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Raikkonen completes radical move to WRC with Citroen
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Raikkonen completes radical move to WRC with Citroen
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Dec 2009   |  1:48 pm GMT  |  156 comments

Always a driver to do things his own way, 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen has announced that he will drive for the Red Bull Citroen team in the World Rally Championship next season. He is the first world F1 champion to make that move.

Raikkonen_Italy'09_316
The 30 year old Finn has always had a soft spot for the sport and has competed in several rallies during his F1 career, including Rally Finland. When he failed to find a deal with McLaren for next season in F1 he announced that he would take a sabbatical from F1. That appears to be the current thinking, so he anticipates a return to F1 in 2011, but that will depend on what opportunities may open up and how much he enjoys his new life in rallying.

His links with Red Bull will be the ones to watch. Mark Webber has one more year left on his contract at Red Bull Racing and Raikkonen is likely to target that seat, if he is to make a return. Webber’s form in 2010 and the willingness of the Red Bull management to examine the Raikkonen option will be key talking points throughout next season.

He is set to earn well from his sabbatical; Ferrari is paying him €17 million, as severance pay after his contract was terminated a year early.

“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career,” said Raikkonen.

“Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroen C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge. For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future. I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally.”

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156 Comments
  1. Prakhar M. says:

    I wish Kimi good luck in WRC. I might now actually some rally races. Hope he returns to f1 in 2011 though.

  2. Howard Hughes says:

    Haha I love Kimi’s press statements. Cos you always just know he’ll have been miles away from whichever stressed PR girl happened to be making it up at the time…

  3. Ace Best says:

    He is racing in the junior series,isn’t he? So he will not compete against Loeb and Hirvonnen?

    Well,good luck to Kimi.Finns are always good at rally…with Makinen and Gronholm,etc…

    1. Relativity says:

      He is in the junior Citroen team but it is still the WRC. He will compete with Loeb, etc.

    2. Michael S says:

      yes, he is racing against the entire field… the only difference is that his points do not go towards the team constructor points…. imagine if Fisi could race with Alonso and Massa next year.. he would have the same Ferrari and could even win a race, but his points would only go towards his total not the teams…..

    3. Jeremy says:

      he is racing in the junior team. he’s up against the big boys.

    4. bwana says:

      Its basically Citroen B team but he will be competing with Loeb in the same spec C4

    5. Mike says:

      No he is racing in the proper WRC, and will be up against Loeb, Hirvonen and Solberg etc.

      The Junior Rally Team is essentially Citroen’s B team in the championship.

      Would be interesting to hear you thoughts James on how you think he’ll do? He got a lot of praise from the top team bosses and drivers after the Finland outing and Petter Solberg has praised him a lot recently.

      Also how much difference is there between F1 ad rallying for all the PR/Media stuff, because it does seem that in the WRC there is hardly. That will probably appeal to Kimi, we all know what he’s like with the PR obligations

      Keep up the good work with the website, always a good read.

    6. Ace Best says:

      Ok..Thank you guys…haha…

      The next question is : how good is this team? can they help Kimi to win rallies? I mean,if I’m not mistaken,nobody won raliies this year beside Loeb an Hirvonnen,right? WRC is a Loeb-dominant sport..Just like F1 in the Schumi era..

      So,how good is Kimi’s chance in the WRC next year?

      1. Michael S says:

        great question…. You comparing Loeb and Schumi is a good observation…. the reason Loeb rarely loses is due to team orders as well as talent. If Loeb is behind Citroen can have Kimi and the other two teams crawl through stages on purpose to let Loeb past them in over all standings….. it is no different than when Rb or Irvine used to take a dive for Schumi.

        I think team orders may not be so easy with Kimi though… he will bring tons of exposure to the sport and if he is lucky to be ahead of Loeb and looking at a podium I am not sure if they would have the “stones” to tell Kimi to pull over for Loeb knowing the backlash that could come

      2. David Perel says:

        Not good in terms of wins, but he will be around the top 8 in my opinion. The pace notes will take a lot of getting used to though.

      3. jose says:

        I think to ask kimi for victories in the first year, is too much.
        Let’s see how his evolution is during the season. He is going to have some crashes for sure, and slowely find the way.
        I am sure he’ll find the pace, sooner or later.

  4. Rui Vale says:

    Hi James!
    I found it hard for him to return to F1 in 2011. In today’s F1, missing a year looks almost 10, 20 years ago! But that’s not me desire! Hope he can return. I’ve always liked Kimi, a lot! Your first sentence “Always a driver to do things his own way …” just sums it up! And if he has some sucess in rally, which I also hope, he may stick with it for the rest of his career. There’re so many nordics in rally … and they “love” each other!

    Bye

  5. Charlie says:

    Actually kinda excited to be watching a new sport. Rally is pretty awesome. Very difficult.

    Shame it doesn’t receive the same attention F1 does.

  6. Michael Grievson says:

    I know I’m going to start watching the WRC

    1. Marc Lister says:

      Same here Michael. Kimi is the driver I most love to watch in F1. He’s just so cool; ice creams in a soaking wet Malaysia when the other drivers are still in their cars hopeful of getting the race continued will be my enduring memory of his laid back attitude.

      I just need to find out how to watch WRC in the UK. Any ideas anyone?

      1. Michael Grievson says:

        definately. i think its on Dave and starts in feb.

      2. Marc Lister says:

        Thanks Michael. Dave is what I found when I did some searching. I wonder if any subscription channels will have any WRC on.

