Kimi Raikkonen is set to commit to the World Rally Championship for a second season. The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion had been linked to a return to grand prix racing with Renault next year, but the Finn has indicated he intends to stay in rallying for at least one more year.
Raikkonen is believed to be eager to build a relationship with Red Bull for the long term, opening the door for a possible F1 return with the energy drink company's team in 2012.
"I don't miss Formula 1 and I am enjoying what I am doing now," Raikkonen said at the Bulgarian round of the WRC last weekend. "I have still not decided what I am doing next year yet. Soon I have to decide – maybe it will be just after Rally Finland."
A Red Bull source confirmed to AUTOSPORT that it is close to a deal with Raikkonen: "We are very happy with what Kimi has done this season. He is very good for the Red Bull brand and we are looking to extend his agreement into next year. I think this is likely."
Citroen Racing director Olivier Quesnel is confident that he will retain Raikkonen in 2011.
"I'm sure this will happen," he said. "For myself, he is really involved in rallying and he wants to succeed. I will be pleased if he will stay. He has done one year and he needs to do one more year to make sure."
WRC champ Sebastien Loeb agrees that it would benefit Raikkonen to stay for at least a second year in the WRC.
"He should, because this year he is only learning," Loeb said. "He cannot be competitive this year and if he stops, then he has lost this year. If he continues next year he will arrive at the rallies knowing where he is.
"He has the notes; he can modify them, which is much easier than this year when he had to make them all from the start. He will know better the stages in his head. He can improve a lot from this year to next year.
"Especially because we all change cars, so he will get in the new car and we will also. I'm sure he would have more chances to succeed next season."