Having fallen out with the McLaren team’s offer, Kimi Raikkonen will be absent from Formula One next year while he takes a sabbatical from the series before attempting a return in 2011.
In the interim, the Finn will concentrate on his other serious motorsport interest – racing in the World Rally Championship.
"He’s one of those guys who moves on quickly," his manager David Robertson told the BBC. "He just said ‘Now we concentrate on rallying’."
Raikkonen made his WRC debut last summer when he took on his home event, Rally Finland, at the wheel of an Abarth Grande Punto S2000. His times on the fast-paced gravel tests were good and allowed him to hold 15th position overall; however he slid into a ditch and damaged his car on Day Two of the event, forcing him to retire.
The former Ferrari driver will now have a full year ahead of him to gain additional experience on World Rally Championship rounds.
"He is now looking to find a drive in the WRC, although nothing has yet been sorted out," Robertson confirmed.
The 2007 champion believed that a deal with McLaren was his best opportunity in fighting for a second F1 title; the team opted for current World Champion Jenson Button instead when Kimi refused their salary demands.
Robertson’s comment below is particularly telling about their mentality to pursue the $$$
"Kimi wanted a winning car, only McLaren could supply that and he only had them in his sights," Robertson explained. "It wasn’t in his interests to race for what they were offering so he’s going to go rallying instead."
And do you seriously expect the WRC will pay more? They’re in bigger shit with the GFC than F1!