Kimi Raikkonen will be looking forward to a new challenge as he takes a sabbatical to join the World Rally circuit in 2010 - but is this really a year away or will it be the end of the Finn's F1 career?
Sabbaticals are rare but not non-existent in Formula One and notable names such as Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Niki Lauda have all taken time off then returned to the fold. Michael Schumacher would have come back with Ferrari this year too had he not been injured.
Each of the drivers mentioned above, however, remained highly rated when they left the scene, but Raikkonen is leaving F1 with a lot of questions both inside his head and hanging over it.
The infamous ice cream incident in Malaysia added serious doubt to an already flaky belief in his commitment to Ferrari and he apparently did little to help the team out of its difficulties this year.
The fact they paid a sum in the region of £17m (allegedly) to terminate his contract does not look good and he certainly won't be getting a good reference if he does decide to look for an F1 return in 2011.
Sadly his racing CV shows disappointing return on his raw talent in recent years, too. In 157 races, he won 18 times, but only three of those came in the last two years.
Likewise, only two of his 16 poles came after 2007. His most successful year with Ferrari was his first, when he benefited from a team and car developed by Schumacher, but after that, he failed to make the team his own.
As always, the car is a major factor in all of this, but part of becoming a top driver is having the ability to work a team and help engineers develop a car that can be driven to its full potential.
If a driver doesn't fit the mould, he will never achieve that - and while there is no question that Raikkonen has a supreme raw talent that many teams would work hard to nurture and make work, whatever Ferrari did failed to make him fit their mould.
He should thrive in rallying, though, as his natural talent will help him to learn fast, as already noted by his very experienced co-driver Kaj Lindstrom (who partnered Tommi Makinen to four successive titles in the late 1990s).
So far Raikkonen's only World Championship appearance ended in a ditch, but before it went that way he was setting an impressive pace. Now, with the Red Bull supported Citroen, he has a top car - albeit in the junior team - and his team boss has already promised a promotion to the top squad for 2011 if all goes well.
Experienced rally champion Petter Solberg believes the Finn could finish between third and fifth on some rallies next year, pointing out you "need some balls" to perform well in the WRC - something that Raikkonen has proved he has time and again in Formula One.
But the key to rally success will be his relationship with Red Bull. Raikkonen does fit the Red Bull mould: offbeat, quirky, different. He doesn't need the money, he needs the fun - and they certainly have that in spades. What next? Flying their rocket wing? What about a base jump, a speedboat race...?
A space with the family in F1 in 2011, however, is a very different matter. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have done a good job this year and with so many youngsters waiting in the wings for a drive it seems unlikely they would want to add to their fold.
And that is the issue for Raikkonen and F1 - there are only a few teams that are likely to compete at the front, and most don't fit his character.
If he is let loose in rallying this year, enjoys it, and is successful, then it's highly likely that when he takes a look at F1 again next year, he won't even want to go back.