No ride for Raikkonen as Button nears McLaren deal
The Finnish former world champion appears to have priced himself out of the market
As Jenson Button continues to iron out the small print of his £6m-a-year deal with McLaren, some of the other pieces are falling into place in the complicated web of interlinked relationships that makes up Formula 1 - and a surprisingly big name looks to have missed out on a ride for next year.
The Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen, latterly of Ferrari until the Italian team bought out his contract so that they could create their dream team of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, has yet to find a berth for 2010. He had hoped to return to McLaren, for whom he rode between 2002 and 2006, but Button and Lewis Hamilton are flying the flag there.
The withdrawal of Toyota from the sport took away another option for the highly paid 2007 world champion - his salary at Ferrari was reported to be more then £20m a year - and none of the other teams set to compete next year can come anywhere near matching his demands. Nick Fry, chief executive of the newly formed Mercedes team reflecting the new realities of the sport when speaking to the BBC.
"I'm sorry to say, [but Mercedes taking Brawn GP over is] not going to change anything," Fry said. "We're running with a budget that is probably less than most of the others have spent and that's what Mercedes likes. In these financially constrained times, you all have to tighten your belts."
The Finn could be forced to spend the next season in rally driving, a sport that has seen its fair share of champions from his country over recent decades, before hoping to hitch up with a new team in time for 2011.
One man who does have a ride for next season is Timo Glock, the German driver who lost his drive when Toyota pulled out of the sport and who had been rumoured to be Mercedes-bound. Instead the 27-year-old will be part of the British Manor Grand Prix team, one of the new names that will grace Formula 1 next year.
"Every driver has the same objective to win the World Championship, but the way I want to succeed is to be part of the process of building a team and to play a key role in developing the car," Glock said of the team, which is set to tie up a sponsorship deal with Virgin in the next few days. "This is why the opportunity with Manor Grand Prix is so exciting." ·
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