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Raikkonen drops out of F1: A fan’s view
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Raikkonen drops out of F1: A fan’s view
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Nov 2009   |  12:20 pm GMT  |  238 comments

Kimi Raikkonen will not be racing in F1 next season, his manager Steve Robertson has confirmed. He is calling it a year off and time will tell if he ever races an F1 car again.

“The options in F1 were with McLaren next season or not at all,” Robertson said, “Kimi and McLaren were unable to reach an agreement, so he will not drive at the F1 level – at least not next year.

“A gap year means nothing for Kimi. He is more interested in fighting for wins and the world championship. F1 will miss Kimi. He worked hard over the summer – doing things in a Ferrari that only the best drivers are capable of.”

The one and only (Photo: Darren Heath)

The one and only (Photo: Darren Heath)

We have had over 200 comments in the last 24 hours to the post I wrote about Raikkonen’s situation and I thought I should let the fans speak today and this eloquent piece by Melanie was perfect for the moment. Raikkonen has a huge fan base, which is understandably disappointed by him dropping out. Melanie sums up the feelings of Kimi’s army of fans:

“It seems like in the F1 world today, there might not be a place anymore for a driver like Kimi.


Kimi is a real throwback to way that racing use to be. These days F1 drivers are just that; F1 drivers, with media personalities that constantly have to think about their image, the press and thanking the team. So few of them still show a bit of character, and few as often as Kimi.


Kimi is a racer and a gentleman at the same time, a very fair but hard racer who never says anything bad about anyone. It is somewhat ironic therefore that people or the press always have a lot to say about him. Kimi has a lot of integrity, something that seems to be sorely missing these days, although not just in F1.


And apart from that he is also a terrific racing driver, he has shown this year once again that he can wring that something extra out of a car.

Kimi is one of the most misunderstood figures in the paddock, after nine years in F1 many people are no closer to understanding Kimi then when he entered F1. Recently I watched an interview of him before he entered F1, and the man hasn’t changed one bit.

During the season F1 became pretty tedious at times. We had the liegate scandal, diffuser controversy, wars of bureaucracy between the FIA and FOTA, manufactures are running away in droves and to top it all off, a bit of race fixing. F1 is a wonderful sport but at times it becomes unbearable, and you sometimes wonder if it is really worth all the trouble and effort to follow it so feverishly.


Raikkonen_Belgium'09_307
But then you look at someone like Kimi Raikkonen, so uncomplicated and brilliant at the same time, and you see the way that F1 could be, and should be. Like the way he has handled his sacking from Ferrari, with so much class, something that is rarely seen these days. Or racing the fifth or sixth best car and placing it on the podium and even winning a race. Or thinking back to kimi and Lewis going for, giving it their all, on the last lap around a wet Spa. Or Lewis out qualifying the rest of grid by almost a second at Abu Dhabi. That is what it’s suppose to be about!

But that also makes it difficult for a person like Kimi, he loves racing and winning, and he will properly always be racing something. Therefore I dont think Kimi will ever be unmotivated when it comes to racing, but then F1 is hardly about any racing these days, is it? I can therefore quite easily understand Kimi’s love-hate attitude when it comes to F1. Politics and PR have taken over a lot of the sport.

Raikkonen_Japan'09_100i
But luckily Kimi will always be racing, and therefore we will always be able to see him in action going out and giving it his all. I know I will certainly be watching Kimi tackling the WRC. It will certainly be very tough and difficult to find a foothold there, for a driver with almost no experience, but if there is someone who would be able to it, it has got to be Kimi Raikkonen!

Meanwhile, allow me to feel a bit saddened as F1 could be losing one of its last best components. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and it is suppose to be about the best competing against each other, Kimi is still a lot better then many others who will still be around.”

(Edited version)

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238 Comments
  1. A well articulated article.
    Completely agree – I have said on other articles by James that (for me) Kimi turns up drives the wotsits off the car – sprays champagne and then carries on with his life – he does not say anything about his teammate or rvals he just drives – and he wins.

    So long Kimi and thanks for the fantastic races.

    1. Younger Kimi says:

      No F1 without a Finn :(

  2. james says:

    kimi you will be missed so much.some great moments japan 2005 and brazil 2007 were the greatest moments of my life.had the car not broken down constantly in 2005 he would have been a two time world champion .he never complained about other drivers or the team unlike a certain spainard and no lies unlike a certain brit.you will be sorely missed kimi by all your fans but hopefully you will be back in 2011.

    hi james
    how good was kimi raikkonen?I would put him in the top 20 on the greatest driver of all time lists.the sport has lost a talent.do you agree

  3. ian says:

    well, i for one say so long and thanks for all the fish Kimi

    you will be missed, but not for long once the new season gets going – there’s plenty of drivers on the grid who put in more effort and more consistent performances week by week through a season – as has been stated before, you never know which Kimi is going to turn up – the racer Kimi or the ‘cant really be bothered, but ill get in the car anyway’ Kimi.

    dont get me wrong, i hope it really is just a year off, and not a never-ending sabbatical like Mika took – but at the same time, a lack of Kimi in F1 doesnt diminish the prospects for 2010 in my eyes

  4. Josh H says:

    Great post and all too true.

    F1 is becoming to stage managed off the track that it’s almost impossible to tell one driver apart from the other. Webber is one of the few left now who will say and do as he pleases.

    Hope to see Kimi back in 2011!

  5. Vlad says:

    Very dissaponted with Kimi. Yeah, he loves racing. Why didn’t he take the second McLaren for free? If it’s about racing, I would go racing for free in any car, even in the bloody Toro Rosso. This is a sad day for F1.

    1. Peter says:

      ..because of the lots of PR duties at Mclaren and he wanted to do the rallies…

    2. Trixie says:

      Well, nothing comes for free and if the reports are true about Kimi making more money by sitting out 2010 compared to if he raced for another team, then clearly, he’ll have to “pay” and lose out to actually race.
      Besides it sounds like the non-compromise has more to do with his freedom, sponsorship appearances and his desire to occasionally compete in Rally races.
      As for turning up in F1 just for the sake of racing, would just tarnish the Kimi Raikkonen name because we know that a great driver can only be as good as his car can deliver although Kimi has certainly outperformed the dog of an F60 this year.
      Remember Jacques Villenueve’s disappointing showing in the BAR Honda, Sauber,.. ?

      1. Scott says:

        Apparently he’d be paid $17M to not drive, and $10M if he drove for another team. So its not like he’d be making no money at all even if he drove for free! He would have had one of the best cars on the grid, so that destroys the argument about racing for the sake of racing.

        If he was truly committed, then he’d be racing next year. This years performance and this decision prove that he wasn’t committed to F1, and that his motivations lie elsewhere – be it money, or be it falling out of love with F1.

    3. Herhi says:

      Driving for free for McLaren would have devalued him. It makes no sense to do it. It would set a precedence to the rest of his career in motorsports, and he can wait a year and that won’t be a problem – there are F1 teams which will want to hire him with a proper price and without the annoyance of the money from Ferrari/Santander disturbing the negotiations.

  6. Tomo says:

    Very nicely put – couldn’t have said it better myself. Kimi is a subtle and quiet character but I don’t think anyone in the paddock is more honest and straightforward. He says what he thinks and does what he says.

    He was often criticized for a lack of motivation but I think he has been misunderstood. When the speed wasn’t in the car he didn’t blame or complain, he did the best job he could with minimal drama.

    For the Kimi fans, the his speed and sublime skill will be missed; for the sport of F1, his integrity and simplicity.

    Let’s hope he’ll be back in 2011.

    1. michael c says:

      he seems a lovely guy and refreshingly non corporate – but surely – given the awesome performance at Spa this year – his performance is patchy nowadays. Its a huge shame that he won’t be at Brawn (or Schumacher?) next year – Brawn are in danger of falling down on the job for the want of a few Million Euros/Dollars (whats a few million between friends in F1!).

      dissapointing to see his manager Robertson (according anyway to what he is quoted as saying on the BBC site) being rude about Mclaren – not Kimis style I would have thought

      1. michael c says:

        P.S. and in reply to the many who have said so – why on alot of levels (respect being one)should he drive for nothing or even minus 7 Million Euros

  7. Mark Edwards says:

    All quite true, but just think if ego and greed were put aside he could still be in F1 driving a Mclaren and that’s the bottom line here!

    1. AlexD says:

      Agree. I do not think he was asked to leave F1….I think it was his Ego.

      You know what the Bible says: PRIDE COMES BEFORE THE FALL.

      1. David Emlyn says:

        Sorry guys I don’t agree. If Massa’s crash this year has shown anything it’s how dangerous the sport can be – you risk getting killed everytime you get in the car as you never know what will happen. yes he has money in the bank, but so do all the top drivers – maybe they should all drive for free? He’s not getting paid by Ferrari he’s merely been bought out of his contract – which was broken, no different to any other job. I don’t see foobtallers offering to play for free although they’re all multi-millionaires. everyone wants to get paid for what they do and be appreciated. If he were in it for the money he would have taken the mega bucks offered by Toyota last year.

    2. zenmeister says:

      Right now it seems that he may be driving for Mercedes (Brawn) and just imagine how motivated he will be to kick Ferrari and McLaren asses!

      Very good article by Melanie. Thanks for giving her the space, James, but be aware you have a new rival!

  8. jose says:

    Another f1 failure to keep a top driver. f1 is like the roman empire, unable to survive it’s own greatness.
    Kimi was unable to adapt to the changing times, he would have been better off in the sixties, or seventies. So his failure too.
    May be he can go to nascar like monty, but in the usa there is always a camara in front of your face, and he doesn’t like that.
    If he goes to the wrc, and he likes it, i doubt he would come back. So let’s remember him going flat out at spa, and hope to watch him flying on a finlad’s road at 200 kmh.

  9. It is certainly a sad day for F1. I was at the Belgian Grand Prix this year – absolutely brilliant. He will be sorely missed.

    On the topic of wages – I have heard quite a few fans say that if Kimi is paid 30 million and Heidfeld is paid 3 million Kimi should be 10 times better than Heidfeld. This is of course not true – the extra 27 million is paid to Kimi because it is believed that he would be able to win the WDC in a car that Heidfeld is unable to. (Nothing against Heidfeld, this is just an example) This leads me to the question – how much is a WDC worth to a team in monetary terms? Does it make sense for a team to pay 30 million for someone like Kimi if he can win the WDC were others can’t?

    1. Francisco says:

      Without having all the information on my side, which team will pay Kimi more that Fernando or Lewis? How much is he asking for £30M, £25M, £20M? Come on!!!!

      It is not a pity for me, it is just plain simple. Kimi is about the money not about the racing otherwise will be racing for McLaren.
      If Ferrari has decided to finsish his contract earlier that speaks volumes about what he is really worth.

    2. zenmeister says:

      There’s a point about the WDC that someone else made elsewhere, but when I thought about it’s totally. The World Drivers’ Championship is a misnomer, because really the combination of driver, team and car that wins the title. The perfect example is Button and Brawn this year. Neither would have won without the other and that’s why I think Button has lost his sense of proportion (and my respect) by going to McLaren in pursuit of the big buck. He’s forgotten that Brawn gave him the perfect car with which to dominate the first half of the season and stuck with him when he began to falter in the second half. In the glory of the moment he’s lost the ability to look at things in perspective and thinks that he was the key to success. Not so.
      If the Kimi to Mercedes story turns out to be true, Mercedes will so much have had the better half of the swap.

  10. Andrew Attah says:

    While I agree with parts, I can’t help but feel some of this is the usual “it’s not Kimi, it’s everything else” mentality of a large majority of Kimi fans.

    I myself am a huge fan of Kimi, but while I agree with the “a real throwback to way that racing use to be” point, I can’t help but feel this is yet another piece of evidence of Kimi’s lack of ability to adapt; I read his negotiations with Mclaren failed, in part, because of his requests to reduce sponsorship appearences. It’s quite sad to read such things because it makes me feel disappointed in the guy I’ve supported 100% for the past 9 years; I thought all he wanted to do was race in F1, to win, yet he gets hung up on how many times he has to smile, shake hands and cut red tape…? What I’m saying is that whilst it’s great to say “Kimi is a true, proper racer, out of place”… It’s just not how it is now and it’s clear, for the time being, F1 is more than just on track action and this is something drivers (Kimi) needs to accept and adapt to.

    F1 without Kimi Raikkonen will not be the same, whether you’re a Kimi fan or not, this is a fact! Not as big an affect as the retirement of Schumacher, but like Schumacher’s retirement, the rookies in future years will never have the chance to race one of the current eras’ greatest. But I will continue to watch him wherever he chooses to race (let’s hope he’s in a Citroen next year).

  11. Max says:

    I’m not sure what to make of him. He agreed to leave Ferrari so you can’t say he was simply fired, although who wants to work somewhere where you know your bosses don’t want you.

    I was shocked at seeing how much he earns compared to Massa who frankly is just as good as Raikkonen, and he had the option to stay in F1 with a top team and didn’t take it so the ball was always in his court, he just didn’t return it.

    1. Segedunum says:

      “I was shocked at seeing how much he earns compared to Massa who frankly is just as good as Raikkonen…”

      I wasn’t aware Massa was a World Champion. Somebody needs to tell Lewis……..

      The margin between winning and being merely good is fine. Massa went up against Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton in 2007 and fell well short. In 2008 he had the ideal opportunity and still fell short. No, I’m afraid he isn’t as good although he should cause Alonso enough problems.

