As reported earlier today by F1only.fr, sources close to Scuderia Ferrari have confirmed that Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen will sign a new contract available for the next two Formula 1 seasons with the Italian side and the deal will be officially announced in the next weekns. The source also informs that the Maranello team will have a clause regarding the possibility to change the terms of the agreement at the end of the first championship.
The sudden death of Scuderia’s former president and chairman, Sergio Marchionne, has forced a rethink of the Italian team’s strategy for next year. They have opted to continue the tested line-up of Sebastian Vettel / Kimi Raikkonen duo who have a good on-track and off-track relationship. They believe this gives them a better chance at both the championships.
Sergio Marchionne was a big supporter of Charles Leclerc and was keen to get the young Monegasque a Ferrari race seat at the earliest. There were several rumours in the paddock about switching seats between the Finnish driver and Leclerc for 2019. But after the Italian businessman’s death, Leclerc chances are Ferrari for next season have reduced.
Before the summer break, Sebastian Vettel had said that 20-year-old Monégasque racing driver Charles Leclerc is too young and inexperienced to be promoted to Scuderia Ferrari next season. He even went on to say Kimi has been his best partner to race with and he prefers the Finn to stay at the Maranello team for at least one more year. Though there have been tense moments between the two drivers, they share a simple and uncomplicated relationship. Scuderia Ferrari is likely to announce the new Kimi Raikkonen deal during their home race, the Italian Grand Prix, which will take place at the beginning of September.