Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday played down reports he is close to signing for 2010 with the newly Mercedes-rebranded Brawn team.

Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday played down reports he is close to signing for 2010 with the newly Mercedes-rebranded Brawn team.

The Finn's management announced earlier that the breakdown of talks with McLaren meant that Raikkonen, 30, would take a sabbatical next year and go rallying instead.

The 2009 Ferrari driver confirmed the news to F1's official website on Thursday, admitting that a season off before a possible return for 2011 "appears to be the case".

When asked about the reported Mercedes GP link, Raikkonen added: "No, I have not held talks with Brawn. I feel they will run two German drivers next year now that Mercedes are involved."

Earlier on Thursday, his manager Steve Robertson said he could not rule out Raikkonen reaching a deal for 2010 with an F1 team.

The winner of 18 grands prix said: "I have enjoyed my time in F1 and I still have ambitions. In the right circumstances I am very keen to return. The door is open. Let's see what the future brings."

 

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