Dec.10 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen decided to walk away from the F1 paddock for the 2010 season, not the other way around, his manager Steve Robertson insists.
The 2007 world champion agreed to end his Ferrari contract one year early and was subsequently linked with moves to the McLaren, Toyota and Brawn/Mercedes teams.But Finn Raikkonen, 30, ultimately signed with Citroen to make his full time debut in the World Rally Championship, leaving the door open to possibly returning to F1 in 2011.Robertson told the Turun Sanomat newspaper that Raikkonen turned down offers to drive in F1 next year because he was determined to try his hand at serious rallying."Mercedes wanted to have Kimi," the Briton confirmed. "But by this time he had already decided to go to WRC. Kimi doesn't change his mind."Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed that a proper rallying foray was always a goal of Raikkonen's."Kimi was speaking about it with me already years ago," the Italian told Autosprint. "He always wanted to do rallies at world championship level."Two weeks before the world championship season begins in Sweden, Raikkonen will make his debut in a Citroen C4 in Finland's Arctic Lapland Rally in January.His co-driver Kaj Lindstrom told wrc.com that a pre-rally test on Finnish roads in January is also a possibility."That's what we'd like, but at this stage we haven't agreed a plan with Citroen. We'll find out more in the New Year," he said.