      1. Dean says:

        “I wasn’t aware Massa was a World Champion. Somebody needs to tell Lewis!”…Thanks Seg, you took the words right outta my mouth…LOL!

    2. Peter says:

      I think we should look at the last 9 years not just the last 2 if you compare him to Massa. That would change the picture a lot.

      1. blah blah says:

        sorry but lewis just slipped & handed
        kimi the title.

        i’m still pissed why mac didn’t pick him up
        i guess they needed a pr driver to haul
        new sponsors

      2. peter says:

        OK, than Massa just slipped and handed Lewis the title in 2008.

  12. Excellent post, it just sums up the enigma that is Raikkonen. I have a very mixed feeling about this whole issue as it’s been so long since Kimi first hated F1 for all the politics which were going on then. Time and again, he said racing is the only thing he likes about F1. Let’s leave that aside for the time being.

    Kimi is a wonderful figure for the sport, a model for young and upcoming drivers and a driver who knows how to behave himself. He might well comeback after an year if things come around well. But sure, if Mercedes really wanted to dump Button to McLaren, then Kimi was helpless from the beginning. I for one don’t believe that Button offered a better package to McLaren than Raikkonen bcos McLaren anyday would give preference to Raikkonen over anyone else on the grid, yes face it!

    So what went wrong, simply it’s a bit of everything. Kimi was adamant about racing only in McLaren. As I type this, I still have faith in him giving a ring to Norbert Haug for a seat in Mercedes GP but the result of that depends purely on whether Haug really likes to see his German prodigy in Rosberg getting beaten up by a Fin.

    These days in F1, u think twice to commit to a statement. Hence I still have hope

    KK

  13. Alex says:

    I’m always surprised when people trot out the “Kimi is a real throwback to way that racing use to be” line – because he’s quite clearly not, or at least not in any visible way. The reason “old skool” racers such as James Hunt (whose name Kimi has used as a pseudonym on previous occasions) stick in the mind and still command people’s affection is that they’re interesting characters. They were funny, charming, roguish and entertaining.

    Kimi is none of that – or at least isn’t in public – his interviews are exceptionally dull and show no flashes of personality. Vettel and Button are much closer to the mould of old skool racers – witnes Vettel’s “Kate’s dirty sister” joke and Button’s propensity to roll his eyes when asked about the dreadfullness of his 2006/7/8 Honda.

    1. Charlie says:

      You clearly watch a lot of UK F1 footage where he is represented exactly as you say. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll see that he is just what his fans above have described.

    2. Martin P says:

      I disagree completely. Kimi’s televised interviews are amongst the most entertaining to watch. He’s the perfect foil for an interviewer trying to squeeze out a non-story as he gives his dead-pan and matter of fact responses.

      No hysterics. No excuses. Just facts and a glint in his eye as he knows he’s p***ing off the guy with the microphone.

      And who else would appear on a grid wall in shorts with an ice cream just after crashing out?!

      He’s one of the “biggest” personalities on the grid.

      Just because his humour and lack of brashness isn’t to your taste doesn’t change that.

    3. Segedunum says:

      He is a throwback. Racers in the 60s and 70s were interested purely in racing – for the right money. Now it’s all PR nonsense and that’s what has decided the driver lineups for 2010.

    4. Richard Mee says:

      I agree. Kimi might be a solid-gold happy go lucky laugh-a-minute party machine deep down but I wouldn’t know because (a few amusing YouTube clips aside) I know nothing about the man – and what’s more, he makes no secret that this is how he wants it and how it will always remain.

      I’m constantly surprised by the level of affection some people have for him when he clearly sees you all as nothing more than a tedious byproduct of his selfish addiction to getting his kicks by going fast. Believe me when I say he won’t miss any of you and will be just as happy bowling through a deserted Northern pine forest in a souped-up Citroen as he ever was at Monza or Silverstone or anywhere for that matter.
      Why not save your loyalty and adulation for someone who gives a shit.

      1. Charlie says:

        Why not give my loyalty and adulation to someone who gives a shit?

        …because they give a shit.

      2. Anita Cameron says:

        you’re right when you say you know nothing about the man….. perhaps if you had gotten to know something about him you wouldn’t have expressed the rubbish you did….. it’s the interviewers and the media about whom Kimi cares nothing, not his fans….

      3. Charlie says:

        Boom!

  14. Oliver Drew says:

    Let us hope that Kimi is back for 2011. He will be missed next season – though it will still be a most exciting season with 2 McLaren World Champions and 2 Ferrari drivers, one with 2 world titles and one who has all the quality required…and Red Bull with two race winners and potential champions and Mercedes…

    So it should still be a thrilling 2010 season…but it would be even more thrilling with Kimi Raikkonen in a race winning car.

  15. Silverstoned says:

    Hi James. First: he’s back in 2011, fingers crossed.
    Secondly, to all those who feel gutted and extremely angry: is there anything we can do about it?
    Yes there is.
    Take a look at the list of sponsors behind Ferrari and McLaren. They’re on their websites. Make sure that not a penny of your cash goes to a single one.
    There’s always another bank, another drinks label, another clothes merchant that will do instead.

    Believe me, we can make a difference. The Iceman has perhaps the largest driver following in F1. Hundreds of thousands in this country and millions worldwide. Let’s give the sponsors the season they deserve.

    1. Richard Mee says:

      Yes but understand that Kimi himself made this decision… there was a chap who commented on the true picture on another story and James thanked him for it.
      Namely Kimi was off after next season anyway because he wanted to go rallying in 2011. He’s been knocked back a bit because ideally he needed more rally practise next year to prepare and to join WRC in a top team. In Kimi’s ideal scenario he’d race in McLaren next year – maybe have a pot shot at the WDC if the car was good enough – and crucially get paid enough to cover the 7 mil he’d drop from the Ferrari money. Given that McLaren (rightly) won’t pay such an amount for a driver openly only willing to commit for 12 months he’s decided to not bother with F1 and either try to get into WRC early or practise off his own back using the 17mil from Ferrari.

      This is ALL about Kimi and what HE wants to do next – it could not have less to do with his fans or anything else… mentally he does not see his future in F1.

      So whilst your boycott idea is gallant, I don’t think it will change anything.

  16. Chris Cole says:

    Like many fans, I’ll miss Kimi…for now, but once the new season starts he’ll fade from our consciousness. Latest news is that Button has signed for McLaren, Ferrari have of course their great line-up of drivers, Red Bull could still be a force to be reckoned with, and who can write-off Mercedes/Brawn? The new season looks on paper to be a very exciting one indeed. By the end of it, Kimi will be just another footnote in history. It’s a shame but the show must go on

  17. Roger says:

    Why is it a sad day for F1?? Next year looks really promising, Lewis will thrash Jenson in every race, Alonso will win every race, Brawn will be no-where near the front of the grid, the rookie drivers in the new teams will crash a lot, their cars will break down a lot – I can’t wait…

  18. Martin P says:

    One incident sums up Kimi to me;

    Remember when Lewis rammed him up the backside at the end of the pit-lane?

    Kimi calmly stepped out, wagged his finger and walked away.

    Compare that to Trulli’s handbags at dawn a few weeks ago for an incident that was (very) arguably his own fault.

    Kimi is pure class. I hope he’s back in a top drive for 2011.

  19. Alex says:

    I am truly gutted to see this post. I hope that I can qualify as one of Kimi’s army of fans as I have followed him ever since Friday practice in Australia 2001. Melanie has summed up perfectley everything that I love and admire about Kimi, especially the way in which he has conducted himself over the last year.
    I really hope that he comes back in 2011.

  20. Dominic Brennan says:

    Hear hear! What a sad day for F1 indeed. Kimi is a fantastic racer and if Hamilton’s good results out of a poor car have impressed the paddock then one must wonder why with an even more inferior prancing horse car, Kimi’s string of podiums and a win haven’t secured more respect.

    His personality divides opinon, personally, I love his attitude – he deson’t want to talk to the media after the race – he’d rather go out and have a few drinks or an ice-cream! He’s a natural racer – without a Lewis Hamilton / Fernando Alonso / Schumacher blemish to his name.

    I’ve loved watching him at every start this season – jumping grid places with cleverly used KERS, lets not forget that if Mark Webber hadn’t cut him off and damaged his car at the start in Brazil, Kimi would be second at the end of the first lap…

    Ferrari clearly decided they owed Massa a seat for 2010 but I think its a bonkers decision. Raikkonen and Alonso is the real dream team here.

    As an F1 fan, this is a sad day and as a Kimi fan in particular, a dark day indeed.

  21. Bill Nuttall says:

    A massive shame, and great loss to the sport. When you consider that at least half of the current F1 field are journeymen with no more chance of winning a race than I have, it really puts it into perspective. It’s a scandal that Formula 1 has lost such a talented driver

  22. Zarooch says:

    Couldn’t agree any more. Kimi was just simply ‘wonderful’ in his all those years in F1, in the way he carried out himself and the racing.

    F1 as a whole will definitely miss him, for whatever he was.

  23. Matt W says:

    I never really understood why Kimi has such a large fanbase as he does no more for the fans than he does the media. I will miss watching him race, but the truth is he hasn’t delivered enough in the last three years. Even in his title winning year he was off form.

    In the end he did decide to take the cash rather than compete so I disagree that his racing ethic is as pure as some say. I’ll miss him, but F1 will move on straight away as it always does.

  24. Steve W says:

    Good post. Unfortunately times have changed and teams just cannot justify paying drivers huge salaries anymore, as the current world champion is finding out. It’s a shame he won’t be in F1 next year, the prospect of 4 world champions going head to head was pretty mouth watering.

  25. VicWeir says:

    If Kimi’s present situation is solely about money then I feel he only has himself to blame, assuming that McLaren would have hired him but not at the rate he required.

    Myself, I don’t quite understand Ferrari’s thinking. Why is Massa preferable to Raikkonen? There are presumably issues we fans know nothing about.

    Like its president, Luca de Montezemola, I would have thought Kimi and Fernando were a ‘dream team’: diffferent styles, different temperaments, but I sense a genuine respect between them – and they even seem to have a laugh together – which would allow each to concenrate on their own game without the out of car distractions we’ve sady seen in previous years
    Perhaps 2011? Unlikely. Too many sharp young things coming up fast.

    1. Janet says:

      I think because it would had been bad PR to sack Massa when he just suffered a horrible accident. So Kimi lost out, although it was obvious that Ferrari was unhappy so they would have sacked him eventually. Barring, 2007 and 2nd half of this season, his driving has not been great, but I suspect that this was more about the car not being suited to his driving style among other things (ex, chasis change in 2008).

      As for Kimi, I love his uncomplicated ways. He is fast and furious and doesn’t take any bull. But I am afraid that at the end of the day, the latter was his downfall. Unfortunately, F1 is a business and Kimi knows that well. It is the business side, that allowed him to make millions of dollars from F1 and to think that he can race without having any or less sponsorship commitments is a bit unrealistic.
      In the end, I think Kimi is not in F1, not because he got the shaft from Macca, but more because he did not want to race. If he wanted to, he would be on the grid in 2010. So I will miss him because I think he is one of the greats, but I’m not sad for him because I think he did exactly what he wanted to do.
      As for 2011, as much as I would love to see him in F1, I doubt that we will see him. I think we will see him in Rally where I think winning a championship or two is entirely possible.

      Regards, Janet- A Kimi “Fanatic”

    2. Silverstoned says:

      Vic, I think Kimi himself, with his usual honesty, gave the press the truthful answer: it was, he said, “commercial considerations” and “not the racing” that forced him out of Ferrari.
      The sponsors these days call the tune and a team principal’s first concern, it seems, is gain their approval. Fair enough. That’s business if you like. But they can’t pretend that’s not the case. It’s never been so “commercial”, maybe because in the past, I guess, there was less lucre around.

      Kimi couldn’t find a place in this wonderful new F1 2010

  26. Dex says:

    So sad! So sad!

  27. Graeme Nesbitt says:

    I think that this is a terrible shame for the sport as Kimi was not only the fastest but the most fascinating guy left in the sport. The only positive is that I am going to get to watch him in my favourite sport, rallying.

    However, I would not bet against him coming back and taking another championship as other great champions such as Prost 1993 and Lauda 1984. Form is temporary, class is permanent and that is why I am amazed that McLaren are so blind to have allowed this to happen.

    Raikkonen, Red Bull-Renault, 2011 WDC (I hope!)

  28. Adam Kelly says:

    James, I’ve noticed you have stratigically abstained from presenting your personal views on Kimi leaving F1. I’ve noticed too that you don’t go into much depth when talking about Kimi.
    Is this because you don’t hold him in high regard as a person and/or racer? Are you being sensitive to the feelings of hords of Kimi fans on here?

    I know the media in general does not like Kimi, he is too tough for them to work with, this is plain to see.

    Personally I’d love to hear your personal opinion, with depth, on Kimi leaving F1.

    I’m sure were it Alonso or Hamilton or even Button you’d be inspired to write and express your opinion on the subject.

    Has Kimi alienated the Media to such an extent that they and you have essentially spurned him to an extent?
    Please don’t take this post as an attack or judgement, its just something I see and I’d like to be clear on this.

    Kind regards,
    Adam

    1. James Allen says:

      I will write that piece, Adam, but I’ve got a bit on at the moment with Button’s news today, not to mention the 600+ Top 5 selections we’ve had sent in so far in less than 24 hours!

      1. Stevie P says:

        Well… you did ask ;-)

      2. Adam Kelly says:

        Thanks James. I really look forward to your insights on Raikkonen. Keep up the great work.

        Adam.

