On his official website Kimi Raikkonen said:
I am very motivated to win races and a championship again and will only remain in Formula One if I can race for a team that can give me a car to fight at the front. Let’s wait and see what happen.
Let’s look at this realistically, who are the teams set to compete in Formula 1 in 2010 that will be fighting for the Championship:
If it hadn’t been for Brawn GP’s fairytale start to the 2009 season then Red Bull would have beena good bet to win the Drivers Championship with Sebastian Vettel and probably the Constructors Championship with Mark Weber as his team mate. Vettel and Weber are two of just a handful of drivers that are confirmed for 2010. this means that although Red Bull could enter next season in Formula 1 as the favourites, there is no room for Kimi Raikkonen in 2010.
They had a fantastic head start coming into the 2009 season and built up an unassailable lead in the first 6 races of the season thanks to the developments they made to the car while under the Honda badge and at the sacrifice to their 2008 season. While nobody expects to see such dominance in 2010, they will still be one of the teams fighting it out at the front of the grid.
While the 2 race seats at Brawn GP are still unconfirmed, we’re all just waiting for Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to be confirmed. As much as the UK press like to try their hand at fantasy booking an all British driver team at McLaren, it isn’t going to be happening. What this means is no race seat for Kimi Raikkonen at Brawn GP in 2010.
While 2009 was quite a poor season, at least in terms of the previous successes of Ferrari, you wouldn’t bet against them coming back strongly in 2010 and they in fact started working on their 2010 car towards the end of the 2009 season.
Ferrari has been Kimi Raikkonen’s home for the past 3 seasons, and where he won the Drivers Championship in 2007 while finishing 3rd and 6th in 2008 and 2009 respectively. However, the least surprising move in Formula 1 saw Ferrari sign Fernando Alonso for the 2010 season, who along with the returning Felipe Massa makes up their Driving team for next season. Once again, no room for Raikkonen in 2010.
Like Ferrari, McLaren had a bad start to 2009 but by the middle of the season they seemed to be catching up and by the end of he season Lewis Hamilton had scored more points than any other driver in the 2nd half of the season. Ironically it was Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari who had scored the second most points in that same period. Martin Whitmarsh has said that the McLaren will be faster in 2010 so we can expect the MP4-25 to be battling Red Bull, Brawn GP and Ferrari for the big points next season.
Hamilton and Raikkonen – competitors in 2007, team mates in 2010?
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No disrespect to any of the other teams, but it would seem that if Kimi Raikkonen does indeed what to drive next season and be competitive, then McLaren is his only choice. It’s recently been said that Raikkonen could earn more by not driving next year than if he were to drive with McLaren. The figures being banded around are €17 million if he takes 2010 off and €15 million if he accepts the offer to drive for McLaren. In the world of McLaren the minimum €2 million pounds extra they’d need to offer Raikkonen to match his sabbatical earnings seems like a drop in the ocean, but then why should they offer him more?
It could be argued that if money is the only thing motivating Kimi Raikkonen is he really the right choice for the team and should McLaren look elsewhere to fill that second seat. I discussed the 2010 driver options here, and to be honest, even a money motivated Kimi Raikkonen could be McLaren’s best option for 2010 to get the most points possible. That is unless Renault do indeed quit Formula 1 in which case I’d get Robert Kubica into that second seat quicker than you can say ‘enjoy your ice cream Kimi’!
All will no doubt be revealed soon and I won’t be at all surprised to see Kimi Raikkonen announced as McLaren’s second river for 2010 – for how much is anyone’s guess.