F1 Winter Break
The problem for Kimi Raikkonen
Scuderia Ferrari
The problem for Kimi Raikkonen
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Nov 2009   |  12:03 pm GMT  |  265 comments

There are a number of drivers in play in the current unfolding situation between McLaren and Brawn. There are three seats as yet unconfirmed and four drivers to fill them.

Attention for the moment is focussed on Jenson Button, with some commentators predicting that he will imminently sign a three year £6 million contract with McLaren, leaving the team he has been with in various guises for seven years.

Nico Rosberg is involved, but his position is clear; he has already signed a contract with Brawn, which was taken over yesterday by Mercedes and will become its works team next year. The team has been monitoring him closely and liked what they saw this season enough to take him on. Nick Heidfeld is talking to both teams and hoping that a space will open up at one of them.

It's a nail-biting time for Raikkonen (Photo:Darren Heath)

It's a nail-biting time for Raikkonen (Photo:Darren Heath)

And that leaves Kimi Raikkonen, Formula 1’s great enigma. It’s quite clear from reading the many comments on this site that Raikkonen has a huge fan base. People like his uncomplicated, non PC style and his raw talent. Many fans are suspicious of the media and the agendas it serves some times in its reporting and like the fact that Raikkonen gives the media short shrift.

But many Raikkonen fans are puzzled as to how he could have got himself into a situation where from being world champion two years ago with Ferrari he is now in real danger of being dropped out of F1.

Let’s deal with the contractual side first. He had a three year contract with Ferrari, which had an option clause in it for 2010. This option was taken up towards the end of 2008, even though Raikkonen had had, by his standards, a poor season. However Ferrari’s senior management, led by Luca di Montezemolo, then had a change of heart and decided that Fernando Alonso was a better long term bet. The arrival of Banco Santander as a sponsor for 2010 played a role in that too.

So negotiations took place to end Raikkonen’s contract a year early. As I understand it the deal is that if he leaves F1 he will receive €17 million in severance pay, which is half of the €34 million he’s been earning per year at Ferrari. However if he drives for another team in 2010 he will get just €10 million.

So that is why his manager, Steve Robertson, has been looking for a deal which makes sense. The McLaren offer is understood to be around €6 million, similar to the money Button is being offered. So he would earn more money sitting on his sofa in Switzerland than he would racing for McLaren.

Now you might argue that having made the hundred million plus he has made over the years, he should accept the inevitable and drive a potentially winning car next year, collecting €16 million in the process, which is still not a bad return. But it is not happening.

Unfortunately for Raikkonen, the mood has changed among teams now in terms of spending money. The resource restriction agreement, a legally binding agreement between teams to cut costs, does not include driver salaries. But it represents a state of mind as much as anything else and when teams are set to lay off many hundreds of people over the next couple of years and cut costs down to around €50-70 million per year, they do not feel inclined to pay out for drivers like they did pre-credit crunch.

Raikkonen has slipped behind Button in McLaren’s pecking order. Button offers three years of stability and marketability for Vodafone. Raikkonen would be a more temporary move.

Brawn do not seem to be interested, partly because of the money, but also, I suspect, because of what Ross Brawn has gleaned about his performances from his old colleagues at Ferrari.

But it is not just about money. Luca di Montezemolo went on record several times, criticising Raikkonen for his lack of commitment, once famously wondering whether another Raikkonen had turned up to race, rather than the driver they thought they had signed.

Ferrari never knew from one race to the next, which Raikkonen was going to turn up. This is not my opinion, it is what I gleaned from Ferrari over the last couple of years.

The next few days are critical. If Button jumps ship to McLaren it looks like Raikkonen’s F1 career may be over. He may call it a sabbatical and attempt a return in 2011.

Or he may take up rallying. From what I understand the WRC is keenly anticipating having Raikkonen and Valentino Rossi in its ranks in a couple of years time, which would certainly get the series some much needed attention.

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Why on earth would he move to WRC surely he cannot earn the same sort of money as in F1?

I'm no Raikkonen fan, but surely McLaren want the fastest drivers and paying him a bit more than button will return more points in the long run, as it's pretty unlikely Button will be faster than Raikkonen Particularly due to his inability to adapt his driving style to an oversteering car.


A Finnish tv station is reporting that Kimi is negotiating with Citroen to drive for them in WRC next season. Red Bull, which sponsors Citroen, is, according to the report, willing to pay Kimi twice the salary of Sebastian Loeb, the 6 time WRC champion (Loeb allegedly earns 5-6 million euros per season). It is reported that he is also continuing the negotiations with McLaren, but would want to take part in some WRC rallies even if his F1 career continues.

I recall rumors about Kimi joining Vettel in Red Bull, fueled by Kimi seen talking to Red Bull people. Perhaps the context was rallying? After all, Kimi has not tried to hide his passion for rally driving.


Kimi to to WRC Citroen in 2010 and back to F1 with Red Bull Racing in 2011...


I think if you had earned 100m in the last 5 years and banked most of it then you would choose the type of car you wanted to race in based upon the fun you were having.

Lets face it. F1 can be very dull if you ain't right at the front.

WRC is what Finnish people do.


James you're spot on about us Kimi Fans. He's the best out there and because he's aloof he's misunderstood. I remember once Micheal said that Kimi's the fastest of them all! He should not be taking a pay cut and Mercedes ought to give him mega buck because they are the main reason he's not a 3 times world champion because their engines were all blowing up when he was in great form! anyone remember Nurburgring?




It's never Kimi's fault, is it.


At least you're honest...


"...once famously wondering whether Raikkonen’s brother had turned up to race" - wasn't this Flavio Briatore about Heikki Kovalainen, or did Montezemelo do it too?


I'm sure it was used about Heikki too back in 07 but LDM definately said something similar about Kimi


I'd love to see Raikkonen go to the WRC and become a bi-discipline World Champion. Its just a shame that the WRC isn't as big as it used to be, although this may help it get a bit more publicity.


Hi James,

Just like to point this out:

"Luca di Montezemolo went on record several times, criticising Raikkonen for his lack of commitment, once famously wondering whether Raikkonen’s brother had turned up to race, rather than the driver they thought they had signed."

I thought Flavio said that about Heikki after the Australian race in 2007.

Other than that, great insight and inside info as always. Keep them coming!


That's Ferrari's problem. If they gave him the car he wanted then he'd outdrive anyone at any race. As it is, they invested in Massa for 2008 and lost the driver's championship.


Montezemolo said something similar at the end of 2008, asking could Raikonnen, instead of his slower, less motivated stunt double show up for 2009


[edit] Raikkonen - I thought it didn't look right, perhaps I should stick to typing Kimi


It is truly insane if a driver of kimi's quality is pushed out of F1...he is one of the most exciting drivers out there and to compare jenson and nick to kimi is outrageous.


I agree with Amer 100% - a driver of Kimi's calibre without a seat for next year cause of money and contractual inadequecies is trully a shame. Raikkonen is exciting to watch and given the right package will always deliver. I just hope he finds something for next year cause I for one will miss him. As for comparing Jenson and Nick to Kimi, you gotta be joking.

Hans joergen Stroem

I agree 100%.


Hi James,

Do you not think this Button to Mclaren thing is actually just part of the deal. I get the feeling that Jenson is the sweetener in all of this for Mclaren. After all do you really think Mercedes would give up the number 1 on their car for the sake of £3m pounds. My feeling is that Mclaren have seen this line up as a consolation as it brings added sponsorship to the team and will no doubt keep Vodafone happy, and as a result have negotiated this into the compromise agreement with Mercedes.


why do you think mclaren need a sweetner?

i cant fathom why people are suggesting this is in any way against mclarens wishes. it was entirely within their hands to pacify mercedes into continuing, but they want to me an independent sports car manufacturer, and so were willing for mercedes to leave. the deal that was struck is entirely in mclarens interests, otherwise they wouldnt have done it.


Hi James,

According to the Guardian Button has already signed a three year deal with McLaren, have you heard anything supporting this?



Totally Disagree with you James! How about the facts that the Ferrari Car was not suited to him??? What about the statement Luca made at the starting of this year about kimi that -"They say he never speaks and when he speaks nobody listens"!! You have completely missed those!!

In 2007 - the year when Montezemolo said this comment,he was on podium on almost all of the last 8 races. That was after they fixed his problems with the car.

This talk of motivation and commitment is all B.S. How about Hamiltons crash in Imola this year. Oh yeah! That should be hailed as - "Mann, Hamilton pushes even in the last lap". Its just opinion and views.

Just because a driver does not go "ga-ga" about everything does not mean he is not motivated!!!


Did u actually read the article pal?.....and it was Monza not Imola...


it was this!

"But it is not just about money. Luca di Montezemolo went on record several times, criticising Raikkonen for his lack of commitment, once famously wondering whether another Raikkonen had turned up to race, rather than the driver they thought they had signed.

Ferrari never knew from one race to the next, which Raikkonen was going to turn up. This is not my opinion, it is what I gleaned from Ferrari over the last couple of years."


well , James kinda ignores anything good people from Ferrari says about Kimi .

I remember Chris Dyer saying Kimi got a lot of respect from the team for the way he handled the situation last year .


Ani - that was exactly where i was getting too! thanks!


I hope Kimi will stay in F1. His raw talent makes him the fastest man on the grid. It would be shame to see him go away!


It´s a very blury situation.

Jenson had a 5 million contract with Brawn last year and now he´s gone take a deal with Mclaren as a world champion by 6 million?

For me it doesn´t make sense!

As for Kimi let´s wait and see, he always said that he wouldn´t compromised on a deal just to be on f1 and that´s what his doing.

Maybe during this week we will get a better picture of how things will end up for him.



Dont know about you but £1million isn't '£1million'.

In some places, up in North West of England where they have a funny accent and sinf 'we will never walk alone' £1m could buy you as much as 10 houses.

It's a lot of money



I know its a lot of money, everywhere, but we are talking about F1!!


Jenson dropped from £8.5m under Honda to £3m and paid his own travel under Brawn. The 2010 Mercedes/Brawn offer is reported to be about £4m, possibly €5m. either way it's as much as £2m less than McLaren are offering to take the Number 1 to them. McLaren will probably the better machinery in 2010.

Someone should offer Kimi a performance related pay i.e. get an extra €1m for each race you win or he should sit out for a year if he money is more important to him than F1 racing.


If Norbert Haug and Ross Brawn have made this partnership looking to win World ChampionShips and if they have some little common sense, they would not sign Heidfeld and Rosberg. Rosberg - 4 seasons and no wins so far.

Heidfeld - 10 (Its Ten) Seasons and no wins so far.

Admit Rosberg has got the talent. But it will be utterly foolish not to opt for a Championship winning guy in your car and to opt for a german freaking line up.

Wonder if germans like their team winning or german drivers finsihing 4th and 5th in races!!


Unfortunately, Rosberg is an unproven quantity until he starts getting to the front of the grid. As for Heidfeld, quite frankly he's in his 30s now and if it was going to happen for him it would have happened by now.

With Heidfeld and Rosberg, even if Brawn produce a great car you can't be sure they'll win races versus the competition.


Again, nothing personal mate but it took Massa 4/5 seasons to get into a race winning team.....and surprise surprise....win a race! Rosberg is good & will win races. Don't get me wrong, i love The Iceman but 17million to take a season out, have fun & get the bug back maybe the best thing for him!....oh and the current champ took 7 seasons to win a race and.....you guessed it...10 (TEN) to win the title.....don't write NH off


Oh yeah and Thats why they are not willing to pay the current champ that extra buck!


