There are few sports figures paid as highly as Formula One drivers...world champions especially. With the 2009 season already wrapped up, teams are preparing for their assault on next year's championship, with an unprecedented game of musical chairs taking place in the off-season.
Among the changes, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is moving, at long last, from Renault to Ferrari. Trouble is, the Italian team already has two world-class drivers on contract. So to make room, Ferrari is willing to pay its 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen not to race.
According to reports, Raikkonen will be paid a whopping 17 million euros next year just to vacate his seat. He's free to move to another team, but if he does, Ferrari will only owe him 10 million euros. For his part, Kimi says he'll only consider McLaren, and knowing full well of the conditions of his contract, the British team (for whom he drove previously) is offering him only 5 million – a fair bit less than he'd be worth on the open market. The bottom line is that Raikkonen stands to make more money if he sits out next season than if he races.