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

  1. three4three said on 17th November 2009, 23:22

    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.

  2. Shagrathian said on 17th November 2009, 23:24

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

  3. James_mc said on 17th November 2009, 23:38

    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?

  4. DCNunes said on 17th November 2009, 23:45

    Good riddance! Come back in 2011 if you can.

    I will miss Toyota more than him.

  5. Daniel said on 17th November 2009, 23:49

    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

  6. Adam Tate said on 18th November 2009, 0:00

    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.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th November 2009, 0:31

    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.

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

    • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 3:51

      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!

      • 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.

    • 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.

    • steph said on 18th November 2009, 9:49

      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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • Alastair said on 18th November 2009, 11:41

      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!

    • LewisC said on 18th November 2009, 12:34

      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 :)

    • Hotbottoms said on 18th November 2009, 13:06

      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?

      • Hotbottoms said on 18th November 2009, 13:29

        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 : )

      • 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.

  8. NickF1 said on 18th November 2009, 0:31

    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.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th November 2009, 0:31

    Raikkonen gone?


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

  10. LewisC said on 18th November 2009, 0:34

    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.

  11. Stacy said on 18th November 2009, 0:39

    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.

  12. :(
    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.

  13. 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.

    • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 3:55

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

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

        • S Hughes said on 18th November 2009, 10:07

          Easy to say now, ha ha.

          • 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!!

    • Maksutov said on 18th November 2009, 6:31

      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.

    • bernification said on 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.

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

      • Alastair said on 18th November 2009, 11:53

        “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.

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

  14. 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.

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