It is official. Kimi Räikkönen will not race in Formula One in 2010 season and will switch to WRC instead. The one year deal that will see Kimi Räikkönen to compete in Red Bull’s colours on 12 of the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship’s 13 rounds (the exception being the Rally of New Zealand) was announced earlier today by Citroen.
As a result of the deal between Citroën and Red Bull the team will field 4 cars next season – Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti form the “senior” team line up while Kimi Räikkönen/Kaj Lindström and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia will contest the championship in colours of the Citroën Junior Team.
“I always wanted to compete in rally, especially in the World Rally Championship at some point in my career. Thanks to Red Bull, I have the opportunity to drive the best car of the series with the Citroën C4. This is a new but very exciting challenge. For the moment we have a one-year contract and we will see how it goes for the future. I am really looking forward to testing the car and taking the start of the first rally.” – Kimi Räikkönen
“Red Bull’s commitment and energy are a perfect fit for Citroën’s ongoing thirst for victory. We will continue to count on Sébastien and Dani to defend our world titles in 2010, and we will also be prolonging our association with Sébastien Ogier who showed outstanding potential this year. Last but not least, it is with immense joy that we welcome Kimi Räikkönen to our ranks. We are very proud that he has chosen Citroën. In addition to the confirmation of these four crews, we will hopefully be able to announce other programmes over the coming weeks.” – Citroën Racing Director, Olivier Quesnel
There are already speculations that this Red Bull backed deal is a prelude for Kimi’s return to F1 racing in Red Bull colours in 2011 season. Obviously neither the team nor Räikkönen would comment on that at this time.
Let’s hope that Kimi’s rallying in 2010 goes better than it did in 2009 when he crashed out of WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland (video).
Photos: Red Bull / GEPA