The Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team have announced that they will keep Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen for the 2017 racing season.
Three current F1 drivers had been identified as possible replacements for Raikkonen; Force India’s Sergio Perez, Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, as Raikkonen’s contract was due to expire at the end of this season.
The choice made by Ferrari comes as unexpected to some, as many believe that Ferrari would have chosen to drop the 36 year-old driver. Raikkonen is currently driving for the team for the second time, after originally leaving the team, and the sport in 2009, however after two years of rallying, he returned to the sport in 2012 with Lotus, before being re-signed by Ferrari in 2014.
“I would not be here if I did not enjoy it or if I did not feel like I can drive, if I did not feel like I can do it at 100 percent,” Raikkonen spoke,
“It hasn’t changed. I feel I drive as well as I’ve driven for ever. If I didn’t feel like I’m driving well, I’m the first one to go away and not do it. If I wouldn’t be motivated, I would not be here wasting my own time or the team’s time.”
This is good news for Raikkonen himself and his many fans across the globe, myself included. I think Ferrari have made the correct choice in keeping him for another season, ensuring harmony and stability across the team in his good relationship with his teammate Sebastian Vettel and his years of experience in the sport.
After a podium finish at the Austrian Grand Prix last weekend, Raikkonen is third in the Drivers Championship, alongside Vettel.