  7. Peter says:

    Great for WRC but what a shame for F1 to lose such a great talent

  8. Dan Eriksson says:

    Good for him but bad for his F1-fans. We will miss him.

  9. Robert McKay says:

    If they can just get Valentino Rossi to do it it might be worth watching again…failing that some more competitive cars to go with a couple of Citroens and Fords.

    1. James Allen says:

      Rossi is doing one round next year and will be there in the next few years full time

  10. Ant says:

    I wonder who will navigate for Kimi?

    1. Williams4ever says:

      One of the GPS devices – Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan have excellent advertising opportunity here :D. Given how “Distant” Kimi is as well publicized in the Media, his co-driver, better have command over Sign language, smoke signaling, morse code, and maybe even Nuero Linguistic Programming :D

      1. Awadhesh says:

        Kaj Lindström will be his co-driver. He’s also Finnish and they both get along very well. The methods you mentioned might be required if he had a non-Finnish guy sitting next to him but definitely not with Kaj :D If you have seen the videos of them driving together in any of the rallies, then you’ll probably understand :)

    2. Vin Yette says:

      According to wrc.com it will be Kaj Lindstrom.

    3. Wesley says:

      Kaj Lindstrom

    4. niceguyrichy says:

      Madison Welch maybe ??
      well, she did a good job on Top Gear with May.. :p

  11. SteveEarle says:

    Good luck Kimi! Sad to see him go. F1′s loss, WRC’s gain!

    1. Dale says:

      I have to agree with this, shame he ever left McLaren, how history would have been changed if he’d stayed =D>

      1. camila says:

        can not agree more

  12. Michael S says:

    Since Kimi just turned 30 I wonder if he will be able to get to the top of WRC at one point and compete for titles? I know he is in a top car next year even if it is for the junior team. I think Nigel Mansell is the only other F1 Champ I can think of who left F1 to go full time in another series. In Nigel’s case he was still in an open wheel series though.

  13. JF says:

    I willing to bet my kidney that Kimi will never comeback to F1. I think he will be too lazy to stay fit and he will still ask an insane amount of money.

  14. Christopher Snowdon says:

    This is bad news for formula one, I don’t overly like Kimi (Force India fan here), but I recognise his supreme talent.

    For the sport to rightfully hold its mantle as the worlds best racing series, it should have (even must have) the worlds best drivers, and Kimi is certainly one of those.

    James be interested to have your insight / feelings on this.

    1. James Allen says:

      Agree, but life moves on.

      1. Dale says:

        Kimi is not the whole package, that’s why Ferrari got rid of him.
        As Ferrari say, give him a winning car and he’s amongst the very best but get him to develop the car or motivate the team he falls a long way short.
        There are more than enough top flight drivers in F1 at present so I don’t think he’ll be missed at all.

      2. ann says:

        never heard of a driver developing a car… engineers are supposed to do that…
        he drove the car faster than the engineers thought possible; didn’t see Alonso do that with the Renault this year!

    2. John says:

      I agree to some extent, F1 is the world best single seater series. But WRC is on the same level but a rally series. I think they are on par with each other. I think its good news for motorsports as whole.

    3. Woffin says:

      It made me chuckle the way you put Force India fan in brackets. That’s probably one of the most legitimate reasons to not be a fan of Kimi!

    4. Dave Roberts says:

      Christopher, I agree with you in one way, but I was more upset to see the character of Montoya lost to the sport than Kimi.

      In addition it means there is one more place available for a new talent to emerge who just might give more back to the sport than Kimi has done recently and provide a Montoya like personality to spice things up.

  15. Paul Mc says:

    Its a great coup for the WRC to get a driver of Kimi’s quality and stardom. It will be interesting to see how he gets on.

    Its a smart move for Kimi though as he is now linked with Red Bull and is definitely in line to take Marks seat next year whatever he does in the WRC in 2010.

    Hopefully this will kickstart the sport and get people watching..i know i will

  16. Ani says:

    Go Kimi … :).
    is the 17m figure true … the figures kept changing in all the reports .

    1. James Allen says:

      I have it from good sources

      1. Dale says:

        The guys deluded to think he’s worth that having been got rid of by Ferrari for not being the whole package.
        Really happy McLaren didn’t play ball as the Lewis/Jenson package is far better and will be a great side show whatever else happens in 2010.

      2. Kimi4Life says:

        Unfortunately Dale, you are 200 percent wrong at all.

      3. Segedunum says:

        I take it that’s more than Hamilton or Alonso are getting? How does he negotiate these deals?

  17. The Limit says:

    It certainly would give Raikkonen the option for coming back in 2011, but everything depends on how well Red Bull and Mark Webber do in 2010. Personally, I think Red Bull will not see the kind of progress in their development in 2010 that they saw this year. If, as most people predict, McLaren and Ferrari come back to the fore, Red Bull will find it very difficult indeed.
    As for Webber, 2009 proved his most successfull season with several victories, but the way inwhich his title charge faltered towards the season’s end must have raised questions amongst the power men within the team.
    It is obvious that Vettel is Red Bull’s most prized driver, and the one man most other teams have their eyes on for the future, so alot depends on him also. Following the sabbatical of Mika Hakkinen in 2002, which then became full on retirement from racing, I still have my doubts about Kimi’s full intentions.

  18. Dex says:

    I hope Kimi will be back!

  19. RobertF1 says:

    This will be very interesting for Red Bull me thinks. To have Raikönnen on the books and also the opportunity to sign to the Red Bull F1 team in 2011 is a coup if I ever seen one!

