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What next for Kimi Raikkonen?
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What next for Kimi Raikkonen?
Posted By: James Allen  |  19 Nov 2009   |  11:53 am GMT  |  149 comments

Kimi Raikkonen has a blank space in his diary – it’s called 2010.

He has not totally ruled out F1, as his manager Steve Robertson left the door open this morning in an interview with Autosport’s Jon Noble over in Macau, that he could re-examine the possibility of racing with the new Mercedes team, if they were interested in having him.

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

My conversations with Brawn management earlier this week did not suggest to me that Kimi was on their target list, for very specific reasons. And my colleagues in Finland feel that the Mercedes move is unlikely for the same reasons. But if they do start talking again it will indicate the degree to which Mercedes did not anticipate being in this position. Brawn and Mercedes’ strongest alternative now is to field a line up of Rosberg and Heidfeld, which has never won a race and is no match for Alonso/Massa, Hamilton/Button or Vettel/Webber.

I still sense that Brawn is shocked and dismayed that Button has left them. Although there was always a chance that it would happen, based on the way they played the game, I think they felt he wouldn’t go through with it.

McLaren have done a very good job on Button and his manager, convincing them that they will give him a winning car, a decent salary and lots of love for the next three years. For Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh this is a personal coup, as he has given Mercedes some real pain at the moment of their great ‘triumph’, acquiring Brawn. This is a perfect illustration of the time honoured phrase, “In F1 you are either taking pain or giving it.”

Image wise McLaren will have the number one on its car for the third time in four seasons and that has huge marketing and self esteem benefits.

But back to Kimi, Robertson says that, “If he does not do F1, then I am sure he will do something in the World Rally Championship”. The WRC people are very excited about the possibility of him coming on board. Petter Solberg’s privateer Citroen team is keen to have him and time will tell whether he can do better than that and get a works Citroen drive, possibly with the backing of Red Bull. Raikkonen and Red Bull look like they were made for each other.

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

If it does turn into a gap year and Raikkonen returns to F1 in 2011, there is a precedent for taking a gap year towards the end of an F1 career; Alain Prost took a year out of F1 in 1992 and came back the following year with Williams, winning the world championship.

Raikkonen may want to come back in 2011, but there may not be many winning seats available. Massa’s contract will be up, but I can’t see them going back over that road with Kimi. The most obvious choice for me would be Red Bull. I think the rumours this Autumn about Raikkonen possibly taking Mark Webber’s seat next year were based on Kimi’s people shaking the tree to see if anything came of it.

Webber’s contract will be up at Red Bull next year and if Raikkonen is doing something in rallying with Citroen and Red Bull, that may lead him back. But he would have to really want it and so would they. They would have to be convinced that he was fully motivated for an F1 return.

I think he may find it hard to leave the relaxed atmosphere of rallying and go back into the cesspit of F1, with the unwanted attention and the media hype. He achieved his goal of winning the championship in 2007 and has made more money than he will ever be able to spend. It’s about pleasure now and rallying offers him a huge new challenge in an environment better suited to his character.

And he will have Valentino Rossi to compete against shortly; with new manufacturers due to come in as well, WRC is rubbing its hands with glee!

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I am now at a loss with al the team/driver moves.

Kimi is world class and is proven in F1 - surely teams would want him in their cars?

If (as his manager says) it is not about money as Kimi does not 'need' the money then surely he would jump at the chance of driving a front running car for a sensible amount of money.

Does anyone out there actually know Kimi and is he stubborn enough to hod out for pre-recession money? Is he bored of the off track stuff?


Toyota wanted him and offered him a fortune. probably Red Bull would have like to sign him too, but they still have Webber.

Ferrari are just plain dumb for keeping Massa, but I can understand that they would rather have a no2 driver like Massa next to Alonso.

Not sure what McLaren's problem is. Who on earth would pick Button over Raikkonen? Maybe he has some trade secrets on the Brawn car? Or they value that no1 on their cars so highly.

They have Hamilton anyway. By far the best driver on the grid today, so whoever they put in the other car doesn't matter much really. The no2 needs to score points though.


I understood he'd fallen out of love with F1, and if F1 wants him it has to be in a top car, and for the right money. It'll be interesting to see if Mercedes decide they can afford him now that they've lost the press initiative to McLaren....

Mind you, if he is out of love with the sport, then why would anyone want to hire him? It would be better off for everyone - himself included - if he left F1 and went to WRC where it seems his heart lies?


We need the Motoyas, Villeneuves and Raikkonens back in F1.


Yeah! But who gets out ? I would say Massa but please don't hit on me. I would accept Massa at Renault or other mid class team.

And out Kovalainen, Fisichella and a lot of unconvincing youngsters that, I admit, I don't know well.


Would you mind sharing what the reasons were/are for Brawn to not be targeting Raikkonen as one of their drivers? And do you think this has changed now that Button has pulled out and they effectively have 8M lying around which had previously been allocated to pay a driver?


I'd say it's because Kimi's not exactly marketing-friendly and they'd rather their German driver be up there doing well with their team mate, whereas if Kimi's on form, he's likely to blow Rosberg out of the water.

That's just a guess though


Just look at this blog or all others to see what marketing value Kimi represents. He is unique and that is the strongest marketing tool you can have. Two German driver for a company like Mercedes a poor decision, I think. For some reason for me neither Rosberg or Heidfeld has the "racy image". Kubica is the next real reacer, but waiting for him is a huge gamble. Go for Kimi.


Thanks for the insight James. Like in the words of Raikkonen: "Let's wait and see."

Still I wonder, can Haug and Brawn persuade Kimi to come to their team. Haug is very fond of the Finish driver but would they let him loose on some PR duties and rallies? That has to be seen.

It would be a statement to Mclaren if they could nodge up a deal with the 2007 WDC. But money is probably an issue aswell, although they might deny that. But if he really wants to win races and championships, the new Mercedes outfit could be a place that gives him that. I look with nostalgy in my eyes back to the early 90s when Ayrton Senna offered Frank Williams his services for free for the 1993 season, just to be in the best car around. The world has changed a lot since those days...


yes, he may have offered services for free, because Prost vetoed him driving and contracts were already in place.

