Stand by me… 23/07/2015
Kimi Raikkonen says he wants to stay with Ferrari in F1 in 2016
Kimi Raikkonen says he wants to stay with the Ferrari Formula 1 team next season but is none the wiser as to whether it wants to keep him.
The 2007 world champion’s future has been the subject of intense speculation this year on the back of an inconsistent first half of the season which has left him 59 points adrift of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said recently it would be demotivating to decide the Finn’s future already but he added it is up to Raikkonen to prove he deserves the seat.
Raikkonen’s deal runs until the end of this season, with an option on the team’s side for 2016.
"Every year I’m in the same situation – it makes no difference if I have a contract or not," said Raikkonen. "I have a contract but it is an option.
"I made it very clear to the team what I would like to happen which is to be here next year, but I don’t know any more than you guys.
"I don’t read a lot of stuff in the press but I can see a lot being written.
"I don’t know what will happen so there is no point in guessing.
"I would like to know but I will wait until I know and we see what happens after that.
"I’m pretty sure I will be one of the first to know rather than reading from a newspaper."
Despite the speculation surrounding his future and the number of problems he has suffered so far, Raikkonen remains confident in his ability.
"I don’t see the point in racing if I didn’t believe I have the speed," he said. "I am sure I have.
"I have demonstrated many times but when you look at the points and results sometimes it doesn’t show.
"I know the real story, it’s no real problem for me."
Raikkonen hasn’t lost it, says Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Vettel
Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is still one of the most skilled drivers in Formula 1 and has no doubt about his ability.
Raikkonen insists he wants to stay with Ferrari into the 2016 F1 season, but the Scuderia has yet to decide whether to take up an option to retain him amid inconsistent performances.
Vettel said he had been a Raikkonen fan before he reached F1 and also admired his stint in the World Rally Championship in 2010-11.
"I remember the days when I was sitting in front of the TV at home and looking at Kimi’s onboard laps full of admiration," said Vettel.
"It’s still the same guy in that car and there is no doubt if you go up and down the paddock, Kimi is one of the most skilled drivers we have.
"I don’t know if other drivers could switch to rallying and be that successful.
"OK, he didn’t win but just look at some of the stuff they are doing, it’s very different and he didn’t grow up with rallying.
"So I found it was very impressive and then to come back from his excursion and be competitive again in F1."
Raikkonen has been outperformed by Vettel in the first half of the season, with the Finn 59 points adrift of his team-mate in the drivers’ standings.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams’s Valtteri Bottas have been linked with Raikkonen’s seat in 2016.
Vettel said that while he is unaware of how things are progressing with the other seat, Ferrari’s priority must be to retain the good morale and atmosphere which has been a feature of the Scuderia this year after a tough 2014 season.
"Whatever happens, it’s important we keep the morale and atmosphere because I think ultimately that is what allows us to be stronger and get back on top," he said.
"Right now, it is not the time to put your personal preferences on top.
"It’s time to work together with the team and try to do everything we can to be the best."