I completely agree with you about Raikkonen, I can't see Brawn hiring him, mercedes have already stated Rosberg as number 1, Raikkonen may show their 'choosen driving' up through out the year. On the other hand im unsure why he didnt accept the Mclaren offer, he knows they should be quick, yes its lewis team but he's put up with alot more at ferrari. It would be terrible to see kimi out of F1, when he is on it he is probably the best driver on the grip.

Its a real shame for Jenson, clearly there is something else going on behind the scenes at mercedes... Do you think they are offering him the same of less than Rosberg?? Either way if he does go to mclaren he'll have a mountain to climb, but then again you might of said that last christmas and now he's WDC! maybe he sees goin up against hamilton as a way to shut up the critic's. If he beats hamilton at his own time JB = Legend 🙂


James, you just echoed my thoughts but TBH, if 10m USD is all McLaren is offering, then it's not an obligation to sign the deal and degrade yourself from somewhere in the range of 45m to just 10. After all, he's Raikkonen and I'm sure McLaren would have offred him a bit more.

The real problem I guess is Mercedes pushing McLaren to sign Button because they wouldn't like a brit beating a German (Rosberg) in a German team. As simple as that. So Raikkonen can go to Brawn if they offer him somewhere in the range of 15-20 USD



mercedes have never got their way with mclaren, which is one reason why they want to be major share holders. what makes you think that now all of a sudden they have any sway over who mclaren chosses to drive for them.


I'd happily degrade myself for 10m; the thing is, when the figures are just bandied about and we talk about him taking a massive pay cut, we tend to lose sight of the fact that 10m is more than most will ever earn in their life, let alone in a single year.

These massive sums being looked for are nothing more than an ego trip in F1's own way of saying "mine's bigger than yours" and it's exactly that attitude that's got it into this mess in the first place.

Everyone lambasts Bernie's greed in asking for ever bigger sums of money, but when the drivers do it, apparently they're just looking for their "worth".


'Attention for the moment is focussed on Jenson Button, with some commentators predicting that he will imminently sign a three year £6 million contract with McLaren, leaving the team he has been with in various guises for seven years.'

One issue that I have not seen mentioned is the role of Jenson's mis-manager Richard Goddard (I cannot bring myself to call him a manager as all he appears to do is mis-manage).

Does Mad-Dick manage anyone else or does he put all his effort into creating bad publicity and missed opportunities for Jenson?

Jenson is a top bloke. He is a fantastic driver. But he ended up in a championship winning car more by luck and perseverence than managerial judgement. He could end up in a championship winning car next year by moving to McLaren but even I accept that the car will not suit his style and he will be helping win the constructors rather than fighting for the drivers championship.

He can beat Nico. He has admitted himself that the nerves got to him mid-season so he needs Shov and Mikey Muscles like Massa needs Rob Smedley. This will take time to develop at McLaren if indeed it ever would. I accept he will be keeping the seat warm for Seb Vet till 2012 but if Jackie Stewart, Stirling Moss and Martin 'the God' Brundle are all advising him to steer clear of Team Hamilton then he needs to carefully consider the advice of Mad Dick.


It really is a shame to lose Raikkonen from the sport.

There's certain tracks where he is simply imperious. Spa, Magny Cours, Hungaroring, he just finds something there that other drivers cannot.

Massa said the same thing.

I rate Hamilton as probably the most fluent driver going. But Lewis bullies his car into doing what he wants. Kimi does it some other way. It's hard to describe the fluency with which he drives at a place like Spa.

Lewis is great there too. But Kimi is on another planet.

Michael Schumacher was much the same actually. Spa, Magny Cours, Hungaroring. These are tracks with a lot of tight bends that demand exceptional sensitivity and an almost oneness with the car.

Lewis is fantastic at these modern go-kart style stop-go circuits. As is Massa. But in the old-school tracks, Kimi and Michael before him, is king.

It would be a damn shame to lose that sort of talent from the sport.


Yeah i agree with you Aaron, but Massa is King at Interlagos, and thats a really old track.

I'm not a Raikkonen fan, i'm a Massa one, but it would be a shame to loose him, Massa said the same.


I dont think neither Ross Brawn or Norbert Haug in particular have anything but good opinion on Kimi. Mercedes-Benz with Rosberg and Heidfeld is not a top team, none of them has won any races yet. I don`t think Mercedes want to be beaten by McLaren after all. They need a top gun, so Kimi to Brawn for short term and then Vettel.


How about Kimi to Brawn/Mercedes and then joined by Vettel.

Or Kimi to Brawn and then replace Webber at Red Bull.

Ferrari have really screwed Kimi with this deal. He's going to have to forefeit pay no matter what team he drives for and Ferrari have leaked the deal, seriously hampering his pay negotiations. I would not blame him if he took a sabbatical and went rallying for 17 million EUR. At least he wouldn't have to drive that POS Punto!!!!


He certainly moved the Ferrari at the right time, what a contract! McLaren would get more pace from Kimi but Jenson would be more consistent and better for the sponsors.

That said it cannot be said that Kimi didn't give his all in the second part of the season. But again he knew that his days at Ferrari were coming to an end.

We don't want to lose Kimi like we did with Montoya, F1 needs these drivers.

Schumacher for Mercedes anyone?


I'll start by saying I'm a Kimi fan and agree with Ginger on his performances in the second part of the season. I think there's a bit of a campaign out against Kimi to a certain degree. Each team has its favourites, some say Kimi started uping his game once Massa got injured - or maybe it was at that point that Ferrari actually threw their weight behind Kimi and supported him properly. The only people who really know are Kimi and Ferrari. Bar the blip in qualifying when he thought he'd done enough (a b0ll0ck dropped by both Kimi and Ferrari in underestimating how competitive this year really was - nothing more) I think he did a great job with a pig of a car this year which had more buttons on the steering wheel than a Nasa space shuttle.

I think certain things are reported differently with Kimi. If he qualifies outside the top ten he can't be bothered and he's not motivated - if Lewis or Alonso do the same then the car isn't working for them on that particular weekend.

I'd would be a great shame to lose Kimi next year, as I think then new regs regarding fuel and having to look after your tyres will suit Kimi (and for that case Button), and it will be interesting to see how Lewis copes as he often rags his tyres which he can't afford to do with a truck load of fuel on board next year.

Anyways, apologies for going on - c'mon the iceman!


It would be sad I think to see Kimi exit F1 being a championship winner, but ultimately an unfulfilled talent. I’ve always enjoyed Kimi’s approach both on and off the track but if his motivation is to win another world championship then money shouldn’t be the end goal, especially when he’s already earned $100 million.

If he’s motivated to win then surly he’d sign.

James, I read in the latest edition of F1 Racing that Jacques Villeneuve had a desire to make a comeback and was in discussions with some teams. It thought it unlikely but it’s a similar case to Kimi in that he’s a driver that should have won more races. Do you know if he is close to getting a seat?


Please god not Jacques V - a driver who was really hard on cars; loves to blame anyone else for his slack of success (couldn't even get invited back to La Mans) and got his drives because his father was one of the all time greats who died way too soon.

JV's successes in F1 were more the car than him (and some bad Judgement from MS)


This argument about JV having success only because of his car is invalid. He beated Deamon Hill at his very first GP in 1996 and slack down in the last lap to let him win. He won 1997 title with, at the end, a slower car than Shumi.

He then beated Frentzen, Zonta, Panis while constructing an whole new team from scratch ! He was unconvincingly beaten by Massa in 2005. Massa was "mysteriously" (in my view) hired by Ferrari in his place.

He beated Heidfeld for the first half of 2006 season and began his downfall only after he felt BMW was willing to dump him anyway.

He then crashed a lot of cars and complained about the poor BMW engine in Germany GP et so was politically drop out of F1.

He's not the greatest, but have been beaten, in equal cars, only by a great driver : Jenson Button.

After winning the title, he asked to be hired by Ferrari in "a car as good as Micheal's car", which they refused. He then starts is own team, the same one who gave Button the championship this year.

So show respect to JV.

He still deserve a seat in F1 considering all the below average drivers out there !


I don't agree. JV dominated in the States and he was a fantastic rookie of the year in his first season of F1, almost snatching the title out of Damon's grasp. He won fair and square in 97 even though some stewards tried to prevent him winning the title in Japan when they dsq'ed him after a yellow flag infringement duren Q.

He made a poor career choise to join Bar in 1999 and that was the end of it. If he had stayed at williams or if he had joined mclaren, he would have won some more titles or come close cos there was always a Hakkinen or a Schumacher on the horizon.

JV was top and he got in motorracing on his own merrit, not his dads and not even his uncle.

If he wants to try and come back, he may. I personally wouldn't as he has nothing more to proove. But he wants to show his kids what he can do. THey weren't around during JV's golden years in the 9Os.

Met JV last year. Friendly chap and takes time for his fans. Glad to have met him.


I think that’s a little harsh.


"But it is not just about money. Luca di Montezemolo went on record several times, criticising Raikkonen for his lack of commitment, once famously wondering whether Raikkonen’s brother had turned up to race, rather than the driver they thought they had signed."

When was that? I remember Flavio Briatore saying just that about Heikki Kovalainen after his first race for Renault.


Luca said something about wanting Kimi to show up for 2009, rather than his slow, less motivated stunt double.

Same sh#t, different smell


I think James is mixing things up. Luca said something about waiting for the 'real' Kimi to show up.


I was a McLaren fan for decades until Alonso left and my dislike of Hamilton made supporting the team impossible.

I've been so excited that Kimi, one of my favourite drivers, would return to McLaren and with the move, restore my love of my old team.

If this doesn't happen and Button partners Hamilton, with Kimi leaving F1 forever; not only will I still be unable to support McLaren (I like Button but not enough to get over my Hamilton loathing) but I will be devastated to have lost the most interesting and coolest driver on the grid.

Without Kimi racing in F1, the 2010 season will have lost a lot of its shine for me. I am very sad.


True true true. I was the same.

It's just such a waste having drivers like Button in race-winning cars when Kimi's around. Fair, he won a load of races in a car that suited him and was a good 2 tenths faster than anything else, but Button will get done by Hamilton.


This drivers are so greedy. They don't deserve to be in f1. They are all after the money first, the competition second.

I think they should make room for young guys, who want to make a name for themselves, like kobayashi, sutil etc.

Kimi we are loosing respect for you. May be is just time for you to go.


I still don't understand where this money commotion is coming from. money here, money there. That is not the issue with Kimi's ongoing contract negotiations. It's the PR stuff and other small details. Kinda makes me sick that it is the only thing that is talked about.. EVERYWHERE.


Raikkonen has grown on me over the years and I love that he is a pure racer. He will be paid a large sum of money to go and drive in rallies (thanks to his pay off), something he passionately loves doing. He may then catch the bug for it and continue for a few years, giving Loeb some competition he desperately needs and enjoying himself at the same time.

I don't think he really NEEDS F1 at this point, there is too much politics involved.


I am a Mclaren fan. I used to like Kimi alot. He is one of the fastest. But...:

1. he left Mclaren for their arch enemy.

2. he does not have many years in F1 which makes him a temporary choice

3. he is expensive

4. he is not loyal

5. he is not motivated

6. Daimler just doubled their expenses in F1 in a crunch time.

I would say chances Kimi will be on next year are about 30%.


ps. great website. absolute pleasure to read.


Firstly, he left McLaren because they weren't able to produce reliable AND fast cars. In all his seasons there, he only had two decent cars. The first (2003) was slow compared to the other title contenders and not even 100% bulletproof. The 2005 car was fast but fragile, Except the first race of the season, there wasn't any season when he was not on it.