But remember, he drove for Mclaren on a race by race basis and on the condition that he got a million per race from them


It is logical that Mercedes will make a very strong offer for Vettel next year by way of a large compensation cheque to Redbull, so anyone partnering Rosberg may only have a year before looking for new employment...would Kimi fancy one more year then go off rallying then ?

The fact that he will earn more by not putting his bum in an F1 car has certainly given him a more relaxed attitude to his options...but then how many millions does a man need ?? It appears that he priced himself out of a McLaren drive.

I expect that if he doesn't get a drive with Mercedes that will be the last we see of him in an F1 car


The other option could be if Mercedes manage to get Vettel (A german a race winner and an upcoming star) and pay for Kimi Redbull transfer (the match made in heaven) guess everyone will be happy and would make Kimi the richest driver for not driving for 2 teams! Aint gonna happen it seems


Vettel is signed for 2011 at Red Bull... people keep messing this up!


Kimi was signed up at Ferrari for 2010 and look what happened with him... People aren't messing it up, the suggestion is that Merc could buy out the last year in Vettel's RBR contract and poach him a year early...


You are assuming that Red Bull are willing to sell his contract. Do you know that?

An offer of free engines might help, subject to FIA regulations, engine-related contracts with other teams.


No way will they let Vettel go and anyway the engine contract is subject to a veto right by McLaren which is why RBR haven't got the engines already


I am not sure RedBull would let Vettel go anywhere. After Ferrari in F1 world RedBull has the most financial resources. Also I would not bet that Rosberg would be more successful than Kimi in MGP car in 2010. So, he might not be the one to be fired in any case. Another factor, Kimi has very good managers, so his contract would most likely be at least for 2 years and very expensive to break. So if MGP plan is to get Vettel next year, they would not hire Kimi but someone low profile like Heidfeld.


I'm not sure. Mercedes are making lots of noise about reducing spending, so I can't see them being able to get agreement from the Unions to make a large compensatory bid to Red Bull for Vettel next year, however attractive the marketing outcome might be. Besides they'll need a good car to attract Vettel away from the team organisation that brought him up through the categories. I would suspect that we will see Mercedes take on Heidfeld on for a 2-year deal, with the aim of using his experience to create a great car, and then attracting Vettel for 2012. In that scenario we may well see Kimi go to Red Bull to replace Vettel at the same time.


The only way for Red Bull to even contemplate letting Vettel gosuch a scenario is if Kimi can be persuaded to drive for RBR in 2010... unlikely, he seems to find Rallying more attractive as a gap-year activity.

Paige Michael-Shetley

I doubt Vettel would leave Red Bull before his contract is up, especially if the RB6 is as good as I think it will be and he challenges for- if not wins- the World Championship. In my view, he and Hamilton are the favorites. Plus, I can't see Red Bull even being remotely willing to talk about a buyout of his contract.

Even if Merc take the run at Vettel for 2011- and we know they're going to take the run at him for 2012, the earliest they can get him without contracts being shredded- there's no guarantee they'll be able to get him. Ferrari clearly has him at the top of their list and will immediately enter the frame if they get wind of what Merc is up to.


Yes, but it appears that he is not priced out of a Mercedes drive, and not with the money they had allegedly had whip round for for Button.


If Kimi does go play in the forest, and Kubica continues his rally outings, is there any chance of a "James Allen On WRC" website? God knows we could do with a proper journalist covering the sport!


With Raikkonen and Rossi there it looks like it will be an attractive sport..


Rallying is already a very attractive sport. We have been fans if rallying and F1 for about 30 years!.


'And he will have Valentino Rossi to compete against shortly'

That's a fairly confident sounding statement James! I'd agree theres a hell of a lot more chance of Rossi competing in WRC than F1, but do you really think he'll be retiring from that paddock in the next couple of years?

After his Yam contract ends next year, I think he'll either resign there or if they do decide to go with Lorenzo/Spies, Vale will get a test on the Ducati to see if he can get on with that thing first. Seeing if he can beat Stoner on what's effectively Casey's bike would offer a huge challenge.

Only if that doesn't work out do I see him going full time to WRC.

I know this is an F1 blog, but it sounds like you're reasonably sure!


After the sadness of recent days, discovering Kimi would be leaving F1, it's almost cruel of Steve Robertson to give us hope that he might go to Mercedes instead.

I would love it to happen but am resigning myself to further disappointment and trying to kindle an interest in WRC.


If Raikkonen's off to join a WRC team such as Citroen, and he's competitive in 2010, I don't think he'll return to F1 in 2011.

That said, a year away seriously affects a driver's value in F1, unlike other series, mainly because of the physical demands needed (like Villeneuve after a year off) and also because there are younger, hungrier and cheaper drivers coming up from GP2 and F3.

Is this latest comment from the Robertsons a reaction to McLaren having played their hand?


It took half a season to Villeneuve to be back on his feet.

But he almost had the fastest lap against Massa on each and every race that year.

I learn now that he is intensively training for a second come back :



I am a Kimi fan but him not being in F1 was his own choice. Even if he was offered less money than Hamilton is on, he still should've gone to Mclaren. Anyone who knows F1 knows that Hamilton and Button is not a dream team. Hamilton will wipe the floor with him and Button will then realise it's a nightmare. Kimi and Hamilton was a dream team and it would've been an awesome pairing but we'll never get to see that now. The 3 happiest people in F1 are now Hamilton, Alonso, and Massa, as no Kimi means less competition. Hamilton probably couldn't stop smiling when he found out it was Jenson and not Kimi that will partner him next year.


You obviosly don't know what are you talking. Button's going to McLaren is suicide. You'll see it next year, and that is why Kimi couldn't sign with Mclaren, because they wanted to pay him less than Hamilton.


Completely agree.


It's a no-brainer James. Raikkonen gets nothing from a sabbatical really other than a possible Red Bull drive if he takes that angle for the next year. Even then, there's no guarantee Red Bull will be winning in 2011.