    2. BrendanN says:

      I also get that feeling from James, no offense but it seems that you don’t rate Kimi as highly as others do, which really is not a problem as everyone’s entitled to their opinions regarding drivers.

      I personally try to be as objective as possible when it comes to racing as I want to see the fastest person out there win and also gain recognition for being that person! I have identified that person as being Kimi Raikkonen in the last couple of years.

      That being said to me it seems like Raikkonen has never been given his full due during his F1 tenure and it is a huge shame to lose him at this stage where I believe he could’ve cemented his position as one of the greats!

      Anyway I will miss watching you dearly Kimi, you are an absolute pure-blooded racer who really makes up what Formula 1 is all about unlike the PR robots we have nowadays! Let it be noted that Raikkonen has not once been involved in a spat with anybody or even close to any of these scandals despite being in the two top teams of F1. Now I have no clue who I might support as it seems nobody on the current grid is in the same vein as Raikkonen. I do however believe that Hamilton is also a pure-blooded racer who would’ve been toe-to-toe with Kimi but he just needs to be himself instead of being so programmed and PC all the time!

    3. Vinay says:

      Hear Hear!

  29. Gorgo says:

    Wow, thanks James Allen, Melanie’s post was great. I agree with it 100%.

    Raikkonen is a true racer. Although he will not race in F1 next season, he will continue racing in other series – like the rally.

    I will always support him in whatever he does, but I still think that he has to kick Ferrari’s butt and come back in 2011 and win a couple more championships in F1 ;)

    Keep flying Kimi!

  30. Sy says:

    F1 is pooorer without Kimi, “for sure”.
    ((

  31. Fausto Cunha says:

    A very sad they for me as a Kimi fan, the world of f1 will miss Kimi too because he has a lot of fans.

    As for the post, if i had to say something about Kimi that would be it, a brilliant piece, very accurate and one the spot.

    Thanks Melanie for put into words what many of us are feeling right now.

    The show must go on but without Kimi will never be the same.

  32. Shahzad says:

    reading thru this article a true F1 fan will definitely realize what will be missing on the grid next year…..it seems teams have lost confidence in sheer pace of the driver & have chosen to rely on the performance of their cars instead.
    All an F1 team wants now is just someone who can steer the car around a bit SATISFACTORILY, play mind games with others, market there sponsors etc etc….I wont be surprised if the teams come up with the idea of kicking the drivers all together and build up remote control cars which TEAM BOSSES can race around the track and convert the sport into a big marketing BILLBOARD.
    Analyzing the teams which were capable of fielding Raikkonen on the 2010 grid will be 3.
    1-FERRARI. I honestly don’t have an idea what were they thinking when they came up with a combination of Alonso & Massa. I don’t mean the drivers are bad but the combination definitely is. Just cant wait to see both their egos clashing on and off the field. a combination of Kimi and Massa was better. If it had to be changed at all then it had to be Kimi & ALonso which would have turned out Ferrari as a Super Team.
    2-Mclaren. Whatever happened I suspect has a bit of the Hamilton involvement which is quiet obvious in a Franchise built around Lewis & besides this is the very attitude of the McLaren which has kept them away from the WCC for quiet sometime now.In Button they’ve found a second fiddle to Lewis which they always wanted.
    3-Mercedes GP. They r supposed to have all the money in the world as they were the sole reason why McLaren had the biggest budget in the paddock. A few extra $s wouldn’t have even mattered to them and besides they to needed a top class EXPERIENCED driver besides Rosberg to get them moving around in 2010.

    Now that thing have shaped up this way one can only pray that this Finn’s (Kimi) Sabbatical does not turn out to be the sabbatical the other Finn took a few years ago(read Mika Hakkinen).As we really want to see this Iceman on the F1 Paddock racing and doing what he does best.

  33. Rich says:

    Much as I admire Raikkonen’s obvious exceptional talent behind the wheel I have to disagree heartily with Melanie.

    Raikkonen is not leaving the sport because he is sick of PR duty or political scandal, but because he stands to profit financially from it. He is leaving for the sake of one or two million euros, a king’s ransom to you or I but peanuts to a man who has earned roughly 100 million over the last three years.

    I understand that Kimi’s public persona is framed by media appearances, for which he has no taste and thus he can come across as a bit dull. However, Kimi Raikkonen the racing driver has gone AWOL for the best part of two seasons past and showed no real interest in returning to the form we know he is capable of until Massa was injured earlier this year. Since then of course he was back to his brilliant best but this further compounds the mystery of why he couldn’t have produced that form before.

    Raikkonen is leaving because of Money and that is, for me a great blow to his integrity.

    1. BrendanN says:

      If you believe its actually a case of money then the Raikkonen we’ve seen over the years is just a sham!

      I believe it is more a case of being valued by your team! Kimi wanted that much from Macca because he wanted see whether they believe he’s worth that much! If they were not willing to give him a couple of extra million Euro and have many other options alongside Him it shows that Macca where playing the market! Kimi was just another option for them, yes they considered a great option but still just another option!

      I mean if I were a great talent and some team wanted me, I want the team that I go to have the same valuation that I have of myself and worth. This does not mean that Mclaren are wrong in playing the field, no for them it was in their best interest and makes complete business and competitive sense but in from Kimis perspective, I guess he just doesn’t appreciate that viewing of his status.

      Mclaren were playing hardball as were the Robertsons and in the end, a combination of the credit crunch, Button being available and his World Champion status, and Macca already having Hamilton in the other seat, just meant that Macca had more cards to play in their favour! Kimi could still go to other teams but it seems no one wants to pay that much!

      Though if I were Mercedes then I would be contacting Kimi right now and paying Him just about enough to sign him on! No offense to Rosberg and possibly Heidfeld who are great drives,but I think Merc might be a bit toothless next year against the lineups at Ferrari, Mclaren and even Red Bull.

      1. BrendanN says:

        “Though if I were Mercedes then I would be contacting Kimi right now and paying Him just about enough to sign him on! No offense to Rosberg and possibly Heidfeld who are great drives,but I think Merc might be a bit toothless next year against the lineups at Ferrari, Mclaren and even Red Bull.” – Don’t say I didn’t tell you guys :P Whispers in the paddock seem to suggest Merc don’t want to be toothless next year!!

  34. Charlie says:

    I seriously think that this is a tragedy for Formula 1. There are so few sportsmen in the world who are genuinely ‘sporting’ individuals. Kimi wants to win like all sportsmen, but he is also gracious in defeat. Has he ever complained about anyone else as the reason for his personal failures? No.

    Think about Button complaining about his car this season. Think about Barichello’s moodiness when his team-mate consistently beat him. Think about Vettel losing his temper at Turkey after his first lap fault. Think about Massa playing mind games with the media to assert himself at Ferrari. Think about Hamilton and Alonso taking swipe after swipe at one another in 2007.

    Compare this to Kimi gently tapping Lewis on the shoulder, pointing to the red pit light and strolling back to the garage.

    The moments that prove Kimi’s character are those such as Alonso excessive celebration of his 5th victory of 2005, a victory he was gifted owing to Kimi’s front right tyre exploding. Or how about the way that Massa was so excited at winning in France in 2008, a victory he was gifted when Kimi’s exhaust broke. Or think about how Montoya ungraciously celebrated in Britain in 2005 knowing full well that had Kimi not suffered a 10 place grid penalty in qualifying he would have obliterated Juan Pablo.

    Kimi just gets in the car and drives it. He is uncomplicated, respectful, brilliant, but basically a normal guy at heart.

    Were I famous I would probably be so insecure about the public perception of me. I would play games with the media. I would want to win at all costs. The reason I love Kimi Raikkonen is that he represents everything that a sportsman should be and everything I would want to be were I in that position.

    I will miss this. F1 will miss this. Those who don’t appreciate this quality inherent in Kimi Raikkonen will not miss it, but that in itself is their loss.

    1. Silverstoned says:

      Nicely put, once again. What used to be called the Corinthian ideal. You don’t hear so much about that these days.
      Possibly the polar opposite of Michael Schumacher. I wonder if James would agree with that assessment?

      1. Charlie says:

        Totally. Schumacher is pretty much the polar opposite of my ideal sportsman…that’s not to say he wasn’t amazing. Just not my guy.

      2. Rudy Pyatt says:

        An entirely understandable view on MS, and maybe the majority opinion. But, then again, Senna, indisputably one of the greats, was no saint either. Not to speak ill of the dead, but rarely, if ever, does anyone question his sportsmanship, or criticize him for providing the direct, ruthless, precedent (in controlling team dynamics, in on track behavior – the Machiavellian ideal, not the Corinthian) for Schumacher.

      3. Charlie says:

        Totally agree. Senna’s mentality turned me right off. That said, Prost wasn’t my guy either. I wasn’t a huge F1 driver fan in the late 80s.

        It’s all about the 70s and Ronnie Petersen. Legend.

    2. Anita Cameron says:

      Brilliantly put, Charlie. Kudos.

      1. Charlie says:

        Cheers Anita!

  35. Mr G says:

    I will be very harsh, according to some of the other blogger, but I don’t think losing Kimi will make a huge impact to the F1 pubblic.
    He had always a huge fan base before he went to Ferrari and his party antics did not help him winning a lot of support from the Italian tifosi.
    F1 needs people with carisma, panache and Kimi has not demonstrated any of that.
    He has driven fantastic cars during his career but he never express any emotions while outside the cockpit and most of the fans wants to find out what it is driving a F1 at the edge.
    Even Hakkinen was able to express his emotions when he was driving in F1, despite being critisised by the media for a lack of soul.
    But unfortunately Kimi hasn’t done that, sometimes I think he has alienated his own garage crew being so laid back.
    This year has demonsta=rated to be a top driver turning the Ferrari around and scoring points where other drivers failed miserably.
    In years to come we will not remember Kimi for anything apart for his name in the WDC winners.

  36. Sven says:

    Kimi belongs at Red Bull in an Adrian Newey car.
    It might take a year before we se it but at least
    it gives the other drivers a breather during 2010.

  37. Frederik says:

    It’s truly sad that Kimi goes for the money.
    Unless he gets an ultimate phonecall from Norbert Haug, i’m affraid this is the end of Kimi in F1.

  38. Craig says:

    That’s sad to hear about Raikkonen and the loss of a world champion on the grid and not least a quality talent and one of the elite (when he performs). I guess this throws Heidfeld a line of a competitive car now – can he finally get a win next year!

    The whole money wranglings of top sportsmen always puzzles me somewhat though. Clearly it seems Kimi still wants to race in F1 if he can challenge for the championship. He could have had that with McLaren. Yet the mismatch between the recession-driven field-wide slash of driver salaries being offered and his huge Ferrari severance pay for 2010 is clearly too big an obstacle. But for someone who is worth £100m or something, you would think finance concerns should no longer be an issue, and the chance to compete and challenge yourself at a point in your life when you still have the opportunity and youth to be able to would/should win out?

    I suppose it’s human nature to always want more (get a pay rise and it’s not long before you want another!), but one would think once a person reaches multi-millionaire level, other aspects of life would become a more influencing factor when making and pursuing goals and ambitions. However, I guess also that when you have a lot of money, the lifestyle that goes with it gets ever more costly too!

    In short, though there may have been other disputing factors in the contract (such as being able to freely compete in the WRC), the seeming desire for Kimi to obtain excess money that you’d think would seem irrelevant for him (since he has already earned enough to have whatever lifestyle he wishes), seems an odd one and a shame. Afterall, Kimi will be remembered and celebrated for his achievements – his wins and being a World Champion (which could have been multiple in 2010) – not how large his bank balance was!

    Incidentally, Jenson seems have acted similarly. However, I am one who doesn’t think getting himself into a long-term McLaren seat while his stock is high (and now in need of the next challenge *cough* Lewis!), is necessarily a bad decision.

  39. Ati says:

    Well, maybe it sounds a bit childish….but I hope Mclaren and Ferrari get totally spanked by RBR and Merc GP and the 2 former can’t even win a race.

    They are fkn idiots for letting one of the best ‘retire’ and preffering a scared lucky grey mouse (Button), or a lieing cheater (Alonso who had to know about the Singapore crash no matter what he says) and other lesser drivers (Rosberg et al).

    Kimi has too much integrity and honesty to be driving around the the current F1 anyhow. So probably better for him too. F1 is just so fake and orchestrated these days, it’s like a corny Hollywood movie.

  40. Tim says:

    I think its a terrible shame that Kimi will not be around next year, but I think the guy is an enigma. He really should have won 2 WDC at McLaren but the car let him down, and to be honest his record at Ferrari has been a little patchy to say the least.

    I honestly would have preferred to see him at McLaren in 2010. If it was just about money then he is badly advised. Hamilton and Raikkonen in the same car would have been absolutely electric. Has anyone considered that maybe McLaren weren’t keen on the deal? Is there a strong Hamilton influence at work here?

  41. Evenstar says:

    That was wonderful, James and Melanie. My eyes are welling up again :(

    Kimi has been treated really unfairly, he never did anything wrong, he never said a bad word to anyone, he always kept composed in the toughest situation, he always respected the media even though on some occassions they never showed respect for him. Kimi never changed in what was the big and wild world of F1. He never changed. I really admire him for that. If anything changed in him, it was only his speed – he only got faster and better. F1 has lost it’s greatest racer of the decade. And I knew I felt something when the sun set in Abu Dhabi, Kimi’s last F1 race. But I know he’ll be excited and eager to try new challenges in a new dawn. He’s got the talent to achieve more, and I believe he will. May he keep flying…

    1. Charlie says:

      Genius.

