Kimi Raikkonen will continue with his low profile role in Ferrari as the F1 line-up for 2018 starts falling into place

by H. Mayor – photo: | Skipping tradition (perhaps waiting for Vettel) Ferrari decided to announce a few days before Monza, that Kimi Raikkonen will continue at the wheel of one of Maranello’s single-seaters for 2018. The Italian constructor issued the news of Iceman’s agreement renewal in a short statement to the media. The 37 year old Finnish driver has 263 races under his belt and is the 2007 world champion. Ferrari’s move will determine the whereabouts of many other F1 drivers for 2018.

It is common knowledge that Raikkonen’s performance, after an acceptable 2016, has gone down considerably in 2017 and overall since 2013 when he had his last victory in Australia. His golden days, when full of ambition he raised the 2007 world champion title now seem just a distant memory. Despite his car being technically one of the top competitors of the grid, he has only managed four podiums this season and he is 84 points away from the leader, his tem-mate Sebastian Vettel. It is perhaps his low profile role as a very able deputy and aide to the leader that might have been key in Ferrari’s decision and so that his renewal will soon be followed by that of the German driver.

No new ventures

The continuity of the Finn driver follows Ferrari’s conservative style, never prone to unpredictable or risky ventures. Raikkonen will remain in Maranello for the eighth season (split into two different stages). Unfortunately this decision eliminates other exciting possibilities such as Max Verstappen or Giovinazzi.

His renewal in any case is the first piece to fall in the 2018 grid’s puzzle. It is highly likely now that Vettel will renew with Ferrari and Bottas with Mercedes, particularly after Hamilton having confirmed his stay, and once the team-mates’ harmony and respective roles have been clarified. As a knock-on effect everything points towards Ricciardo and even Verstappen continuing in Red Bull, closing in the sixth most desired seats of the grid. It is all bad news for Fernando Alonso and Checo Perez for whom any possibility of a qualitative jump for next season has been truncated.

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