I always thought it was weird that Raikkonen's manager was talking of a sabbatical and Mercedes remember have no driver lineup yet. Rosberg isn't even announced. It's become clear that the Heidfeld angle wasn't really there and they were only thinking that Jenson Button would sign.

If they can offer somewhere close to the alleged figure they offered Button then it becomes financially viable to Raikkonen, and then it's a case of dotting is and crossing ts.

I would think that Mercedes would also rather enjoy rubbing McLaren's noses in it as well by grabbing a former driver and a driver they turned down and potentially seeing Jenson suffer at McLaren.

If Jenson is on less money than Raikkonen will end up being on, and he could have been on, then that's possibly the worst piece of business in F1 history.


A little bit out of topic,James..but I'm interested in the peace of news when you say that Kimi would be up against Rossi in the WRC.

Does this mean Rossi is leaving motogp? Where did you get this information?


Not now, but he has always said that he will do it when he stops bikes and that could be 2011.


Sorry,double post..

As for Kimi,if he doesn't get any seat next year,and move to WRC,I really believe that he would never come back to F1.


Because he had been with 2 of the biggest teams in F1 and had tasted the succes of being a WDC.To be anywhere else on the F1 grid is a step backward.And I think Kimi's dignity would prevent him from doing so.

Having said that,if Williams is able to be back on top again next year,who knows..Do you think WIlliams-Kimi is a possibility in 2011,James?


I think James has hit the nail on the head in this piece; as much as we love Kimi he himself has probably achieved everything he wanted to in F1. Rallying in the WRC would appear to be a much different environment to the corporate politics of F1 and maybe Kimi will be much happier in WRC then he would be in F1. He showed at Ferrari that he's not a team leader like Schumacher is so as much as I'd love to see him piloting a Silver Arrow I don't think he's the right man to drive the works Mercedes team forward.

Rossi and Raikkonen could mark a real rebirth for the WRC though!


My attitude is that Kimi turned down a McLaren drive for the sake of a perfect contract on all fronts he was in no position to bargain for. To have his talent and be in F1, Kimi is very privileged, and so to leave the sport for relatively minor details when a love of if it should be your priority seemed wrong to me.

However, I hope Mercedes to pick him up - with Button gone they will need a star driver, and perhaps Kimi would be refreshed by the challenge. Even if the case is that Kimi needs a comparatively weak team-mate (a look at his career shows he has been at his best when his team-mate hasn't been able to really challenge him), Rosberg for all his talent would fit that bill, and so we could expect to see the "old" Kimi back. And if he has to jump ship the year after (and who's to say Vettel won't see out the full contract with Red Bull, or even that he won't go to McLaren after instead), Red Bull or rallying remain open to him.

As much as I won't miss Kimi gone next year, because I've been missing the "real" Kimi for most of the past 18 months, it would sincerely be great to see him stay on and fight at the top once again.

Paige Michael-Shetley

I'm very disappointed as a McLaren fan that Kimi won't be racing for them next year. I was really looking forward to him going back and fighting for the WDC with Lewis. I'm equally disappointed he apparently won't be in F1 next year, but I suspect we'll hear more about the possibility of him driving with Merc over the next few days.

With that said, rallying will probably make him happier, and as someone who considers himself a Kimi fan, I would want that for him before anything. He's got nothing left to prove in F1; he's a world champion and beat two of the very best to the crown, and with any luck he'd be a 3-time champion. He's had a career many F1 past and present surely envy.

If Kimi does come back to F1 after a gap year, it will be with Red Bull. It's top-to-bottom the ideal fit for him; fast cars, relaxed corporate attitude, potential partnership with one of his best mates on the grid (Vettel). Webber better be cracking next year, or he may find himself dumped.


Year, Kimi, Red Bull and WRC were made for each other. I hope races there instead of getting a full sabbatical. Solberg could be a terrific tutor. And he'd mop the floor with Rossi.



Thanks for the post, clever as usual. This is exactly the answer I was expecting from you after the reply I wrote after your "raikkonen-drops-out-of-f1-a-fans-view" post (reply number 163).

If a deal is possible, considering the situation, I really think it's Mercedes interest (Haug & Brawn) to have Kimi.


If Kimi is so fantastic as all the "Fans" seem to think. How come both Ferrari and Mercedes arn't prepared to pay him the wage he wants ? Surly the "best racing driver of his generation" would be worth any amount of money.

Is it more a fact that team never know if racing Kimi or Ice cream eating Kimi is going to turn up on Friday morning. That he can't be relided on to press the flesh and smile to the plebs, which is a part of ANY sport in this media saturated age.

Kimi may be fast but he only delivers when he seems to feel like it. That doesn't make him a great driver does it really. That just makes him another fast driver.


The days of astronomical wages are gone, even for the superstar pilots. You can't expect a team to downsize and get rid of 50 employees on one side and then give a pilot twice as much as these 50 formers employees would recieve.

It would be sad if Kimi's exit is due to money and not the wish to race at WRC.


What's wrong for going for an ice cream.

Would Senna or Mansell gone for an ice cream ? what was Burtton and hamilton up too.

He was out of that car as fast as he could and back in the garage putting his feet up. which is my point. Since winning the championship, he's been treading water and acting like he just doesn't care.

Trully great drivers get back to back championship. They don't cruze round acting like they're tired with all the circus that goes with being champion. They might be quite and private off track but once the red light goes out on Sunday afternoon they'd racign to win. Kimi has not looked like he can be bothered for the last 2 years.

And to then go off in a huff because the teams won't pay through the noes, also is not the sign off a great driver.

The last time Ferrari fired a driver it was Prost, becuase he told them the car was a pile of rubbish and he wanted them to get their finger out. Kimi got fired for having no fire in his belly, and all his apolgists need to take the rose tinted specs off.


