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Raikkonen to Brawn Mercedes? UPDATE (GMM)  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."

Kimi Raikkonen
11/19/09 (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen's management is believed to be in talks with Mercedes GP about a race seat in 2010.

With McLaren signing Jenson Button, the Finn's manager Steve Robertson said on Wednesday that Raikkonen, 30, would take a year off in 2010 and go rallying instead.

But with Brawn/Mercedes now needing a driver to pair with Nico Rosberg, rumors quickly emerged that Raikkonen is an option.

Brazil's O Globo went as far as to report that a deal with the Brackley based team is a certainty, citing the information of the authoritative commentator at SporTV, Lito Cavalcanti.

He said an agreement was finalized on Wednesday.

Robertson would not confirm the news but he did not rule out the possibility of a Mercedes deal, amid reports in Spain's Diario Sport that Raikkonen is in talks with Citroen about a World Rally Championship seat.

To the German news agency SID, Mercedes' Norbert Haug would not shed any light.

"We want to have the best possible lineup and there are still some very capable drivers on the market.  There will of course be speculation," said the German.

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