2018 Will Be Kimi Raikkonen’s Last Chance At Ferrari

Ferrari has put a lot of faith, wavered though it has, in Kimi Raikkonen. And that faith has been largely misplaced, so it’s giving him one last chance: either live up to your performance next season, or you’re out.

“My personal opinion is that if we find the right key, Raikkonen drives like a God,” Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne told journalists, as reported by Autosport.

“When things go right, it’s a pleasure to see him driving. In other moments it seems like he takes a break. He needs more consistency in terms of performance,” said Marchionne. “Probably this is the last season to find the right key and we must do it. It would be a shame if he would leave F1 without showing his real potential.”

The Finnish driver first signed with Ferrari in 2007, winning the world championship straight away. He was shown the door after 2009, only to return again in 2014, and has been driving for the Scuderia ever since – with little to show for it. Over the past four seasons, he hasn’t won a single race, and has been consistently outperformed by multiple-champion teammates Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Now 38 years old, Kimi is the oldest driver on the grid. Ferrari has extended his contract by one more season, but if he doesn’t pull his weight, he’ll be replaced – likely by one of the team’s junior drivers like F2 champion Charles Leclerc (who’ll be driving for Sauber next season) or Antonio Gionivazzi.

“We see Leclerc, Verstappen and Giovinazzi, drivers with great skills, who can deliver a big change in the driver market,” said Marchionne. “I’m still happy to have chosen Leclerc. “I think that if we can not find the right key for Raikkonen, the choice will fall on a young driver.”

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  • MP4-12C

    I am sorry, but he should have left Ferrari (or rather be forced to leave) a few seasons ago. It would be much better to give his seat to some young driver.

    • I agree, it just feels that every race is ‘another day at the office’ for Kimi. I don’t see the hunger any more…

      • Vassilis

        His hunger is still there. You can’t get pole in Monaco without motivation. It’s just that Kimi needs to have great feel from his car in order to be excellent. That’s not ideal but it is what it is…

    • Agree, since we don’t see much space for younger driver to drive there.

      • rover10

        I doubt his contribution will amount to much. His retitance follows him into the car, with blunt moans about how bad things are. Not an exciting driver anymore, but Vettel likes him that way. In many ways they only have one driver, and he lacks judgment at times! German strop till you drop, lost this team valuable points in 2017.

  • The Iceman is quick and definitely fan favorite but I think Ferrari should let their young driver as a teammate of Vettel, otherwise we won’t get regeneration going on.

    This is a sign that F1 really need to allow more space for young drivers to compete, but not necessarily turning other team into their B team like STR and Red Bull.

  • Vassilis

    I love the guy but I think he should have been dropped after this season already.

  • raikkonen

    “Oldest driver on the grid…”

    God, it seems like it was yesterday when the FIA had concerns granting him his Super License back in 2001, because of his inexperience.

  • Mark Seven-Ultranine

    The problem at Ferrari is not Kimi. It is and has always been Ferrari management.

  • Six Thousand Times

    One of the few F1 drivers with real character.

  • smartacus

    On TGT, they were saying Raikkonen was really
    guzzling down the champagne on his last podium.
    Perhaps he’s making the most of it while he got it.
    Quite honestly; he should move to Mercedes F1
    to be realistically in the running for another Title.

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