And about the loyalty bit, when he knew he was getting the sack, he didn't complain about the team, he just kept his mouth closed and drove and was so close to carrying Ferrari to 3rd place despite having no support from his teammates in the second Ferrari in a much slower car.

It would be a huge shame to see Kimi leave, McLaren must be mad if they really would rather have Button than him if we are talking about talent.. (Who knows maybe they don't like Kimi's attitude) But if it is down to Button being better for the sponsors then well, that's him being booted out of another seat because of sponsors (Although I do realise Alonso is a better package than Kimi)


If Button takes the McLaren seat, is there any chance Raikkonen's stupid managers conclude a deal with Brawn with less money?

ALso, I am wondering you and your fellow journalists have any close friends or sources on the Raikkonen camp or only on the English ones (Hamilton-Button-McLaren-Brawn). As for Ferrari we write what the biased Italians write and the German related things what the Germans write.


Interesting to hear that Ferrari didnt know which Kimi they were going to get from one race to the next...

Apparently according to Nigel Roebuck the mclaren engineers thought the same thing when kimi was there with them - I wonder if this influenced them going for button at all instead of kimi?


I doubt it. Quite frankly, I don't put much stock in Roebuck's words. A lot of opinions on Kimi are really based on hearsay, and indeed, there are a ton of backhanded comments from McLaren engineers and employees in private and public as to how good Raikkonen actually was there.


James, in the interests of fairness we need your views on the well rehearsed arguements about Kimi's tenure at Ferrari: Schumacher's contribution, understeer bias, and the rest. A lot more detail has to be "gleaned from Ferrari".

This theory that Kimi "disappointed" during his 3 years there: does it really stand up to scrutiny? What about his performance this year?

That means at least one more Raikkonen article, James.

IMHO Alonso will do brilliantly to achieve one wdc and one wcc in the next three years. And Button preferable to Raikkonen? Only if you are keen on being crucified by Ferrari. Won't happen. Whitmarsh can't, won't let it.

It's The Iceman and Hamilton in 2010.


if kimi leaves f1,f1 will no longer be the same


Heya James,

I read a rumour saying Schumacher might possibly drive a Brawn next year, can you confirm this is rubbish/unlikely?

Also I think F1 needs guys like Kimi on the grid, especially with all the damage to the sport that has been done recently, maybe Bernie should reach into his coffers and give kimi a mil or two to stay in F1.

Btw love the blog, would be cool if you had a news feed getting latest news, to go with your expert reports, from various sites on the jamesallenonf1 home page so this could be our 1 stop F1 site


Thanks for the input James. We, fans of Kimi, are long waiting for news and it has been nailbiting and still is.

We always hoped he would go back home, to Mclaren, where he belongs. Let us see in the next couple of days what will happen.

If Kimi is left with no seat for 2010, it will be a gigantic blow to the sport. Kimi's flashes of absolute brilliance will be sadly missed. Not only that, but his no-bs attitude aswell. Kimi fan or not, he was a character in F1. That is certain.


At last a media outlet recognising the plight of Kimi! All the talk, at least in The UK is of where Button will be Next year, and few have realised the implications of that to Kimi. I for one hope he will be in the sport last year. He is clearly an immensly talented driver, and I love the charachter traits you mention. Hamilton vs Raikkonen in the same car is a mouthwatering prospect, and I feel Kimi's driving style would far better suit Hamiltons McLaren than Buttons ever could.


Rally is an option for Raikkonen, but don't forget that he has no experience, he is not an established rally driver and thus it is very likely for the first 1-2 years (or forever depending on his progress with the results-speed) will have to pay the car and every event he does. And it is not at all that cheap. Ask Petter Solberg.


Kimi's name moving to rally would bring significant exposure - that could be worth a lot of $ to a team and the championship in general. Plus, he's made, what, $150 M over the last 3 years? He can chip into a team if he really wanted to.



How likely do you think Button signing for McLaren really is? And do you think that Ron Dennis might step up his role within the team again now his share has increased - could this have something to do with the shift in their driver choice as he's often spoken very highly of Button and I seem to recall him not being Kimi's biggest fan after he jumped ship to Ferrari...

Also, next time you speak to Button, could you suggest that he sign up with Martin Brundle's management team...they seem to do a much better job and I can't remember Coulthard ever having any of these problems..!!


It would be such a shame to see Kimi leave the sport which he has given so much too, this year he has seen to be lacking motivation/confidence or is it the old story of the team favoring one driver (i.e Massa). Maybe Kimi needs a team where he is No 1, after all he has won a world championship.


... I make that 3 excuses in just over 5 lines - good work!

I particularly enjoyed the 'sport he's given so much to' line... classic.


..that's 3 and a half excuses in just over 5 lines! Good work.

I particularly enjoyed the 'he's given so much to' comment. Classic.


This is a complete tragedy. The perceptions of the relative qualities of the drivers is completely insane.

Button will get done by Hamilton at Mclaren in what will be an over-steer car designed for Hamilton. They'll be getting another Heikki.

Massa will get done by Alonso in what is going to be the most stupidly explosive relationship. Ferrari are idiots. If that car can win races those drivers will be hating one another before F1's got to Europe. And they've ruined Kimi's career - something I will never forgive.

And meanwhile we have to endure these PR-corporate-dream-drones fighting it out while Kimi Raikkonen, the most interesting thing about F1 for the last decade, is forced to quit.

I stand by what I said on this site 6 months ago. If Raikkonen leaves F1 I'm stopping watching. I have no interest in any of the other drivers. Such a shame.


If Mclaren wanted 'another Heikki' they'd stick with him.

If Kimmi's career has been 'ruined' then that's down to Kimi and his management, his value to `Mclaren,or anyone else for that matter, is what he and his management can negotiate - simple.

I take it that the 'PR-corporate-dream-drones' comment is a swipe at Hamilton, well, if the alternative is an inarticulate monosyllabic introvert I'm not surprised that he can't get a drive at Ferrari, Mclaren, Brawn and Red Bull.


If you think Button will beat Hamilton then fair enough. I don't.

My 'drones' comment was aimed at most other drivers. It's a personality thing. I liked the maverick quality of the James Hunts and Alfonso de Portagos of this world more than the engineered qualities of a Shumi or a Hamilton. But it's just my opinion. Alonso cracks me up when he loses his temper, mind.


You're right about one thing Charlie, too many PR-dream-drones.

Most F1 interviews/quotes on websites are a waste of time.

Exceptions? Webber, Alonso, especially when he's narked about something, Massa, gaining in confidence to speak up, Villeneuve, anyone else? Can't think of anyone.

Phrases to be banned in interviews?

"We shall have to wait and see", Raikkonen and others, but Raikkonen particularly.

"We/the team have lots of work to do/have worked very hard". Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for drivers crediting the effort put in by mechanics and engineers but these 'lots of work' phrases are overused.

I also agree with you that Raikkonen is needed in F1, in a competitive car too, but will I stop watching if he retires/goes rallying/can't get a drive?

No, I always have, probably allways will follow F1 despite your observation, accurate too, about processional races.


The big question is "Does Kimi have interest for F1?"


then watch the racing instead. its not football, you dont ahve to have a team!


What racing? F1 is processional now. The only thing that makes it for me is Kimi's maverick attitude to the sport. For him it's about getting in the car, driving it quickly, racing to win, and going home. He doesn't get bitchy when he looses (like Vettel, Webber, Button, Barichello, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa all have at some point over the last few years). He's completely nonchalant about the media, the media's perception of him, and the sport in general. But in the face of those who call him boring he drives like he did for the last few laps of Spa 08, gets wasted frequently, brake tests people with glee (Montoya Spa - Hamilton Brazil), does loads of other extreme sports, leaves Ferrari meetings to go to the Eurovision Song Contest, doesn't turn up to his first Ferrari race on time because he's participating in a 24hr snow-mobile race...which he wins under the name James Hunt...

I could go on. The guys a freaking legend. Some of my friends have started to think about supporting Vettel as an alternative, but a few jokes to the press about Little Britain, and losing your temper when you mess up at Turkey aren't really qualities I look for in a legend.

Until another Kimi comes along F1 will be distinctly diluted.

So yeah... like football I do have to support someone. That said, I don't care about the team. It's the cult of personality I love. And Raikkonen is one of the greats for me.


Seriously mate, how can you say F1 is "processional"? There has been more action over the last couple of seasons than we've had in years. If you need to see the definition of processional, check out some races from the Senna / Prost / McLaren / Honda domination years.

And as for Raikkönen. Nochalant, yep, great...but could he at least smile a bit when he (occasionally) wins? He always looks like he just sat on something unpleasant on his press conference chair.


Everything comes to an end. I was a Senna fan. I turned to Indycar after his tragic accident and became a Villeneuve fan. When Kimi hit the F1 scene I started supporting for him. After Kimi there will be others I will follow. Vettel is one of those magic drivers I respect and I think I would cheer him if Kimi decides to drop out.

Who knows what will happen in de next couple of days. Would love to see Kimi compete next season. But if he should take a sabbatical, maybe he can come back? But what will his form be? Prost came back and won the championship but everyone could have won it with that car, back in the day.


The strange thing is that even least motivated Kimi is still as exiting as the best Jenson! You could make quite a list of races in which Kimi overtook more cars than Jenson did this entire season. I am pondering why McLaren doesn't see that unless they cleary prefer a second fiddle to Lewis. Maybe it was better if Jenson joined the WRC where he can "smooth" all alone on track while we could still enjoy Kimi's exiting aggression in F1.


Ok, let's see your list then.....

I think you might struggle a bit because, over the course of the season, Jenson's average position change was +1.53, whereas "exiting" (sic) Kimi only managed -0.12. Yes, Kimi's average direction was backwards.

When you consider that Jenson started from pole 4 times (and was therefore couldn't improve his average in those races) the figures look pretty good. Oh, and he didn't have KERS.

Maybe that is what McLaren saw.



This is exactly why I try to avoid getting worked up over these forums! I said Jenson and this entire season but Kimi in "one" race; refering to when he had just a remotely competitive car. Even in this years crappy F60 he managed to shine from time to time and then look at what Giancarlo could do with it; the man that was usually not far behind Fernando at Renault, even though he was clearly second fiddle. I am talking about when Kimi would win from P17, something you will never see from Jenson, and yes; Jenson cannot overtake from P1 but apparently he cannot win from anywhere else either! Your statistics, by the way, doesn't say how the positions are gained or if good overtaking took place but positions were lost in pit or for other reasons. If you really like to put emphasis on statistics; maybe you should check who was leading the most laps all season in some of Michaels champion years. By far!


Wey Hey! Legendary post.


Thanks James.

Well, all this is really upsetting as a big fan of Kimi's. For F1 to lose a talent and unique character like Kimi is just depressing. Nothing more to say.


He's not out yet. Button could be just taking it to the limit with Brawn


I know nothing is certain yet, but I was just saying if that's the case then it is depressing. I still have some faith in Kimi and his managers. And McLaren/Mercedes.

@Charlie: Hi! 🙂


Any chance Kimi ends up at Mercedes?

After all Haug said something about a possible surprise with their driver line-up and I don't think he meant Heidfeld by that. Button also wouldn't be that surprising.

What's your opinion James?


It's in yesterday's posts in detail


Hey Evenstar. Didn't know you posted here.

It's like US election day online today isn't it? Kimi fans everywhere freaking right out.

I'm shaking...


It's just because we like RACING much more than seeing some underperforming guy cruising around in a two seconds faster illegal car! Sorry.


Macca are looking like the 'ex' team.

