Paris, Wednesday: Ferrari have announced that 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be entering the 2010 Formula One season “on his own” after the FIA announced plans to drastically cut the cost of competing in F1 from next season onwards.
The FIA plan to reduce the operating budget of an F1 team to around 50 million Euros, which is equal to the amount of money Raikkonen earns annually from his present Ferrari deal.
“One of the easiest ways for us to save costs is just to let Kimi go out on his own,” said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. “He will be entering 2010 as an independent entrant, meaning that we can save money on providing a car for two cheaper drivers to help us win the world championship, while Kimi can happily spend his salary however he likes. Whether he will use it to build a car or just jog his way around the circuits every other weekend remains to be seen.
“It’s a shame that Honda have next to no chance of competing this year or next,” Domenicali lamented, “because there was a good chance that Kimi would be able to beat them regularly if he was to enter F1 on his own. Now he’ll just have to be content with lapping Force Indias most of the time.”
Raikkonen was criticised in 2008 for failing to perform particularly well in a season where his teammate Felipe Massa was able to challenge for the world championship, so the news that he may be dropped from the Scuderia in 2010 will not be poorly received by many fans.
FIA President Max Mosley has lauded the efforts of his organisation to bring costs down, “because a time when you can run a Formula One team on the salary paid to a world champion driver is a time when I will have succeeded in ruining running the sport – and then, maybe, it will be time to think about taking another term as FIA President.”
Raikkonen himself offered a bemused grunt as a comment on the situation.