Lack­lus­tre Räikkö­nen to re­main at Fer­rari

The trou­bled team recog­nise they have far more press­ing con­cerns to at­tend to than driver form

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Kimi Räikkö­nen’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance since his ea­gerly an­tic­i­pated re­turn to Fer­rari has led to spec­u­la­tion that he could be dropped at the end of 2014, a year be­fore the end of his con­tract. How­ever, F1 Rac­ing un­der­stands that as things stand, Fer­rari has no in­ten­tion of dis­pens­ing with his ser­vices this sea­son.

Räikkö­nen’s form has been ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing. As F1 Rac­ing went to press, he had yet to beat Fer­nando Alonso in a race and has, more of­ten than not, been way off his pace. But Fer­rari have ac­cepted that Räikkö­nen needs the car to be­have in a cer­tain way to be able to de­liver at his best, and they un­der­stand that this has not been the case with the F14 T.

More im­por­tantly, they re­alise they have far big­ger prob­lems than their driv­ers, hav­ing em­barked on a pro­gramme of re­form that will re­or­gan­ise the team from top to bot­tom. There also re­mains, the prob­lem of Alonso’s long-term com­mit­ment to Fer­rari – some­thing that was a sign­f­i­cant in­fuenc­ing fac­tor in sign­ing Räikkö­nen in the first place.

If Alonso leaves for McLaren, ei­ther at the end of this sea­son or next, Fer­rari can­not af­ford not to have a recog­nised tal­ent in the team. Räikkö­nen, how­ever, has no in­ten­tion of throw­ing in the towel. He has made it clear he will see out his cur­rent con­tract, which will prob­a­bly be his last in F1. And his man­ager Steve Robert­son has been dis­sem­i­nat­ing the same in­for­ma­tion be­hind the scenes.

So does this mean one or two more years at Fer­rari for Räikkö­nen? His con­tract, signed in Septem­ber 2013 to start in 2014, was for two years, with an op­tion for 2016. But there is doubt as to which side that op­tion lies.

Some sources be­lieve it is en­tirely Räikkö­nen’s decision whether to stay for 2016. This seems un­likely, but can­not be ruled out. If it is Fer­rari’s choice, and Räikkö­nen’s form con­tin­ues to be as lack­lus­tre as it has been this sea­son, it seems un­likely the team will keep him on.

But if Alonso leaves, they may have no choice – un­less they can ac­tion what is be­lieved to be a long-term un­der­stand­ing with Se­bas­tian Vet­tel that he will join them when he leaves Red Bull. If they still want Vet­tel, that is…

Is a Vet­tel/ Räikkö­nen Fer­rari pair­ing on the cards if Alonso leaves for McLaren?

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