F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Said to Sign Kimi Raikkonen for 2019
Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) may be closing in on confirming their driver lineup for the Y 2019 season after the season-long debate of whether Kimi Raikkonen will be retained or replaced by the rising star Charles Leclerc.
Mr. Raikkonen is out of contract at the end of this season, and was yet to be offered a new deal. It was suggested that he will be replaced by the Monegasque driver, with whom Ferrari is said to have reached an agreement.
Mr. Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari in Y 2014, but is yet to win a race in the last 5 seasons, 2nd place being the best achieved. Mr. Vettel has posted ed 12 wins since joining in Y 2015 and is seen as the #1 Ferrari team driver/
Mr. Raikkonen has been given 1-year deals for the last 3 seasons, and it was expected that it will not be the case this season with the team hierarchy pushing for Mr. Leclerc, who is a Ferrari Academy driver, to be promoted to the works team. That push was headed by Ferrari’s former CEO Sergio Marchionne, who died unexpectedly in July.
Since talk of Mr. Raikkonen being replaced began gathering pace, he has become the most consistent driver on the grid. He has finished on the podium in 5 consecutive races, Lewis Hamilton is the next best with 4, and Mr. Vettel has managed 3 podium finishes.
The new management at Ferrari are said to be rethinking the decision and are now said to be leaning towards retaining Mr. Raikkonen as Mr. Vettel’s teammate.
Mr. Vettel recently made it clear that he would prefer the Mr. Raikkonen to remain while suggesting that Mr. Leclerc is still too inexperienced to move to The Scuderia team.
According to F1Only.fr, a source close to The Scuderia confirmed Ferrari are in the process of signing Mr. Raikkonen a new 2-year deal that will see him partner with Mr. Vettel until the end of the Y 2020 season.
The report claims that Ferrari will insert a clause in the contract which will allow them to change terms after the end of the 1st year.
Ferrari’s decision to retain Mr. Raikkonen is unlikely to harm Mr. Leclerc, who is rated very highly by Ferrari. The Monegasque driver, who has impressed at Sauber is likely to be promoted to Haas Racing in Y 2019, who have proven that they can be the best of the rest behind the Top3 teams: MercedesAMG, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.