Ex world champions (Lewis, JB/Kimi).

Ex principal Merc team.

Ex team principal in Ron Dennis.

Beginning to look like a scrap heap of F1 memorabilia: of old and fading faces.

Think the team needs a radical overhaul if it isn't to go the way of Williams in recent years.


How long have you been watching F1 mate? They didn't always have Mercedes engines you know. But they still managed to cobble together a few world championships.

And Hamilton, "old and fading faces"?



Kimi probably has the biggest international fanbase with support in every corner of the globe. His support is totally opposite to other drivers like Alonso who have huge home support.

It would be nice if FOM could pay him a small top-up retainer next year for the good of the sport. It will be worth it for the extra bums on seats.


The only survey that I have ever seen concerning who is the most popular driver in the world was won by Hamilton. Raikkonen was second. Trulli was last.


It's quite an interesting point though because I think Kimi is internationally popular with people who want to go to races. When I've been in Spa, Monza and Silverstone I've always been surprised by the huge numbers of Kimi supporters. (The comparison to Massa is almost overwhelming - even at Monza in 2008!) I think that the TV viewing public, particularly in the UK and Spain, of course, have more of a thing for Hamilton and Alonso. But I suspect that this has mostly to do with the press interest of 2007.

It'd be interesting to know who has the most support outside of their own country (or that of the team they drive for). I suspect that Kimi would be up there.


I think you're 'on the money' again Charlie.

The point you seem to be making, including your earlier posts is, 'Do we want to be watching a genuine racer or would we prefer a Perfectly Presented Personality?'

It sounds like you and I want the racer, if he doesn't interview that well, do we care?

And I have taken account of the fact that Kimi sometimes seems to be 'out of sorts', shall we say. But, when he is truly on the case, he's worth watching. So are some of the others.

It's not surprising that Alonso and Hamilton are popular, not just in their own countries, but Alonso in the UK and Hamilton in Spain too. It must be that after 2007, the British want to see Hamilton beat Alonso and the Spanish want to see Alonso beat Hamilton.

Raikkonen doesn't have that baggage? He is universally popular.



as far as I am aware it was a worldwide survey although you don't know whether there was a bias towards any country in particular in terms of the voting.

I agree every GP does seem to enjoy a lot of Raikkonen support but that was also the case with Hakkinen. Remember Finland do not have their own GP so many fans will be prepared to travel.


He is definately way up there, at the top 🙂 Trust lol


I think the move to Ferrari all those years ago was the begining of the end of the Kimi legend, before he was able to hide his own inconsistancy behind that of an unreliable Mclaren. Surely in a front row car, which had legendary reliability, against a team mate who looked promising but needed some polish, he should have shined, but the Kimi that we were supposed to see was never revealed.

His WDC was hardly the dominant performance we were promised, in fact pretty much a suprise, as he'd seemed an outside contender for most of that season. The subsequent years he seems to have gone off the boil fast, as if after winning the WDC F1 was done and he was looking for a new challenge.

In the end I think Kimi will be seen almost like Alesi a great crowd pleaser a fan favourite, but not someone as a manager you'd be clamouring for in your team.

Looking forward to him in WRC though, might make it worth watching again.


Everyone stop what you are doing and read Pete's post again... post of the year. Pete for President etc

; )


Pardon? He's never been inconsistent. You just have to look at 2003 to see that.


It is time for kimi to show what's his true objective as he is heading for the last phase of his F1 career.He can ignore money matters(even if it means ignoring Robertsons)and go for a glorious end which he deserve regarding his talent;or he can fade away as a greedy pig who lost the thrill of pure racing to the money.


Well F1 would be well the worse for no Kimi...

And if Merc really think Rosberg and Heidfeld is anyone's idea of anything but a media blackhole then they should really re think their PR....


Hmm. I've never been a huge Raikkonen fan - I felt that for the money he was being paid, he should work harder, to put it simply. Like Button, he had a huge playboy rep when he started out - but Button has visibly become more serious about and committed to his racing over the last five years. Raikkonen hasn't appeared to, and the team feedback you are reporting confirms appearances.

I don't read tabloids so I don't know if Kimi gave up the strip club scene after he got married, but honestly my feeling is that the only driver on the current grid who comes close to Kimi in raw talent is Lewis (Nando is more about racecraft, though he's bloody fast too of course).

But here's the thing I feel the Kimi fanatics skim over: Kimi has been in a top car since 2002 and has 1 title to show for it. He's had his shot, and honestly I'd much prefer to see Quick Nick get a chance in a top machine than watch Kimi drift through another overpaid, underwhelming season.

*ducks to avoid the flaming rage of the Kimaniacs*


It's kinda funny that while Kimi appears so nonchalant about F1, his fans/apologisers are the complete opposite


Someone has to defend him!


Yeah, I know. I reckon that if he met us he'd think we were a bunch of complete losers. That's actually why I didn't get a Kimi Raikkonen tattoo. I promised a friend that if Kimi won the Belgium GP this year - I was there and thought it highly unlikely that something so awesome would happen - that I'd get a tattoo. But someone rightly pointed out that if you ever met someone who'd tattooed themselves with your name or image you'd probably think they were an axe murderer or something. I'd rather just go and get smashed with Kimi than chat F1 or show off my (non-existent, thank god) tattoos to him...


Incidentally you should check out the statistics of 2005 when Kimbo did in fact have the out and out fastest car.

There were 19 races.

He won 7.

He had DNFs due to mechanical or tyre failures in 3 races.

No Michelin started in the US.

That leaves 8 races.

In three of them he had a ten place penalty for an engine failure. The car stalled on the grid in Australia. He flat-spotted a tyre in Malaysia.

So that leaves three races in which there were no problems. He came 2nd, 2nd and 3rd.

So basically when there were no problems with the car Kimi won 70% of the time, and finished on the podium 100% of the time.

Even with all the problems, when the car crossed the finish line he still won, on average, 50% of the races. Can't complain.

That's why we love him.


Very well put!


anyone who calls nick 'quick' then critisizes kimi for whatever, is being a bit ironic i think ;p

and for the 2002 til now thing....at mclaren engines blowing up with every fart, or he would have gotten at least 2 championships.

and ferrari, in 2007 won 1 championship with an inferiour car against the mclaren.

2008 he didnt like the car and no matter how good u are u wont go maximum.

and 2009, a poor car, winning still a race and getting on the podium, even when development stopped and getting second most points in last half of the season

he has raw talent, he is one of the best, no matter how much the haters hate this.


James pls don't talk BS. And Lynn darling, Kimi had top car 4 times. One time realized, two times

mercedes engine scr...wed it up! 4th time, i wouldn't even comment. Because of a strange development decision



"But here’s the thing I feel the Kimi fanatics skim over: Kimi has been in a top car since 2002 and has 1 title to show for it."

You only have to watch those years that he's had a title challening car (or he's made the car into one like 2003) to see why. You can apply that to other drivers like Alonso (2007 was a blot on his copybook) and Massa equally.

"and honestly I’d much prefer to see Quick Nick get a chance in a top machine"

Nick's into his thirties now, and the argument you apply to Raikkonen can easily be applied to Heidfeld and more so - if it was going to happen for him then it would have done by now.


"Top car since 2002"..? You obviously don't know what you're talking about and haven't followed F1 that long to know Kimi's history with McLaren. Kimi had a top car w/ Macca for only 2 seasons ('03 &'05) and in that time lost out due to the poor reliability of McLaren.


ha ha ha. good one.


Kimi really never had a championship winning car until he moved to Ferrari. His McLaren years were dominated by Schumacher and Ferrari, then a terribly unreliable McLaren in 2005. So between 2002 and 2009, his only real chances were 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008. 1 out of 4 isn't bad when you consider the circumstances. '03 can be written off as a remarkable effort in easily the 3rd fastest car, 2005 was a the quickest but frightenily shoddy car, and 2008 you may call his own undoing.


Its a very sad day for F1 if it heralds the end of Raikkonens involvement. He is the only driver who carries himself with quiet dignety and respect. He remains apolitical in a horribly political environment and does all of his talking on the track. A true racer amongst politicians, premadonnas and liers.

Modern F1's greatest loss if you ask me.

Thats my opinion.

JA, I'd love to know how you feel about the loss of Raikkonen in F1.

Thanks, and keep up the great work....even if it sometimes breaks my heart lol.


I once read an interview with Ron Dennis at the start of the 2007 season and he said the same as Ferrari in that you never knew which Kimi turned up at an event.

Raikkonen is very talented but why do McLaren want to break the bank for him when they already have Hamilton? Raikkonen appears to be motivated by money rather than sporting needs. Perhaps it would be better for all concerned if Raikkonen retired.


great insight james. you are very much missed on the box. any insights as to whether the beeb will ask you to join the team after your "sabbatical" ? ? ? ?


I hope(Pray) Kimi lands up in Brawn ...


I still think that for Hamilton Kimi is too risky. Kimi could beat Hamilton many times and that would hugely effect Hamilton`s carefully built reputation. I know what Mr Anthony Hamilton said about Kimi, but that was for the press only. Button is much easier task to beat.


Kimi has put himself outside of F1 it has absolutely nothing to do with the Hamiltons.

Hamilton has never been bested over a season by anyone including Alonso so I doubt he'd lose sleep whoever the team mate.

As for 'Kimi is too risky' please, have you watched any number of Hamilton drives, risky is his second name.


Next twist in the plot should be Mercedes/Brawn GP meeting Kimi Raikkonen’s demand and hiring the Finn. That would be some statement about Button :D.

This is the drama that makes F1 so interesting. Alas the drama fizzles out once the Lights go green Sunday afternoon


James, great news as usual.

What is your personal feeling about all this?

Kimi at Brawn is impossible?

Do you think Button will really go to McLaren or is it just "noise" and part of the game?

What do you think about this morning The Times' article saying that Button's manager appearently refused the $8 million deal offered by Brawn? True? Possible?

I personnaly rate Heidfeld high and think he's much better than it looks like. But not that high. How MercedesGP could fight for the constructor's championship next year (and even for the driver one) with Rosberg-Heidfeld facing Alonso-Massa and a possible Hamilton-Button? Ridiculous.

Wouldn't it be a good opportunity for MercedesGP to keep Button and so have the number 1 on one of its car?


The deal is not done yet (ie as of today) between Button and McLaren - it could be a tactic of Goddard's to take it right to the limit before signing with Brawn.


James, who do you rate as top managers in F1 and who can't handle the business? We haven't heard of 2MB since they broke up for Martin to focus on Alex. Have any other drivers taken on their own management similar to Vettel and cut out the middle man?


I think it is James. I'm suspicious of the fact that he is always 'on the verge' of signing. If it was going to happen it should have by now.


Kimi, Lewis and McLaren have unfinished business! With Ferrari/Alonso!

Kimi & Lewis @ McLaren

Button & Rosberg @ Brawn

Bring on 2010!


I think the loss of Kimi if he does not drive in F1 next year will be huge. I put Kimi with Alonso and Hamilton as the bet in F1.

Kimi is indeed an enigma but just wants for too much monay in todays cilmate and seems to have priced himself out of a drive.

Maybe a year in WRC would not be such a bad thing for Kimi and he could come back refreshed in 2011 if a wining seat became available.


I hope Raikkonen signs for McLaren. I think the comination of Lewis and Kimi could be awesome! On his day, Raikkonen is devastatingly fast and it would be fascinating to see how he and Lewis compare over a season in a race winning car. I can't help but feel that despite his WDC in 2007, Kimi's still got something to prove in F1 - or perhaps I mean a lot more to give. Even in his championship year, he wasn't quite the driver we'd seen at McLaren. For me, his performances in 2005 were the best we've seen of him so far. I don't know what was missing at Ferrari (if anything), but I feel that in the right environment Kimi could again find that blistering form. And if he does, he'd be more than capable of taking the fight to Hamilton and Alonso.

