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GP Week : Issue 71
KIMI Raikkonen is edging closer to sitting out 2010, after admitting on his personal website that only a car with the potential to win the championship will keep him in Formula 1 next season. The Finn, who was believed to have been in talks with Toyota for next season before the Japanese squad withdrew from F1 at the start of last week, is still in negotiations with McLaren over a 2010 ride, but talks are understood to still be stalling on the issue of the 2007 World Champion's price. McLaren, it appears, is only too aware of a clause in the deal made between Raikkonen and Ferrari for the early termination of his contract at Maranello. It is believed that Raikkonen will only receive a percentage of his payoff from Ferrari if he finds an F1 seat for 2010, but will take the full amount if he is left on the sidelines. Realising this, McLaren is understood to be unwilling to pay him more than €5 million (US$7.4m). "It's hard to believe that I have been in F1 already for nine years," he told his personal website. "I am very motivated to win races and a championship again and will only remain in F1 if I can race for a team that can give me a car to fight at the front. "Let's wait and see what happens." Over and Out? KAZUMASA Tsuchiya, Director of Motorsports at Suzuka circuit's parent company Mobilityland, has told GPWeek that the future of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka is not at risk, despite the recently announced furtherance to the exodus from F1 of Japanese companies. There is a high chance that 2010 will be the first season since 1982 that Formula 1 has been run without a Japanese driver, team or engine supplier, but in spite of the lack of Japanese interest on track Tsuchiya-san insists that the race will go on as planned. "During our past 21 Grands Prix, we have held the Japan Grand Prix without Japanese teams and Japanese drivers a number of times so please understand that we do not hold the Japan Grand Prix on the premise of the participation of Japanese makers and Japanese drivers," he told GPWeek. "Therefore we do not cancel the Japan Grand Prix due to the absence of Japanese teams and Japanese drivers as the main reason." Suzuka has a deal to run the Japanese Grand Prix for the next two seasons after Toyota's Fuji Raceway announced earlier this year that it was pulling out of the race-share deal it had agreed with Honda- owned Suzuka for financial reasons. Japanese GP not under threat F1 NEWS >> 7