    1. Josh says:

      If anyone knows Dietrich Mateschitz, then Raikönnen has already signed for Red Bull Racing for the 2011 Grand Prix season… take that from someone who knows… People – this chap didn’t make $2.5billion by gleaming fifth hand comments on jamesallenonf1.com (best F1 blog out there by the way)… i can tell you that.

      1. Dietrich Mateschitz says:

        Actually Josh, I haven’t yet decided about Kimi’s suitability for my team on 2011… but I shall indeed keep an eye on this site’s comments til I do.

        DM

      2. jose says:

        yea right. And keep us informed when you know something about who to seat in the second toro rosso.

      3. Josh says:

        If this is you Dietrich i’ll eat my hat.

  20. Paul Leeson says:

    I would wish him the very best of luck, maybe rallying will suit his personality rather more than the seemingly rigid atmosphere that F1 seems increasingly to be developing into. I can see more F1 drivers turning to other pastimes too, with little in season testing they must get itchy feet.
    But back to Raikkonen, as you say James always a man to do things his own way, and imo thats a quality to be admired, it seems that those who misinterpreted his desire to go rallying as negotiating tactics may have been somewhat wide of the mark.
    I think Kimi will fit well into the Red Bull style, its a little more relaxed and laid back than perhaps some others, and i think thats why Vettel is so happy there, I think Kimi might just surprise a few people with his rallying exploits, i cant see him winning many next year, but i’m convinced he’ll give a good account of himself as usual, and i dare say more than a few will be paying attention to how Webber does next season.
    Congrats Kimi on securing a decent drive, a win for WRC, but i think also somewhat of a loss for F1, hopefully, temporarily so.

  21. Dale says:

    He was never the same driver when he left McLaren so I don’t think he’ll be missed at all.
    He’s just too lazy for modern F1.

    1. Michael S says:

      18 race wins, 1 title, 35 fast laps… and some of the worst luck I have ever seen costing him lots of wins is LAZY?!

      1. dale says:

        Kimi’s F1 career can be seen in two sections. before Ferrari and Ferrari.
        Yes he suffered dreadful luck whilst at McLaren, where in my view he was every bit as good as both Schumi and Alonso but when he moved to Ferrari he just didn’t seem the same bloke.
        He lucked his world championship and was far from the best driver during the year.
        Ferrari are not stupid and they don’t throw money away lightly so they must have given it a lot of thought before dumping him at considerable cost, they worked with him and saw first hand how he worked – read the comments coming from them now.
        As for fastest laps, means nothing as these are more often than not set when the race has already been won and more often than not is set by a driver who didn’t win the race.

      2. Awadhesh says:

        Ferrari aren’t throwing away money by expelling Kimi. They’ve got enough money from the sponsorship deal with Santander, which is infact the reason why they ousted him. But they will obviously not accept that publicly :/

      3. Peter says:

        I have to disagree that Kimi was not the best driver the year he won the championship – he actually had the most wins (6, compared to 5 each for Lewis and Fernando). It has always struck me as odd that people think he didn’t deserve to win the championship just because he only won by a single point. Anyone remember Bernie’s suggestion recently of doing away with the point-system and giving the championship to the driver with the most wins? It’s not THAT crazy…

      4. jose says:

        fast but a ittle rough on the machinery. He was one of the drivers that benefited the most for the engine freeze. Now it is hard to brake this underpowered engines.

    2. Josh says:

      I wouldn’t say the young man is lazy, but like a father would say to a son, “its time to grow up…”

  22. adriana says:

    good for him but not so good for me…don’t know if i’ll keep watching F1…well,this is what happens when the sport itself is not as exciting as a pilot is

    1. Brace says:

      Need a tissue?

    2. jose says:

      i agree. The same happened with montoya. He ended up tired of the bs. He was put down, as dangerous by many people, just for overtaking. When now everybody is crying about lack of passing.
      One is in nascar, the other in wrc. Their gain, f1′s loss.

  23. Trixie says:

    F1′s loss is WRC’s gain with the official announcement of Kimi’s move to Rally for 2010. Really happpy with Kimi’s decision – it’s a chance for him to showcase his talent in a sport competed only by ballsy men…so I don’t expect to see Lewis switching to Rally any time soon.

    James, or does anyone know if Kimi is making more from signing with Citroen than if he had signed for McLaren ? If he’s not, then surely the fallout of the McLaren deal couldn’t have all been about $$$ only ?
    Ever the maverick, Kimi has taken on a new challenge and I wish him all the success for 2010. Let’s hope he’ll be back in F1 the following year as both an ex F1 Champion and WRC championship contender ?

    1. jose says:

      Good question. I don’t know what the figure was at mclaren. I guess you have to ask alan henry that one. He seems to know everything that happens at woking.

  24. Nicollers says:

    I hope Kimi gives rally more than one year’s worth of effort. Not because I don’t want to see him back in F1, but purely because I think a year is too short a period to get good at what’s a tough discipline. His natural speed would only get better over time. Any idea who his wing man will be?

  25. Kav says:

    I find it silly of him to effectively close the door on McLaren and now Mercedes. Who can guarantee that Red Bull will be a title contender in the next few years? Renault was phenomenal in 2005 and 2006 and look at them now… Of course we don’t know if his plan is to return to F1 as a Red Bull driver. I think we will be able to judge whether he wants to come back based on Red Bulls performance.

    Ferrari are not an option for him, McLaren aswell as Button and Hamilton have a long contract, Mercedes will surely be looking at getting Vettel in their car and would probably swap Kimi if they had him for Vettel..

