dedication is low, look at his statistics and then come shouting.
    My assumption is a lot of people posting on here are boring and want to see boring people win races and enter in F1. DONT YOU WANT ENTERTAINEMNT! has f1 just got boring old fans?

  49. Would have liked to see if Ross Brawn could bring the best out of him, but overall I’ll miss him only slightly more than I’ll miss Toyota.

    He’d be a good choice if someone needs a stand-in driver at Spa next year, if that doesn’t wreck his Ferrari pay-off.

    And if he wants to return to F1, as a former world champion he’ll still have daft sponsors chasing him – it worked for Mansell and Villeneuve.

  50. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8365967.stm

    Update from the Beeb! Kimi’s manager adds more weight to the speculations that Mclaren have already signed Button.

    1. In the article his manager is quoted as saying: “”They couldn’t afford him […] It wasn’t in his interests to race for what they were offering”

      AND then he goes on to say: “with all the money he has earned he doesn’t want to go in a medium-type team for money”

      EH?? Seems to me, that using the most basic of logics, one of those statements must false. Which one…?

      1. According to some rumours Raikkonen’s Ferrari pay off is lower if he races in F1 in 2010, something like 17m to 10m and I have seen different currencies used, these various rumours also say that what McLaren were offering meant he would either make a loss racing in F1 in 2010 or it wasn’t that much better than what he would receive from Ferrari if he didn’t race.

        So it is understandable if his manager said it wasn’t in his interests to race for what was on offer, especially if you think that Raikkonen wants to go rallying more than race in F1.

        Also before Toyota pulled out they were trying to sign Raikkonen, and considering what they have paid drivers in the past and their past performance, this sort of offer was probably the big money offer from a medium-type team.

        1. If the “you race you get less” clause of his pay off is true, then he needs to get a better manager to negotiate his deals…

  51. Let me remind u guys……
    F1 is a sport not an entertainment ….We don’t watch f1 to see how the drivers talk or how interesting they r but we watch to see them racing……
    Its a shame that i’ve read such comments on Kimi leaving…..praise him for his driving…..Look at what he did for all nine yrs…..never gave up and was racing till the end…..1 thing is for sure…..Kimi was always motivated….if he wasn’t, then he would have already left f1 after 2005 when he missed the title for the second time……its a shame srsly…..i can’t believe u guys consider driver’s nature or personality or whatever and not his driving…..i think u guys need a sabbatical from f1 as u guys are just bored of seeing race and r just passing ur time talking about drivers…..get lost somewhere else u guys get a break from f1 to understand the craze of it again…….
    Neways
    Kimi u were really good best driver on the grid…..seeing nine yrs of urs……i think u deserved more than wat u got…..maybe not here maybe somewhere else…..U will always be the unflappable Finn…..wud love to see u come back

    1. Rahim this must be sad news for you.
      I never really cared for Kimi’s press conferences I watch the sport for the driving. He’s a huge loss.
      Who will you back now? If anyone?

  52. Cristian Fenichi
    18th November 2009, 13:22

    It’s a pitty he will not be racing in F1 next year.
    It would have been interesting to see if a Brawn-Raikkonen partnership would have yielded the goods.

  53. There’s one answer for Kimi… grow a beard like Heidfeld and change the name to Kimhelm Raikkonenberg and then drive for Mercedes. No-one will know he’s not German!

    1. Haha you made me laugh, thank you : )

      It’s somewhat sad how much nationality impacts on drivers chances to get into a good team. Rosberg–>Mercedes/Brawn, Alonso–>Ferrari (Santander), Button–>McLaren etc.

  54. To me, Kimi was the quickest driver on the grid.. He shares the record with Micheal Schumacher for setting the highest number of fastest laps in a single season. This guy had pure, natural racing talent.

    This is sad news for me, the only other driver whom I can probably look forward to is Sebastian Vettel.. Very promising.