I know he might earn more sitting at home next year or driving in the World Rally Championship, but a driver of his calibre should be in F1. As much as money, could it be the sponsor commitments of the McLaren contract which are putting him off? If he's been paid 32 million per season at Ferrari, he's rich beyond his wildest dreams. I doubt for even a moment that he's scared of facing Lewis. I would have thought the McLaren seat would have been a great way to bolster his reputation as one of F1's greatest drivers.


Quite extraordinary that a journeyman who lucked into a fast car at the end of his career is ahead of kimi in the pecking order!

Button would have finished his career in ignominy if Brawn hadn't had a fantastic car, whereas Kimi won races in slow cars, nearly won the title in an old car, and won first up in the Ferrari.

Most likely the fact he is not as media friendly as Button weighs heavily on the teams' decisions, but in the same car Button wouldn't know which way Kimi went.

McLaren should hire Heidfeld for a pittance and leave Lewis as number 1 so they can win the championship next year.


I'll be gutted if that man leaves the sport I love. From watching him in his first season at sauber, he is the reason I began to watch F1. Ok, maybe he has his negatives when it comes to PR and Media interaction, but is that what should be in a racing driver's DNA? I'm sure that was a major sticking point for mclaren brokering a deal with him, (plus a lavish salary expectation,) but should it be all about posing for a santander ad? James, you point out that some ferrari sources have alluded to some 'instability' with Raikkonen,

but how can they complain when he won his first race, in his first season, and won the championship with this team? He pretty much dragged that car into the dizzying heights of 1pt away from Third in the Manufacturer's standings - And that was against a team that was still developing their car vs a team that wasn't, and with mclaren having two COMPETENT drivers, as opposed to the ONE competent driver at Ferrari. (Which I don't think was Fisi/Luca. The man has brought RAW SPEED - lets keep him!!! SHOW SUPPORT!!!!


He will be a loss to F1 as he is one of the characters of the sport, but i dont think he is sufficiently bothered. He "talks the talk" about being motivated to drive a winning car and become world champion, but if he was that motivated to win it he would have signed for McLaren by now.

Unfortunately he appears to be "content" with his F1 career which makes him very unattractive to prospective employers. He lacks the appetite to become a great.

James, McLaren are known for being very "clean cut" in terms of the image they want their drivers to portray - do you think Raikkonen cant be bothered with that?

Also do you think Mercedes might see him as a potential partner for Rosberg?


I think it was actually a Flavio Briatore comment made after Heikki Kovalainen's first race at Renault in 2007 which questioned whether it was maybe "his brother". Not di Montezemolo about Raikkonen.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Kimi Raikkonen is perhaps the greatest raw talent that F1 has ever seen. Had he committed himself to the level that Schumacher did, and guys like Alonso and Hamilton currently do, the F1 record books would read pretty differently, I feel.

It will be a real shame to lose him. But Kimi has always lived life on his terms, which is what makes him so admirable. His fans will miss him (and I consider myself one of his fans), but hopefully whatever he ends up doing in life will make him happy.


"greatest raw talent" is a myth, the ability to adapt to the car is a very important talent and mostly natural. Raikkenon doesn't seem to have it.

Paige Michael-Shetley


Raikkonen made the adjustment from Michelin sticky tires at McLaren to Bridgestone control tires at Ferrari to win the championship. He also made the adjustment in the characteristics (which are reportedly drastic) of each car from one year to the next.

2008 and 2009 were clearly years in which he couldn't be bothered.

Paige Michael-Shetley

Or maybe Massa just knows the magic way around Interlagos? That's pretty likely, as he's been outstanding there.

He had Felipe covered over the second half of 2007.


It's hard to say if he actually did any adaptation. In Brazil 2007, Massa was still faster than him. If he struggled in the first half season and completed his adaptation in the second half, you'd expect he had a clear advantage over Massa in the last race, wouldn't you?


Ferrari's confusion about which Kimi would turn up is their way of ignoring their own incompetence. The engineers that worked directly with him HD nothing but praise.

I think that the mood amongst teams about paying for great drivers changed because Jenson won the WDC. He proved you could be a second rate driver and still win, as long as the car is good enough. Pretty soon Vettel will be the old man on the grid with 12 year-olds racing the cars remotely with a PSP from the pits

Dan (not the same Dan)

McLaren engineers still speak in awe of Kimi's ability to hit the same marks on an apex every single lap... His precision alone shows a motivation of some kind, but then he is of unnatural talent.

I think that getting to F1 so quickly might've 'babied' him a bit into thinking he could get by on talent alone... luckily for him he has... almost. McLaren was a good fit for Kimi, efficient and focussed on racing, Ferrari has too much family emphasis for Kimi, something that Felipe Massa has thrived upon, and may upset Alonso too...


Yes, he has otherwordly levels of talent.


The problem with Kimi is that he is not a team leader, he dosent get on with the media and he doesnt have the leadership qualities that Ferrari and many of the major teams need for that salary. Look at Lewis, from the second he got into that McLaren he has been a team leader and a motivator. He always backs his team and he has generated a winning mentality within McLaren.

Schumi was the same at Ferrari, in some ways his decision to retire has left a huge dent in the team , one that Kimi could never fill. Michael was the master of media and team relations. The way in which he spoke to the media and conducted himself in PR events he was a born leader.

My opinion of Kimi went downhill this year when (i cant remember the race was it China?) where all the drivers were on the rain soaked grid waiting to find out if they could race and the camera cut to Kimi in his shorts eating an ice cream. He switches on his talent when he wants too and its not good enough for the major teams


Whatever you are smoking Paul Mc quit it! it's dangerous for your mental health man.


But surely Ferrari knew that is what they were getting. I'm sure they realised that they do need a team leader to steer them in the right direction, which they will have with Alonso, but you can't blame Raikkonen for not being a team leader, because then Ferrari should have declined from signing him.

That race was Malaysia, it must be said that his car did fail... so there wasn't really a point on him sitting in the car in the rain, when he couldn't even take part again.


Check your facts, Paul Mc. Ferrari had already told Kimi that his car was kaput which is why he got out and had the famous ice cream while everybody waited on the grid.

This is the guy who took a WDC from a 26 point deficit, no need to question his motivation.


His KERS failed, he had to retire. We didnt get the picture of Raikkonen's car in the garage, only Kimi eating ice cream.

A story born from nothing.


"The problem with Kimi is that he is not a team leader, he dosent get on with the media and he doesnt have the leadership qualities that Ferrari and many of the major teams need for that salary."

That's not Raikkonen's problem. Ferrari obviously felt that he was worth that money, and when you look at his performances in 2007 when he steamed in to win the championship, and getting fourth this season with a diaboloical car and a non-scoring team mate, you have to say that he's worth it.

However, if you feel a driver is worth Raikkonen's money then you have to invest in him politically within the team and give him the equipment he needs. Schumacher was exactly the same. Ferrari didn't do that and as such they lost the driver's championship in 2008.

"He switches on his talent when he wants too and its not good enough for the major teams"

Results count, and the results tell you that he's a lot better then Button or Heidfeld, even when he hasn't got a winning car.


I like Kimi as a driverr - I have no idea about his personality as his post race interviews are without "feeling/emotion in my opinion" - that said i couldnt care less about a drivers poersonality as I watch F1 for racing - kimi does race a full grand prix - it would be a shame to see him go for whatever reason.

And for Jenson stop messing around - put pen to paper and go and defend your title


James, First a quick congrats on the excellent webpage and its great insights to the world of F1.

Do you think that other options might open up if the right deal could be found with say a team like Renault. Its understood they are keen to have a strong line up of two front running drivers and Kimi could be an option (although we still need to know what Renaults commitment is to F1). It could make sense though, Renault need a strong season to convince the board of a long-term future and having the blistering speed of Kimi along with Kubica's consistent performances could deliver the results needed. And with Renault wanting to keep its head low after the Season its just had, again it seems


Like Kimi, Renault is a bit of an enigma at the moment. I think they will stay for 2010 at least.


Kimi is blazingly fast, but oftentimes he looks bored as hell. On and off track. Maybe he has had a too easy ride to the top teams. Via Sauber via Hakkinen … .

Respect to Timo Glock for choosing Manor GP. Kimi's reluctance for not joining an unproven team only illustrates his inability to develop a car from scratch.


Nothing to do with that, he just wants a winning car (who would not?). He can afford it.


And Alonso couldn't even develop the car which wasn't made from scratch. You saw Renault 07 and 08. Don't make silly comments, if you don't know what are you talking about.


It's odd that Kimi's tenure at Ferrari is looked on as a bit of a disappointment. Now during 08 I thought his motivtion was questionable too, but in 07 he adjusted to Bridgstones and won the championship, despite the stern competition from Alonso and Hamilton. In 09 he has driven brilliantly in a car that's clearly a beast to drive (we've seen that from his stint alongside Fisichella).

So it's a bit of a mystery to me why McLaren - who, had their car been more reliable while he was there would have a couple more WDCs - would bite his arm off to get him in the car.


Didn't Hamilton beat Raikkonen every year a Hungaroring?


Not last year although Hamilton was unlucky and Raikkonen fluked a podium.


Mclaren has always fared well at the Hungaroring. So it's not difficult to beat Raikkonen in a Ferrari with a Mclaren.

Remember Kimi's fantastic race there in 2005. Just awesome.


I'm very suspicious about these 'Button on the *verge* of signing for McLaren' rumours. If he was going to sign he would have done it by now and the rumours would be 'Button has definitely signed'. The fact that he hasn't suggests something else is going on. As for Heidfeld, as Joe Saward pointed out, if they were going to sign Heidfeld they would have done it yesterday. There is no reason at all to delay. Poor Nick has become a bargaining chip again.

I'd expect either Button or Raikkonen to be installed at McLaren or Mercedes. It's a case of who blinks first between them. There is no advantage whatsoever to Mercedes in getting Heidfeld, and indeed, if they were going to he would have been signed when Rosberg was or he would have been signed yesterday. Mercedes need a driver who's been winning races with at least some appeal further afield than Germany.

It's also astonishing to me how many commentators totally misunderstand Raikkonen. Yes, rallying is an interest but he has categorically stated that if he can't win in rallying he wouldn't do that either. Rossi is exactly the same. He might flirt with other motorsports because that's the type of guy he is but bikes are his first commitment. Jim Clark had the same oddball "Ooooh, I wonder what it would be like to race that" kind of mentality. It didn't mean that he was going to ditch Formula One though.


Interesting article. Raikkonen is certainly my favorite driver, but if he is so unmotivated in F1 that his salary is his primary concern, may be the best thing for him would be to do something else. I support that view. No point squeezing maximum pay from a team only to be overshadowed by another teammate. Won't do any good for his legacy (though he may not particularly care).

I actually quite like the idea of a year off in rallying and maybe coming back in 2011, but sport may have moved on by then.


A little presumptious for a (recently) inconsistent driver to be demanding top dollar. If that is his biggest concern for the future as an f1 driver, sounds like his priorities are out of whack. It may do him some good to look for greener pastures in rallying (which would actually get me to follow it).

I'm not privy to the team-driver negotiations, but I can't understand why neither side (or one side) can't be a little clever in ensuring they get the best deat - maybe a salary pay cut, with exaggerated performance bonuses, and exaggerated pay increases for the following year if targets are met (something I'm surprised Button-Mercedes/Raikkonen-McLaren are seemingly both unable to reach as well).


