Raikkonen to Stay in the WRC in 2011

Kimi Raikkonen will not return to Formula One for the 2011 season. According to British website Autosport, a source from within the Red Bull organization – who is sponsoring the Finn in his maiden WRC campaign with Citroen – revealed that Raikkonen will sign a one-year extension to his current deal with Red Bull inside the WRC.

Prior to Rally Bulgaria last weekend, the former Ferrari-an was still very much undecided – at least publicly – on his future, telling the media that he'll make a final decision after Rally Finland. However, with all the big teams in F1 already secured for the upcoming campaign in terms of divers' lineup, it seems Kimi will let another year pass before considering an F1 comeback.

The same publication hinted that the 2007 F1 champion will remain committed to Red Bull for his 2011 campaign with Citroen, and will continue to evaluate a return to the Great Circus for the 2012 season (when Mark Webber's current deal expires).

The prospect of having Raikkonen compete for a second consecutive year inside the WRC would very much benefit the Austrian marque and Citroen alike, as it's a well known fact that the Finn is a hit between the rally fans worldwide. Additionally, after a learning year in 2010, everyone expects Kimi to improve next year, including reigning WRC champion Sebastien Loeb.

He cannot be competitive this year and if he stops then he has lost this year. If he continues next year he will arrive on the rallies knowing where he is,” said Loeb, advising Raikkonen to at least make some use out of his 2010 campaign.

Citroen boss Olivier Quesnel is also keen to retain the Iceman for the 2011 season, as he believes the 30-year old owes it to himself to try and make a difference in the rallying world next year.

I will be pleased if he will stay. He has done one year and he needs to do one more year to make sure,” said Quesnel.

The news comes only a few days after Citroen Junior's Sebastien Ogier has been offered a nice deal by Ford's Malcolm Wilson to switch from Citroen to Ford in 2011. Therefore, the prospect of maybe losing both his satellite drivers at the end of 2010 will probably make Quesnel push even harder to securing Raikkonen for next year.
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