    I don’t think he will come back unfortunately :( I’m such a big fan, but his F1 career is dead and although he has achieved a lot, he was denied of more success through no fault of his own. I don’t think he didn’t join McLaren because of money, I think he really had his heart set on rallying so atleast he is doing something that he wants to explore. Hopefully this will also make him miss F1 a lot so if he comes back he will be refreshed and ready to win another title!

    1. Peter says:

      He can have a pre-contract in his pocket from Red Bull alredy, who knows. They are not going to publish that info untill Webber is in a good shape.

  26. SKF says:

    Hello from France!

    Very happy for Kimi, one of is goal is achieved. Compete with Sebastien Loeb.
    The extra is that he will profite by the same car (can you confirm that the car is the same for the constructor team and the junior team).

    For sure this will be a learning year for him A very good result could be a top 5.
    I don’t think i’ll be back in 2011 in formula1.

    It’s a pitty for the formula 1 but wath an event for the WRC and especially for Citroen.

    Can we imagine to see Kimi within a 908 in Le Mans OHHHHH such a dream!!!

    Cu

  27. Carlos says:

    I cannot avoid to feel sad for Kimi leaving the sport. It is hard for me to imagine him coming back in 2011, let alone to be competitive from the word go, when he arrives to an “unknown” F1 for his return.

    I also don’t understand his manager. If rumors are to be believed, he did sign an agreement with Ferrari on which the money that Kimi would be paid was conditional on him finding a seat for 2010. The ball was on Kimi’s court then, and getting such an arrangement without having anything secured for 2010 seems bizarre. Why would Kimi and his manager accept such a thing? “If you want my seat, either pay me 17M either way, or fire me and pay me way more… your call”.

    Although I am a Ferrari fan, I was looking forward to have Kimi around in 2010 fighting Massa in the process. I think that the red team made a mistake which will be very expensive for F1 in the future: not only they have sent away one of the most naturally talented drivers in the last few years, but also brought a very disruptive force in Alonso to the Scuderia. People usually say “Alonso is great developing a team” but I honestly don’t agree with that opinion. Renault was making fastest laps and poles by midseason, and they ended with “the worst car of the grid”. In 2008 Renault was average, and got two victories, one because of the undisputed #1 status of Alonso and the pressure on Piquet, the other because of an incident on the first turn which took out the real contenders that day. In 2009 Renault moved backwards. And, as a consequence of this, we now have no Iceman in F1…

    In my opinion, a very sad day for F1 :(

    1. Silverstoned says:

      Agreed. There will be lots of time for the Scuderia to regret Kimi’s loss next season. For the moment though, they are having such a great time bad mouthing Raikkonen. It’s hilarious. [Probably for Kimi as well]

      1. Brace says:

        I really don’t think they will miss Kimi.

      2. jose says:

        Ferrai is paying a big amount to fix the mess jean todt made a few years back. Now they have a young driver’s program, and everything is going to be dealt in a more empiric manner.

  28. Relativity says:

    After Colin McRae, my interest in WRC waned. I will be sure to watch all WRC events next year to follow Kimi. Red Bulls involvement in Kimi’s career is also interesting.

    2010 is shaping up to be a great year for F1 and WRC. Roll in 2010 already……

  29. Stu says:

    I can see the WRC getting a few more viewers next season to see how Kimi gets on. He himself said that he is thankful to Red Bull for getting him the best car, so no pressure then.

    He’ll also be one of the highest paid F1 drivers in 2010 despite not being in F1. That is quite funny.

    Good luck to him and I hope he’s back in F1 for 2011.

    1. bwana says:

      Good insight.
      He will be making more than the defending World Champ!

  30. Bob Q says:

    A shame I think for F1. I’d be very surprised if he came back next year, but you never know.

    So, that eliminates the one proven active top driver from Mercedes consideration. Who is left? Kubica(still somewhat unproven) if Renault leaves or Michael if he really wants to come back. Beyond that it is journeymen or an unknown young gun.

  31. Finn # 1 says:

    Do you know how much he is earning from the WRC seat itself? More that he could have got if he had taken an F1 seat?

    TIA

    1. James Allen says:

      I think a few other parties apart from just Citroen and Red Bull have kicked in some money.

      1. Dale says:

        Hearsay or fact?

      2. Peter says:

        Plus the 17 million? So, actually he will be the highest eraning “F1 driver” in 2010..?

      3. jose says:

        Not bad for a fired employee. And without even ruining a bank.

  32. Jameson says:

    For those in The States, the WRC Series will broadcast in HD on the HD Theatre channel. The FOE (Formula One Ecclestone) really needs to get with the times and broadcast in HD.

    I can’t wait to see Raikkonen rally in high def!

  33. DK says:

    I am having mixed feeling for this posts. I am glad to see Kimi racing next year but was hoping Kimi to remain in F1 with Merc. It is a disappointment as this is not the case now. I guess Kimi really mean what he said all along. McLaren or nothing …

    I will tune in to watch WRC next year and look for someone new to support in F1 …. Vettel, most probably.

    Hopefully Kimi will do well next year in WRC, and back to F1 with Red Bull in 2011.

    1. Peter says:

      Can I agree and ask James why do you think he did he not agree with Mercedes?

      1. Andy says:

        The word I’m hearing from his managers is that Mercedes approached them too late, after the McLaren deal went south, Kimi made up his mind about going for rally, and it was too late to change his mind after that.

