Former Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen 'has signed an outline agreement' to return to McLaren-Mercedes in 2010, sources have revealed – in a move that would free up a place at Ferrari for Fernando Alonso, and likely see Nico Rosberg jump ship from Williams to current world championship leaders Brawn GP.
According to British newspaper the Daily Mirror
, Raikkonen – who Ferrari are desperately trying to buy out of his €25 million contract for next season – has in principle agreed to rejoin his erstwhile Woking employers, with whom he competed in the top flight from 2002 to 2006, securing half of his 18 grand prix triumphs to-date with the multiple world championship-winning British outfit.
Though that relationship did not end on the best of terms – with the Finn's well-documented party-loving lifestyle not going down too well in the very clinical and regimented McLaren atmosphere – it seems both sides could now be willing to give things another go.
The one sticking point, it is understood, is Ferrari's continuing reluctance to pay Raikkonen his full 2010 retainer, with the 29-year-old similarly refusing to budge until he has received the money in its entirety.
Should a deal indeed go through, however, it would spell the end of Rosberg's on-off flirtation with a future in silver, and possibly pave the way for the highly-rated young German to join Brawn in place of Rubens Barrichello.
It is believed that Mercedes-Benz has been pushing hard for McLaren to snap up the services of the son of 1982 F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg for next year – to replace the underperforming Heikki Kovalainen – but with rumours suggesting that the Stuttgart manufacturer may now be edging more towards a buy-out or at least partial buy-out of Brawn rather than extending its 15-year partnership with the Silver Arrows, the pieces of the complicated driver jigsaw could finally be beginning to fall into place.