Mike Stevens | Nov 19, 2009

FORMER WORLD CHAMPION Kimi Raikkonen will take a sabbatical in 2010 and turn to rallying after failing to secure a drive for next season.

Raikkonen, who is earning a substantial wage as part of his severance package with Ferrari, has openly stated he would only remain in Formula 1 if he was able to claim the second drive at McLaren.

While McLaren was initially interested in acquiring Raikkonen’s services, the Finn’s refusal to lower his pay demand prompted the team to turn its attention elsewhere and sign World Champion Jenson Button, prematurely ending Raikkonen’s F1 career – if only temporarily.

Raikkonen’s manager, David Robertson, said his the 30-year-old’s decision to walk away from Formula 1 was ultimately a financial decision as the Finn would earn more by taking a sabbatical than racing for McLaren as a result of a clause in his contract with Ferrari.

“They couldn't afford him,” Robertson told BBC Sport. “It wasn't in his interests to race for what they were offering so he's going to go rallying instead.

“He wants to be back in F1 in 2011 but with all the money he has earned he doesn't want to go in a medium-type team for money.

“The same criteria would apply as this year - he'd only go where he feels he has a chance of the world championship.”

f1_kimi-raikkonen

Robertson confirmed though that Raikkonen would be looking for a swift return to the F1 paddock in 2011, although his hopes of finding a race winning seat seem doubtful after Button signed a three-year deal with McLaren.

“He wants to be back in F1 in 2011 but with all the money he has earned he doesn't want to go in a medium-type team for money,” he said.

“The same criteria would apply as this year - he'd only go where he feels he has a chance of the world championship.”

Meanwhile, Australian rising star Daniel Ricciardo will compete at the Macau Grand Prix this weekend as he edges closer to his three-day Formula 1 test in December.

Ricciardo has emerged as the leading Red Bull-backed future prospect and in acknowledgement of his status, has been awarded sole use of Red Bull Racing’s car.

Fellow Red Bull junior pilots Brendon Hartley and Mirko Bortolotti will share the Toro Rosso for the young drivers test.

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