Kimi Raikkonen has again evoked the possibility of pursuing a career in rallying once he decides to hang up his Formula 1 helmet – but he remains adamant that, for now at least, 'the desire to win' in the top flight 'hasn't decreased at all'.
The Finn's long-term – indeed even short-term – future in F1 has been the subject of much debate for months, with many speculating on whether he will still be around in 2009, let alone 2010, when his current Ferrari contract is due to expire.
Raikkonen himself has fanned the flames by refusing to commit to anything beyond the end of the current season – in which he is bidding to add a second consecutive drivers' world championship crown to his résumé.
Following a strong start to his title defence, he has now gone a full six races without a victory to his name, with a lacklustre German Grand Prix last time out seeing him slip some seven points adrift of chief rival Lewis Hamilton in the standings.
Raikkonen points out, however, that he similarly went six races without winning in 2007 – and yet still clinched the trophy at season's end – and insists that he would happily countenance the possibility of having fellow former world champion Fernando Alonso alongside him at the Scuderia
, a scenario paddock whispers suggest could be in the offing.
"I am not in a hurry to decide," the 28-year-old stressed in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo
. “I have one more year on my contract that I want to fulfil.
"The desire to win hasn't decreased at all, [but] for 2010, we will see. It is not an easy decision; it is necessary to evaluate many things.
"I don't feel like I need to explain. I will make my decision when I am ready. Ferrari is not rushing me either.
"There are many things to do outside of Formula 1 – I will find ways to amuse myself, and I have never had problems with having spare time."
Amongst those 'amusements', Raikkonen admits, could well be rallying, with the 17-time grand prix winner perhaps drawing inspiration from his older brother Rami, a well-known rally driver back in his home country.