What's wrong with going for an icecream after his car has been retired? What was he supposed to do? Push that thing around the track?


constructive, René Descartes would be proud.

or not


Where to begin. hmmmmm, how about replying "yawn" to a post is rude, purile and childish. The point of post ing is to make a point, not to display your ineptitude at social interaction

1. Ferrari are going to pay him 17 million Euros to NOT race for them. Ferrari would rather pay Alonso to be in the car, and Kimi to not be in the car. After paying Kimi a shed load of money they would rather pay himn to go away. They're sticking with Massa who's had brain surgery, rather than keep Kimi on the books.

i'll say it again .

They are paying Kimi to NOT race in their car.

2. Negotiations with Mclaren broke down becuase he wanted (or maybe his manager) wanted a shed load of money and no PR days. Personaly i think this shows just what Kimi thinks of meeting with the punters who ultimatly pay his wages. We're just plebs he'd rather not have to deal with. Try asking for an Autograph from kimi some day.

3. Kimi is blindingly fast, no question. But even back in his F2 days, the team were never sure that he actually wanted to go racing. The story goes that he would roll up, do the qualifying, then head out the back and fall asleep. When it came time to race, more often than not, he'd be fast asleep somewhere. Not on the grid watching his rivals, not checking out the laps times and seeing where he could improve. Just fast asleep somewhere.

Kimi this year has not been a back of the grid barn stormer to the front driver. Has he. He's cruised around and pretty much finished where he started. Stick Kimi lower than 10th and thet's where he'll be when the flag drops. He just doesn't race some weekends.

4. Kimi doesn't give a stuff about the fans, and i really don't think he cares too much about the racing either. He likes going fast, and he likes wining. No Doubt. But he's not interested in pounding around picking up the points. Give him an advantage and he'll clean up. Let him show how fast he can go and he'll deliver.

Ask him to drive to pick up points in 4th and he won't be bothered.

Hamilton Crashed as Monza becuase he was driving the balls off the car to win. Not to pick up points because points where meaningless by that stage in the season to him. He wanted to win. When Kimi was at Mclaren he destroyed a tire and then a car doing the same thing. But you can't imagine him doing the same these days.

My problem with Kimi is that the highs and the great drives before he was world champion where terrific. But then he got the Big Prize and rather than move forward and blow the competition away .... he went to sleep.

He had the chance to be a great and he didn't take it. and now he's manouvered himself out of F1. For what. to prove what.


Actually, I don't know. I reckon Descartes would be pretty impressed. I don't know how well you know the Cartesian Coordinate System but according to my calculations 'yawn' is a Cartesian equation that, in its most simplified form, equates to the sum of your post.

But if you really want me to be constructive:

You make 3 points.

1. Why aren't Ferrari and Mclaren prepared to pay him if he is so good?

2. He is unreliable.

3. He only delivers when he wants to.

1. Ferrari are prepared to pay him. In fact they're going to pay him 17 million just to do nothing next season. His contract at Ferrari over the last few years was huge so he was clearly considered valuable. Mclaren were clearly prepared to pay him what they offered Button (apparently 8m + 4m performance dependant) which, in relative terms, is still pretty good. We will have to wait and see why negotiations broke down, but it can not be due to just a few million. That makes no sense.

2. He is genuinely not unreliable. It is difficult to analyse a driver's performance when you're not focussing on them all the time. For instance I don't particularly care about Lewis Hamilton so I don't tend to pay too much consideration to the details of each of his races. I can only think of one or two races in Kimi's career when he hasn't driven the car to the best of it's abilities depending on strategy. (Britain this year for instance, with those strategies Massa was only going to go forwards, Kimi backwards). He underperformed in 2008 in qualifying (only) owing to difficulties adjusting to the car-tyre combination following an update mid season. Before that he had been leading the championship until Monaco. Won Spain. Should have won France. Could have won Montreal. The perception of Kimi as unreliable has been caused by Ferrari not getting on with someone who doesn't share their emotional attitude towards racing. Massa has tried his hardest to make Kimi out to be lazy and disinterested. On top of that he has had some pretty bad luck. Despite qualifying issues, 2008 could have gone in a very different direction without Hamilton crashing into him in Montreal, the exhaust failure in France, the rain in Spa. Incidentally, the Ferrari had so little down-force in the rain that I suspect that had there been more dry races (it was wet for a third of the season) then it would have destroyed the Mclaren which was so good in the wet.

3. Why would someone only deliver when they want to? What kind of an idiot is a paid sportsman, signs a 3 year contract for the highest profile team in the world and then doesn't really try? What kind of a sportsman doesn't try full-stop?! He always tries to get the most from every situation, like any sportsman does, and his 'fans' respect him because the levels of quality that he gets from the car can only reasonably be seen to be excellent. Add that to his sporting attitude and that is why his 'fans' love him.

P.S. Thanks for associating me with René Descartes.



"My conversations with Brawn management earlier this week did not suggest to me that Kimi was on their target list, for very specific reasons"

Could you say which ones?


Perhaps it is selfish of me but I really would like to see Kimi (and Valentino Rossi) in WRC and the profile duly raised. It would be nice to actually see the events on mainstream TV instead of highlights on Godforsaken digital channels which seems to be the way at the moment.

There is a pretty good crossover. I am sure most F1 fans would happily watch the WRC also. Wasn't Dave Richards something to do with it and promoting it?


If Raikkonen goes to Mercedes I would be extremely happy! Moreover, I think he will show the way to Button and Hamilton to get sooner to the finish line more times than not.

Assuming Raikkonen drives for Brawn / Mercedes (please), I expect the title to be decided between him and Alonso (though the latter is my favourite as of today).

Come on Kimi, Alonso's title would not be the same without you in the hunt (and if it's you that gets it, caps off!)


Have Mclaren shown any interest in Button in the past? Presumably he will have to shave before he dons his race suit!?

Looking at driving styles it seems that Mclaren have another Senna and Prost.

Very much looking forward to this particular pairing come race day.


Didn't Button once get to test a McLaren about 10 years ago after winning the BRDC Young Driver Award? Or something like that...


I was reading in F1 magazine last week that he was given two 10 lap runs, and was given wets on a drying track.

Apparently, he only did 6 laps of his second run and then bought the car in and said the tyres were shot and he'd go no faster.

Not sure if that's all hot air, but I would have thought you'd have a problem getting a driver out of the car during their first F1 experience!


