"At the moment Kimi is completely dedicated to learn as quickly as
possible all that’s needed in order to be competitive with a WRC car,"
"Kimi has also made it clear that he might want to go back to F1
only if he gets to drive a winning car so that he can fight for the
championship. That’s why he has to decide it in the middle of the
season when the best driver seats are up for grabs."
"At this stage it’s impossible to estimate in which direction Kimi
will go. It’s clear that now he invests everything into his rally
career," Robertson emphasises.
After signing with Red Bull-backed Citroen Junior Team, Red Bull pay Räikkönen’s salary so Räikkönen would have
the most logical bonds to return to F1 with Red Bull. Red Bull has a contract for 2011
only with Sebastian Vettel. Both McLaren and Mercedes have longer
contracts with their drivers.
BBC will miss Räikkönen
BBC’s commentator Jonathan Legard believes that the chances are 50-50.
"Of course it depends first of all on how Kimi will do in rally
during the beginning of the season. If he starts doing well immediately
we won’t probably see him in a F1 car anymore."
The season is going to be mega-interesting for BBC when McLaren has two British WDC’s, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
"But if Kimi would be in F1, there would be five WDC’s in the
serie. That hasn’t happened in ages. Kimi has a big fanbase in UK so if
he had stayed in F1 it would have increased the interest even more when
thinking of BBC," Legard reminds.
Carlos Miguel from Spanish AS magazine believes that it’s certain that Räikkönen will return to F1 already next year.
"Kimi only wants to win and when he realises that he won’t fight
for victories in WRC this year F1 will become interesting again during
the mid-season. I think Red Bull would be an ideal team for him in F1
"Personally I would have wanted to see Kimi as Fernando Alonso’s
team mate in Ferrari. When thinking of Kimi’s merits in driving he is
the kind of a driver that F1 desperately needs," Miguel continues.
The more laidback rally atmosphere will take him away
"Kimi’s F1 career is definitely over. I had a chance to visit his
own roots in Finland and I understood his cultural background much
better after that. The mandatory F1 promotions were such an agony for
Kimi that I’m sure he doesn’t want to go back to that again.
"I believe Kimi is at home in the rallying world. On top of that
it offers him a challenge F1 can’t offer him anymore since no driver
has won the WDC in both F1 and WRC," Oricchio thinks.
Andrzej Borowczyk from Poland’s TV and who knows closely a whole
bunch of Finnish rally stars, believes that Räikkönen will like it much
more on the rally side.
"The going is much more laidback there and Kimi will see much more
friends and countrymen there. It’s clear that Kimi is now starting a three-year period in WRC. You can’t grow to a winner in any less time. I
think Kimi will stay there and F1 will be over for him."
Salary also means something
"It’s obvious that Kimi has enough driving skills and motivation to
return to F1. But when the whole F1 world’s finance is shaking, cuts
are made everywhere and drivers’ salaries are going down, Kimi would
also have to accept much smaller incomes.
"It’s impossible to know if he wants to come back no matter what it takes," the Italian reporter thinks.
British reporter Joe Saward is as usual thinking completely in his own way.
"Kimi has been in F1 for nine years but the whole man is still a
complete mystery for me. It was a surprise that he went to WRC but
that’s just why Kimi can surprise again and do what is least expected
from him – meaning return to the grid with Red Bull in 2011," Saward