        I have a feeling that be able to take part in rallying while still young enough to have a legitimate chance to win the WDC in it at some point was a big factor in Kimi accepting Ferrari’s offer to end his contract early. I see no other reason for them accepting a deal in which his severance money would depend on whether he drove for another F1 team or not.

  34. Tarek says:

    Webber over Raikkonen anytime!

    1. Michael S says:

      that makes sense… Webbo is almost 3 years older than Kimi….. and has 2 wins to show for it…

      You know there is not a team boss in F1 that would take Webbo over Kimi

      1. Tarek says:

        I think any rational team boss would, judging by the unreasonably high salary the washed-up Finn demands :)

    2. Dale says:

      Both in a winning car my money would be on Kimi and not Mark.

      1. Kimi4Life says:

        And both wrong. In any car Kimi could squash Mark. Domenicalli is incompetent to talk anything. He doesn’t even know which is the right side of the steering wheel when Ferrari intruoduced F60, he embarassed himself.
        Anyway he is now trying to save his job with Alonso.

  35. carlm21 says:

    Good luck to Kimi in WRC. Hope to see him back in f1 one day though.

  36. SKF says:

    hey,
    why do you scrap my comments, it’s the second time ???? :-((

    1. James Allen says:

      Not aware that we had. What was the comment? Please resend

      1. Q says:

        It’s just an error that sometimes happens which has to do with browser settings, not your site.

        Anyway, I am glad Kimi is doing something he enjoys. F1 to me personally is so fake and staged now, I can’t be bothered anymore. The only straightforward and seemingly honest guy dumped for an actor who lies about many things and expects to be treated like a princess in a team.

        I am not a Kimi fan, I am for Vettel, so I am not saying this out of bitterness. Ferrari dumped Schumacher for Kimi, now Kimi for Alonso…next?

  37. Dan says:

    I think this is a bold, but wise move from Kimi. As much as we love him in F1 for his speed and no b******t attitude, he obviously didn’t enjoy F1 as much as he used to, and needed big salaries to help motivate him.

    Citroen is a good place to go, although I thought Ford would’ve been slightly better, as Citroen have a few drivers on their Junior books so will they devote enough time to Kimi? I hope they do because this is a real shot in the arm for WRC, all they need now is Valentino Rossi and Ken Block to switch over and the marketability of the series will jump hugely…

    You can’t criticise Kimi for doing what he wants to do, despite Ferrari’s financial boost he isn’t just sitting at home, and has probably taken a smaller pay to do away with all the F1 circus rubbish he clearly hates..

  38. Andy says:

    A very brave soul indeed to be kimis co driver.

    What a prospect of seeing kimi at full tilt in a top rally car.

    I haven’t watched it seriously since colin mcrae retired from rallying (rip).

  39. Kimi4Life says:

    Bad news for F1, but for WRC very good. Anyway, James, what is your opinion? Will Kimi come back in 2011? Does he have a chance to drive in Red Bull in 2011?
    Regards

  40. john g says:

    all the best to kimi, i think he was totally bored with the celebrity PR VIP nature of F1, and rallying gives him the chance he needs just to have a bit of fun in a car – hopefully he can be quite competitive. not really a big ask since the FIA have decimated the sport. still doubt anyone apart from dave will be broadcasting it on terrestrial tv in the UK tho…

  41. rpaco says:

    Funny isn’t it that a guy like Kimi who likes to go his own way in his own time, should go into a sport where any success is down to him following exactly, a continual stream of shouted instructions from his navigator, whilst building in a a delay of from 2 to 5 seconds. Any deviation causes almost instant grief.
    The adrenalin must flow at a greater rate than with F1 because you don’t now whats coming, but I wonder if you can ever get that unique feeling of having a corner down absolutely perfectly, like you can on a track.

  42. Pierre says:

    Sad to see my favourite driver leave F1, sad to see a pure talent leaving F1, but happy to see he’s chosed what he wanted to do. Will support Lewis next year (a pure talent too).
    If both schedules allows it, I hope to see Kimi next June in Le Mans driving a Peugeot 908. Robertson suggested Le Mans was a possibility after McLaren deal failed.
    A team with Loeb and third driver (Villeneuve ? Bourdais ?…) would not only be potentially successfull but provide a very high marketing value…
    James, Kimi in Le Mans is possible? Heard of it?

  43. LMW says:

    F1′s loss is WRC’s gain.

    Hope it’s au revoir not goodbye.

  44. Segedunum says:

    Well, my prediction has finally come true after a few weeks and days of “He’s just days or hours away……….”

    It’s probably the best option and he’s finally with a backer whose interests seem to align more with his own with a return to a potentially championship winning team. While I think money was overplayed, I don’t know how McLaren or Mercedes were ever going to cater for his outside interests and make sure they were still acceptable in a PR sense. He was hardly going to rally in a MP4-12C.

    A Red Bull seat in 2011 beckons for him when both Webber and Vettel’s contracts will be up and Vettel might be off to Mercedes. Raikkonen won’t doing junior rallying forever, that’s for sure. He wants to win. The Robertsons certainly won’t have done a deal without that being more than an option.

  45. Peter says:

    I think the fastest and most talented driver has just left F1. It is actually a smart move financially and in terms of motor sport. I also think Red Bull is not paying for his rally trip without reason, he fits well to the Red Bull team and I believe he is going to come back refreshed. He is just 30 and he should have been 2x or 3x WCH.

  46. Silverstoned says:

    Hi James.
    First: will you be posting on WRC as well as F1 2010?
    Second: where is Haug’s Big Surprise?

