Current team principal of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team Maurizio Arrivabene said that keeping Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 F1 championship was the best decision for team spirit at Maranello. Back in August, Scuderia Ferrari officially announced that Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen would be retained on a one year-deal in 2018 before announcing that German driver Sebastian Vettel had signed a three-year contract extension a week later. The news means that the Maranello team will continue with the same driver line-up for the fourth year in a row, a decision that Maurizio Arrivabene feels was the obvious choice:
“The reason why I think is quite clear. They went through the last three years with great co-operation within them. They feel very good together, being part of the team and translating this spirit to the overall team, I think we don’t find any reason why not confirming them together.” – Ferrari’s team principal said, as reported by the Italian media.
Kimi Raikkonen’s new contract with the Italian team came despite the Finn going over four years without a win in Formula One, three of which have been at Ferrari. The 2007 Formula One world champion came close to beating team-mate Sebastian Vettel to victory at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix and also in Hungary this year but on both occasions finished a dutiful second to his teammate, helping the German driver in the title battle with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Maurizio Arrivabene has no doubt Kimi Raikkonen still has the pace to win races in Formula 1 and said it would be a “dream” to see the Finn return to the top of the podium: “He demonstrated that he could be capable to do it in Monaco. Also in Hungary he was nearly there. I would be happy if Kimi is going to win a race during the course of this season. For me, it could be a dream, because he was working so hard during the last three years and I think if he is going to win I can be happy.” – Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene explained.
Ferrari junior driver Charles Leclerc is currently leading the Formula 2 championship by a healthy margin and is expected to move to Sauber next season in order to make his F1 debut. Maurizio Arrivabene added that the young talented Monégasque driver, along with Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi, would have to prove themselves in Formula One before being considered as a potential replacement for Kimi Raikkonen: “Talking about the young drivers, they are growing, our objective is to of course to grow up young drivers and maybe to see them in the future with us. This is the final goal. But, before that they need to demonstrate in Formula One that they deserve it.”