    2. AlexJ says:

      Hey Evenstar I know you! Didn’t you run the forum on the Kimi site?

      1. Evenstar says:

        Hi Alex! I don’t run the Official Kimi forum, but am a member there, since 2002. I run my own fansite though, which has a forum too.

        2009 is already over for me now. Here’s to Kimi and his new challenges, looking forward to it :)

  42. PaulL says:

    I’m really disheartened where F1 has gone this year after 4 wonderful years from 2005-2008.

    The loss of Kimi from the sport is the worst way to end a great era.

  43. Jay Rooney says:

    Hi James (and fellow readers)

    I have a comment to make about Kimi- and it won’t be popular but I can live with that.

    I’ve been logging on to this blog at least twice a day since October last year and I normally just read other peoples opinions. I have never felt the need to offer my two cents as anything I have to say some one has already said it.

    I’ve been a Ferrari & Jordan fan (I’m Irish) since starting to watch F1 in 1994/5. I also support the British Drivers (I live in the UK) and always knew Jenson had what it took to succeed. Lewis is phenomenal. I never took to Alonso but I respect that he is an unbelievably good driver and seems like a decent person, and who wouldn’t like Felipe Massa- the guys just gold. Rubens whines but we all know he’s a fundamentally good human being. Webber, Vettel etc- all seem like decent people.

    Now to Kimi- again, like Alonso, I never liked nor disliked him- completely ambivalent to they guy. I respect and admire him as a driver and we all know he has a certain natural talent that is probably the greatest of all the current drivers (probably)- so fair play to him. He doesn’t feel the need to chat or be nice to people (like some of the press and his fellow drivers)- and that’s fine too. Sometimes he’s all-out rude (“I was taking a S***” when Martin Brundle asked him if he saw the presentation on the grid to Schumacher at the end of 2006) . It wasn’t funny, it was a bit juvenile and he let himself down- but hey that’s fine too- no harm done.

    Great racing this year in Belgium- pushed every lap and deservedly won. Fantastic performance over the course of the year and form a racing point of view its unfair Ferrari have dropped him.

    But no, I won’t miss him- and plenty of my mates feel the same way. We’ve still got great racers in F1 and some great “characters” too.

    The reason why I won’t miss him is because of the video on You Tube many of us have had the mis-fortune of watching.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMBP1T_jw5w

    The guy went straight through a little girl and didn’t even bother to help pick her up or apologise. If any of us saw a random guy do that to a small child in a shopping centre or the high street we would think “very poor human being” (or something stronger)- and we would be right.

    Hey accidents happen and I know that the mother was to blame too- but it’s his face and gesture after it that made my blood boil.

    James you have kids- and many of us have too. You’d want to deck a guy if he did that to you child. Understandably.

    Maybe I’m being hard on the guy but I have a feeling there is another man who just hasn’t taken to his attitude- I wonder did Luca Di Montezemolo see that video- no doubt he would have been less than impressed too.

    Now maybe a few minutes later he got someone from the team to track the child down, brought them back to the motor home and apologised- and if he did then my rant has no basis and I retract the whole thing. Super-duper.

    But if there was no apology- then that’s one “character” in F1 we can live without.

    Fantastic Driver, but a great man? Dunno. And yes. it does matter.

    Kimi- all the best and thanks for the racing.

    Let the arguing commence.

    1. Jameson says:

      Really? Raikkonen hit the kid? He was trying to avoid being accosted by some lady who was ignoring her child. Kimi even pointed back for the mother to go help her kid. What about the mother that continued to follow Kimi after she saw her child crying on the ground? I guess she’s a greater human being than a man that contributes to charities for children.

      1. Pierre says:

        Completely agree with you Jameson, if you look at it carefully, he tries to avoid her.

      2. Jay Rooney says:

        Yep, fair point- the mum was a too enthusiastic and I did say that she was as much to blame It just left me cold the way he didn’t seem bothered. What can I say?- yes I’m being harsh but I simply feel that had that been Lweis or Jenson or (hopefully) most of the other drivers they would have handled that better. Glad to hear he donates to charities though- if we can afford it we all should. I’ve done a quick poll here at work (we are all into F1) and we just feel he won’t be “properly missed”- I guess none of us ever felt passionate about his efforts they way we do about Lewis/Jenson/Felippe- I think we would miss those personalities more.

      3. Mark Crooks says:

        Well what about this:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzwwTVlfBHI

        Hardly the sign of someone with good manners is it?

    2. Barry says:

      Hey bub, are you blind? The woman knocked the little girl down. Kimi never touched her.

    3. Abhi says:

      Well, I thought we were discussing the “racing driver Kimi” (and/or racing drivers – Hamilton, Button, Massa, Alonso, Vettel … lined up)

      Don’t really see where an incident that was caught on video and uploaded to Youtube, which has very little to do with racing, which incidentally also had a mother (or caregiver or whoever) caring just as less for her own, to have anything at all to do with racing.

      We all have our off days at work, at home, practically anywhere really and this was one such incident. Yes Kimi’s had more of those than most, like maybe his drunken fall off the yatch. We could very well pull that video off youtube as well. But it’s his personal life and has nothing to do with what we’re talking about here.

      On the topic itself, I’m a Kimi fan, I’m also a Alonso fan, Massa-put him in there too, Vettel-yes please, heidfeld, hamilton-they’re all right there.

      To a far greater extent though, I’m a fan of the sport, and quite frankly we’ve seen the best and worst of everything that this sport has given us over the years – and that, all in one year. It’s good fun in a way for old fans and new fans alike, but at the end of the day, we want to see racing and we sure will miss what Kimi has brought to the sport.

    4. TOCO says:

      I think i’ve posted on this before somewhere on here, but don’t forget that Finns are famously straight talkers. If you ask them how they are, they tell you, because you wanted to know. It’s not the Irish way of saying a hundred words and not meaning any of it. Brundle asked, Räikkönen told him. As for the little girl, I put the blame as much at mum’s doorstep. She didn’t even notice the child had fallen, and continued to pester him for an autograph. Remember also that ordinary people aren’t usually pestered continually for autographs and photos. No arguments, just a reasonable and reasoned response?

  44. Dex says:

    James,

    What are the odds for Kimi in Mercedes GP? Are they really satisfied with Rosberg/Heidfeld line up?

  45. CMR says:

    They all want their heads banging together if you ask me!

    Formula 1 has just lost a superstar, Raikkonen should be in F1, and we are all worse off that he is not.

    F1 politics runs side by side with the racing, it always has – but why is it they shoot themselves in the foot so flipping often!

    it’s like school time squabbles on a billion dollar playground.

  46. Alien says:

    Don’t worry Mel, Kimi is chock full of Sisu. He’s getting 17 million Ferrari dollars to see if WRC is for him and at the end of the year he’ll be able to see which team has adapted to the new rules the best and what the rules for 2011 will be. His natural talent will make up for the year out of an F1 cockpit and teams will be falling over themselves to give him a drive in 2011, not to mention the kind of sponsorship he can attract.

    For 2010 I see him possibly driving in the WRC or PWRC for Red Bull or as a privateer and then replacing Webber as Vettel’s team mate in the Red Bull F1 team, unless he decides to continue with rally and go for the WRC title.

    He has a lot of options and it’s not the last we’ll see of him.

  47. StefMeister says:

    I think that in a way Kimi has only himself to blame.

    I’ve always rated Kimi highly & I’ve always been a fan of his aggressiveness while he was at McLaren, Races like Suzuka 2005 reminded me of why I liked Kimi’s driving style.

    However the past 2 years Kimi has at times looked average, he’s given the impression that he wasn’t giving his all at all times like he used to, That may not actually be the case but its often the impression he gave out.

    When he’s out front (Like Spa) he still looks like the Kimi of a few years back, However when he was a bit further back he sometimes seemed like he’d almost just given up & decided there was no point in trying to push any harder.

    Certainly if you compare the drives he put in at McLaren to what he put in at Ferrari in the last year or 2 & its like 2 different drivers.

    If Kimi had given off the same sort of impression as he did pre-2008 I don’t think he’d be in the situation he’s in right now.

    1. Peter says:

      I think it is the same with all sportsman and women. He has been in the same sport for 9 years. Motivation is always a big factor in any sport. Also he has earned approx. 300 million USD so far…But he is still only 30 and hugely talented. He is not going to disappear.

  48. Adrian Harris says:

    I have never been a great Kimi fan but he will be missed especially when you consider the drivers that inevitaby make up the numbers! Hope to see him back in 2011

  49. Nihad Gluscic says:

    Though I’m sad to see Kimi’s talent disappear from F1, and I believe that’s for good and not temporary, I can’t help but feel betrayed that he sold out his fans for 2m – which is what he earns more from Ferrari if not racing for any team in 2010.

  50. Rog says:

    The only people who are not concerned about Kimi not getting a seat and are very nonchalant about it, pretending he was nothing more than average are Hamilton/Alonso/Button/etc fans who are happy the better driver is no challenger anymore.

    Even Schumacher said Kimi is the fastest driver of the grid, so the opinions here claiming the opposite are fairly laughable, period.
    Give him the car that suits him and no one will touch him. He even won a race with an inferior car this year and got many podiums. All with a car which was 3rd, maybe 4th fastest on the grid (so max position should be 5th or 6th).
    If that doesn’t prove it to you, then you are blinded fans of his competitors.

    Formula One now only consists of fake actors who say the right things to please the industry that has devoured it and the ignorant fans who think a driver is only a good racer if he says the right things in interviews…. then drive around like little girls and whine and cry when someone doesn’t let them pass by just because they showed their front wing in someone’s back wing.

    F1 = Fakers 1

  51. Nick Proctor says:

    A few years ago, considerable efforts would have been made by F1 powerbrokers to ensure a recent World Champion of the caliber of Kimi Raikkonen remained in the sport, for the good of the sport.

    With F1 losing manufacturers and cutting budgets, perhaps it can no longer afford the luxury of a driver who isn’t just a straightforward marketing commodity?

    It looks like that rare breed of no-nonsense racing driver who lets his driving do the talking could finally be extinct.

  52. Peter says:

    Come back in 2011 with a team like Red Bull which would suit you more than any other team. After 9 years 1 year off is nothing but good for re-charge the batteries. He is the fastest and the most talented in F1.

  53. parthi says:

    It’s a shame to see Kimi go, he is what racing is all about, he is what F1 drivers should be.

    There are so few really likeable drivers in the paddock these days, F1 needs drivers like Kimi, Juan Pablo and Villeneuve.

    Bernie should’ve put in a few euros to keep Kimi in the sport

  54. Lady Snowcat says:

    Great article Melanie…

    I am sure a lot of people will follow Kimi wherever he goes…

    I can’t help thinking that the current Mercedes/McLaren war has brought this about… and F1 will certainly be a lot less because he isn’t there…

    I am sure I am not alone to have hoped to see Kimi, once again, in a car that was built to suit his style and not one that is the polar opposite of that…

    If he does come back it should only be because that will be so…

  55. Keith says:

    Great driver he may be – and F1′s loss is Rallying’s gain – there is something mildly irritating about a man who cant raise even the slightest bit of enthusiasm when talking to the press, and therefore the fans, when he gets paid ¢20 mill a year.

    As my 18 yr old daughter would say – man up!

  56. Segedunum says:

    I find it astonishing that a driver like Raikkonen can’t find a place in F1. I fail to see what anyone gets out of what has happened.

    Mercedes are going to have two unproven wannabes, a journeyman in Heidfeld who should have achieved more by now, they are unlikely to win now in the face of the competition, Button is going to a team with a car totally ill-suited to him where Hamilton will almost certainly outdrive him and there will be carnage at Ferrari. This is all over perhaps two or three million.

    I’m not particularly interested in seeing Hamilton breath a huge sigh of relief and totally outdrive Button in that car and I’m not really interested in seeing Brawn produce a good car only for Rosberg and Heidfeld to lap unspectacularly. It looks good for Red Bull next season.

  57. claudie says:

    Wow! This made me cry :-(

    She hit the nail on the head! Couldn´t have described my feelings any better!

  58. Sarfraz says:

    Its frustrating to see another unique character like Kimi being forced out of F1. It may seem odd but he may find a better life outside of F1. You look at Montoya right now as another example of a racer forced out of F1. He is very happy with his new life in NASCAR and enjoying the racing. Juan must have been in laughing fits at all the arguments/court cases/teams quitting/etc going on in F1 and think, thank god I don’t have to deal with that anymore!

  59. Renn Sport says:

    If Kimi just comes across as aloof and uninterested. I used to be a big kimi fan but not so much anymore…

    Yes he doesn’t trash talk others, he races pretty fair and he races hard! Great but so does TS, RB, RK, KK, AS, NR etc…

    He also doesn’t give back to fans, he doesn’t seem to play the team game and he is uninterested in F1, fans and the sport in general. If Kimi cared that much for winning and not bottom line he would have accepted the 6 million a year from McLaren and brought it on. However he didn’t feel the money was enough and I am sorry.. he doesn’t love winning that much… for a guy who professes to love racing that doesn’t compute. He would have and should have taken the deal. He has made enough money through his last contract to take a loss of a couple mill he felt was due to him. He’s still one of the best paid of all time.

    Kimi Vs Lewis
    Kimi Vs Ferrari would have been epic a no holds barred race to the finish. Kimi could have cemented his legend, but alas the money wasn’t enough and it wasn’t so much about wanting to be in a winning car. It was about padding his wallet and how much difference does 1 million or so make to someone as wealthy as Kimi?

    Massa is more value for money then Kimi and he is more of a honest character.