I heard a rumour at the time that Button was considered as a replacement for Alonso at McLaren when it became clear Alonso wouldn't be sticking around for 2008.


Mercedes may decide to throw money at kimi now to get a top driver, but it would be an emotional decision to try and gain some ground back on Mclaren i feel.

If they stick to there budgeting they have used with Jenson then they cant afford kimi.


Having read all the interviews with Robertson and some lines from Kimi I think he is a bit more keen to get back into F1 than this article suggests. This is just my feeling.


It's a different tone from the day before isn't it?


..and it still can change, I mean the tone, I have high hopes in Haug, who knows and highly -rates Kimi, but he needs approval from the management of MB and some talks with Brawn before approaching Kimi. I think they still got time as the WRC deal is not going to be made within days, I think.


Kimi didn't say anything the day before. Basically I think you can always trust him to say what he's thinking. That said, you're right, Roberton's tone did change. I guess Mercedes must have approached him then...


Robertson will be wanting his cut. the difference between a F1 drive and getting him a WRC drive will be huge


For me Kimi's best option is the Citroen/Red Bull route..he'd be going into a top team and he'd be in a position to get back into F1 if he wants - most importantly though it would be wit a team that has the most fun loving attitude in the paddock and they don't put their drivers in corporate strait jackets.


If the Mercedes link works, then the McLaren - Button coup could be the best thing that ever happened to Kimi...


James do you think that Kimi's predicament is a bad attitude from his manager, just thinking about his percentage for next year? ..."Kimi takes a year off, my 10% fee is 1.7 million... Kimi races I'll probably only get 500K" .

For a manager to let the product he is trying to sell get to this point is bad business. It's all about supply & demand.


"Kimi's people shaking the tree" ... didnt expect that . If you go by that logic , that maybe the case for the Mercedes situation .

Ross Brawn in an interview says its likely that Button stays and in less than 24 hours he is announced as a Mclaren driver .


I'm not personally surprised that button left brawn. If they were interested in keeping him I think they would have paid the 6m on a multi year.

I mercedes would like a shot at getting vettel and that's what was behind the 1 year offer.

James, do you think there is any chance Ross might tempt michael back into f1 for a year? I believe he has renewed his advisory role at Ferrari but I don't think luca would stop him if he asked.


If Schumi was thinking about it and it's in Luca's power to stop it, I think he would.

It would be major publicity for a rival, plus the chance of shooting himself in the foot by giving his own team someone else to go up against


I agree that Red Bull in 2011 is the only option given the contractual situation in the other teams.

But isn't there half a chance that Mercedes buy Vettel out of his Red Bull contract next year and Red Bull spend that money getting Kimi in the car?


I think it may work well for Kimi one more year in a car that everyone believes will be competitive then swop seats with Vettal


On 5Live, Eddie Jordan said that Merc told JB he wasn't wanted and should seek employment elsewhere. This seems to contradict what Nick Fry has claimed.

Can you clear the muddied water at all?

Why do you say Rosberg and Heidfeld would not be a match for the other driver line ups? Have either of them ever had a race winning car before? If Ross can manage them properly (and he can), I think they could be a very good pairing. As a TEAM they could be unbeatable. it isn't just about the drivers.


Where do you start when talking about what Eddie Jordan said...?


He was right about Fisi leaving FI for Ferrari. I know he has a certain idiosyncratic style and does obfuscate some of the most simple ideas, but that doesn't mean that he isn't right in his core facts.


He makes a million nonsensical predictions and one comes true ...


"Kimi Raikkonen has a blank space in his diary – it’s called 2010."

Solid Gold!!!

I have been thinking about this whole Raikkonen situation and a couple of facts keep "bobbing to the surface":

1) F1 is basically a big marketing push for Red Bull and they are not short of cash.

2) Kimi is a perfect fit for Red Bull and would have huge appeal to their target demographic

3) Mark Webber used to race for Mercedes in sportscar racing and might be attractive to Mercededes to slot in with Rosberg.

What are the chances of Red Bull doing a deal where they slide MW across to Mercedes (perhaps offer to pay his salary so it costs Mercedes nothing to run with Webber) and put Kimi in with Vettel to create a super-team that has immense appeal with their target market??

Considering the speed of the Red Bull car this year, Kimi would have to have faith in Adrian Newey to create a fast car for next year.

Kimi says he wants a challenge?? Why not match up against Vettel...


I had been wondering the same thing myself.

2 things though:

1. Why wouldn't Raikkonen just take the seat at Mercedes?

2. Is Webber on good terms with Mercedes after the Le Mans accidents?

Haug did say there could be some surprises in the driver lineup.


Stranger things have happened...(this week)


Hi James, I've just finished reading the article on Sun Sport regarding Bourdais. He seemed to be onto something for next year and it could be in F1... Now that we know more about what seats are left, is it a possibility? Apart from USF1, I cannot see where.


Not heard his name but Renault seem likely to sign a Frenchman and Bourdais' manager is Nicolas Todt, who also manages Massa. I wonder if Lotus might be a possibility there?


I'd like to see Bourdais given another chance - I definitely feel he is better than he was able to show at Torro Rosso - Now Flavs gone from Renault he may have options there - would prefer to see him back over Piquet Jnr.


Spot on again James.

I really think Brawn was playing a game of poker with Button. They thought they had the better hand, and that he was bluffing. They called his bluff, and he turned over pocket aces. Now they've been left with a very short stack.

I'll be surprised if Kimi drives for Mercedes, and if he does it would be good to know how his contract compares with what Jense was offered.


"My conversations with Brawn management earlier this week did not suggest to me that Kimi was on their target list, for very specific reasons. And my colleagues in Finland feel that the Mercedes move is unlikely for the same reasons."

James, care to enlighten us as to what those reasons are?

Mercedes need to sign Kimi in order to avoid ending up with two journeyman drivers who have never done anything particularly special.


