Kimi Raikkonen’s current contract with the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team comes to an end at the conclusion of the 2016 season, and Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne has stated categorically that the Finn’s future is in his own hands.
How the 2007 world champion performs over the remainder of the season will be key to whether he is asked to stay on at Maranello, according to Marchionne when speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport this week, stating that Raikkonen will need to improve on his current form and bring home the results if he truly wants to be a part of the squad.
“It is up to him. Kimi’s time with Ferrari will depend on his performance. He has to show he deserves to stay here, otherwise I think he won’t want to continue here as well. There will come a day when I will leave as well.”
It has been a tricky start to the season for the Italian team, who have struggled with tyre management issues of late, but have also suffered from some reliability problems this year, which has not helped their cause or campaign to catch main rivals and championship leaders, Mercedes AMG PETRONAS.
Raikkonen has not always performed to the high standards expected by the red team since joining them in 2014, at times prone to making silly but costly errors, however the Finn looks to have upped his game in 2016, although recent race results have not shown his skills in the best light. Nevertheless, the 2007 world champion currently sits fourth in the Drivers’ Championship table, fifteen points behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Many have suggested that the Finn is now passed his best, and as the oldest driver in the paddock at 36, he should perhaps step aside and give the younger generation a chance. It has been questioned whether it might also be in Ferrari’s best interests to invest in a driver for the future rather than hold onto one that is coming to the end of his days in the sport, but that is a dilemma for the Maranello based squad to decide.
Age should not be an issue if a driver is able to put in the performances that count and is committed to the campaign, a stance echoed by Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene. So if Raikkonen can reach into the depths of his being and show that he still really wants it, it seems the Finn has just as much chance as the likes of Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo, who have recently been linked to the squad, of driving for Ferrari in 2017.