Kimi Raikkonen joins Citroen in WRC

R??ikk??nen will drive a WRC Citroen in 2010

Kimi R??ikk??nen will drive for Citroen in the World Rally Championship in 2010.

He will drive a Red Bull-sponsored Citroen C4 – the car in which Sebastien Loeb has won the last three World Rally Champsionship titles.

Earlier this year he contested the Rally della Marca in Italy and the Finnish WRC round, driving a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto in each event and impressing with his speed in the second.

R??ikk??nen’s co-driver will be Kaj Lindstrom, who was co-driver for multiple WRC champion Tommi Makinen. They will contest 12 of the 13 WRC events, missing the New Zealand round.

The 2007 F1 champion has previously said he would take a sabbatical from F1 in 2010. But if he decides he prefers life in the WRC perhaps he might not return?

However the tie-up with Red Bull is likely to fuel speculation he could return with their F1 team in 2011 after Mark Webber’s current contract ends.

What do you think of R??ikk??nen’s move to the WRC? Will you be watching his progress in rallying?

Read more: Kimi Raikkonen to take sabbatical in 2010 as McLaren talks end (Updated)

Image (C) Citroen

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79 comments on Kimi Raikkonen joins Citroen in WRC

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  1. James said on 4th December 2009, 9:45

    A sad day. I dont think there will be a competitive seat for Kimi to return to in 2011. I dont think Red Bull will be as good by then.

    Kimi should have penned a Mclaren or Merc contract, and taken what would have been a 2 euro million pay cut (he has enough in his account?).

    • vettelfan said on 4th December 2009, 10:18

      Maybe Kimi wanted to go rallying rather than stay in F1…?

      From formula1.com

      “I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen. “Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4.

      “This is a new but very exciting challenge. For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future. I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally.”

      • James said on 5th December 2009, 12:35

        Perhaps, but I think he’ll miss being on the circuits.

      • but anyhow he has always been saying ,”I wouldn’t have turned up here if driving wasn’t much fun” now we noticed, he can’t stop driving, no matter if its f1 or wrc!

    • Ned Flanders said on 4th December 2009, 11:39

      I think rallying suits Kimi more than F1 does- less PR work and more fun driving. I imagine he’s getting paid good money by Citroen/ Red Bull on top of his Ferrari pay off

      • Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 5th December 2009, 22:30

        Can’t imagine he’d make more money in rally than f1.
        Should be fasinating to see how well he does.

    • Sideshow Bob said on 5th December 2009, 22:58

      I’m a Kimi fan, but I’m not shedding tears over this. The fact is, being a fast driver is not enough to be at the top in F1. Kimi is a lousy communicator, and he doesn’t build team spirit and devotion. Alonso is showing some ability to cultivate adoration from the Ferrari employees for him. I don’t think the Ferrari people were passionate about Kimi like they could have been if he had charmed them outside the cockpit.

      In order to be great, you have to play a hand in building a top team around you. Raikkonen doesn’t do that.

  2. steph said on 4th December 2009, 9:46

    I’ll definately be watching Kimi in rally.
    I think his f1 future just depends on rally. If he has a shot of winning the title there (he won’t do it in first year but if that goal does seem a possibility in the future) he could just stay there as he already has won the f1 title.
    We expect RBR to do well next year but nothing is guaranteed and with competition from Mclaren, Ferrari and Mercedes next year then RBR is an unknown in the long run. There are still too many questions but at least the speculation gives us something to think about in the off season (100 days and 2 hours to go :()

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th December 2009, 13:06

      It’s disappointing he’s not going to be in F1 – I would rather see him in a Campos or Sauber or Virgin (oo-er).

      But I’m very keen to see how he gets on in the WRC. I used to watch World Rally quite a bit when I was younger, but it’s been in the doldrums in recent years. It’s on Motors TV here in Britain next year and I’m sure they’ll do a good job of the broadcast.

      • John H said on 4th December 2009, 14:44

        No more Dave coverage? Shame it won’t be on freeview next year.

      • Aw gutted I can’t watch it then. Don’t have Motors TV. Good job I’m not a big Kimi fan!

      • F1Fan said on 5th December 2009, 1:24

        I will be watching a lot more WRC and significantly less F1 next year, as a result of this. We were going to have a tremendous 3-way battle w/ Kimi, Lewis and Alonso next year, if Kimi was in a McLaren or even in a Mercedes. Now it will be a 2-way affair and probably decided by car reliability to a great extent, since the cars are going to be equal and the drivers already are, more or less. Big loss for F1, could have been the best championship of this decade.

    • David - BR said on 4th December 2009, 16:31

      Me too! I think this works for the WRC, it’ll definitely pull in more spectators. For Kimi, well, if it gets him excited about driving again it must be good.

      • i loved f1, but now with kimi gone and some silly points system they’ve made, im really keen on rally now!

        my rally hero, solberg (who i;ve sipported since start of 2003) will hopefully be with kimi and ogier!

        I dont have motors tv AGHHH

  3. vettelfan said on 4th December 2009, 9:52

    I am not really surprised, I personally think Kimi’s image suits rally much more than it does F1 – so in theory Kimi should be able to do well in rallying.

  4. Michael K said on 4th December 2009, 9:55

    I don’t think this is sad at all, he’s just doing what he wants to do not really caring about what people think. Let’s face it, if he really would’ve wanted to, he could’ve had a seat in F1. I’m sure McLaren would’ve picked Kimi ahead of Button for the same or less money.
    Of course Kimi is making a lot less than he could’ve made in F1, so it’s not about the money for him but from what he’s said he wants to have a go and see how well he can do in WRC.
    Imagine if he would manage to win a race, that would make him an absolute driving legend. Even if he does reasonably well it would make one of the most complete drivers in history. What he’s doing hasn’t been done before on this level.

