Kimi Räikkönen has denied having any discussions with Mercedes GP about a possible drive for 2010, and said that he will only be returning to Formula 1 should a competitive car be at his disposal in 2011. With McLaren negotiations failing and seemingly no other options open, the 2007 champion will now take at least one year off from Formula One after joining the field with Sauber in 2001.
"I felt that McLaren offered the best opportunity to win races and challenge for the Drivers’ Championship and if that would not work the one-year break is the result," he explained to the Formula1.com website after confirming his sabbatical.
"I will only return in 2011 if I can drive a competitive car," he said. "I do not want to race just to make up the numbers, that doesn’t interest me, but there’s a lot of time until then so let’s wait and see what happens in the months ahead."
Räikkönen added that "certain issues could not be resolved" with McLaren but did not elaborate if this referred to financial arrangements.
Contrary to the feelings of Manager Steve Robertson, a place at the Mercedes (née Brawn) team is no alternative, he feels. "I have not held talks with Brawn," he revealed. "I feel they will run two German drivers next year, now that Mercedes are involved."
At least we’ve heard Kimi’s side of the story!