    Kimi will be missed by some but not like Mika was missed.

    Kimi don’t let to door hit you on the way out… I hope to see you sidways at a WRC event sometime real soon.

  60. Andrew says:

    I COMPLETELY agree. What a great objective perspective. The powers that be should be concerned about this and take a look at the big picture. I particularly agree with the comment that F1 can be unbearable at times making you wonder if you can continue to follow it. Just try explaining to friends who are trying to understand it how a loophole could allow 3 teams to have an advantage for 5 races. You start to feel a bit self-conscious about how stupid it sounds and now to try to explain how a recent world champion has nowhere to go is even more embarassing.
    Actually, that’s the word I’m searching for – embarassing. It’s an embarassment that F1 is losing a great driver and world champion.

  61. N Smith says:

    I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  62. Axel says:

    F1 will be so different next year… Crazy new teams and line-ups, no refueling… Cars are beginning to be single-spec… What happened to having the best driver’s and teams with engineers having the freedom to make cars as fast as possible?

  63. RobbM says:

    This is really sad news, i hope he’s back next year, Melanie has summed up how we feel about Kimi and the whole F1 situation, so there’s no need for me to repeat what she’s, very succinctly written.
    But i do hope the people who run F1 and the top teams read James blog and particularity this post and take heed of how we feel, fat chance i know, but it would be nice.
    Next year wont be as good as it good be for F1 which is shame. The marketing people like Vodephone need to take a look at themselves. I hope Kimi has an excellent time rallying i’ll keep an eye out simply because i enjoy his racing and the fact he talks like a human being and not a marketing tool.

    Rob

  64. Alan Wechter says:

    As a fan of Raikkonen this is a sad day for formula one and sadly, I doubt that he will be back in 2011.

    On his day Raikkonen was the fastest driver; beating Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton easily on occasion. The memory of Raikkonen that I will always have with me is qualifying in Spa when he drove flat out through a blinding cloud of smoke. Brilliant.

    1. chetz says:

      they said on commentary: balls of steel… another moment.. fuji 2007 when he went outside david coulthard when the whole grid was aquaplaning…blistering drives he s given us

  65. Luca says:

    The only reason people do not know Raikkonnen any better today is that he has not bothered to actually open his mouth for a decade. If one is to believe the media, then his lips were more likely to be prised open by a bottle than an interviewer’s microphone.

    For someone on his outrageous salary working in today’s media world (not the 70s)his last years with Ferrari were an eccentric piece of performance art at best. As for “wringing the neck” of the Prancing Horse, I have every confidence that the “ghost whispering” of Fernando Alonso will prove far more effective.

  66. Misu says:

    In my opinion we’re all blinded by the image that we see except those, who are really close to the personalities, if there is any. I think that we should put aside the money issue a bit too: the best drivers will always have a good seat, I know there are exceptions but in the modern era the talent gets associated with an effective car. There were high expectations when Kimi joined Ferrari, and he clearly failed to deliver. Winning the championship in 2007 is a great achievement but it was more a loss by McLaren than a powerful victory by Kimi. In 2008 he was overshadowed by Massa, who is still rated nowhere compared to Kimi just because he scored 1 point less than Lewis Hamilton despite being a far more powerful candidate for the championship than Kimi was in 07. This year was going to be Massa’s one again, but we all know what happened. Since then Kimi was doing a great job keeping up the Ferrari alone but we lost the reference point. I think, if Kimi was really needed, Mercedes or McLaren could have find the money but from the outside it seems that he was simply not doing enough to stay inside.

  67. Unbelievably well put.

    I’m just SO sad.

    I actually have to pay to watch Formula 1. No other ‘legal’ way to do it in Portugal, unless you have a satellite dish.

    I’m seriously considering if I’ll pay for next year.

  68. David says:

    “But that also makes it difficult for a person like Kimi, he loves racing and winning, and he will properly always be racing something.”

    Probably, not properly.

  69. SplinterBoy says:

    Really good post. I think F1 is losing a real character but i’m quietly confident he will return….probably with a Red Bull connection in the future. I think he’ll enjoy a bit of time away from the rat-race too. I still put the 2005 Japan GP up there in my top 5 races ever. I’ll never forget going to Autosport International in Jan 2001 & turning to my Dad saying “who’s that 14yr old sitting there looking really bored & put out”…..he’s never changed….that’s Kimi!

    I must add tho that there’s a massive slab of irony attatched to this – Nick Heidfeld.
    He was so put-out when Mercedes went for Kimi in 2002 & yet here he is, going to get a race winning Merc at the age of 32!
    Although many on here seem to disagree, I really believe he’ll push the big boys hard next yr & i’m convinced he’ll win a race or 2….that said, he’s no Kimi….just ask Ron Dennis

  70. Trixie says:

    Melanie said it all for Kimi supporters like myself. Reading some of the posts here who feel Kimi should adapt with the current requirements of F1 racing and the sponsorship responsibilties considered part & parcel of today’s driver salary package, well have we forgotten that Kimi is employed as a racing driver after all? Why should he change himself to be a media darling just to suit the media circus that surround F1?
    In all honesty, I would love to see more Kimi media appearances as a fan, but at the same time I also understand the discomfort he would feel talking about himself, or go into extreme analysis on just about any subject matter that is thrown at him and the intense interest about his performance, motivation, blah, blah, blah. If every driver is expected to be an extrovert, and expresses their view on just about anything, I’m sure we’d be bored with them sooner or later.
    For me F1 2010 season will lose it’s shine without Kimi. For sure he’s better off financially taking what Ferrari is compensating him for sitting out the next season to explore new challenges. I just hope we’ll continue to see Kimi’s raw talent and extreme speed in action wherever he ends up competing in next year.
    Just don’t forget to come back to F1 in 2011, Kimi. GO KIMI GO!!!

  71. joseph says:

    Funny comments! Kimi is a money driver, he drives for money, and he does really good. Zero passion, he doesnt care about fans or other drivers

  72. Stevie P says:

    I feel, the thing with the Iceman is that you only see glimpses of his true nature… I sooo love this moment; Brundle: “did you see Pele?”, Kimi: “no, I was taking a ****!” – ha ha, marvellous.

    Apparently, he’s great fun away from the track and I sooo wish he’d brought more of that to the F1 world (ok, not slurping a vodka whilst tanking it through Eau Rouge ;-)). His monosyllabic ways gave the impression that he didn’t care… and unfortunately, as in most (if not all) corporate affairs, impressions count.

    He is a fast driver… but he still wanted far too much money and wasn’t prepared to accept a compromise over pay in a world where most have been affected by recession. It’s why Button’s antics are starting to get on my nerves a tad.

    If he loves F1 that much and “just” wants to drive, he would have compromised… adieu Iceman, you will be missed… but not for long, as the show always moves on.

    So it’s gonna be an all Brit line up at Macca then!!! Sorry Jens, bad move son.

  73. Desdi says:

    What a great read. Honest and true. Thank you for that Melanie. And thanks to you James for bringing it to everyones attention.

    F1 is a lesser sport when the arguably biggest natural talent leaves in this way.

    Anyway, bring on the fuel mileage races of next year. *sigh*

  74. Jamie Cottage says:

    “The options in F1 were with McLaren next season or not at all,” Robertson said, “Kimi and McLaren were unable to reach an agreement, so he will not drive at the F1 level – at least not next year.”

    “A gap year means nothing for Kimi. He is more interested in fighting for wins and the world championship.”

    If that were true he would have accepted the McLaren deal. LMAO!

  75. Williams4Ever says:

    Jay – you penned my thoughts. I have personally witnessed this rude, insensitive side of the Finn at Tag Heur PR event in 2006. The unfortunate victim was again in that case a young F1 fan, who must have forced her Dad to pay a moolah to get die cast model of McLaren F1 car which she was holding on dearly. Organizers had publicisized this event as “Autography Signing” event. The Finn Turned up late, was completely disinterested, and didn’t bother to sign any autographs or anything. And he had his bodyguards walked by couple of feet from this girl who was shouting Finn’s name, holding out the Diecast car. Kimi who can manage to see every thing that happens around him at high speed in F1 race turned blind eye and walked off leaving the girl incosolable.
    So much for bringing Fans to F1/Motorsports.

    And on same day elsewhere Villenueve and Heidfeld were doing promo for their sponsor Petronas, interacting with fans posing for pictures signing autographs.

    So Racer Yes Kimi definitely was one, Gentleman I am not sure.

    This article though has some correct facts about Kimi the Driver overall its a typical view of a Fan who has not interaction with Idol and made a mental image which is larger than life.

    With Lifestyle stories about Kimi, I don’t think Kimi after sabbatical will be like Alain Prost. It will be more like a Villeneuve comeback story. Modern F1 driver unfortunately needs loads of discipline both on and off the track which unfortunately is not Kimi’s virtue.

  76. James says:

    WIth Kimi gone, all I can say is that F1 has lost its Crown Jewel. Loosing Kimi is like loosing Ronaldo in football or Mohd Ali in boxing.

    Just look at F1 these days, its more like high speed parade than racing. I really like to watch F1 during the days when Arton Senna is racing, then follow by Mika Hakinen. When these two are gone, luckily great drivers like Kimi, Montoya came which makes F1 really fantastic to watch. A lot of over taking, crashing. Now with Kimi gone (don’t even know whether it is sabbatical or forever, I just can’t imagine F1 without Kimi.

    Just look Ferrari car this year, with such uncompetitive car, Kimi still drive it marvelously. This is the talent that I don’t see it in any other drivers who is still around.

    Mostly like I will switch to watch WRC instead of F1 next year.

  77. Peter says:

    I would like to see a combined contract with Red Bull including rallies in 2010 and a drive in F1 from 2011 asap. Hope they will stay in touch with F1 teams. Le Mans is also a great series, so no reason to be too disappointed, he is still only 30.

  78. chetz says:

    just read that its been confirmed that Button has joined McLaren… its just so depressing that a real talent sits out while thanks to sponsors (for a second time) no-good drivers get race seats…

  79. Chris says:

    I think Sven has it (#36), he should be at Red Bull in an Adrian Newey car.

    He can drive the wheels of any car and my lasting regret is that McLaren had fallow years whilst he was there as he could have delivered if he had a more reliable car.

    I’ll miss his driving and look forward to seeing him back in 2011. In the meantime, I’ll look for him in the WRC.

  80. Cemre says:

    I became a Kimi and F1 fan back in 2001.Since then, I was always proud to be a Kimi fan. I still am. F1 became the most important part of my life through the years, and Kimi is the one who played the biggest role in this. I’m really sorry that he left, because there is not a single driver on the grid who is as good, quick and fearless as him. Kimi is a fair player, unfortunately, the others are not as we have often been encountering some dirty moves for the recent years. For 2011, I am not sure if he will come back. However one thing is certain; F1 will never be the same without him. We had good and bad times and I’ll never forget my home GP, in Turkey 2005 when Kimi won the 1st ever Turkish GP, of course all victories at legendary Spa, Suzuka 2005 and Brazilian GP 2007. Those were all the best times of my life.
    Thanks for the article.

  81. adriana says:

    so sad that f1 is losing a pilot as kimi is. he gives colour to this sport and as a f1 fan, i regret his leaving so early.i hope he’ll come back soon…

  82. JB says:

    A very sad day. That’s it, an era in F1 where we had drivers with character has ended. And what a talent we will be missing. It was really promising for next year to see an epic battle between Ferrari and McLaren again, but alas, not to be..

    After having followed F1 over a decade I never thought if and when I would stop and what would I feel. Now, all of a sudden, this has happened.

    I’m quite sure he will not be back in F1. At least I hope he will be the 1st in the history of the world to win both F1 as well rally WDC.

    As for the never-ending talk about his pay demands — if you already have worked up to certain level, you will not come down. For Kimi, his just want to race and he doesn’t mind to do it in WRC if F1 was not to be.

  83. Brendan says:

    I’m really going to miss Kimi in F1 next year and F1 will miss him too. Being a kimi fan involves alot of frustration, to his days at mclaren with so many engine problems, lacklustre races for ferrari and then pulling a fastest lap out of the bag on the final lap, it certainly has been interesting to follow kimi over the years. I think 2005 was his best year with some outstanding drives like getting pole in monza on a one-stop strategy while his rivals were on a 2-stop or that pass on fisichella on the last lap in suzuka. I’m disappointed that it all came down to money and PR stuff in the end especially for such a racer that kimi is.
    So now that we’ve heard what the fans think…what do you think james??

  84. Jasper says:

    Gotta say I agree with a number of people here that it’s pretty unlikely Raikkonen will return in 2011. If McLaren couldn’t pay what he wanted for 2010, surely his net value is going to decrease after taking a year out, remember Villeneuve was out for most of 2004 and then returned for the last 3 races and had a hard time re-acclimatising to F1 machinery. I suspect Raikkonen’s only option in 2011 will be with Red Bull. But Raikkonen will only be interested in going there if their car proves to be competitive again in 2010.

    I will certainly miss watching Kimi in F1 next year…

    So all the best to Kimi in his new career in the WRC, good luck finding a team that will pay him £13 million there!!

  85. Peter says:

    I do not want to be sentimental, but seeing all the number of Kimi related posts is there any forum (e.g. Roberston`s firm or Red Bull etc.) we could just leave a supporting message and stress our wish to see him back in 2011?

  86. Vinod says:

    Wow!!! That is just unbelievable!!!! that’s all I can say!!!!! F1 community will dearly miss a great champion!!!!!!

