Kimi Raikkonen could extend his WRC stint past 2010. While it’s expected that Raikkonen will adapt to the rally venue quckly, based on his previous one-off performances, next year will be a trial season for the Finn. He’ll be part of Citroen’s Junior Team, which will give both Kimi and the team bosses a chance to evaluate his performance over the course of an entire season.
Many assume that Raikkonen will jump back to F1 next season, if an attractive opportunity materializes, perhaps at Red Bull. This should not be a foregone conclusion, however. If reports are true, McLaren made an offer for Raikkonen’s services, which the Finn turned down. Apparently, the contract would have prevented him from participating in the occasional rally event. Clearly, the Finn is only willing only race in Formula 1 on his own terms, which is apt to make his comeback a tough sell.
On the other hand, should Raikkonen fare well in his rookie WRC season, he might well be offered a contract extension with Citroen. According to a report in Auto Hebdo, Citroen sport boss, Olivier Quesnel said of Raikkonen’s prospects with the team beyond his rookie year, “It is clear that if he progresses…he could slide into the first team [in 2011].”
Kimi has turned in some impressive performances during his Formula 1 career, but he has also developed a reputation for being lazy and apathetic. At this point, it is difficult to imagine any of the top teams going out of their way to hire Kimi when there are still a number of hungry, ambitious drivers on the grid anxious to prove themselves.
Granted, Kimi is a gifted driver, but a natural gift will only take you so far without a certain amount of drive and application – as Ferrari have discovered, after three years of having Raikkonen on their squad.
Therefore, one shouldn’t be surprised if Raikkonen makes the WRC his next permanent home.