Ferrari will take a ’holistic’ view in deciding whether Kimi Raikkonen stays with the FormulaOne team next season, according to principal Maurizio Arrivabene. The 2007 world champion, still Ferrari’s most recent, crashed spectacularly in Sunday’s Austrian FormulaOne Grand Prix when he lost control on the opening lap after starting in 14th place. Ferrari have an option on the Finn, who is out of contract at the end of the year, but there has also been speculation that he could be replaced.
Compatriot Valtteri Bottas, now at Williams, and Force India’s Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg have both been touted as possible candidates. Arrivabene told reporters that Ferrari had a deadline they were working towards and a decision would be taken at the “appropriate time for him (Raikkonen) and for us.” “I’m not going to tell you when the deadline is but it’s an overall view that is conducting our decision,” he said. “I am talking about performance. Performance means a kind of holistic approach. How is the feeling with the engineers, how is working with the engineers, getting points, podiums, how quick?…many, many things.
“And now it’s early to tell him something or to decide something,” added the Italian. Arrivabene, who has suggested previously he would use a “carrot and stick” approach with the Finn, said some might think he was too protective of Raikkonen but the season had not yet reached the halfway point. “Try to be in my position and go to Kimi and say you are out or in. I want the guys to be concentrated on what they are doing today and to give us the maximum,” he explained. Ferrari are currently second overall in the championship after closing the performance gap with Mercedes since last season.
Raikkonen finished second in Bahrain while team mate and four-times champion Sebastian Vettel, brought in from Red Bull at the end of last season, won in Malaysia. Raikkonen dismissed speculation about his future last week, responding angrily to speculation that he night have to take a pay cut to stay on. “You don’t know the contract but you write stuff. You write stuff that’s not true,” he told reporters. “Maybe you should start writing some things that make sense.”