  87. graham says:

    Where will he come back too? Mac is tied up for 3yrs. Ferrari don’t want him. Brawn wouldn’t pay for him. Red Bull have everything they need in their line up. Kimi should have thought about that Mac seat getting tied up for 3yrs. Poor management. Kimi is out of F1 forever.

  88. Roland says:

    What a superb precis of what makes Kimi so great. He will be much missed in F1, as one of the all-out fastest drivers ever to have lived – especially in his Mclaren years – and the coolest, most mentally airtight competitors in any sport. His wonderfully apolitical style, refleshingly flying in the face of the grinning, neatly packaged automotones which is what so many drivers have become, was what marked him out as such an inspirational figure to so many.
    What we also cannot forget is his supreme raw talent and car control. I’ll never forget hearing James and Martin Brundle summing up ‘the lap of the year’ in Monaco qualifying 2005, when Alonso supposedly wrung the Renault’s neck to put it over a second clear of third-place man Webber’s Williams. Raikkonen then blitzed the lap to put it 0.481s clear of ‘Magic’ Alonso. If there was any driver since Senna to conjure a feeling of transcending a car and making it go faster than it should ever, Raikkonen was the man. Look at his 2003 season – taking an antiquated truck of a Mclaren to within 2 points of MS’s vastly superior Ferrari. 2004 was incredible in that he even won a race, whilst 2005 was brilliant but frustrating in equal measure as he was by a mile the fastest man but continually hamstrung, ironically, by Mercedes engines. There was noone that deserved the championship more in 2007 – his good fortune at the end just about atoned for all the mechanical failures he had suffered in his career.
    I actually believe his 2009 season was one of his best. Who else could have won at Spa in what was probably the fourth or fifth best car?
    Raikkonen was and is a unique driver. Almost otherworldly talent coupled with an abject refusal to temper his ways and be something he isn’t. F1 will be far poorer without him, and should he not continue after 2010, it is clear it has lost one of the modern greats.

  89. Kimiko says:

    Melanie, I agree with you entirely.

    I am so saddened by this turn of events.

    Although I have been following F1 fervently for the past 15 years, I can’t bring myself to watching grands prix next year, knowing that Kimi will not be racing in F1. If WRC is televised in the U.S. (I admit that I don’t even know if it is), I will watch that instead of F1.

    Last but not the least, I hope that there will be a lot of great racing for Kimi in the near future, in whichever genre of motorsport that he finds himself. He is a tremendous talent and a real person (I have not met him, but I bet he is a much nicer bloke than what the media portrays). It is really too bad that Kimi does not need F1.

  90. Dean says:

    Integrity
    Honest
    Simple
    Super-talented

    All traits that F1 is lacking.

  91. Nuno says:

    My first message in this blog was about my opinion on the 2009 “top five”.

    Sorry I didn´t say: Hello Everybody !

    I am 54, portuguese, and like you I am an old fan of this sport. I follow this sport with great attention since mid seventies, and I am still in love with it.

    About Raikkonen I would like to say some words (Sorry for my english, I write with mistakes..)

    Raikkonen was and still is one of the fastest drivers. He is very very fast, I don´t have any doubts about that. He isn´t slower than Hamilton, whom I rate as the best of this new generation. But he is not consistent. Sometimes he makes the most of the available material, but he needs lots of motivation to do it.

    He is not “professional”. I does like to do what he wants, and he doesn’t like to do the home work.

    Of course he is milles and milles away from the most successful f1 driver – Michael Schumaker. Michael was very fast, but is success was mainly due to his full comitement.
    I’am sure about his dedication. To be fast, or very fast (like say..an Hamilton), isn´t enough to become a supreme master as M.S. was.
    Michael worked a lot, more and better than the others and that´s what made the difference.

    By comparison Raikkonen is just talented and fast. But he is not “a PRO”, he doesn´t work enough. Without lots of work it´s not possible to be very successful, in F1 or in any other sport.

  92. Jolene says:

    I completely agree with Melanie.Im a fan of Hamilton, but am quite saddened today by the news of Kimi’s departure from F1.

    He was an unusual character and great driver, and I for one will miss seeing him on the grid.

    Good luck Kimi!

  93. T-Bone says:

    Brilliant.

  94. graham says:

    Both Finns now out of F1. First time since 1994 (Mika arrived in 1995)

    1. Rich Cooper says:

      Mika Hakkinen arived in 1991 when he drove for Lotus…

  95. Bruce says:

    Spa 2009 – Thanks for helping to make the best grand prix weekend for me ever! It took 3 trips to Silverstone, 1 to Monza and finally Spa to see my team win and in such style by Kimi.

  96. Richard Bell says:

    After leaving Mclaren he said he was much happier at Ferrari and he won the 2007 title. He didn’t win it because of his new environment though and since then he hasn’t delivered the astounding speed he often displayed at Mclaren. Maybe he’s lost some fire or did the stricter regime at Mclaren bring the best out of him even though he didn’t like it? I don’t know, but to me he never looked like he fitted in well at Ferrari as they were used to a fully committed driver like Michael Schumacher.
    If he really wanted to stay you’d think he’d try and compromise at least, maybe ask for less money for less PR work, there’s no way he can expect to get a seat for the same amount of money and conditions he’s asking for after his sabbatical year.
    I’ve always been a fan of his so I’m sad to see him go.

  97. Alexis says:

    Melanie’s comments confuse me. They seem more fitting applied to a driver like Villeneuve or Montoya.

    The mute, human epitome of blandness will not be missed. But then he won’t care if he’s missed or not. Mind you, does he care about anything?

  98. DK says:

    I agree Kimi is the most misunderstood guy in F1, but many just like him as he is… a racer, not an actor.

    I am sadden that Kimi will not be in the starting grid after two months of imagination he fighting with the red cars in the McLaren next year since he was announced to leave Ferrari.

    The severance package was to prevent Kimi for driving for another team afterall. One may suspect Kimi may even do it for free to settle a score since he is already paid more than most of the other drivers. I suspect he hardly bears any grudges at all in the first place.

    To Kimi, he will race on as he said he will definitely drive something next year. Racing is more that F1 anyway. To him is an opportunity to choose with his own terms what is best for him. I think Kimi finds F1 (the non-racing part) boring just as many regard him as boring guy.

    All the best, Kimi, in whatever you do. Thank you for all the fine moments on track.

  99. Bruno Lizier says:

    What more is there to say. Melanie summed it up quite right. I’ll be missing Kimi as well.

  100. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Very well put. But PR filtering is the inevitable consequence of BE’s (financially successful) drive to “Monaco” everything: Where glamour and ostentation reign, you have to fit that image. Or, at least, the Paddock Club has to think that you do. Kimi is a throwback, and all the better for it. But he’s a square peg in the round hole of the current F1.

  101. Kjell says:

    And Amen I say to that.

    If being “100% dedicated to F1″ – including sponsor activities and commercial shoots, always saying the same useless corporate approved platitudes and sound bites at the press conferences, etc etc is what someone has to do to be considered worth of driving in F1 these days then I’m glad Kimi decided to go do something else.

    F1 will be a duller sport next year without him. Both on track – and off track.

  102. KkrodD says:

    Very sad news!

    I also a love/hate relationship with this sport in the way it has been these last years, that almost for sure I won following so close as it has been since the beginning of the millenium.

    Although Vettel has a little of Kimi’s personality, it still is not enough to keep me watching closely.

    Good bye F1, Hello WRC!

    PS. James, do you think is there any good chance that after one year, Kimi would be returning or this is instead a “Good Bye!” instead of a “See you later”?

    1. James Allen says:

      I do. I’ll post on it tomorrow

    2. Peter says:

      These guys have been racing since the were little boys. It is not that easy to give it up and Kimi might be a bit bore of PR and stuff, but he will feel the buzz again in a few month time. He is too young and it is not easy to be competitive in WRC straight away. He could win Le Mans, but that is not the same. Get a contract with Red Bull right now.

  103. Antti Nurmi says:

    Great article.. feels like it was a long time ago anybody had anything nice to say about kimi. Media

    Kimi is about pure racing, nothing else.

  104. Pierre says:

    Thanks for the post James, thanks for the post Melanie, you’re absolutely right.

  105. Linti says:

    One question. Why?

  106. Linti says:

    Kimi I believe in you forever, please never give up, you’re the best forver in my heart and in my soul/ Good Luck Kimi, I love U

  107. Nikolai Currell says:

    I hate it when commercial decisions and politics override sporting decisions like in this case. Yes Button is world champion but he is not premier league like Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen (and possibly Vettel). F1 will be much poorer next year without one of its fastest and most exciting drivers.
    Do we think Button would have won in this year’s Ferrari or in the 2004 McLaren?? Hamilton will make mincemeat out of him and I think this time next year Button will bow out of F1 having been completely humiliated.

  108. DC says:

    Yes. Kimi will be missed.

    It’s F1′s loss.

  109. Kevin McCaughey says:

    I agree with the comments. If F1 can’t keep someone with the integrity and class of Kimi then it is going in the wrong direction.

    James, do you think he will be back? I (sadly) suspect he won’t be :(

  110. Chris McDonnell says:

    I am a big fan of Kimi and as good as next season is shaping up to be, it will have lost a little of it’s magic without Kimi on the grid.

  111. Chris says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Melanie. In the current, sedate world of F1, image does seem to count for more than a drivers ability. With Kimi, the perception of him being uninterested and unmotivated was always inaccurate in my view.

    A disproportionate section of the media seemed at times to fall over themselves in order to churn out more of the same lazy cliches that have always been thrown at Kimi.
    He was indeed, in my opinion, genuinely the last interesting and exciting driver. The current obsession with how a driver conducts themselves in a press conference is baffling.
    Kimi has repeatedly shown his talent and ability to get results from a car that other’s would be unable or willing to do perhaps with the exception of Alonso.

    As David Coulthard said recently, Kimi is still as motivated and passionate about racing as he ever was. Unfortunately he just doesn’t express it.

    As someone who has been a massive F1 fan for the last 15 years, I’ve struggled, especially this season, to remain interested but wanting to see what Kimi could do with this years underperforming Ferrari kept me watching.

    Now that he’s gone, other than to see Ferrari implode as Alonso and Massa inevitably go to war, Button becoming increasingly frustrated at being consitently beaten by Hamilton as well as hoping to see Barrichello lead a Williams re-surgence, there simply isn’t enough to keep me watching this increasingly political, sterile circus.

    So long Kimi!

  112. Oris says:

    KIMI……Is without doubt one of the most talented drivers in F1.
    He is respected as no other drivers in F1 are.
    Evry1 are really saddened by this unfortunate turn of events and PR personalities(Who r better in an entertainment media nad not in real Racing).
    Kimi will be Loved 4ever and Hope somethings come out from somewhere and KIMI wil b back again.
    For all Fan’s sake….KIMI pls. come bak.

  113. Mario says:

    Kimi you are one of the greatest! Have fun man! I wish you all the best, whatever you do.

    My feeling is that KR just grew bored of driving a car around in circles. I hope to see him in WRC.

  114. Nick Williams says:

    Thank you for an interesting and heartfelt piece regarding Kimi’s withdrawal from F1…

    I will miss him too as I’m sure many fans will, but I do think he is at fault and that his exit from F1 need not have happened.

    Firstly, why the issue with money..? His payoff from Ferrari together with a McLaren retainer was more than enough in these cash strapped times. He was massively overpaid at Ferrari compared to say Massa, who spent much of the time outperforming him. I think he has been greedy and is out of touch with the current marketplace.

    Secondly, why has he been so inconsistent? One minute he is flying and the next he is making silly errors or simply not getting enough out of the car. At Spa in 08, just as one example, he made schoolboy errors in race car positioning against Hamilton that an Alonso would never make.

    Lastly – while I do like his insouciance, the way he handles the press and public alike can give the wrong impression. He always looks completely miserable and morose and cannot be bothered to engage with fans.

    Ferrari need a leader of a driver who can work with the team and help pull them together and get the best out of them. He absolutely failed in this although he of course never had any intention of being the Michael Schumacher replacement in this area.

    Alonso will help Ferrari in this area where Kimi could not, and Ferrari absolutely made the right choice in this area.

    I am sorry to see Kimi go but am not surprised in many respects and think he is better off out of it than in it with half a heart.

    Good luck to him though with the WRC…

  115. Segedunum says:

    James,

    After getting over the initial shock, what do you think about Raikkonen to Red Bull in 2011 James?

    Indeed, when you think about it his interests and Red Bulls’ would seem to align and they would be more than happy to let him do some rallying and other Red Bull fun-loving things as those interests would align with their own.

    The did have contact a few months ago and it is rumoured that Raikkonen is looking for a drive at Red Bull sponsored Citroen in the WRC. There was also something I read where Raikkonen only wanted a one year contract at McLaren.

    In addition, despite what Mercedes might say they do seem to want Vettel in one of their cars and Webber’s contract is up next year.

    Whereas before I would have said that this would have been Raikkonen’s retirement, I still see a lot of uncertainty on the driver front next year and a definite route back in in a potentially winning team and car for him.

    Maybe this is a no-brainer for Raikkonen that he and his manager have discussed? He can still angler himself into a winning car in 2011, whereas there is no guarantee next year, and he is still probably being paid more next year than even Alonso or Hamilton for doing nothing F1 related!

    1. James Allen says:

      Looks like a possibility to me, if he wants to come back. But is he definitely gone?

      1. Segedunum says:

        Ahhhh, well there’s the trick. What’s puzzling me is that Mercedes still haven’t announced their drivers, which I would have thought would have been really easy to announce if they were definitely going to be Heidfeld and Rosberg. They should have really announced their driver lineup with the Brawn/Merc announcement.