    • Maciek said on 4th December 2009, 10:21

      I’m sure McLaren would’ve picked Kimi ahead of Button for the same or less money

      But he turned down more money than Button got…

      • three4three said on 4th December 2009, 12:50

        And with his approx €17m from Ferrari on top of whatever Red Bull are paying him, if I’m not mistaken, Kimi will be earning more than any other driver in F1 in 2010.

        I fully agree with Michael K and Pedro, if Kimi eventually achieves WRC as well he will be a legend, one of the all-time greats.

    • You nailed it in the head there. It’s all about the challenge, and I have a lot of respect for what he is doing. If Kimi manages to win anything in the WRC after having already won an F1 title, he’ll be more of a legend than if he’d won another 1 or 2 F1 WDCs.

  5. Chaili said on 4th December 2009, 9:59

    Might as well get a head start and ask this question now, because I know I won’t find it on American TV! Are there any good streams so I can watch WRC online?

    • try rojadirecta.org or one of those programs which allow you to watch TV through them. You’ll have to do a little research though.

    • Hallard said on 4th December 2009, 17:26

      WRC can actually be found on american TV. I just discovered it on HD Theater (I think its channel 663 in my area.). So if you have digital cable, you’re good to go.

  6. I think the only way Raikkonen would come back to F1 is if next year in rallying went so badly he is put off it for good, which I doubt will happen.

    A year can be a long time in motorsport, just think of all the changes in F1 since this time last year and how some teams and drivers ranking has changed, and even if Raikkonen wanted to come back to F1 there may not be a top car available for him.

    I hope he does well in rallying, and I will probably pay more attention to rallying next year.

    Out of interest what other examples are there of F1 drivers going rallying full time or Rally drivers becoming F1 drivers, and how successful have they been, has anyone managed to win a Grand Prix and a World Championship Rally?

  7. Terry Fabulous said on 4th December 2009, 10:12

    Genuinely surprised at this news. I though this was an elaborate plan to try and force Mercedes to pay for him!

    Anyway, good luck to him. I hope he enjoys this and does well.

  8. GeeMac said on 4th December 2009, 10:24

    This is the end of Kimi’s F1 career in my opinion. The decision to go rallying in 2010 will put Kimi well off of the F1 radar next year, meaning his chances of getting a competitive car for 2011 are even smaller than his chances of securing a competitive drive for 2010 were.

    This time next year there will be loads of promising GP2 drivers looking for F1 drives, drivers like Hulkenberg and Senna may have impressed enough to be knocking on the doors of the competitive teams, and I don’t see Alonso, Massa, Lewis, Jenson, Vettel, Webber and Rosberg all driving so badly that they will loose their current “competitive” seats.

    Its a sad day.

  9. Chalky said on 4th December 2009, 10:31

    It’s not a sad day. It’s a great day for the WRC.
    I’ll be watching Kimi next year as I love the WRC.
    I wish a few more different manufacturers would take part, but then maybe what happened in F1 will happen in WRC?

    • Ned Flanders said on 4th December 2009, 11:36

      I’ve never been a massive WRC fan- it doesn’t really suit TV too well. But if Raikkonen sticks around and perhaps even Rossi joins, it automatically becomes a far more interesting proposition to me.

      Who has the UK rights for WRC next season? If it stays on Dave it’s never going to be a huge draw. Perhaps the BBC could pick it up, show the super special stage live and a highlights package for the rest of the weekend?

      • steph said on 4th December 2009, 12:27

        Agree the BBC should probably have it even if it isn’t on BBC1 or 2 but one of their others. Or Dave should show more of it not just an hour for each weekend and then top 10 crashes.

      • Chalky said on 4th December 2009, 13:32

        Keith has mentioned above that it’ll be on MotorsTV next year.
        I watched it, or more likely the highlights, on Dave this year.
        The good thing is that the WRC web site has a lot more videos to watch from the rally than F1 does after a GP, due to the commercial rights.

  10. sumedh said on 4th December 2009, 10:40

    Good for him. Good luck!!!

  11. I think that he will be very successeful in WRC. Good luck for him

  12. GP4 Carl said on 4th December 2009, 10:49

    So who gets the Mercedes seat?

  13. wasiF1 said on 4th December 2009, 10:50

    I will love to see him in F1 but next season I will follow him in WRC,hope he have a good season.Will he be teammate to Sebastien Loeb?That will fun to watch.

    If he is bonding with Red Bull than he may return with them in 2011 replacing Mark.But for now all the best.

  14. Great news!
    So, it isn’t all about money after all…
    His choice is logical, he wants to do something that makes him feel good, just like playing hockey, riding ski-doos or partying with his crew. One more thing: he’s a Finn, and that means that in Finland F1 drivers are just the guys who can’t drive good enough to tackle Ouninpohja. His massage: “I’m a F1 champion, and I’m bored…When overtaking is obsolete in F1, I can drive alone on the track-in WRC C4!”. Bravo Kimster!

  15. Mahir C said on 4th December 2009, 11:00

    Good luck in there Kimi. But I think Sebastian Loeb will make mincemeat of him in the same car.

    I’ll miss him in F1, but I’m glad we got rid of his fanbois :)

    • steph said on 4th December 2009, 11:27

      but I’m glad we got rid of his fanbois

      Don’t start that argument again. Did you not see the poll debate? :P
      I feel sorry for his fans if they can’t see him rally but at the same time it is also very good news. He gets t do his dream of rallying and be a ‘true’ racer who has competed in completely different categories.
      He may have been frustrating to watch and an absolute mystery in f1 but I really admire him for doing this and getting out of the f1 world he is used to. Best of luck to Kimi.

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