"My conversations with Brawn management earlier this week did not suggest to me that Kimi was on their target list, for very specific reasons. And my colleagues in Finland feel that the Mercedes move is unlikely for the same reasons."

care to give a hint to us james...wat the reasons mite be...i mean wat do they really think the problem with kimi is?? why is everyone so negative abt him?

n u said u spoke with them..was that before the button deal or after?? cos with wats happenin it seems brawn is upset with what button did..they didnt really expect him to go ahead with mclaren...

nyways...nico/nick against lewis/button n alonso/massa... if i were brawn i wud pick up the phone n call kimi...

Jose Carlos Silva


One of your blog followers, and also a paddock insider, has said: “Kimi will be at the wheel of a Mercedes Grand Prix car in 2011, at the expense of Heidfeld’s seat.”

BTW, I’m looking foreword for my personally signed copy of your book, pre ordered last October 29th.

Best regards.


After yesterday's disappointing news that Kimi would not be in F1 in 2010, I am now salivating at the thought of Kimi possibly driving the Silver Arrows next year.

It may be a long shot but we all expect the unexpected in F1.

My interest in WRC waned after Colin McRae was gone. With Kimi and (in the future) Valentino driving in WRC I will have to tune into WRC next year. I admire Rossi on two wheels as much as I admire Kimi on four wheels.


James, do you have any insight as to where negotiations broke down between Kimi and McLaren? What is it just the money? or was it the rallying and sponsorship responsibilities?


"If they can offer, or convince us, that they can provide Kimi an opportunity that Kimi is happy with, and that we are happy with, and he feels he can win races"

Sounds like they've never heard of the phrase "beggars can't be choosers."


I think the last bit of your post is key - if Kimi is looking for a 1-year deal before moving to a new team, where would he go? Red Bull are a question mark in terms of long-term performance and Ferrari and McLaren are unlikely to open any seats in the near future. If he wants to stay in F1 Mercedes is quite possibly his best long-term option.


I grew up loving the rallying, admiring the greates such as Makkinen, McRae, Saenz etc, possibly even more than F1 in the 1990s. Unfortunately the spotlight left rallying in the UK after Burns won his title and the tragedy that played out with both the UK champions. It seems there is a renaissance happening if Raikkonen goes there and other manufacturers join the series which would definitely make me tune in.

I am extremely hopeful that Todt, with his rallying experience, really pushes the WRC agenda and the event grows to levels it hasn't really seen in a decade. In order for that to happen there really needs to be a lot more teams join up.


Well Kimi would definately be off Heidfelds christmas card list - he wasn't very happy when Kimi got the Mclaren drive when they were both at Sauber!


Mercedes need a more marketable second driver. Kimi would be perfect for this. Not only this but there's always an air of mysique about Kimi that fits well with Mercedes' own.


James, what are your thoughts on Nick Fry's comments that they had offered Jenson potentially more than he is getting at McLaren?

It blows out the 'Jenson just wanted more money' argument. Maybe he genuinely feels the Mclaren will be the better car next year?


Maybe Jenson got fed-up of asking the question?... Maybe Nick Fry is telling porkies?


I don't think so... I don't think Fry needs to lie - his shock at Jenson's decision seems real.

I can also perfectly believe that the media figures for Jenson's offered salary at Brawn were a load of tosh!

Still the idea he would leave Brawn/Mercedes for McLaren on less money (though with an extra year of contract) is fascinating.

I'd be interested to hear how the engineers will deal with the challenge of 2 different driving styles in car development.


James, from what you've written here and in previous posts, I get the feeling from between the lines that there's some kind of bad blood between Kimi and Brawn management. If there were to be some sort of animosity between them, a deal could perceivably happen only at Haug's insistence or out of necessity should Heidfeld retain a Sauber seat.

Without giving away anything confidential, can you remind us of the history is (if any) between Brawn & Kimi?


No bad blood, that's not the point. But they have analysed his performances and asked around.


They ? ...

the very reason 'team principals' rate Kimi way below Hamilton even though they are kinda equal in points ... in the latest autosport top 10 . Alonso surprisingly better than many . Kinda hard to believe the reality is not what we get to see .



What's the situation with Kimi and Haug? I thought they were chummy? Has Haug said anything since Button left? I'm curious to know where he comes into all of this.


“We made him an honest offer,” concurred Mercedes Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug, speaking to German media, “but without him we can start with a clean slate. We wish him all the best.”

They get along very well, he was a guest maybe the only one from F1 at Kimi`s wedding.


Kimi at Red Bull. That would be fun. Teamed up with Jacques Villeneuve would be even better !


"Jenson will not be doing anything at all for McLaren until the end of this calendar year," Brawn chief executive officer Nick Fry told AUTOSPORT. "And if he does, we will be looking on it very dimly.

"He didn't have any obligations to us for 2010, but there are issues with regards to the signing process on which we are in discussion with him at the moment.

"There are clear constraints on what Jenson can do between now and the end of the year, which we will be rigorously enforcing."

Sour grapes, Mr Fry? This has come as one huge shock to the Brawn Management team and they have had their fingers burnt quite spectacularly. They have accused Button and his management of holding contract discussions in the media and now we have a string of what one can only call bitchy & unneccessary comments flying out of Brackley. Did Renault kick up such a fuss at the loss of Alonso?

Would it have been fair for Jenson to have waited until 31st Dec to see/negotiate with other teams? Were they hoping the longer they called the shots and delayed he'd have no option but to sign? Where did the £12m contract come from? What happened to we can only afford so much but Jenson can make lots from the personal sponsorship WE will allow him to have?

I wish Jenson all the best at McLaren - he may need it, he may not but at least he's got the b#lls to test himself.


If Nick Fry did say them things McLaren may wish to remind him that if it was not for their help his team would not have been on the grid in 2009 let alone won both championships.

Sour grapes indeed


I agree... Nick gambled too hard and now has a job on his hands to avoid an anticlimatic line-up...

This could've been settled so easy weeks ago with Button signed on and everyone already looking forward to Christmas.

Can't help thinking that the economy-drive culture runs too deep at Brawn/Merc - it's one thing flying modestly and 'right-sizing' half your workforce... quite another when digging-in over relative petty cash exposes you to this kind of risk.