        This is the most perplexing set of driver switches I can ever remember.

  116. C.M. says:

    I have been watching F1 more than 10 years now and I have always had someone to support. Is it Häkkinen or Räikkönen or Alonso or McLaren. Next year 1st time I don’t have anyone to cheer for. Häkkinen and Räikkönen retired, Alonso gone to Ferrari and McLaren with their scandals are now almost as low as Ferrari now.

    Sad but true.

  117. Charlie says:

    I’m curious James: over the last few days the sheer quantity of posts on your website has proven that Kimi Raikkonen is a hugely important part of F1 and is massively popular…

    A) Did you actually know that fact when you weren’t running this site; when you were commenting on races?

    B) Has being in constant contact with the fans changed your perspective on the sport?

    I’m just interested because I get the impression that so many F1 journalists have no idea what the fans actually think.
    (Don’t get me started on the FIA.)

    1. James Allen says:

      I was well aware from being at the races how many fans he had, from Budapest to Suzuka. He’s not great with them, but they don’t seem to care. I’m surprised how many UK fans he has and delighted that they seem to like coming here. I hope they will continue to do so, if only to post on how good the race would have been if KR had been in it!

      1. Charlie says:

        Cheers for this reply James.

        You know us well. I still go to Wimbledon and shout ‘Come on Tim’. I wear a Ronnie Petersen shirt to F1 races, so I guess I can still support Kimbo after he’s gone from F1.

        P.S. Why should he care about his fans? We don’t support him because he gives us time to sign autographs but because of the way he approaches the sport. Generally, the less someone cares about the fans and the media and perceptions of them, the more human and likeable I find them.

  118. Mike says:

    Great post. I agree that Kimi is highly under rated and he had to make the best of a seriously deficient car this season. He handled his departure from Ferrari with total class, and he will be missed next year. Hopefully he’ll find a competitive ride for 2011.

  119. Dan Staisey says:

    It’s shame, his stint with Ferrari went wrong almost the same moment after his Melbourne brilliant win in 2007, moments after he hang up the line at the rostrum.. to one very egoistic Kerpen person. Schumacher and WWeber devoted all their power to destroy Kimi and we are looking now to after marks. Ferrari was always Schumacher territory and they had only to loose with KR success. All the affection Massa got was a product of just going against Kimi. 2008 season and setup issues are for everyone who follows f1 very obvious examples of what treatment Kimi had. Ferrari will suffer in eyes of many f1 funs for trying to destroy Kimi.

    1. Silverstoned says:

      James, many of us would really value your opinion about what is actual fact and what may be myth with the view expressed here.
      Do you think a post on this could be on the cards?

  120. Dominic says:

    I’m really disspointed with the news and now i’ve got to look for someone else to support (probably Vettel).

    I so hope Kimi is back in 2011 with Red Bull and fighting for the championship with Vettel

  121. Kimi4ever says:

    I’m taking sabbatical from F1 also next year. Everyone’s who agree, reply please!
    KIMI THE LIVING LEGEND! Come back in 2011 and kill the competition…..
    We are always with you.

    1. peter says:

      Agree, so be it.

  122. Lisa says:

    Well said.

    I think one of the reason why Kimi leaves this sport is the media.
    They (especially the italian and spanish one) did treat him as if he is the lowest of the lowest. There is not problem with criticzing his doings at the track or making fun of his off track behavior. But they call him names which are actually a insolence: autist, ameba… After all he is just a human being who dies also have some feelings.

    Kimi I´ll miss you! Or acutally not as I´ll follow you doings at Rally or whatever you drive. After all it´s much cheaper so I can maybe affort to go to 2 events.

    Thanks for everything! It was a pleasure to follow you the last 9 years

  123. Vinay says:

    Not the news that I wanted to start my day with :( What a shame!

    May be F1 doesn’t deserve Kimi. Its really really sad to see those who put on and those who who have layers of personality and media darlings are the ones that F1 wants.

    But, nonetheless, Kimi will undoubtedly be one of the greatest F1 drivers – if not on the list of the world media, but certainly on the list of many hardcore F1 fans.

    On a bit calmer and optimistic note, I do hope and wish that he comes back and kicks everyone’s ass.

    For Kimi, I think it was best for him not to buckle under pressure and accept a contract that he is not comfortable with. He will do well wherever he is and he will definitely be cheered for and adored by the likes of myself.

    Rest in peace F1.
    Long live the racer, Kimi.

    -Vinay

    1. James Allen says:

      Where does your day start? Easter Island?

      1. Vinay says:

        :) Vancouver – A bit late today to catch up with the news.

  124. Colin says:

    Superior talent gone for F1. Then again Kimi got what he wanted, everything else was gravy. He had no reason to accept something he didnt like. Just a shame someone who has amazed us since 2001 wont be on the grid anymore.

  125. David S says:

    Well worded article and I respect your view. To balance this up;
    - Doesn’t engage with the fans;
    - Doesn’t ‘work’ within F1 at any level (e.g. safety)
    - never promoted the sport he has benefitted from for so long
    - Unashamedly put a £10million+ contract BEFORE his desire to win in F1

    He seems a quiet, hugely talented, shy but kind man. Shame we never saw him put some effort into using his position, and huge fan base, to promote the sport we all love and give some of his TIME for free.

    Everything seemed to come with a price tag.

    He was a freeloader and let everyone else drive the business that made his fortune forward.

    On the racetrack he was a Racer who made things happen but in the wider sport he was simply a driver who waited for things to come his way.

    It would be interesting to calculate the cost/benefit of all the drivers in F1 through their contribution to the sport in some way. Kimi MUST be at the back of the grid!

    Outside the world of F1 in 2007 you would never have known he was the world champion.

    Not enough for me to be truly great but it takes all sorts…

    F1 will be poorer without him for his talent but far richer in terms of overheads!!

  126. Christelle says:

    Losts of talk about who Kimi is and who not!! One thing we can say – he did not compromise. He said right from the start that he wants a competitive car – at that stage McLaren.
    Haug has come out and said that the driver line up for Mercedes will have ‘surprises’ – can I still hold my breath?
    I am a huge Kimi fan and can not believe that this is the end so I know I might be clutching at straws.
    Kimi has entertained us with shorts, ice creams, champagne, etc. Who else , except maybe to a very small extent Webber, has been an individual throughout?
    I have also read about his rally team being sponsored by Red Bull – and that he might be coming back in 2011 when Webber’s seat become available at RBR.
    If Kimi decides to sit out 2010 – I will need some guidance on rally racing!!

  127. Kevin from Las Vegas says:

    I would really enjoy seeing Raikkonen in a F1 car next year. He just just puts out brilliant performances on occasion, that make you forget the parade of a race you just watched last week.

    Unfortunately, F1 will probably lose a WDC that can still perform and one that hasn’t lied to race stewarts, tried to black mail a team boss, or crash into someone to win a championship.

  128. Fausta says:

    Kimi is doing what he wants to do, only he couldn’t play in a Mac for a year before the Rallying begins. I like the guy and sure hope he is back or by some miracle gets the 2nd Mercedes seat, but it is by his own doing that he is not at Macca this year.

  129. Chris R says:

    Good bye Kimi, I hope I get to watch him drive like a madman again some time.

    For driving on the edge, for eating an icecream while your PR is saying you’re ready to get back in the car. For racing clean and without taking advantage of others.

    In a sport full of ego, you could never tell if he even had one, and yet whenever the words ‘fastest driver’ were mentioned, he was sure to be mentioned too.

    No fuss, just racing. That’s why he will be missed.

  130. Paul Mc says:

    I was never Kimis biggest fan but a sport that loses a world champion will always be a bit worse off. It should wear off once the season starts though :)

    Im disappointed that his manager chose to rant on about the money side of it, it paints a rather selfish image of why Kimi left. Still im sure we will see him back in an F1 car and i hope he does well in the rallying

  131. Steve 5 says:

    Sad day. kimi has amazing natural drvining skills and i love the character.

  132. Paul Leeson says:

    An excellent piece Melanie, it is indeed a sad day for fans of a genuine and sincere sportsman, but who knows, he may be back, the grid will be minus something special with his departing.

    Whatever he does in the future, I can only thank him for 9 years of excitement, fun, happy moments and poignant ones, and I wish him well for his future, I fear he may be the last of his breed, but retain a hope that we’ll see him at the wheel again.

    And to Melanie, Thank You for saying what many many people are very likely thinking.

  133. Matt says:

    Kimi will be sorely missed by me, as a huge Kimi and McLaren fan, I’m gutted that he hasn’t signed up for next season to be honest.

  134. Dan says:

    I work in the entertainment business. Some of my closest friends are fairly large celebrities in our home country. Until you have direct experience of what it’s like to be scrutinized and expected to jump through hoops on command, you have no idea what is takes to do these promotional events and appearences.

    And that is the thing about this whole Kimi affair. It’s the people who have no idea what it’s like to earn $10mill vs $18mill that the most to say about it. It’s the people who have never jumped through a hoop with a smile when they really are not in the space to do so.

    I am not saying he is struggling. But his managers take their cut. As do so many others. Life is not difficult for him, but it is also not easy.

    People who have not achieved much in their lives are the ones who want to live vicariously through celebrity, by readng every piece of tabloid out there. And they are the ones who sit on their armchairs and judge.

    In terms of Kimi not being missed as much as MS, you’re wrong. I didn’t stop watching F1 when MS left. But with KR gone, I’m done.

    1. James Allen says:

      A very good observation, Dan

    2. David S says:

      Dan,
      Thousands of ‘ordinary’ people jump through hoops everyday in their work.

      Some get paid £15 million/annum some £15000.

      Its much easier when you get the former!!!!

      Get real…millions in his position would be happy to do the promo stuff…some people would actually like to engage with their fans for example.

      I’d like to know how many of his mechanics who have grafted for him share the same opinion as yourself. That may be the best insight.

      1. Maria says:

        Why dont you show us your bank balance rather than giving a boring lecture about how it is? Hmm?

        Dan has a got point, its armchair experts like yourself who are quick to pass judgment without having been in that position yourself.

      2. Dan Staisey says:

        David S
        Maybe you get also in return something.. This is not post for you, if you see Schumache value against Raikkonen to be best value for the sport it is easy to see how wrong you are.. People like Schumacher, Briatore, WWeber are very harmfull for F1 reputation. And they would be on your list top of the grid!

        Kind and respectfull people like Raikkkonen, who mind their own bussiness and dont play behind back of others are how everyone should be. F1 drive is far more serious than people realize nowadays with clones around.

        Dan Staisey

      3. Dan Staisey says:

        clowns

  135. P Byrne says:

    I really can’t figure Kimi out. I don’t understand how Massa shaded him. Massa came into the sport as a rough diamond and worked his ass off to tackle his flaws. What’s the old saying – you can tidy upspeed but you can’t speed uptidiness…

    Kimi went in the other direstion. Did he lose motivation after winning a WDC? Is he too financially secure? Or is he just incapable or unwilling to play the politics that is required to get the best equipment and people behind you within a team?

    If Alonso is shaded by Massa next year he kick and scream and spit and fight. That’s why he’s got a plum Ferrari seat and Kimi is out in the cold. Great driver, great person but not the complete article…

  136. Steve W says:

    Brazilian media reporting that Kimi has signed to race for Mercedes in 2010! That would be some u-turn if true!

  137. Craig Power says:

    I can not believe this is happening. This is possibly bigger than MS leaving the sport only because we know Kimi still has lots of fire left in him. As for McLaren signing Jenson But”NOT” world champion, what a mistake. I have never seen a driver have a number one on the car and actually be a number two driver. Lewis will destroy him….Butnot is the worst world champion since Dameon Hill. Kimi I hope you come back because watching F1 will be a little more boring next year.

  138. Rich Cooper says:

    So Kimi doesn’nt care about his image…? So he has Iceman on his helmet & its also tattoed on his arm. He seems to have a self cultivated image of “not giving a toss” Remeber the last time he was interviewed at McLaren choosing to talk about his bowel movements on the grid.

    Some say “Kimi doesnt care about money ” so why is he not in the second McLaren? – because he is lazy & greedy …?

    Its a shame because for me his finest hour was the years he was at Mclaren, he was fantastic especially on Michelins. However at Ferrari I think he was given too much of a free reign.

    If he was that good how did he struggle to beat journey man Massa …?

    Anyway he has had 9 seasons & won a WC, so he is free to pursue other things

  139. kuilis says:

    Finally there is a reson for me NOT to watch and pay any more for a F1 channel for the future! Good-by F1, f#$k you – go to Far East race in towel-head countries with empty grand-stands, drop Silverstone, take back Gaston Markesh, Bernoldi and Piquett Jr! There are no place for guys like Kimi, JPM, JV and MH! F#$K f$%k

  140. Jason Haynes says:

    No more Kimi. Say it isn’t true. One of the greatest talents to hit an F1 circuit and undoubtly the most feared to see in your mirrors! He never played the blame game, he just did his job the best he could and was rewarded for this in 2007. Two times a runner up in sub standard McLaren equipment, he never took his right foot off the accelerator. I do not believe his talents or character will ever be met in my lifetime and I can only hope he makes his comeback sooner rather than later. I am now switching to WRC where the real world champion races!

  141. Robert George says:

    Kimi makes us smile and occasionally laugh out loud. My family will miss that.

    Mr no-personality is actually the one with the biggest personality.

