KIMI “RUBINO” RAIKKONEN STAYS AT FERRARI FOR 2016
Kimi Raikkonen, the oldest driver in Formula One, has unexpectedly clung on with Ferrari for another season in a move which leaves the sport’s second oldest driver, Jenson Button, running out of options.
Ferrari stunned the paddock by announcing Raikkonen will be retained alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2016, despite months of speculation to the contrary. The 35-year-old Finn has been poor since rejoining Ferrari two years ago, and seemed as disbelieving as anyone in his official quote.
It means that Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, who had been widely tipped to replace his fellow countrymen at Ferrari, is likely to stay with the British team, leaving Button no alternative should McLaren call time on his career. McLaren have an option on Button but nearly dropped the 34-year-old last season and have two young chargers waiting in the wings.
Williams had been holding out for around £10 million to release Bottas from his contract, with rumours that Ferrari thought it too high a price to pay for a driver who has had an unconvincing season. The Scuderia may look again at Bottas for 2017, or perhaps 17-year-old Max Verstappen, who has been taking the sport by storm in his debut year.
Raikkonen was the surprise beneficiary, and his confirmation is expected to trigger other announcements in F1’s silly season.
“What can I say. For me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on,” Raikkonen said. “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.”