Despite consecutive points’ finishes in his latest World Rally Championship outings with the Red Bull Citroen Junior Team, 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen is not ruling out – or ruling in – a return to Formula 1 in the future.
being booted agreeing to end his Ferrari contract a year ahead of schedule at the end of the 2009 season, the Finn signed on with the Red Bull-backed Citroen squad in the World Rally Championship. After four championship rounds, his tally reads: 2 crashes, 2 points’ finishes.
By scoring points in the Rally Jordan earlier this month, Räikkönen became the first ex-F1 driver since Carlos Reutemann to achieve points’ finishes in both F1 and rallying. His fifth-placed finish at last weekend’s Rally Turkey was particularly impressive, just 7 minutes behind the factory Citroen of Sébastien Loeb.
When asked by the Finnish Turun Sanomat newspaper if his latest results would mean it more likely he will continue with rallying, Räikkönen’s response was coy.
"It has not turned in any direction,” he said. "There is no rush for me to make decisions. We’ll have to see what are the possibilities and what for me is the most interesting — what I enjoy the most and what it is I most want to do.
"We will see at a point some time later this year," he added.
The Finn was linked – by dint of his renewed connections with Red Bull (who bankrolled his F1 debut with Sauber in 2001) – as a candidate to take over from Mark Webber at the Red Bull Racing squad for 2011, as the Australian’s contract is due to expire at season’s end.
However, Kimi has also made it pretty clear that he prefers the more casual environment of the WRC. A man very much loathe to pressing the flesh at sponsorship and PR events, Kimi’s approach is very much from a different era when greater freedom was afforded to drivers between races.
"If the F1 world could go back 20 years, it would be the same as rallying now," he said. "[Rallying] is still professional but in just a bit more of a relaxed style."