  55. I have to say that I am not surprised by this news, not in the slightest. At the same time, I am sad, because this sport needs all the best drivers it can get and has yet again waved goodbye to another one.
    I buy into the theory though that Raikkonen ‘made hay whilst the sun was shining’ at Ferrari, knowing all too well that the team were lining up Alonso as his replacement. Kimi’s title had not even gathered dust, when rumours of Alonso and Ferrari began to circulate, which only became louder as 2008 came to a close. These rumours could of only come from two sources, and one of those is Ferrari themselves.
    I have often wondered if it was Alonso and not Raikkonen, that the Scuderia had in their sights all along, only to see the Spaniard sign to McLaren in late 2005. This really left Ferrari with only one option, and that was Kimi.
    My lasting impression of Raikkonen is his performances at Spa, especially that famous hotlap when he sails through a thick cloud of oil smoke at the top of Eau Rouge without a hint of throttle lift.
    The 2004 race there was a real eye opener. In that race, Michael Schumacher had really pushed in one of the best Ferrari’s ever made, and lost to Raikkonen who was simply sublime as the event came to its conclusion.
    The frustrating part of Kimi, is that he blows hot and cold too often. That and McLaren’s terrible reliability during the opening half of the decade cost the Finn atleast two championships. He also went toe to toe with both Coulthard and the much fancied, now red eye gravy eating Montoya, whilst at McLaren and looked more than fast enough.
    In Kimi, I always saw a man uncomfortable with F1 when out of the car. The politics, the corporate b.s, and everything associated with it were never his cup of tea. A man, not unlike his predeccesor Hakkinen, of very few words but when in his element, the cockpit of an F1 car, was at one!
    It is true that, performance wise, the last two years have been disappointing. That, however, does not cancel out the wonderfull moments he gave us.

  56. “I think this site is great and the analysis you make are awesome and reading your articles is really entertaining and provides F1 fans a lot of information. However the thing preventing F1Fanatic to be the ultimate F1 site is that at times you clearly aren’t neutral.

    For instance, when Hamilton lied at the beginning of 2009 season, you barely mocked Hamilton at all while you thought the biggest issue was slightly unclear rules.

    However you’ve kept lot of noise about Raikkonen going wide in Spa (even though most of F1 fans don’t think he should’ve been punished and if I remember right even Brundle said going wide in that corner doesn’t give any benefit).

    Of course, you are a British F1 fan and it’s hard to be neutral, but I still hope you could be a bit more fair : )

    good comment, we didnt hear anything about his good performances really at all, good media is about being impartial not opinionated.

    1. For instance, when Hamilton lied at the beginning of 2009 season, you barely mocked Hamilton at all while you thought the biggest issue was slightly unclear rules.

      Actually I wrote one article for each perspective – one on how Hamilton had made a mistake, and one how the rules were a mess:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/04/03/two-sides-to-the-hamilton-trulli-controversy-hamilton-and-mclaren-apologise/

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/04/03/two-sides-to-the-hamilton-trulli-controversy-another-entirely-avoidable-crisis/

      However you’ve kept lot of noise about Raikkonen going wide in Spa

      I don’t think I wrote an article about that one, but it’s clearly wrong to suggest he didn’t gain an advantage when he passed three or four people by going off the track.

  57. Damn, another great driver gone. I will really miss Raikkonen.

  58. I am glad he is not going to be on the grid. He was even more boring than normal and after being booted you could tell his heart was not in it. He is a good driver but I guess no one is going to pay his price this year and hey if I got more just chillen for a year. heck yea.

  59. WRC will now benefit to some extent from the ‘Lance factor’ wrcfanatic.co.uk? I’ll be following WRC too for sure now where I could take it or leave it before.

  60. Well, I will be watching a lot more WRC next year then, that’s for sure. It is F1’s loss to not have Kimi, not the other way around. The sport is so much dominated by politics and need to maintain a certain image that I am not sure Kimi will ever want to race in F1 again. He is a simple, straight-forward person, a brilliant driver and F1 could use more people like him.

  61. Well, a brazilian journalist called Lito Cavalcanti said that Kimi Raikkonen will be at Mercedes in the next season:

    http://globoesporte.globo.com/Esportes/Noticias/Formula_1/0,,MUL1384006-15011,00.html

  62. raikkonen goes to mercedes, obvious

  63. Bets of luck to Kimi, I hope he now goes to the WRC – there’s a sport in need of revitalising – and does Le Mans, like he was reportedly planning to but apparently McLaren would have blocked.