In an ideal world obviously men would drive for love and glory alone - I fully understand that - but in reality these chaps all have very expensive women to support through a long retirement...

Raikkonen probably just added £5mil to his previous fee. What's the betting he'll get it too? The jammy sod!


Indeed. The quotes attributed to Brawn and Fry over the past 24 hours have been pretty shocking. As I said somewhere else, I think they played poker with him and lost. It's their own fault. If they had made more of an effort they could have signed him.


Spot on, Neil.


I just don't understand one thing if Mercedes want Heidfeld would not consider Kimi why they haven't announced him yet? I cannot see anyone else competitive enough. Also, Rosberg/Heidfeld in terms of image, potential etc. are not on the same level with Mclaren, Ferrari and MB is not the brand that could afford less attractive driver pairing. They just cannot afford it after investing a lot into a team and screw the whole thing up on drivers front.


Nico and Nick are very nice fellows, but Mercedes needs to make a splash with all this money they are throwing out and outside of Germany no one will get excited over 2 guys that have well over 200 races between them and not one victory.

I think Kimi is in the pound seats now, all this excitement form his huge fan base, the fact that Button walked and now Mercedes has to announce a weak driver line-up? I think they would be wise to at least get Kimi's people on the phone ASAP


Very few come back after a gap. Those that do often struggle.

Perhaps only Lauda made it work?


I can not imagine why Merc would not move heaven and earth to secure Kimi. He raced that Ferrari beyond it's capacity this season, single handedly almost held McLaren at bay for 3rd place. What is the point of a winning car and team without a winning driver?


'Lets wait and see' as the man himself says. I have a feeling Kimi just loves motorsport and racing for themselves and only he knows if F1 can give him any more fulfillment, or is it time for a new challenge in the form of WRC or Le Mans? He has the WDC, the money, the wife, the boat, now he might just do what he thinks puts the biggest smile on his face (yes, he does that sometimes).

Personally i think Mercedes would be a good fit, and that Norbert Haug still has a soft spot for him for squeezing so much out of the awful 2003-4 cars and all the speactcular stuff of 2005 at mclaren.

Whatever he decides, ill still follow his exploits.


If I were MGP, I would quickly make an offer to Kimi and keep the a star driver in their team.

With Ferrari having one double world champion - Alonso, Mclaren having two world champions, Webber/Vettel even without world champions but having driver that have won races. William also have Rubens that have won many races.

If they just sign Nico & Nick, they are the top 5 teams that have no world champions and drivers line up that have not won any races. What a shame. Can Mercedes take the humiliation that on their first year full ownership of F1 team loosing out badly to Mclaren?

Mclaren will sure laugh till their pants drop......



Game is not over:-)))

I agree Rosberg/Heidfeil is a half sexy line up, For the New Mercedes team..

Wait & see

Concerning Renault, it seem that Franck Montagny could be the French driver

I would prefer Sebastien Bourdais who have shown very good thing this year in SLF, 2008 with TR was not so bad (SPA/Monza qualif/Melbourne)....

I would also prefer to see heidfeild with Kubica at Renault.

Thanks for the post James (and all for the comments)



Sorry let say Nick


James, I know this is completely off-topic, but just what is happening with US F1?

Virgin-Manor have Glock and A.N other, Campos-Meta have Bruno Senna, Lotus look a possible for Jarno Trulli...but from US F1 it's pretty much total silence.

Have you heard anything lately which suggests they are going to make the grid in 2010?


I know quite a bit about the reasons why they have been quiet and I'm reasonably confident that they will be there


Hello James,

Superb content on your site.

In case you missed them, here are some links to a quite clever series of shorts on the USF1 team. I understand you don't post links, so this is more for your own entertainment.

Day 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJTynvakZok

Day 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwcZR86pK3Y

Day 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMh3qu5GtZA

Day 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB6eJluXEbs

Day 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j_cYbPafoY

Day 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0WZSTijeZM

(I tried sending it to editor@jamesallenonf1.com, as opposed to posting it on a comment, but the email bounced back.)


Kimi's performances have been pretty good whenever Ferrari paid attention to what he wanted and gave him the car that he liked. Just because Massa and his mentor MS tried everything in their power to steer Ferrari towards Massa's driving style doesn't diminish the value of Raikkonen. Haug should have a pretty clear idea what Kimi is capable of. If he thinks Kimi is fast, he would do his best to convince Ross to hire him. Ross "asking around" is not as good as having first-hand knowledge of Kimi's capabilities. Something that Norbert surely has plenty of.


I just read an article by Autosport about team principals voting for who they thought was the best driver on the grid for 2009. Vettel was no. 1 (no surprises), but I was very surprised to find that Kimi only ended up being the 6th best (after Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Barrichello). If these points are anything to go by, Kimi may not even have a drive for 2011. Do these points truly reflect Kimi's effort this season (I certainly don't think so, but team principals are privy to private information), or is formula 1 more about sponsorship pr than pure racing?


It seems like Kimi's Merc move was Robertssons (and Haug's) plan all along. Macca and Button were suckered into trap.

Kimi plays a hard to catch for Macca, Brawn plays hardball with Jenson. Then Brawn transforms into Merc, Haug moves his office out from Macca.

Kimi tells Macca, sorry- no go. Macca goes into panic mode and secures Jenson as quick as possible.

Suddenly Merc comes up whit Kimi as their nr. 1 hitter for season 2010. All coinside ? I dont think so. Robertssons and Haug teached all of us a lesson how to play the game.

I dont think Jenson ever had chance to remain at the new Merc-Brawn.


I can't believe anyone would be shocked that Jenson jumped teams. Look at his history.


Haug: " Kimi has my number, he can give me a call anytime..." (Auto Motor Sport)


Raikkonen to Negotiate with Mercedes GP


Norbert Haug has confirmed that Kimi's managers have called to Mercedes GP's Nick Fry to open negotiations.

"This is normal behaviour as long as there's a seat to be filled. Other drivers and their representatives have done the same. No decisions has been made yet" says Haug.



Does Massa's Contract have an Option James??


