Raikkonen not set to quit F1 for rallying

Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday dismissed the media’s link between his future at Ferrari, his growing passion for competitive rallying, and the rumours about Fernando Alonso. Succinctly, one line of speculation in the Nurburgring paddock will have you believe the 29-year-old Finn is set to depart his Ferrari contract one year early to make room for Alonso and a 2010 switch to the world rally championship.

“You ask the same question (as usual), so I will give you the same answer — I have a contract with the team,” Raikkonen told a member of the international media in the Ferrari motor home on Thursday. “Maybe you can ask them (Ferrari) if there are any changes planned,” he added.

It appears that Raikkonen is stepping up his rallying forays, with Ferrari not standing in the way as it is possibly a means to vacate a cockpit for Alonso without having to pay the Finn his full 28m euro 2010 retainer. But although preparing for his world rally debut in Finland late this month, the 2007 champion said the timing is just incidental.

“Just because I am doing this rally, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue in F1 next year,” said Raikkonen. “I would have done some rallies a long time ago but I could not,” he added, referring to his McLaren contract in 2002-2006. “It’s just because Ferrari is kind enough to let me do the rallies that I am doing them now,” he said.