Raikkonen says he did not plan to leave F1 at end of 2009

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen in Melbourne

Mar.15 (GMM) Comeback champion Kimi Raikkonen has argued that he is back in the mood for F1, by revealing that he would have kept racing in 2010 if the opportunity had arisen.

“I was never planning to leave the sport in the first place,” the 2007 world champion told the Times of India. “I had a contract for 2010 anyway.”

Indeed, at the end of 2009, Ferrari bought out the Finn’s deal so that Fernando Alonso could arrive early with the backing of the Spanish bank Santander.

Raikkonen headed off for two years of world rallying, but is back with Lotus in 2012, fending off all the old questions about his motivation.

“Since I started in F1, I have always preferred the time we spend in the car from anything else happening in the paddock. It’s still the same,” the 32-year-old insists.

Even now, he would prefer to split his F1 racing with more rallying, but has agreed to abide his team’s wishes that he stay off the gravel.

“Ah, it’s normal with F1 – they try to ban everything,” he told London’s Telegraph. “Unfortunately with what happened to Robert (Kubica) last year … but even before that it was written into contracts.

“Maybe in the future if you can do some good results you can get a release or something. I still love it,” said Raikkonen.

“If I could do it this year at the same time as F1, I would. I think it’s good practice and it’s good fun.”

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