• Jan 12, 2011
Kimi Raikkonen seems to have a bit of an unconventional relationship with the notion of contracts. The Finnish driver kept McLaren on the leash while negotiating his departure to Ferrari, then left Ferrari after he was offered a big cash payment to vacate his Formula One seat. After one season in the World Rally Championship, reports began surfacing in the motorsport press that he was negotiating a return to F1 with Renault, only to pull out again. The on-again, off-again rumors have prompted much speculation about the former F1 World Champion's plans for the near future, but now it appears the Finn has found a way to avoid contracts altogether.

Having confirmed his challenge for the season-opening Rally Sweden only days ago, just ahead of the registration deadline, reports now indicate that Raikkonen has launched his own WRC team for 2011. He'll be driving the new Citroën DS3 WRC under the ICE 1 team banner, an apparent reference to his Kilmer-tastic nickname of "Ice-Man". The team is reportedly financed entirely from Raikkonen's own considerable pool of sponsors. An interesting development for the World Rally Championship to be sure, and we'll be watching to see if Kimi can improve on the promising, if lackluster performance from his debut season.

[Source: ESPN | Image: Massimo Bettiol/Getty]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cool News. Although Im sick of all the French cars in Rally. Cant wait to see what Ford whips out. Also looking forward to the Germans (Mini) competing. Still Ill be pulling for Kimi Raikkonen. I hope he is good competition for Loeb.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "reports began surfacing in the motorsport press that he was negotiating a return to F1 with Renault, only to pull out again"

      Actually, he claims this never happened -- Renault contacted his manager, but Kimi had no interest in going back to F1.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Aye
        Renault started this rumour and was clearly the only one keeping it alive for couple of weeks while Kimi was saying all the time that he had no negotiations going on with Renault.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The team will be sponsored by Coca-Cola and Magnum Ice Creams
      • 3 Years Ago
      Glad to see the Ice Man back in WRC. Even happier that he is starting his own team! His teammate will be Ken Block. I remember reading that Ken Block and Kimi were working on starting there own team.
        • 3 Years Ago
        There's no way Block and Kimi could be on the same team with competing sponsors. Raikkonen's major sponsor is Red Bull while Block's major sponsor is Monster Energy Drink.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ken and Kimi won't be teammates. Ken started the Monster World Rally team and was thinking about bringing Kimi on as a second driver, but finances must not have worked out for the MWRT. If Ken brings anyone else onto the MWRT, it will most likely be Chris Atkinson.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This could be very interesting. Kimi starts his own Citroen team this year, moves up in the standings with a more competitive car, then moves to the big gun when Loeb leave next year. Hey, that sound like Red Bull in F1.

      Pretty unreasonable to believe he will be in front after only one year. Clearly he's very competitive, but needs a couple of years more to develop.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is great news along with ESPN partnering with WRC in Europe for '11. Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready to pressure ESPN for USA coverage.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Absolutely! The UK is getting 4.5 hrs of coverage per rally...there's no reason that the US can't at least get some of that!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jorsn

        http://wrc.com/news/new-tv-deal-gives-uk-wrc-fans-more-coverage-than-ever-before/?fid=14027

        It's only in the UK for now, but it's one step closer to getting WRC on basic cable (ESPN) here in the USA. HD Theater covers the rallies, but they are sometimes weeks later, and they don't do full coverage, just highlights. It would be beyond awesome if they had a pseudo-live coverage going on during rally weekends.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ESPN might give improved WRC coverage in the US, but Discovery/HD Theatre probably still has the contract with North Star for the 2011 season. Although the broadcasts are delayed a couple weeks, with 30 minutes for each day of the rally, the camera work and narration has been quite good. If ESPN makes a bid for the US rights, it may not come until the 2012 season. Can any Canadians tell us about the coverage there?
      • 3 Years Ago
      By the way guys i am also of Finnish background, my real name is Se-a Urchinen.
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