I can't actually believe that this is about money. That's just what's being leaked to the media. No, there's something going on besides how much Button and Raikkonen want. I can't believe that people as rich as they are would jeopardise their future for money. There's got to be some weird dealings going on between Mercedes and Mclaren.


I go along with with pretty much all that Charlie said. Certainly Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes have all been blacklisted by me - a thousand curses on all your houses!

I shall probably continue to watch F1 but become a Red Bull man. The shame is that Kimi couldn't get in there, because it would have been an ideal match. Maybe if Vettel goes to Mercedes... But he's not that stupid. Still, Webber's only on a one year contract...


Cheers man.


Domenicalli also had a hand in this. After the 2008 debacle failing to get Felipe the championship after blow ups, and pit mistakes, as well as taking a wrong turn midway through the season when development slipped with Kimi, he was rumored to be on the hot seat at Ferrari. It will be a real shame if he ends up leaving because I remember those years at McLaren(my favorite team) and how he could have won 2 world titles, and arguably made the fastest car and driver combination with the MP4-20. Of course Kimi cares about driving only and has stated he only wants to show up and drive and if he cant do that here rally suits him fine and me fine since I love rally :p.


Mercedes owe him the 2005 title. The least they can do is pay him what he wants... oh and Kimi's been part of Ferrari for the last three years. Quite an advantage to whoever employs him and would like to know a bit more about how the team work.

Glad to see that the 'ice cream' story has been quashed by hard fact. Typical of F1 hacks to make a story out of nothing. 'Raikkonen eats ice cream after car is retired' doesn't have quite the same ring to it.


It's funny enough to see people saying Kimi's asking too much money, while the same people state it's fine that perhaps Button is negotiating till the limit just wishing a higher salary...


I cannot believe that Robertsons do not talk to Mercedes-Benz right now. I think still more to come from them, the whole driver saga is not yet done. Watch out Norbert Haug`s "surprise" driver...


I'm afraid this is Kimi's own fault. After winning the WDC in 2007, he drove in that Ferrari like it was a guarantee he would always be there, no matter what. He underperforms for most of a year-long period, and despite picking up his game gets replaced by Alonso, and then wonders why.

Then, when everyone expected McLaren to snap him up, he fell back into taking things for granted on the issue of pay. He took on the attitude that McLaren wanted him, so they could pay him what he wanted. Unfortunately for him, the names of Heidfeld as a back-up and now Button as a replacement came up and he's nowhere.

It's no mystery why he's in this situation. All the past glory in the world can't hide the fact that he has been inconsistent for the past two seasons. He had a rare and golden opportunity of being able to pick one of three top-team seats he hasn't managed to secure any. Why? Because two other drivers have done better jobs than him over this season (Button) as well as the last (Alonso), and the pursuit of pay which frankly no-one would deserve if they were negotiating it now has closed the door on a third option.

I hope Kimi will take next year out for the money, go to the WRC where he will be like his old self with a new challenge, and then see what happens for 2011. He is the third best overall driver on the grid in my estimation (behind Alonso and Hamilton, in that order), but sadly that Kimi Raikkonen only ever seems to turn up nowadays if he needs to race for his seat and against a weaker team-mate.


Excellent article James.

I am a huge Kimi fan and feel that it would be a shame for F1 to let a talent like Kimi walk into the sunset. Far more mediocre drivers are being signed up by teams and I am sure McLaren or Brawn (now Silver Arrows) could pay Kimi enough money to stay in the sport.

That said, I believe anything is possible in F1 and once the dust settles, we may still see Kimi drive Spa next year. Be prepared to be always surprised by F1 !!

One more point about why drivers quibble over money. It may sound strange but much more than anything, the money on offer is viewed as how much the teams value ones abilities. It is not that any of the F1 drivers are poor but the pay check is the ultimate indicator of how good you are at what you do. I am not surprised when people want what they think they are worth. If you want a Mercedes, you have to pay Mercedes money.


This is all part of the negotiations IMO. Ferrari have broadcast Kimi's 'salary' to all and sundry, so he's already on the back foot when negotiating.

It's bizarre. All Macca or Brawn/Merc have to come up with is 7 million EUR and they get a WDC! They won't get Button for that, surely.

Norbert Haug has been very complimentary about Kimi in the past. Surely he won't let Kimi slip through his fingers for the sake of a few million EUR.

James, with respect, I think you are taking a pretty one-sided view of Kimi here. Perhaps Ferrari were disappointed by Kimi, but a) they knew what they were getting and b) they needed to give him a car he could drive. They got it right in the second part of 2007 and look what happened.


I don't get how 3rd place is a poor season results? Atleast when Massa did almost all support from Ferrari even while Kimi was WDC.

F1 will miss a huge talent and driver that doesn't end up to bad news. Hamilton and Alonso might be great drivers but they got some bad also. Hamilton made to shine but still not enough intelligence to think. Alonso a great driver but have cheated and lied too many times. Have to say what Renault did do when he did win his two titles when in bad year they need to crash his teammate and Alonso the man who does and knows everything in team doesn't know this.

And then Button so average driver that even Brawn doesn't want to keep him. WDC and mister consistency with Nick but not a great driver.

And in 2010 only one who doesn't get seat is great driver that have always been very closed up but honest and fair to every1. No bs on teams, no bs on drivers but just awesome dude that really can driver and from within. Biggest talent in F1 and Ferrari did loose a lot because they didn't want to change.

But i hope Kimi will go to rally and make impact in there because rally needs a superstar like him. F1 is almost totally going to wrong direction and i only hope Todt will do something quickly. Or else we end up with something bad. Old tracks are gone and only rich oil money build un-drivable tracks are in.

I want old F1 back...


Hello, it's not over yet ... never say never until the all of these are confirmed. It is possible Kimi show up at MGP after all, or even McLaren unless he himself has chosen to stay away from F1.

Come on Kimi, race on!!


Not sure why the following is disregarded:

Over three years, Ferrari were two times WCC with Kimi on board, one time WDC also with Kimi. This year, in their hardest period, they almost snatched third from McLaren and Kimi drove for almost half a season practically alone, winning a race in the process.

However, if Kimi is out of F1 not because he has nowhere to go but because he doesn't want to lower his price, then I have to say I'd resent him because he would stick it to his fans. It is up to Kimi now...


Can I just point out that overwhelming impressions are that Kimi couldn't give a ratsass about his fans. He goes out of his way to avoid that whole part of being a driver.


Its hard to argue that point... really.


I think that it will be a shame for Formula 1 to lose a driver like Kimi Raikkonen, although it will be interesting if he joins the World Rally Championship. However, I am not sure that he is motivated. IMO if he gets beaten by Lewis, he will fade like in 2008. In a way, it will be far better to retire and try something crazy like WRC, than to get embarassed again.

But I have to admit that I like Jenson a bit more and really feel for him. In my opinion Ross and Haug are humilating him with this negotiations. In my opinion it might be better for his dignity to take the plunge and go to McLaren. I know that many people think that he will be crushed, but as some other forumer said I can see this becoming a bit like Vettel vs Webber. Yes, Lewis will be quicker, but Jenson won't be that far behind him and consistency may allow him to win. If not, he would still be 09 WDC and would have been a driver for the 2nd most successful team in F1 history.


I have been mentioning these points in my replies for a few days. There are people who agree with you. Just wanted to let you know 🙂



First of of all sorry for my english....

Thanks for the post, I have read some strange comments about Kimi's loyalty, or Kimi's motivation.....

I think that the end of 2009 season is relevant. He never give up especially when is only goal was to offer the 3rd place to Ferrari within the constructor championship.

For me, no doubt he have been pushed by Santander's money and nothing else.No question of motivation or technical feedback.

At the end of the 2008 Season if my memory is correct, Ferrari engeener cameback on a prefered front wing solution wich fit with Kimi expectation and results improve.

2009, once Massa out, Kimi became competitive again (he (Kimi) call this "chance" :-)) )

In my feeling is issue was Shumacher/Massa relationship.

I read also that kimi prefer to be in a competitive car instead of behing in a team underconstruction. The reason is simple, Kimi plan was to leave F1 at the end of is Ferrari contract and swap to WRC (he has already said that he need one more year training before completing a full season....) So for him the situation is clear only one more F1 year no way to go in a team which will not play the tittle.

I still convince that the game is not over.

Button does not sign anything yet!!

hope You can understand my poor style....



Good post. This actually makes it very clear in terms of Kimi's short term agenda vs teams not willing to pay his demands for only 12 months of temporary (part-time) committment.

Can't say I blame them. Looks like 12 months of privateer WRC testing in his local woods to me - can't see an alternative.


Mtv3.fi is saying, that according to extremely reliable sources Kimi is negoatiating WRC seat for Citroen. Salary, supposedly double to Loeb's €5-6 mil, would be paid for by Red Bull.


OK so a year in a Citroen and a year later replace Mark Webber at Red bull F1


I have read that, too. But I think Kimi needs some more tests in WRC before being fully competitive. So, a year or two more in F1 with some rallies would make sense. I would love to see him against Hamilton in a McLaren, than in WRC.


Yep it looks definite that Kimi wont be in F1 next year...at least I might be tempted to follow WRC again if he ends up there.


The Button / McLaren option just makes no sense at all to me.

a) Okay, he won the championship this year, but I don't think anyone is expecting many more to come. Kimi is undoubtledly the faster driver and it's familiar ground. The reason everyone was raging about Kimi's performance this year is because we know the Finn is so much better than this!

b) Why would Button sign up to be a clear number two within the team (Lets face it, BUT does not stand a chance agains HAM) if he can be number one at Brawn??

This waiting is killing me. I'll be devastated if RAI quits F1. It would be an outrageous loss to the sport.

He is one of the three best drivers in F1. How can he be without a ride???


I get everything that was said except what McLaren see in Button other than a #2 for Lewis.

Kimi knows Macca alreay

Why have two Brits on one team marketing wise?

Kimi is faster than Button


Please God/Bernie (sorry, religious folks), let Kimi go to McLaren. I'd love to see him up against Lewis.

I'm a great Lewis fan, but I half-suspect Kimi would cane him, if he could be bothered...


haha hilarious response from kimilover. hay however much you love "legend" kimi. just imagine how much you'd have loved him if he could overtake?!


McLaren neet to have a look of the CV for kimi and james


I question his consistency. He only start performing this year after Massas crash. In fairness he was awesome since then but you have to question his on and off form.

Fair point about the KERS my assumption was that Ferrari were working on the car at the time and he wasn't officially out of the race. Obviousy I was wrong.


With all due respect I am pretty convinced that that was mainly due to Ferrari's near consistent philosophy of babying the car towards Massa's liking.

They then were forced to focus their efforts on Kimi and look what happened, he parked that hound of a red car on the podium more times than should ever have been possible.


What I hear Raikkonen is negotiating still with two teams: McLaren for F1 and Citroen for a seat in WRC.

One thing I can't understand why would anyone want to sign Button - he is like a soda bottle that has been open for days. With Kimi either people love him or hate him. Hamilton has the same thing. These guys are stars. Button is just a stand-in and when he speaks no one even listens.


Well , you seem to hate him, along with quite a few people here. Does that make him a star now?

I think he's a star because he is a very quick driver. The world champion, no less.


isnt it a slap in the face to all the engineers and staff that were retrenched from Brawn, that Button is fighting over money?

Button seems two-faced, saying all he wants is a car to win in, but when it gets down to it, his motives are vastly different.

