Just a day after his manager affirmed that he would not
be racing in F1 in 2010, it appears that the door might not be entirely closed on Kimi Raikkonen finding a place on the grid next year – with the 2007 world champion understood to be under consideration by Mercedes Grand Prix.
Steve Robertson had told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat
that 'the options for next season in Formula 1 were McLaren or nothing...Kimi and McLaren could not reach an agreement, so he won't drive in F1 next year' – whilst at the same time insisting that a return in 2011, possibly with Red Bull Racing, remains a very distinct possibility [see separate story – click here
]. Now, however, it appears a sabbatical may not be called for after all.
Robertson has since downgraded his comments to a 'never say never' stance – provided
there exists a strong chance for Raikkonen to compete for title glory. Although a report in Brazilian newspaper O Globo
that the Espoo native has already inked a deal with the former Brawn GP outfit – and 2009 world champions – seems a little premature in the light of Jenson Button having only just left the team, it does appear that negotiations are in process.
It is widely believed that ex-Williams F1 ace Nico Rosberg will form one half of the Brackley-based operation's driver pairing next year, and experienced BMW refugee Nick Heidfeld – ironically, a man who beat Raikkonen when they were teamed up together at Sauber back in 2001, and one who has been passed over by Mercedes in favour of the Finn once already, at the end of that season – has been officially mentioned in connection with the second seat. Unless Raikkonen gets there first.
The 29-year-old has also been linked to a Citroën drive in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2010 – thereby allowing him to indulge his other principal motor racing love – and Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug refused to cast any light upon the decision process, having earlier suggested that there might be 'some surprises' [see separate story – click here
“We want to have the best possible line-up and there are still some very capable drivers on the market,” the 56-year-old told German news agency SID
. “There will of course be speculation.”