Column: Why has Ferrari stuck with Raikkonen for another year?

Published on 22 Aug 2017 16:51
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Ferrari announced today that it would be retaining Kimi Raikkonen for the 2017 season. The deal didn't come as a surprise but the official announcement made it very real. Raikkonen will be sticking with the Scuderia for 2018 - but why have Ferrari decided to keep him?

There doesn't seem to be much confidence left in the people that claim Raikkonen is still a world class driver. The Finn hasn't been his same self since he rejoined Ferrari in 2014, partnering Fernando Alonso who was starting his final year with the team.

Raikkonen's biggest issue is his consistency. We have seen that there are flashes of the driver we knew back when he was battling Michael Schumacher for the 2003 world championship, or Lewis Hamilton for the spoils in 2007. In Monaco, he showed class, but when else have we really seen that stand out quality this year? Hungary, perhaps, but it certainly hasn't been enough

Retaining Raikkonen is a small bit of a risk for Ferrari, and they probably know that. It seems like that aspect has been hushed into a corner and silenced, yet it can still be seen out of the corner of the eye. In real terms, its a risk to Ferrari's hope of securing a constructor's title.

Then again, would it not be a risk to bring in someone new to the team, who doesn't know the mechanics and engineers? Ferrari has evaluated both options and has got with the lesser evil in keeping Raikkonen. He is a risk, but not a liability. 

Sebastian Vettel, who, let's face it, is the number one driver at Ferrari, has been in full support of Kimi Raikkonen this year and has told media that he wanted the 2007 champion to be his teammate for next year. Best Ferrari keep Seb happy amid all these Mercedes rumours, eh?

In all seriousness though, the Vettel/Raikkonen partnership works very well, as the two have the utmost respect for each other and get along swingingly. Raikkonen has fallen into a support role for his teammate, but is still contributing nicely to the constructor's championship - he just needs to keep that up on a consistent basis and not let the two Mercedes' get the better of him.

Then you have to look at Ferrari's junior drivers. The team was never going to fit Charles Leclerc or Antonio Giovinazzo into the seat for next year, not while they have so little experience. However, with both being hot prospects, it may be that Ferrari will evaluate them after a year in the sport and decide if they're worthy of a seat at Ferrari.

That's assuming that both men get drives next season, which in itself is unlikely. One of them will no doubt replace Pascal Wehrlein at Sauber, but Marcus Ericsson is supposedly tied in pretty well with the team, and there are no openings at Haas.

So by keeping the Finn on for another year, Ferrari's rhythm will not be interrupted and there won't be any new distractions. And that may well be very beneficial now that the Maranello squad has found itself fighting at the front once again.

 

Fergal Walsh



Replies (7)
US mcbhargav 22 Aug 2017 17:000
Posts: 175
He needs to let go of his First Half Hangover to do a better job.
 
Posts: 70
More of a forum post than an actual column. Stating the obvious and spicing it up with cliches is hardly challenging the reader.

Besides his signature was a prerequisite for sebs signature. This dull and riskfree attitude by Ferrari will win them nothing.
Get rdy to cheer for the silver cars in Abu Dhabi fellas....that's where this year's champagne will be
Posts: 58
..... and next years!
 
GB f1fan0101 22 Aug 2017 20:230
Posts: 1092
It would be interesting to see if Ferrari put one of the junior drivers in for 2019..
 
Avatar
Posts: 343
Actually this article is a bit poor on new info or more reasons why ferrari chose to keep rai. Stating the obvious is that in 2018 there aren't any top rated drivers available. No mention in this article at all. Ferrari's focus isn't the drivers but the teams wc. The current car is good enough for a wc. So having a number 1 and 2 is should not be a Ferrari priority. They will be focussed on having 2 number 1 drivers however current driver contracts will not allow them todo so. In 2019 they will make a play for two new drivers. I believe that ham and ric might end up together at ferrari in 2019.

We will see....
 
US ajpennypacker 22 Aug 2017 21:340
Posts: 180
His the right amount of mediocre for a Ferrari #2. That's Ferrari for you. He's the new Massa.
 
US Ram Samartha 23 Aug 2017 21:390
Posts: 55
Crap article. Now he has a contract secured, he has nothing to lose. Expect some good fights with Vettel now he doesn't have to worry about a drive for next year. He had Hungary in the bag, but sacrificed a win for the team and Vettel. If he had passed Vettel, both Ham and Bottas would have probably been on the podium instead of Seb. 9 races left, a lot can happen, and Kimi has shown that he is one of the few drivers on the grid who can win races.
 

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