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Ferrari give Kimi Raikkonen another chance - retained for the 2016 Formula 1 season

Ferrari has re-signed Kimi Raikkonen for the 2016 Formula 1 season, ending months of speculation about the former world champion’s future with th...

Ferrari give Kimi Raikkonen another chance - retained for the 2016 Formula 1 season

Ferrari has re-signed Kimi Raikkonen for the 2016 Formula 1 season, ending months of speculation about the former world champion’s future with the team.

A number of drivers have been linked with Ferrari over the last few months as the Scuderia evaluated who would be best to partner Sebastian Vettel next season.

This decision shows that they did not feel that any of the potential alternatives justified the seat and so have kicked the problem of Sebastian Vettel's long term team mate down the road for another year.

Although an improvement on his 2014 firm, Raikkonen has not been entirely convincing this season and has just 76 points compared to Vettel's 160, although he has had more reliability issues, he has also lost points and podiums, in Canada for example.

But in a statement issued on Wednesday ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, Ferrari announced it had decided to continue with Raikkonen for a third consecutive season – that will be the Finn’s sixth in total with the team.

Kimi Raikkonen

The statement said: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen.

“The driver line-up next season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel.”

Raikkonen expressed his satisfaction at the new deal and reiterated his desire to finish his career at Ferrari.

He said: “What can I say. For me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on. The Scuderia is my family, as I always said, it’s here I want to end my career. I am more committed than ever and I want to say thank you to the people who gave me this chance. Also, a big thank you goes to all my Ferrari fans, for their continuous support”.

Raikkonen’s performances for Ferrari since it re-hired him for the 2014 season have been intensely scrutinised after he failed to make it onto the podium last year and finished 106 points and six places behind then team-mate Fernando Alonso in the championship standings.

Although Raikkonen recorded a second place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this year – a race he came close to winning after the Mercedes drivers both suffered brake failures in the closing stages – his performances relative to Vettel lead to team boss Maurizio Arrivabene calling for him to up his game if he wanted to keep his Ferrari seat.

Maurizio Arrivabene

Since then, Raikkonen struggled to eighth place at Silverstone while Vettel finished third, but the Finnish driver was on course to record another podium at Hungary – and help score Ferrari’s first 1-2 finish since 2010 – before an MGU-K failure forced him to retire.

Arrivabene explained that extending Raikkonen's contract would give Ferrari important stability, but made it clear he expected the Finn to score good results in response to the new deal.

He said: “We believe that extending Kimi’s contract into the next season will provide further stability to the team. This has been our guideline, also considering the very good relationship between Kimi and Seb. On our side, this shows our great confidence in him, and I expect this confidence to be well rewarded”.

Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Riccardo and Nico Hulkenberg were among the drivers thought to be in contention to replace Raikkonen before Ferrari made its decision to stick with the 2007 world champion.

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Raikkonen retains Ferrari F1 seat for 2016
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