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”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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

      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.

  5. 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.

  6. This sucks!

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


    1. Another Mansell.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

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

  10. 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?

  11. 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.


    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…

  13. 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…….
    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?

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. “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:

      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.

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

  20. 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.

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