    F1 has got really good at avoiding showdowns. We’ve been cheated out of watching Raikkonen and Hamilton put to the ultimate test. The Iceman would have given his all with his reputation at stake, and so would Hammy.
    This after the little business with Schumacher announcing a return alongside The Iceman as Massa’s replacement [of course it didn't happen]

    Red Bull wasn’t an option now for Kimi and somehow I don’t see that team as a natural home for Kimi 2011. But we’ll see.

    Cheers, I’m off to read about this WRC….

  47. Peter says:

    James do you think Mercedes will pick someone just for one year and consider Kimi next year. N. Haug said he would not expect Mercedes being in the top team imediatelly? I also assume Renault-Prodriver-Whoever wont Kubica let go.

  48. Ian says:

    James I’d be interested in your opinion on this:

    If Kimi were not to return to F1 do you think he’ll be remembered as one of the best drivers or a driver who could have achieved a lot more if he had been able to motivate himself a little more?

    I’m sad to see him go as he is one of my favourite drivers however I can’t help thinking he was turned off by the whole circus surrounding the sport which in turn dampened the fire in his belly to perform at the peak of his ability.

    I think he fell out of love with F1, his raw ability kept him effortlessly competitive but I don’t think we seen the best of Raikkonen.

  49. Curro says:

    Absolutely delighted for Kimi and good luck to him. One has to love the way he does his own thing without giving a f*** about anybody else or all the nonsense in F1 today. I will miss him, that’s for sure.

    I’d love to see him back, but somehow feel it will be difficult. If he finds a nice and relaxed environment in WRC we’ll never see him race an F1 car again.

    I also expect him to dome some WRC winning in 1-2 years. It’s been 9 years since i last attended a WRC event but i’m probably going to think about it in 2010.

  50. Kenneth C says:

    Perhaps being in rally would help him re-discover his enjoyment of motorsport especially after such a difficult year on f1. I hope that Redbull F1 remains competitive and they seriously considering the talent that is in kimi.

    JAMES, what do you think the likelihood of kimi joining RBF1 in 2010? Very difficult question but maybe you gave good inside knowledge?

    Thanks!

    1. James Allen says:

      2011 you mean? I’ll find out next week. I’m seeing Christian Horner on Tuesday

      1. Kenneth C says:

        My mistake, yup i do mean 2011. Will be waiting for that! Thanks!

      2. camila says:

        hi,james it’s wednesday!

  51. Alex Yarnell says:

    Shine on you crazy diamond…

  52. Jose Arellano says:

    i still had the hope of him joining mercedes :(

  53. Shane says:

    World Rally needed something like this to spark new life in to a formula that never gets the media attention it really deserves. Kimi is constantly under attack for not being bothered. Look at the press recently regarding Alonso’s visit to Maranello. Yet he still drove this year mediocre Ferrari to many great results. That’s how good he is. Good luck Kimi. Can you really see him back? I can’t.

  54. RON says:

    Kimi was pure hype… the baloon has truly burst.

    He was lazy, lacked basic communication skills and demotivated his team.

    Ferrari are not stupid – they must have booted him out for good reason.

    Kimi’s WDC was the result of external factors and had very little to do with him… the FIA was always going to give ferrari the WDC and WCC in 2007 – it was, after all, Ferrari’s 60th anniversary in F1…

    Best of all, we will see the demise of the lunatic Kimi fans, that would always put a positive spin on his failures and faults…

    I fully expect Kimi to be a big a flop in WRC… good luck to the spectators on the side lines – they’ll need it!

    1. Kas says:

      Winning Spa, the ultimate drivers circuit, with a car that was supposed to achieve 6th place tops according to all people who know about these things…totally amazing all engineers in the paddock with that performance…a car that hadnt been updated for months….Kimi is a failure?

      You sound like the typical rabid Alonso fan…we will see what happens in 100 days ;)

  55. Malcom says:

    James, I believe that we will see Kimi returning to F1 in 2011, teamed with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull. In the event that Mercedes GP is successful in convincing Vettel to join them in 2012, Kimi could easily replace Vettel as their #1 driver for the 2012 season.

  56. Craig says:

    As a Kimi fan I will be tuning into the wrc. All it needs now is Rossi, Pastrana and Block and it could rival if not surpass f1 in popularity. All the best f1 but I somehow believe this move could be the shot in the arm wrc needs!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Block is in too, as far as I know

      1. Mike says:

        As part of the monster energy team with Atkinson?

    2. Brace says:

      WRC will never surpass F1 because it just isn’t that interesting for watching. No matter how boring F1 races have become, they still go out there and fight each other, while in rally they simply go one at a time and that’s just not that interesting, at least for viewing.

      1. Baktru says:

        Rally just isn’t a television sport. I’ve watched it on TV and that just doesn’t work.

        But for live viewing? Rally is a lot more fun than anything on a circuit. I’d happily go watch rally on the stages, but F1? I live in Singapore and if I had actually been there for the F1 race, I would have gone to see the quali live and watch the race itself on TV in my fav restaurant.

        The one thing I find a shame is that Kimi joined WRC.

        The thing is, I didn’t watch F1 during the Schumi years. I’d sometimes tune in at the start of the race, see the two Ferrari’s start as 1 and 2. Then tune in again 1.5 hours later and see them cross the line as 1 and 2. When one team or pilot is so dominant, it’s boring.

        WRC today is the same, with Loeb just winning the title year after year after year. Hirvonen got closer this year, yes… But Loeb won again, and will again next year.