  142. Buck says:

    Thanks James and thanks Melanie for that nice piece on behalf of Kimi’s fans. Let’s hope it isn’t the epitaph for his career and he will one day soon return to Formula 1.

    To the other “fans” who think this is all about Kimi being greedy for more money: are you KIDDING? The guy has already made what, 100 million pounds or something crazy like that already? Do you know how much money that really is? It’s an ENOURMOUS amount. It’s way more than most people could ever spend in a lifetime even if they tried, unless they’re someone like Gene Simmons who literally wears dollar signs on his clothes. So do you seriously think a few million less, (chump change to a multi-millionaire like Kimi), to race at McLaren was the ultimate deciding factor? Get real.

    And to the other fans who say he doesn’t care enough about his fans, that he should make himself more available to them and the media: who cares? Is the fact he drives the wheels off a car no matter how crappy it is not enough for you? Do you also think reclusive authors JD Salinger and Thomas Pynchon should be at your local shopping mall signing books for you too?

    And if Kimi really did only care about the money, surely then he would make a hell of a lot more effort to be the kind of pitchman and salesman a lot of you expect by putting on the big fake smile, throwing out the exaggerated handshakes and giving the big old slaps on the back to anyone and everyone who could help him line his pockets even more.

    But he doesn’t. Because he gets paid to DRIVE. A lot of us fans who tune in to watch an F1 race don’t do it to hear the drivers prattle on before or after a race, we tune in to see the greatest drivers in the world race the greatest cars in the world around the greatest tracks in the world, end of story.

    Another site is reporting that wage wasn’t the only stumbling block to his signing with McLaren, that it was also the number of sponsorship appearances he would be required to make (as well as how much he could drive rally cars in his spare time). This (and Kimi’s fellow Finn Nicole’s illuminating comments about his mentality on the other article), lends some credence to my theory that he may have a social anxiety problem. When I first brought this up I shouldn’t have written I thought it “may be severe”, I should simply have written it “may be significant, perhaps not to the degree that it is easily observable, but perhaps significant enough for it to be a real problem for him”. (To illustrate how social anxiety is often unobserved by even the most astute people, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, an extroverted wild man on stage and someone who appears to be a very calm, articulate speaker during media interviews offstage, nearly self destructed with drugs because for years he was privately suffering from a social anxiety disorder that very few people were ever aware of).

    So a multi-millionaire who doesn’t really need the money should seriously consider taking a pay cut if it means fighting for another World Championship right? Because winning another championship may lead to more money earned anyways, right? But I think this sponsorship appearance thing is a compelling clue.

    Again, I put this out there as just a personal theory and though I am very educated in psychology in general as well as the subject of social anxiety my theory may still be way out there and totally wrong, but if I am right I hope for his sake and for the sake of his millions of fans that he get help so he can return to F1.

  143. Mark says:

    James,

    I’d like your view from inside the paddock on Kimi’s managers, the Robertsons.

    In my opinion they really didn’t handle the situation well this time round, starting from the fee decided with ferrari, but I hear they are highly regarded within the inner circles. What is your view?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well they brought Button and Raikkonen into F1 and have done very well for Kimi financially. They are approachable and easy to talk to, I like them

  144. Lin Morris says:

    I’m absolutely gutted. Kimi’s a great driver, he’s exciting to watch and a real character in F1. I just hope he doesn’t do a Mika whose “one year” sabbatical is still not over! I wasn’t in the least bit bothered when Schumi retired, think I was fed up with his dominance at that point! but I will miss Kimi and sincerely hope he makes a comeback next year, there are a lot of fans out there that still want to see him race….unless Norbert & Ross offer him the second seat??

  145. Kenneth C says:

    Ironically i think F1 has lost (hopefully temporarily) one of its greatest and most genuine character in the days of generic, well-spoken, media-savvy generation. I simply do not subscribe to the thought that he is too “media-unfriendly” and lacks motivation and consistency. People who know anything about former F1 champions would realise that one of the most beloved F1 champs, Jim Clark was similarly famous for being shy and for his dislike of the media and PR work not to mention chewed his fingernails.

    As with lack of motivation and consistency, you only need to look at his performance in the second half of 2009 to know that he is as motivated and consistent as ever. In a car that is basically slower than Force India’s, Kimi was able to gain consistent results, second only to Hamilton who undoubtedly had one of the strongest car in the second half. To further consolidate his position, his team mates post-Massa accident scored NO POINTS, including the well regarded and experienced Fisichella. Schumacher won only one race in 2005 (if you can consider US GP a race) in a Ferrari that underperformed.

    Ferrari should be thankful Kimi was gracious in his exit and harboured no obvious animosity. I assume he could’ve continued at Ferrari at full salary and Ferrari can’t do anything about it, but he chose difficult path to find a competitive seat in F1. He should be commended for not publicly whining about a dog of a car which is the F60 besides describing its deficiencies. We all remember how current champ Button publicly whined about his BGP 001. But that not Kimi’s style, all he wants is a good car for which he can led his driving do the talking. No fuss, just go out and drive the wheels off the car, job done.

    Besides, i struggle to think of any other current F1 driver that is as entertaining in the off season as Kimi. I am sure a man in gorilla suit named “James Hunt” would agree.

  146. Rich C says:

    Oh jeez you guys! Get over it! I realize this is a meeting of the Kimi Fan Club, but get a grip! I, too, admire a lot of things about him, particularly the way he conducts himself. But he does not walk on water, and he *will be back. So take a pill!

    1. Rich says:

      Agreed. This thread is getting a bit BBC 606

  147. Brace says:

    That story about Kimi is utopian nonsence.
    He got tired, seems to me from everything except money (and that everything includes racing).

    He wants more money but less PR?
    Fare well, Kimi, you won’t be missed.

  148. Ronald Ooms says:

    Rumours are starting to boil. First rumour came out of Brazil and now the Times and other websites state it aswell. Raikkonen in talks with Mercedes or Raikkonen signs one year deal with Mercedes?
    When is this going to stop, one might wonder?

  149. Dan says:

    David,

    Those ordinary people are not watched and envied by millions of others. They are not scrutinized by everyone around them.

    If you get drunk, you get a hangover.

    If a celebrity gets drunk, it gets plastered all over the front page of a tabloid. With a shot of their crotch.

    That is the equivalent of treating them like an animal in a zoo. You’re just waiting for them to entertain you.

    I love Kimi because, to me, he is a racer. I don’t make fan videos about him. I don’t have posters of him on my wall. I don’t care what he does in his personal life. And I don’t buy something because i saw him in an advert.

    I love him because he races.

    Anything else he does is none of my business and is of no interest to me.

    My guess is you have no idea what these people go through. I have seen a woman launch herself into the car we were in because a friend of mine, a famous one, was sitting in the front seat. It is both sweet to see someone so touched, and it is disturbing. All my friend does is sing. She doesn’t bring people back from the dead. She is not a representative of some almighty power.

    Why we choose to expect more of someone who drives a car at incredible speeds, and in doing so, puts their life at great risk, is beyond me.

  150. three4three says:

    Wonderful comment from Melanie, and thank you James for putting it up. I too am a Kimi fan, more out of respect than anything, and very much agree with you Melanie.
    While I realise that this may well be the end for Kimi in F1, I will eagerly anticipate his return and will follow his career progression.

    God, this post really sounds like a fanboy’s, I guess I just feel it’s a shame.

  151. James says:

    I am from india,had no knowledge about f1 in 2002.But suddenly i came across a name kimi raikkonen at the start of 2003 season and started to follow him from then, just for the sake of his name. Then i learned things about f1 and my man Raikkonen etc.

    Its really saddening to see a guy leaving the sport in this fashion.So i learnt that being honest,gentle,thankful in this world is utter stupidity.

  152. blah blah says:

    to all Kimi fans no use cryin, he does not
    care. Now why would you. fact.

    just to quote him.. (silence)

  153. Senthil says:

    Nice article James…

    Hope he returns back to F1 with a vengeance after his sabatical.

  154. Dale Nixon says:

    The sentiment here is silly. While talented, Kimi did take races off in a figurative sense and that is simply inexcusable at his salary level. Massa’s injury took some of the heat off him, but the reality is he had been outperformed by a teammate with higher motivation in a good portion of the last two seasons. So he likes Spa and wants to win there…big deal. The fact that he is being paid to sit out the year speaks volumes.

  155. Freelancer says:

    I know that it sounds final, but apparently, he might race for Mercedes. So, I guess there’s still a chance for us to see him in action in the pinnacle of motor racing!

  156. The Limit says:

    I think he has made the right decision, I really think this has been on the cards for some time. All this talk about Alonso going to Ferrari, his lack of performance and motivation, would get to anybody. The key word here in motivation. When Kimi was asked in 2008 why he left his fastest lap to the very end of the German Gp his response was that he was ‘bored and wanted to see what the car could do’. When you are ‘bored’ of driving an 850bhp racing car it is time to leave.
    The politics, the jibes from the likes of Ecclestone about the way Raikkonen handled interviews, was just not his thing. He made vast sums of money during his years at McLaren and Ferrari, and will leave with his health and limbs intact.
    I look forward, maybe, to see him come back as a team owner in the future. Raikkonen/Robertson F1 team, sponsored by an obscure brand of Finnish vodka. Far more interesting than Toro Rosso!

  157. Mark says:

    Hi James,
    What are your thoughts on the Kimi to Mercedes rumors going around?

  158. Till says:

    Thanks for the article… nicely put.
    2010 will be poorer without Kimi. While I’m disappointed not to see him in a McLaren giving Ferrari payback, I guess of all teams on the grid, this is the one he really doesnt fit into. Corporate squeak and victory tshirts dont fit with the nice tatoos and a bit of character.
    Considering this, I like the sound of Kimi at Red Bull. Slightly alternative, a little bit of attitude… Think this might be a good fit and would love for them to give the big teams a headache.
    Viva Kimi!

  159. Michael Brown says:

    In an interview with Steve Robertson on the autosport.com site he suggests that Kimi would consider a seat at Mercedes (ex-Brawn) for 2010 if they can convince him it’s a potentially championship winning package:

    “This is Formula 1. If they can offer, or convince us, that they can provide Kimi an opportunity that Kimi is happy with, and that we are happy with, and he feels he can win races and the championship, then never say never, there is always a possibility.”

    In my view Mercedes should jump on this ASAP! It would give some weight to their driver line-up which is looking to be decidedly middle of the road (Rosberg and Heidfeld).

    I hope it happens!

  160. chetz says:

    Ok.. i dont know how true this is.. but reports have emerged in some brazilian sports channel that kimi is in talks with mercedes gp… n even his managers have downplayed their announcement yday that he is leavin F1…i wudnt trust the rumor but then i saw it on times as well..

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6922340.ece

    anythin u have heard on this james??

  161. Mobeen says:

    Kimi, loosing you means loosing a shinning star. Your character, bravado and honesty was like a breath of fresh air. Alonso (Singapore), Micheal (Australia and Spain), Hamilton (Lying to steward) are like dwarfs to a gentleman like you. You were fast, charismatic and spectacular. You will always be loved by F1 fans but missed sorely….now my eyes are getting all misty :(

  162. Pierre says:

    James,
    Your thoughts about the Autosport news saying Kimi willing to consider a Mercedes drive?

    As I posted yesterday before McLaren announced Button, I can’t see MercedesGP beeing able to fight for both championships next year with Rosberg-Heidfeld facing Alonso-Massa, Hamilton-Button, and even Red Bull. They must know that, it is impossible. Or they are crazy or too optimistic.

    Mercedes did not buy Brawn (and so placed its brand in the front instead of beeing just an engine supplier behind McLaren) just to “play the game”, but as every constructor, to win, because it is part of a marketing worldwide strategy, it is part of the image brand of the company.

    They therefore need a “top” driver, experienced, a winner. They do not only need consistency which Rosberg and Heidfeld can provide. I rate Heidfeld higher than he’s always looked, but not that high. Rosberg is still very young and I do not believe is the same caliber as Hamilton/Alonso/Raikkonen/Vettel. Just known one team, one car. Neither Heidfeld nor Rosberg already won a race.

    They also need a top gun because it is now sure they’ll have two new drivers in the seats which is not the best situation even if no doubt Brawn’s car will fight for wins.

    The more experienced drivers they get, the fastest ones they get, the more they have opportunities to win titles.

    Rosberg-Raikkonnen makes sens. Rosberg-Heidfeld does not.

  163. Seye AA says:

    read this and pls don’t write off 1 of the best 3 drivers.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80215

  164. carlm21 says:

    It’s a sad day for formula 1. Reminds me of the day Michael Scdhumacher announced his retirement at Monza in 2006. Kimi is simply the best driver in the world and his talent will probably lead him to challenge for a world championship in rallying.

    James, you will have to write a book on the man- it would no doubt be a best seller.

    1. James Allen says:

      That would be a challenge!

  165. Hans joergen Stroem says:

    after having read alot on different F1 homepages about Kimi taking a sabbatical year away from F1, I just sat in my sofa staring out of the window and let the emotions work on this matter for a few minutes. and I felt like, maybe 2010 will be the year I take a “sabbatical” too when it comes to follow F1 live on satellite TV. I have done it ever since I bought the first satellite TV dish and receiver back in 1991. there are not many races I did not sat in front of the telly watching the live broadcast.

  166. Fuchsia says:

    F1 would never be the same without him. IMO no driver could quite compare with Kimi in terms of bravery. How many of drivers have gone through eau rouge in a fog of smoke or continued to drive while on fire?

    It is disappointing to see him leaving F1 while less capable drivers are still racing.

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