    But I won’t miss him; the “real” Kimi of old has been gone for a while now, with only occasional flashes of form that were frighteningly coincidental with losing a strong team-mate and suddenly having to fight for his place at the team. At his best, he’d the the third best driver out there, but would his best ever come back?

  64. A very very sad day…

    There was only one driver like Kimi on the grid and that’s why we followed him…

    Brave and fearless… unfortunately Ferrari never managed to give him an understeery car to suit his style but never a complaint or cross word…

    I wanted Kimi at Macca because I believe the engineers there could have given Kimi a car for Kimi rather than an understeery lump suited to a completely different style….. and I’d like his last F1 season to properly reflect his natural talent…

    Perhaps he’ll get back with Adrian Newey at Red Bull next year and perhaps that was always the plan…. and Macca wanted him for longer than a year… I can only hope… and go rallying…

  65. There are news going around that Kimi is very close to landing a Mercedes GP deal!

    There is still hope :)

  66. Sad, really gonna miss him, fingers crossed for 2011.

  67. @ Theo.

    In the defence of this site, I don’t think this site has been negative towards Kimi Raikkonen in any way. In referance to Lewis Hamilton and the events in Melbourne this year, the F1 Fanatic site was very critical of Hamilton and the behaviour of McLaren. Importantly, and Keith touched on this topic recently, the events in March highlighted terrible flaws in FIA regulations and rules that have still gone unchanged. In essence, there is nothing to stop a simular case reoccuring in the future, and in that, this site criticised and rightly so.
    I have been on this site for nearly two years, and every time we debate about Hamilton or McLaren we always witness a large amount of bloggers who clearly dislike Lewis. Alot of them, mark my words, are as English as pie and mash, so I don’t buy completely into your argument.
    The certain negative aspect directed against Kimi is the disappointment among many at how his F1 career has appeared to come to a premature end. Raikkonen, as we all know, is one of this sport’s most naturally gifted drivers, and at the same time one of its most traditional thinkers. In other words, he is not corporate hungry or politically motivated. He does not care, or seem to, for drivers meetings or what new rules the FIA are introducing. As Niki Lauda said back in 2007, Raikkonen would have been quite at home in the turbo era or even earlier, when more emphasis was on racing as opposed to posing and supposed ‘substance’ in interviews.

  68. I think the ferrari hasn`t been the best team for Kimi,,that`s why he hasn`t been able to win back to back championship,ferrari are still preparing cars that suits michael schumacher,Nonetheless,i hope kimi deserves to be in the F1,

    1. Common mate,
      when kimi joined Ferrari he was unanimeous choice of John Tond and schumi,he deserves to be in F1? of course.he is 1 of the best

  69. I’m sure Kimi has bucket loads of talent as we keep on being told, but clearly his ego and money get in the way. Seems he is not confident enough and does not have the commitment to do as other driver in the past have done and join a middling team to build them into race winning teams. Therefore my only conclusion is that it is all about money and ego…

  70. Kimi needs to get off the fence and decide if he is a rally driver or an F1 driver. There is NO TEAM that will allow him to race rally part time in the middle of an F1 season, or after. Especially considering the cash they pay out.

    And if he truly wants to race and win additional F1 championships then he needs to support HIS TEAM (regardless of where he drives) in the same manner he expects the team to support him. Do the sponsorship appearances, and whatever else is required.

    Why are some of the most talented people in the world simultaneously the most childish? Baffling.

  71. Iam deeply hurt by the news that Kimi is not racing in 2010. I dont know what he has in his mind but i really badly hope to see him 2011 onwards

  72. What I loved about Kimi was that he posed a threat to all of these racers I dislike. Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Kubica, Fisi, and now Schumi again… It was great to have Kimi there to put them in their place – at least from time to time. Now Vettel is the only hope. But I foresee a very boring season – I’ll probably stop watching midway unless Vettel or possibly Hulkenberg/Rosberg make a run for it.

  73. (Iceman) Raikkonen is my all time favorites F1 driver. hope to see him, next session 2011.

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