Im sure Ross Brawn, with his years experience with Shuey, can spot a champion driver vs. champion car, and pays salries accordingly!

I didn't hear Rubens complain that he was only getting a 3rd of Buttons salary, yet he almost took the title!

I think Brawn are regretting letting Rubens go now that they have seen Buttons true colours!


But you don't know what is going on. Neither do I. Or the media. Everything is, as always, heresay and speculation. There is a hell of a lot more to a driver's contract then money - for example, number of years and options on offer, status within the team, who get's first dibs on new parts.

If Button or Raikkönen signs for A, or B, it won't simply be "Who pays the most"!



Wherever Jenson goes so does the number 1. Does the number 2 follow with it or stay with Brawn or Rubins?


No, his team mate is number two


James, why did Raikkonen agree to leave Ferrari??


Because they ran out of ice cream.

If you think of how many seats are currently unconfirmed at the moment, perhaps he/his management thought it'd be better to cut ties with Ferrari now and get the best seat possible, rather than spend another year with them and risk all the good seats being taken up by multi-year contracts


It's a good question - why did Robertson/Raikkonen agree to end the (presumably) cast iron Ferrari contract a year early for a loose letter of intent with Mclaren and less than a full year's salary (if reported terms are to be believed) - surely Kimi would have been better to have stayed at Ferrari for that final year....


There are only 4 real factory seats in the WRC, with 4 additional "junior team" seats. These are not easy seats to get, what makes everyone think that Kimi Raikkonen with his next to no experience in rallying can just walk up to ford or citroen and demand a seat? They obviously wont give him a drive. People thinking that Kimi can "just go to WRC" are being delusional


wouldn't his status with the sponsors and fans have a hand in getting him the drive?

as the amount of market value in $$$ he can bring to a team is substantial, plus he already has millions of fans around the world just waiting to buy rally merch!


well basically kimi is becoming an icon of this sport and WRC will be followed by many fans if kimi join it.

Kimi is everywhere in USA with the Ads, you can see his face in 5 continents. if he joins WRC this sport will grow.

however i hope he stays in f1 🙁


You are right sir, that WRC seats are indeed a scarce resource nowadays. It also appears that you are slightly underestimating the global market value of an rock'n roll style F1 WDC. The good people at WRC obviously think that, despite him being Finnish, the media exposure brought in by this mute naughty boy would be a good investment. As much as it may annoy you, it appears he could blitz into one of these seats.

I admit he will most definitely not be fighting for victories etc instantly, but he is no slouch in rallying either. Should he want to pursue with rallying I truly believe he would take it very seriously, not just as past time hobby.

As for the rumours I, do not know. To me it appears he would perhaps want a couple of years more in F1, if he can find a competitive seat that is.


Hope Kimi stays in F1. He is my favourite drive and I think I would stop watching F1 if he leaves and get to know Rally a little bit better.

BTW it´t funny how the press keeps on talking about Kimi being greedy although it is Button who leaves a team because of the fact that he gets not enough money.


Do you know Jenson?

Do you know that he is leaving?

Do you know that it is because of money?


You would stop watching F1 just because one driver left?



typical british tabloids. too much time on their hands. i hate sewer journalism.


Well, I can not agree 100% to this article. First, this thing about Kimi not being motivated is somehow strange to me : so the guy is able to pull out a remarcable comeback in 2007 and make Lewis loose the title, he drags that dead horse of a Ferrari this year to "places it does not belong" ( S. Domenicali ) and still I hear he is not motivated. Second, this whole thing about Team GB vs. Team Germany : you think this is some sort of computer game ? Ok, Button to McLaren makes sense to me, because they have Lewis as No1 and need a good No2 and this lineup makes Vodafone happy, and without the Mercedes money this is important to McLaren. But Heidfeld to Mercedes ? They now call themselves a factory team, and by that they are not allowed to fail, much more so than in the past. And I am sure, Norbert Haug does know that. So they need to make sure they have a race winning driver. Of course, Rosberg could turn into one, as is the case with Heidfeld, but they know that Kimi can for sure win races. Haug knows that they first have to win, then they ca choose with whom to win.

As for Button, I think Ross Brawn clearly thinks he has made Button a WDC, and not the other way around, and that is why he is not eager to have him around for the next season, at least that is my impression.


As you can see, James, this much awaited article has only served to whett our appetites...

It's also served to break more than a few hearts it seems, though you can hardly be blamed for this.

So for all those people ready to put faith in the "Button to McLaren" story, how about this reminder: back in 2006, the British press worked themselves up into a similar frenzy about "Jensen to Ferrari to replace Schumacher". That was just before The Iceman was named as Schumacher's successor!

Deja vu?


I refuse to believe those speculations on Kimi, I dont think he is going to be pushed out of f1. I believe he'll be with Merc next year. As Norbert Haug pointed out earlier, their driver line-up will be a surprise. Kimi is the most talented guy out there, so why should he retire at this age?


I really hope that Kimi remains in F1, I'm happy that button has won the title and like him as a driver/person etc, but don't really care where he ends up next year despite being British. I would much prefer to see Raikkonen in a competitive car to create more interesting racing against Hamilton and Alonso.


I have read every1s opinion on the driver merrygoround, and wait in anticipation, for the outcome of the dealings between brawn and mclaren,i just wanted to say that i have watched f1 since a kid and am 41 now and have seen all the technology evolution take over the raw talents of an f1 racing driver, and in my humble opinion there are a handful of pure natorally talented racers, firstly senna, secondly schumi, thirdly stewart, now for fourth place it has to be between,alonso, raikonnen, prost, mansell, hakkinen, g villeneuve, to name a few, a lot depends on the car/team nowadays, but my point is,any team who wanted the best drivers would want 1 of these guys in their team, the money and technology, is killing the true talents of the driver,cmon norbert do us all a favour and make it interesting next season and sign kimi. avanti


I would be devastated if Kimi leaves F1. Not only is he one of the best drivers in the series but he is also the most unique character. No other driver is as real as him - he talks no bullsh*t to the media and is in the business only to race.

I think he still has unfinished business in F1 - like beating Ferrari and taking a couple more championships!

I'm still hoping for the best. I would be happy to see Kimi in either McLaren or Mercedes GP.... let's wait and see for an official announcement. The waiting is killing me though (and I can see several other fans suffering too).



I am a very worried Kimi fan, so I am just waiting for something to FINALLY be announced!

I hope i get home from school and see the headline "Kimi joins Mclaren"


same here i will be devastated too !


Kimi is among the fastest drivers in F1 and a spectacular talent. Yes, he had problems in 2008 but it was because of a technical decision by the team that was wrong. And, can anyone explain how can a driver lose his motivation midway in a season when he's in the fight for the championship (Kimi was 2nd, behind Hamilton and ahead of Massa after Hungarian GP, Rd 11/18. LH = 62, KR = 60, FM = 54) He didn't score in any of the next 4 races (1 engine failure, 2 crashes while fighting to gain position and 1 listless performance) The team has also made wrong calls strategically in a few races and the car this year has been rubbish. The thing about Kimi lacking motivation in 2008/2009 is just crap. He should be in F1, is all I will say.


And yes, forgot to add, by the time the front suspension issue was solved in 2008, he was already out of contention. So he played second fiddle to Felipe in the remaining races but was on the podium still in the last 3 races.


Steve Robertson has confirmed to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat that Kimi will take a sabbatical for 2010.


Dear James,

Am a big Kimi fan and cannot bear to think of F1 without Kimi....I will stop watching F1 if Kimi is out... and just follow it on the news to find out how massa is getting on against alonso



Raikkonen is a welcome character in Formula One. He's a straight forward racer there for no one but himself, and that's a welcome sight in my eyes. I think Raikkonen is a rare bit of honesty in an industry that is, at times, filled with nothing but hypocritical, pandering fakes.

He'll be missed.


So it's confirmed: Räikkönen will take (at least) a year off.

Here's the link to a Finnish article:



I started watching F1 in 2003 and since then I've only supported one guy (Raikkonen).

And now i'm a very worried fan! I was looking all over google to find some sort of site that is saying Raikkonen is still the favourite over Button, however i cant find any! 🙁

I found this site and James is spot on with us Raikkonen fans!

I don't want him to go to WRC or anyother sport in 2010! I WANT HIM IN FORMULA ONE

F1 is my life and I want Kimi to keep racing! I don't want to have to find someone else to support!


This is the first time I read this and the thought that comes to mind is that F1 and quite many people including reporters don't deserve Kimi.

As a Finn I understand Kimi's mentality and it's far from everything some people here write. Unmotivation? Not committed? Greedy?

The boy hasn't changed. When he was little he had difficulties expressing himself but his mother and brother could read him and tell others what he was trying to say.

He was a small boy when he got a moped and he used the waterhose to make the garden slippery so he could slide.

He was 8 when the whole family sat in the trailor because there was water pouring from the sky and his big brother didn't have the courage to go on the karting track. They sat there fearing for this little man who drove alone lap after lap hoping he would stop. Finally he stopped and started waving his arms, his father ran to him thinking he was hurt but Kimi said: I'm out of gas, bring me more.

Racing is still everything for him. It's in his blood. He is very professional. He takes the blame and goes hard on himself if he makes a mistake.

He is a true sportsman who is like a blast from the past when racers still behaved like gentlemen on track - racing and giving their everything without resorting to any dirty tricks.

And this is the man people want out from F1?

Has he gone after anyone in public? No.

Has he been bashed in public? Yes.

Let me remind you that the interviews with his engineers have been very enlightning. His front suspension was changed midsummer 2008 so that it suited Massa but not Kimi and that's when someone started saying that Kimi is unmotivated and wakes up in the end of the race. He set 10 fastest lap season 2008, something only Schumacher has achieved. Do you honestly belive that he would wake up when the race was almost over?

According to Domenicali in Dec 2008 he had many arguments with Kimi because Kimi wanted his old chassis back – which they gave to him in Monza.

According to Dyer in Dec 2008 Kimi earned the whole team's respect by the way he handled the situation. He didn't not cry about it in public.

In Italy it was common knowledge that Massa was made driver number one midseason 2008 and also this season. After his unfortunate accident people keep asking how Kimi produces results with a car that wasn't developed since Silverstone.

Kimi's answer was: They changed the car the way I wanted it to be changed. That's when the skills of the driver comes in. According to Dyer he took the car up to a level it didn't even belong to. According to Stella he could do more with the steering wheel than the engineers could have adviced him.

So yes, it hurts to be called a blinded fan who makes up excuses etc etc but the thing is that we are defending, not attacking. The majority had no problems with Massa but other people seem to love bashing Kimi with Massa. So yes, if Kimi leaves F1 I will go with him unless there is some driver who has the quality I admire the most: True sportsmanship.

This is from an Italian Kimi-fan who went to Monza this year and wrote on Leo Turrini's blog. Leo has strong connections with Ferrari-management so he isn't just anybody:

"I have something to ask. I've been for the first time in Monza some days ago and I have to say I expected, as newspapers say, to be one of the few Kimi's fan, I wasn't the only one thinking that...well...if I say 95% was for him (Kimi) it's not enough. When the drivers took part at the parade, and he (Kimi) was the last being interviewed, did you hear the huge cheer? The circiut speaker told him "everybody's here for you" and he smiled, a real smile. At the end of the race we were all under the podium for him.

When I came back home at 23 I saw a GP report on sky.. guess what they aired? A lot of Fisichella and an interview to Alonso where he was asked "do you hear all these people are for you".... who was for him? The 4 spaniards? And what about the 200 finns? And all those who had hats and t-shirts with his (Kimi's) name? I've been looking everywhere for a finnish flag, but they already sold them all. Why this silence? Why do they show Alonso's fans and the only banner for Massa? Kimi's fans exist, and they are many... I'm glad I discovered it."