        Now if Kimi had joined IRC, which has more than two brands and various pilots actually competing for the title, THAT would have been more interesting… And a bloody good reason to fly back to my home town next June. But WRC? Meh.. I wish Kimi the best in it, and I do wonder what he’ll be capable of on Asphalt next year… But even Kimi being there is not enough to get me all that interested in it again… And F1, still have to decide who to root for next year. Kobayashi maybe, if he gets a ride somewhere next year.

  57. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, what’s the latest at Mercedes….does this give any more substance to the possibility of Michael Schumacher returning?

    1. James Allen says:

      More likely Kubica if Renault bale out next week

  58. Looking forward to watching Kimi next year in WRC. There are those who say he can’t come back to F1 next year, but those are the same who said he couldn’t go to WRC this year. Kimi does what he wants on his terms and his strong will always get’s him through.

  59. Mike Nichol says:

    Unfortunately I think Kimi is history for an F-1 future. Things do change rapidly, remember Damon Hill’s championship season? How about the trials and tribulations of Fernando Alonso’sfirst season at McLaren?

  60. Tonksy says:

    I get the feeling that Kimi is now where he really wants to be. As talented as he is, I just don’t think his heart is really in F1 anymore, and frankly I can’t see a comeback in 2011. All the best to him.

    As for Webber – could 2010 be his final year in the sport regardless of what happens with Kimi? He’s turning 34 next year, he won’t be around much longer anyway. As a fellow Aussie I’d like to see him stick around a bit longer, but only in a competitive car. Don’t want to see him trundling around the back in a STR. Actually I’d love to see him come back to Oz and race in the V8 Supercars but that’ll never happen!

  61. timem1 says:

    Anyone who thinks that losing a WDC in the prime of his career to Rallying has a serious case of brain fade. Kimi had one bad year where he seemed to be unfocused (2008) and all of a sudden he was a pariah. Ferrari was always a snake pit when it came to internal politics. During the Schumi, Brawn, Todt, Byrne days the team was focused on winning. Now that that era has passed, Ferrari is reverting to form. Blaming Kimi for a bad car in 2009 and sending him packing is just Domenicalli and Montezemolo’s way of deflecting attention away from themselves. Besides Alonso, Hamilton and maybe Vettel there is no other driver that can compete with Kimi. For those of you who think he’s easily replaced…wake up.

    1. Michael S says:

      I agree… When Kimi won that race in Spa hardly a word from Ferrari brass…. Masssa took 3rd a few weeks earlier and they acted like he won the title!

    2. Fuchsia says:

      agreed.

    3. Hans joergen Stroem says:

      well written this post

    4. Awadhesh says:

      Spot on mate! Thums up!

      1. Awadhesh says:

        *Thumbs

  62. Amritraj says:

    The grid will miss Kimi. He is one of my favourite drivers and probably the best in F1. SD’s theory that he is good only in a competitive car is nonsense. Only the very best and supremely talented drivers could get incredible results in that red dog called Ferrari F60. 2010,without Raikkonen,has already lost a bit of sheen in my eyes

    I hope he finds his way back in F1 in a competitive car. May be Vettel to Merc GP and Raikkonen in Red Bull…who knows.

  63. Melanie says:

    It will not be easy to become really competitive in WRC, Kimi has only done 4 rallies in his whole career. He will need a few years, experience is very important in WRC. I think he will like it so much after one year, that he will just forget about F1.

    Kimi showed good potential, people like Tommi Makinen was very impressed with Kimi, and Kay Lindstrom seems to think that he can become a WRC champion with some time, experience and practice.

    It doesn’t sound to dissimilar from the way in which he entered F1. He entered F1 with the experience of 23 car races. Could history be repeating itself?

    It remains to be seen, I will follow WRC avidly next year. If kimi becomes really competitive in WRC, then he will could be a true legend in motorsport!

  64. Ian Blackwell says:

    Good luck to Kimi in the WRC. Finns seem to be born to do it and having a driving license test that involves a skidpad must help them too. Do you think a modern day F1 driver and a WRC driver typically have overlapping skillsets? The machinery is very different as is the nature of the challenge. How successful do you see Kimi being at it?

  65. James H. says:

    Are the common guidelines of a mutually terminated contact substantially different in Europe than the U.S? It seems that the higher ups at Ferrari can’t keep their mouths shut about Raikkonen’s financial contract to terminate, nor of their opinion of his perceived lack of motivation. And they can’t hide their school girl giddishness at Alonso’s messianic arrival. In the U.S., these would be grounds for litigation. The only class act in this charade was Kimi, who has had the good sense of saying nothing. What’s up? Did Kimi’s attorneys screw up in not asking for professional discretion, or in Europe can a global corporation like Ferrari trash an individual, (who by the way won a WDC for them), as they please? I know Italians love drama, but Alonso hasn’t turned a wheel in anger for them, yet they have embraced him as their new MS. Be careful of what you wish for.

    1. Paul Leeson says:

      James H, I think next season we’ll witness Ferrari reaping the “benefits” of what they’ve sown this season, though whether that gives them what the wished for remains to be seen :).
      Alonso’s already pushed Schumeys nose out of joint, resulting in Schumey being sidelined to the production car facility, something he’s apparently less than pleased about.

      On Kimi, I couldn’t agree more, he’s always been a class act, whilst others are unable to resist a snipe, a boast, or a soundbite, Raikkonen has wisely kept his council, he never was one for spurious comments, its refreshing to discover he’s retained that quality.