"I still sense that Brawn is shocked and dismayed that Button has left them." I couldn't agree more.

I sense Button felt the Brawn team doubted his abilities? If that's the case he'll be even more motivated to prove a point to them and the world he's GENUINE champion...

Paige Michael-Shetley


Do you think maybe Raikkonen and Robertson are going to catch Merc in a compromised situation?

McLaren had the option of going with Button at a cut price instead of Raikkonen, so they had leverage. Merc are now stuck in an ominous situation in which they won't have a top line driver in their first year, and this would surely be unacceptable to them. Merc knows what Raikkonen is capable of from their days together at McLaren, and Haug is said to be a fan of his as I understand it.

We know that Brawn has spoken to Raikkonen before, as he made the statement to the press that the Robertsons are negotiating as if there is no Ferrari payoff. I don't think Merc will pay Raikkonen Alonso/Hamilton money, but they would surely offer something on the order of what they offered Button, if not a higher amount.


Now that McLaren has called their bluff, I think it might be Robertson who approached Mercedes, not vice-versa.

I also think it might be Kimi who approached Robertson and told him to stop mocking around and get him a drive instead.

But there's one thing to keep in mind: Kimi is fired and that says Ferrari think there are at least 2 drivers better than him. McLaren didn't want him that bad either so that means 4 drivers better than him.

If he is, in the eyes of the teams, only the 5th best driver on the grid out of 20, I think he should shut up and drive or get the hell out, instead of acting like some primadona, threatening to leave like it would mean the end of F1.


Hi James,

Like to congratulate you for the huge success of your blog. Moneywise, maybe Ross is the biggest winner this year, you are my overall biggest winner in F1 circle for 09.

Would you considering launching your own live coverage of races on the Internet in the future?


For Mercedes, instead of Nick Heidfeld, I would be tempted to go for Heikki Kovalainen. OK, he was roundly beaten by Hamilton this year, but most think Button will be. He has done a bit better than Heidfeld - has won a race - and knows the Mercedes engine which might be useful. And he might even be in a better frame of mind against Rosberg.

In the world of fantasy, how about Schumaker at Mercedes in 2011? Didn't he start his career in sportscars with them? And he'd be back with Ross.


How come Jenson was at the factory very soon after Kimi? Because they are very much linked. I have heard that there was a deal that was sorted between Mclaren and Brawn. That Mclaren, who have dont have as much money, as Robertson said, as they used to.

Enter Mercedes who have bought Brawn, who are willing to spend, would pay the salary that Kimi wants, if they pay him $15 million, which they offered jenson, plus the 10 mil from ferrari is a sweet deal.

Kimi IS going to Mercedes, I expect an announcement with the next week.


Kimi wasn't there, his manager was


Yeah but if you understand me, a bit of Kimi, his manager. The man who looks after Kimi's intrests


As when Michael Schumacher left the Grid...come March 14th 2010 he'll soon pale into the background as we focus elsewhere.


James, I am hearing rumors that button already had a outlined deal with McLaren before brazil. Have you heard anything? And Haug has confirmed negotiations with Robertsons, if a deal is struck, do you see a 1 or 2 year agreement?


I hope he ends up in the Brawn seat. I can't see Heidfeld or Sutil matching the pace he gets out of the car.


Hi James, I'd just like to echo some of the comments here by asking what can be more important for an F1 team than having a winning driver?

ie, paying over the odds [as they may see it] for Kimi must be an investment worth making for Haug and RB.

But if we are facing the prospect of 2010 without KR on the grid, (and I'm feeling a bit calmer now about that than 48 hrs ago) I don't believe Kimi will opt for rally over F1 as you suggest he may do. I imagine driving an F1 car at top speed with the skill he has is a thrill that nothing can match, be that rally or anything else. So I'm optimistic that he will be back 2011.


What a great season 2010 will be!

Alonso, Massa, Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Webber, all in what will probably be competitive cars! Add the new teams in, and it should be one hellova year!

Just a couple of questions James:

One: McLaren seem to be giving Mercedes considerable "pain" at the moment. Is this wise, seeing as they still have a long term working relationship that they need to maintain?

Two: The McLaren teams morale will be boosted by having the number 1 on their cars for 3 of the last 4 years. How much of a boost will this really be, seeing as they have only actually earned one of them?

Love this blog


"I imagine driving an F1 car at top speed with the skill he has is a thrill that nothing can match, be that rally or anything else."

If you imagine F1 offers thrills nothing else can match.

You have never watched the film of Vatanen driving the Peugeot 405 Group B car up Pikes Peak. F1 is a tame and sanitized situation in comparison. Kimi is no doubt well

aware of this and perhaps that's why he wants to go rallying.


kimi is bored of F1. budgets are coming down and mercedes, having bought out 70% of a team, will not have the budget to keep him in. i can see kimi doing something for fun, he doesn't need the money and just wants to enjoy himself. WRC is likely, even if he crashes at every rally!

heidfeld will be a good fit at mercedes (brawn) i think, i hope they give him his chance in a decent car.

for me, the biggest question mark now is renault and kubica...


Hey James! What to you think are the chances for Kimi ending up at MercedesGP?

My hopes aren´t that high! I mean what can Brawn/Mercedes offer Kimi what Macca couldn´t? I heard that Mercedes does want Kimi but so did Mclaren!


I think as a car manufacturer they can offer less or different PR duties than Vodafone asked for.They can offer Ross Brawn etc. I think a lot.


kimi is our main target…NICK FRY

While Brawn does not mention any [driver] names, Nick Fry is somewhat more open in stating his preference. “We will carefully consider the drivers that are suitable and available. Almost everyone [of those] would quite like the seat. If it were up to me to decide we would sign Kimi Raikkonen. He can start tomorrow as far as I am concerned. He knows of my preference, has my number and can call me anytime. I would happily welcome him as a new driver”, says Nick Fry.



A world champion would race next year only if he can sit in a championship-winning car. But here it is, a seat in a car that won constructors championship! If Kimi signed a deal with Mercedes I would bet on him winning the championship straight away.

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