Leo answers: "You perfectly understood everything. In Italy the vast majority of media told the lie of Kimi hated by fans. This has been done to justify Ferrari's choice, actually a legitimate one, to hire Alonso. Unluckly for them, people consider Raikkonen very well. Indeed, you immediately realized it."


Well said Nicole. F1 is a bit poorer with the loss of Kimi. How can F1 justify allowing a driver of Kimi's caliber to walk away?

Today is a very sad day for me.


A really nice post Nicole! True sportsman and all out pure racer, that's what Kimi Raikkonen is. Anything else doesn't matter.


Fantastic post, like usual Nicole.


Thanks Nicole, well said and I am lost of words. This why I have supported Kimi since his debut in Sauber, pure racer and not a performer. I still remember the huge skepticism about his ability at that time. Maybe he was the only F1 driver in recent times that got his super license on a 4 race probation.

Now he has chosen to step back.

All the best, Kimi, you will be missed.


The british media are calling Kimi Greedy, but I'm pretty sure that Button is leaving Brawn GP (who kept him in the sport when his career looked liked it had finished) because of money! He should stick with mercedes and go for what the team offer him!


Hi James,

How do you rate the Robertsons as managers? Are they in the sport to give serious talent a chance or are they using Kimi him to make some money (if they haven't already)?

I am not sure if Kimi is the one who is hungry for money? Has he completed alienated himself from dealing with the teams for a drive for next year(s)?

Your insight on this matter please.


It would be a shame to see Kimi go, every team has to have at least considered it. McLaren is where he belongs and he is the only person who can go there without ruining his career. Macca could also take him but they want Rosberg as their number 1.

I'm sure that if Kimi had a contract that was right he would have taken it. He obvously hasn't (and it's not all money). Kimi is misunderstood and deserves a place on the grid next year, but it is looking less and less likely.


Thanks for your input! I guess your not allowed an opinion these days


TS is reporting that Kimi is out for a year at least. It's a real shame, the best out there just pushed out of the sport, it won't be the same again, you'll see


Kimi's manager, Steve Robertson, has confirmed to Finnish Turun Sanomat that negotiations with McLaren have ended without a solution and Kimi will take a year off F1, concentrating on other challenges. At least a few rallies and Le Mans 24 hour race is mentioned. He says Kimi still wants to race in F1 if he can find a seat for 2011 with which he can fight for WDC.


I think he just needs a new manager!


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 properly 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. He is very grounded, and he has never fallen for the usual trappings of wealth and F1. It takes an exceptional person and a very strong character to remain so steadfast, when everyone around you always wants you to change. Kimi is his own man and he has managed to figure himself out a long time ago. He will do what he thinks is right and he will have no regrets about it.

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.

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.

Kimi and his managers have said a few times now that it is not about the money, and I for one believe him, he never given me any reason to have doubts about what he says. It seems that to some degree it also have a lot to do with sponsorship and what they perceive as their target audiences, and unfortunately Kimi comes from a small country with population of 5.5 million people.

It certainly would have been fantastic to see Kimi and Lewis going head to head at Mclaren, and hopefully this option is still open...

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 may perhaps not be out and out the best driver, but he is certainly one of the best, not to mention that he is still a lot better then many others who will still be around.


Kimi is taking a year sabbatical. Will he end up like Häkkinen?


What, divorced...working for Johnnie Walker ...in what way do you mean?


On other forums it's being reported that Robertson confirmed to TS in Finland that Kimi is out of F1.

If this is true, so am I.

Cheers then.


We are in no position to comment/criticize any drivers. We are just fans who watches the race and are amazed when we see some exciting stuffs. Those drivers race for passion not for money (they are risking their life, according to me no money is worth your life),So there is no point in saying that he's is greedy or he not worth the money. Likewise,we are not there during their negotiation process. We just comment on rumors, we don't know for sure what is happening there. We have waited this long, its not gonna hurt if we wait little longer.

By the way, I am a huge KIMI fan.

Great article James. I would like you to write a article comparing Kimi,Lewis and Alonso. You are in a better position to judge than most of us here.




So that's it then. Heikki Kulta confirmed tonight that Kimi won't be in F1 next year (his manager said so) and Autosport.com have followed it up.

Goodbye F1.


And if he's out of F1 next year, I doubt he'll ever come back.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]


Just read the news that Kimi's sitting it out, just as you suggested he might. You really nailed this one! Nailed it to the wall. I'd have never understood what was going on without having read this blog post. Well done.


First of all, James, when you wrote “Many fans are suspicious of the media and the agendas it serves some times in its reporting and like the fact that Raikkonen gives the media short shrift.”, I don't know if you were referring directly to one of my last comments when I said “his seeming indifference to the media forces journalists such as yourself to work much harder to get a juicy quote or story out of him, but I think that is another reason he has endeared himself to his many fans”, or to other similar comments, but as to my comment I did not mean to imply I like to see Kimi snub you or the rest of the media simply because we do not like or trust the media.

I only meant that he seems to regard dealing with the media as an undesirable chore that comes with being an excellent race car driver (the reason he ended up in F1 in the first place), and not the other way around like some drivers who appear to value and nurture their careers as media stars more than as drivers. As a racing fan first yourself, I am sure at least part of you admires that honesty in character, even if the journalist in you would prefer someone more open and quote-worthy.

Secondly, I have made some comments about Kimi's personality and even speculated on why he may no longer desire to be in F1, or at least not be desperate to stay there. But let's put all that aside.

I am a Kimi fan partly because I am an ex-speed racer who, like him, raced not for money or trophies or any other outside rewards, but for the inner rewards of the sheer thrill of going fast and the challenge of pushing myself to the ultimate limit. I only mention part of my past because this is why I understand why someone like Raikkonen is misunderstood. Winning and trophies and recognition and all the rest of it are merely secondary to the true reason why we love to race, and many people simply cannot believe that inner motivations can possibly be more important than outer ones. Downhill skier Bode Miller also comes to mind when thinking of an athlete/racer with obscene talent who often frustrates and confuses fans and media.

But you don't have to be an ex-racer to appreciate these qualities about Raikkonen. All you need is your own two eyes open to a degree. If you take away the influence on the fans' or the media's loyalties to drivers or teams based on their allegiance to their country of origin, this explains why Raikkonen is so popular worldwide. Regardless of what country you're from or what team is your favorite, he is easily the most exciting driver to watch, even if he is inconsistent. That's just part of the mystery and excitement of watching him. Lewis and Vettel and Alonso are very, very good, but they simply lack that little something extra that makes Kimi a driving rockstar and a legend.

If he is pushed aside by F1 for politics, economics or whatever other stupid reason, it will be just another glaring example of Formula One shooting itself in the foot in recent years. How the people who run the sport think they can keep fans interested while they continue to neuter the sport that used to have the most interesting athletes on the planet risking their lives to entertain us is beyond me. With Raikkonen gone, I gotta say whoever wins the WDC next year should have an asterisk next to their name because only with a championship being contended with all four(!) currently competing world champions racing against each other, along with the other few excellent contenders can the winner truly be deserving of the title.

Thanks again for an excellent website, your well thought out analysis and for giving us armchair pilots a chance to spout off.


with sponsors leaving mclaren.. they need a good PR driver like button.. Kimi not wanting to do pr work.. pretty much sums it up


looks like Kimi is out.....


Looks like Kimi not being on the grid next year is already official...



Like the man himself said (monosyllabically)

earlier this season, Kimi does has options to remain in F1 for next season if he wants to - he could quite probably secure a drive at either Brawn or McLaren if he was prepared to reduce his asking price. Kimi is not being forced out of the sport - if he leaves, it will be on his own terms.

I am as much a fully paid up member of the Kimi Raikkonen fan club as anyone else here (including Charlie!), but if Kimi really cannot motivate himself to stay in F1, then I don't want to watch him qualify eighth and trundle round to an anonymous seventh race after race next season. Sure, it is a waste of an awesome talent but he will not be the first, or the last, driver to do that.


I'm sure you all remember that Button took a large pay cut to help BrawnGP even exist. It's not greedy to ask for a decent F1 salary now. He would still be making less as current world champion than some drivers are making with no title(from what I've read elsewhere). I really think that Mercedes, with taking over BrawnGP, wants an all German driver lineup anyway.

And I thought that Kimi was aiming to drive S2000 class when it came to WRC.


I think in some backroom somewhere Bernie is busy arranging a deal for Kimi its very much in his interest to have Kimi in F1.

Don't be surprised if that last seat at Brawn goes Kimi, well here's hoping

Even if Steven Roberts has already hinted that Kimi will taking a sabbatical year off.


The replies on here really do show the extent of Kimi's cult following... No wonder I get my head bit off on the various forums of the world when I dared to mention his name in vain. The end of an era I guess! I wonder what fanbase will fill the vaccum? I reckon there's a good chance that the Alonso "fans" who buggered off when he ended up in a crap car will magically return. In that case i'd better dust of the old tin hat - although I can see most of the fireworks happening between those lot and the Massa fans of this world. Maybe sitting back with a Coke and a Magnum would be more appropriate lol. Interesting times ahead!


Goodbye F1 - Welcome WRC 😉


Hi James

You wrote

"Ferrari never knew from one race to the next, which Raikkonen was going to turn up. This is not my opinion, it is what I gleaned from Ferrari over the last couple of years."

What is your personal opinion on Raikkonen?

Best regards!


It's a shame if Kimi can't be on the 2010 grid. F1 will be a little bit more boring without him.

He has shown that he is a superb pilot (better than Alonso IMO) and I was hoping to see him beating Ferrari next year...

Anyway, Good Luck to him in his new endeavors, and thanks James for all this info. 😀


[Mercedes' Norbert Haug indicated that he is keen on Kimi Raikkonen. “He has my number. He can call me at any time," Haug said.]

As long as Mercedes havent confirms their driver line-up next year without Kimi. I still think that is a extremly high posibility that Kimi will stick with F1 driving the possible best car on track!

By the way, who is better than Kimi competing for that sit? Nick Heidfield? Could be if Mercedes not thinking of winning any title!


my guess is this:

nico rosberg will be traded by mercedes for lewis hamilton of mclaren because mobil 1 will be following mercedes in their team and mclaren is loosing sponsorships by having 2 british drivers - and cost of salary of rosberg to hamilton is way cheaper for mclaren.

now that hamilton is in the cards of mercedes, he will now then be traded to red bull for sebastian vettel - THE MAN' THAT NORBERT REALY WANTED FOR HIS TEAM. a german driver with years of commitment.

Then the other driver must be a top driver, with much experience, goes along with vettel, coming from a top team for info resources, and if possible a former world champion with also a very good fan base for sponsorship appeal...this points out to Kimi Raikkonen!

- if you are redbull, would you heistate to trade vettel for hamilton?

this is an idea for me. i hope you may agree a little. thanks.


F1 is commercial world. You breathe when and how your team tells you, or you're not welcome. This is not about Kimi's driving abilities, which are second to none (let's be frank) it's more about Kimi doing what he likes. He's a Finn, which means "that if you drive F1 you're not good enough for WRC", and (we all agree)F1 is just getting boring. Overtaking is penalized, "Overtaking Group" did not find the way to make racing interesting, rules are unclear... F1 is going down. Why not to get more money driving WRC then a full F1 season in mediocre car? Red Bull link means Vettel out, Kimi in. It's just dull and character free...

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