  66. kimki says:

    I really hope Kimi will not come back to F1!Why should he? I have been watching F1 for more than 20 years! Believe me I have seen what was the racing back then.
    What F1 has become now? It’s a joke! farce! comedy! a pussy drivers show! With FIA regulations, ridiculous qualifying, test bans, engine freezes etc., etc F1 has become a JOKE!
    I have always had a soft spot for rally. And now I really have a reason not to pay for a F1 pay-channel shit and watch my fav driver to drive a real racing!
    I did not want to sound an old fart but it did :-)

  67. dale says:

    What a come down, F1 world champion to Citroen junior team, what a waste.
    I believe having won the championship he just couldn’t be bothered which is why Ferrari dumped him.

  68. david emlyn says:

    Well there we go, F1′s loss will be WRC’s gain. WRC just got more interesting, F1 little less interesting. How muh will Kimi get paid for rallying? Who cares, think Kimi chose excitement and fun over same sport different car.
    Will he be bck in 2011, it all depends how he goes in the WRC and how much he enjoys it. It certainly suits his lifestyle, entering a snow-mobile race under the name ‘james hunt’ prior to the first race of the F1 season one year – legend.
    Kimi won’t care whether people think he’ll be back or not, he’ll be his own man and respect for that. According to what’s written bout him he must have been the laziest F1 world champ ever – what a hero!
    You never know what happens in F1, he may be back sooner than we think – should a seat happen to come up during the season I’m sure citroen would allow him to race and the reason he probbly didn’t sign for mclaren was that they wouldn’t release him to do some rallying

    That was a bit all over the place!

    Interesting site James, good clean comments and banter and insightful. Looking forward to F1 and WRC in 2010.

  69. Curro says:

    It’s also a joy to see the affection that people in this blog feel for Kimi, speaks volumes about his class.

    1. Baktru says:

      I still think Kimi was the most interesting pilot in F1 for quite a while for sure.

  70. Simo says:

    Kimi will be missed as far as I’m concerned. He may not have as much flare as Alonso or Hamilton, but I think he has always had the passion to do well.

    James if you were in control of Ferrari for a day, who would you have picked between Massa and Raikkonen to partner Alonso next year?

    For me I would have picked Kimi as when he is on the pace I do believe he is outright faster than Massa and is on-par with Alonso.

  71. Michael S says:

    James does any of your threads fill up faster than Kimi topics? I know he has a ton of fans as well as detractors and the comments just seem to explode when you do Kimi topics

  72. MIKE LEA says:

    Would be pretty special if they brought back the Group B Rally monsters…Kimi would be worth watching in one of those! Just can’t get excited about a Citroen, though…As for Kimi coming back to F1, that’s it, he’s out. New drivers will come on to the scene, like Bianchi etc, and he will carry on rallying. He would have been the best bet for Mercedes in 2010, but I presume his price tag was a bit cheeky!

    1. Baktru says:

      Note: Current day WRC’s are actually faster than the Group B’s used to be. In fact, in a rallysprint near my hometown, group B’s are allowed and we still get some Metro’s every year. They are just a tad (and I mean a tad) faster than top of the line Group N’s these days. Group B’s had a lot of power, but suspensions have evolved so much over the past decades that a car like an RS200 or a Metro is still fast, but they just can’t corner like amodern car… So in any rally that isn’t all straight lines, they can’t keep up..

      1. MIKE LEA says:

        oh I know the Group B cars were slower, but man were they more spectacular! Sliding all over the place, just like a proper rally car! Just can’t get too enthused about modern WRC, with flappy paddle gearshifts and fancy electronics. But I’m a motorsport Luddite…….

  73. Gareth D says:

    I couldn’t agree with this more. His performance at Spa was sensational.

  74. ASF says:

    F1 will not be the same without the Kimster, but it looks like WRC gained itself a couple of million fans overnight!!!

    Hope he enjoys 2010 in a C4 and that Reb Bull F1 gets a decent so that we have a Vettel and Kimi dream team in 2011.

  75. Alias says:

    Le Petit a WRC fansite on facebook have stated that their members have already increased from 24 000 fans to 80 000 fans since it has been announced that Kimi will be driving in WRC next year.

    I am sure that Red Bull will soon be patting themselves on the back for this signing. :)

  76. Charles Kane says:

    There might be few readers who have misunderstood Kimi’s move because of cultural differences. WRC is a series that is hughly popular in Finland and is valued at least as much as F1. So Kimi’s move is not something less than driving in F1 or a sabatical year before a return back to to the real stuff (F1). Kimi has gone into WRC to try to be the first one ever to win both championships. I remember him confessing to a Finnish journo after his victory in 2007 that being a double champion (F1 + WRC) was his ultimate dream.

    But even he knows he can’t win it in the first season. Maybe not even ever. That is why he is playing it down. It is a jump into unknown. But he will have a try.

    I think he will try to go as fast as he can in 2010 and crash a lot – we will hear losts bashers making fun of his crashes and results – but if he feels he is learning he will continue to chase for the Chamionship. And do much better in 2011.

    But then again if 2010 is a total failure – not result wise but learning wise – he might get back to F1 or more likely retire – which in my opinion will not happen.

    To anyone not valuing WRC I say – try to put yourself in Kimi’s shoes for a while: here is a guy who have already won the WDC in F1 and have grown up hearing about victories of Marcus Grönholm, Juha Kankkunen, Tommi Mäkinen, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Timo Salonen and Markku Alén. And there probably isn’t a Finnish young male who has not at somepoint tried to drive as fast as those heroes at some lonely road. Rally driving is in the spinal cord of every Finn. In all its good and in bad.

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