racing-Raikkonen staying at Ferrari in 2018
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[August 22, 2017]
MILAN (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen
will be racing for Ferrari again next season after the Italian
Formula One team announced on Tuesday a contract extension with the
Finn for 2018.
The popular 2007 world champion, who will be 38 in October, would
have been out of contract at the end of this year with plenty of
rivals eyeing up his seat at the sport's most successful and
Raikkonen has not won a race since he was at Lotus in 2013, and is
currently fifth in a championship led by German team mate Sebastian
Vettel, who has won four of the season's 11 races to date.
Vettel is also out of contract at the end of the season and the
short Ferrari statement did not mention him. However, he is expected
to remain once a longer and more lucrative deal has been hammered
The timing of Ferrari's statement was earlier than expected, since
the team have often made such announcements at their home Italian
round at Monza which follows on from this weekend's Belgian Grand
They had also been tipped to confirm both drivers at the same time.
Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull, has also been
linked in some media speculation to champions Mercedes where
Finland's Valtteri Bottas has yet to be confirmed for 2018.
By opting to keep Raikkonen, Ferrari have gone for an experienced
driver who is still quick and who will not rock the boat in what is
likely to be his final season. He first raced for Ferrari between
2007-9 and then returned in 2014.
He and Vettel get on well, with the German keen on him staying, and
Raikkonen has shown his loyalty this season by accepting team orders
to his detriment.
[to top of second column]
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (L) celebrates his second place with his
trophy on the podium as Sebastian Vettel (R) applauds REUTERS/Laszlo
The Finn has twice finished second behind Vettel, in
Monaco and Hungary, while also taking third place in Britain and
He started on pole position in Monaco in May, his first appearance
at the front of the grid since June 2008, and has a strong track
record at Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps where he was won four times.
His future was called into question in July, however, when Ferrari
chairman Sergio Marchionne called him "a bit of a laggard".
"I think Kimi has got to show a higher level of commitment to the
process," he had told reporters at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Marchionne has also emphasised that he wants Vettel to stay.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, additional reporting by
Agnieszka Flak in Milan; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Keith Weir)
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