Kimi Raikkonen will sit out of Formula One next season after failing to secure a move back to McLaren, according to Finnish media reports.
“The options in F1 were with McLaren next season or nothing,” the Turun Sanomat daily quoted Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson as saying. “Kimi and McLaren were unable to reach an agreement, so he will not drive at the F1 level - at least not next year.”
The Finn, who won the world championship with Ferrari in 2007, has left that team to make way for the arrival of Fernando Alonso. He received interest from several other teams but was intent on a return to his former team McLaren.
“Kimi is still bursting with enthusiasm to drive. A gap year here means nothing,” Robertson said. “He is more interested in fighting for wins and the world championship. F1 will miss Kimi.”
Raikkonen had previously said he would consider switching to rally driving in 2010 if an F1 deal did not eventuate.
Finnish broadcaster YLE TV said that Raikkonen was negotiating with Citroen about driving for the team in next season’s rally championships. It gave no sources or further details.