Ferrari: Marchionne call triggered Raikkonen deal
Kimi Raikkonen's new Ferrari deal was sorted out in a matter of hours following a phone call from company president Sergio Marchionne on Thursday night, team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has revealed.
Following months of speculation about Raikkonen's future, Ferrari caused a surprise on Friday morning when it announced that the Finn would be remaining as Sebastian Vettel's teammate in 2017.
Speaking about the reasons for the move, Arrivabene said that a key motivator was in removing any pressure from its driver situation at a time when the outfit needs to focus on car improvements.
"We confirmed Kimi because first of all he deserves it," explained Arrivabene. "Having said so, we are looking for the interests of the team and the interest of the team was not looking for another driver but concentrating on car development.
"We have two good drivers so that was not an issue for us, so we remove all the pressure from the shoulders of Kimi in taking this decision.
"That actually was confirmed yesterday in a phone call from the president, and a couple of hours [later] we are with Kimi. We turn the page and we look forward to work very hard where the problem is."
Arrivabene said that Raikkonen's improved results this year were enough for Ferrari to believe that the Finn had the commitment required of him.
"He was asked to show his commitment, his results, so he deserved the confirmation for next year," he claimed.
"We needed a kind of good atmosphere in the team and the drivers could help to keep this atmosphere and due to the fact that the team is still quite new and we need to keep the same commitment for everybody without inserting into the team elements that they can disturb or something new that could break this balance.
"Having said so, I also said that we confirm Kimi not very soon, because we are in July but normally the tradition of Ferrari, this is probably what you refer to, it was to do a press release in Monza.
"We are a new team, we have changed the tradition and we are confirming now because I think we would like to be, as I said, focused and concentrated on car development and not about confirmation or non-confirmation of the drivers. So it's a message of stability."
He added: "Relating to the pressure, you know better than me that in the last three or four races every time that Kimi was sitting in a press conference somebody would ask what about his contract, what about your contract?
"I asked many many times for a bit of respect for a driver that was a world champion with Ferrari.
"I know that his nickname is Iceman but he's a human being. Sometimes in Formula 1 we need to be conscious that we are talking, not with cars because actually the computer talks with the car but the cars are driven by human beings so even Iceman is a human being with his emotions and I think he could feel the pressure. That's it."
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