If Ferrari retains Kimi Raikkonen for 2017, it would be a spectacular statement of Maranello's lack of intent.
Sport is all about results, and while the mechanical and political elements of motor-racing can muddy the waters it's impossible to build a convincing case that Raikkonen has been up to the standards Ferrari demands since rejoining.
Some will argue this is extremely disrespectful of a driver with a world championship and 20 grand prix wins to his name. He will rightly go down as a great and be respected accordingly. But past glories should never lead to you being granted tenure in F1, particularly with so illustrious a team as Ferrari.
Raikkonen has been back with Ferrari since the start of 2014, a total of 46 races. That's a more than adequate sample set for assessing his performance.
The statistics are damning for a driver of his record and pay grade. You can draw no other conclusion than Raikkonen is not up to the standard required when compared to Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
While the two drivers he has been paired with are hardly easy opposition, he still should have been closer in what he delivered.
Raikkonen has not won since returning to Ferrari, during which time the team has won three races. He has taken six of Ferrari's 26 podium finishes and has scored 286 points to his team-mates' 535 - at close to half the rate (53.5%). For reference, his scoring rate relative to Alonso was 50.3%, and to Vettel 54.8%.
As for qualifying, the score (excluding sessions that were not representative) is 35-9 against Raikkonen.
That rate isn't good enough for a team with world championship aspirations. To win the constructors', history suggests Ferrari needs Raikkonen scoring at minimum at a rate at least 10% higher, and ideally well beyond that. It also needs him to take points off Vettel's title rivals. He's simply not at the level to be able to do that regularly.
And we're not seeing a particularly convincing upward curve. In the first season, he was dropped into a Ferrari team in which Alonso was well-established and both drivers were confronted with an uncompetitive car. Even if he's given a free pass for that season, what has followed isn't up to scratch.
There's nothing wrong with Ferrari defending its driver and there's no need for Maurizio Arrivabene to condemn his driver in public. But to see comments like "if you look at Kimi in a certain sector he was the faster one at one stage [compared to Vettel]" it makes you wonder what point he is trying to make.
Its reminiscent of the kind of 'karting dad' you encounter in the junior formulas who is unhappy with the coverage of their offspring and points to the fact that if you look at their best sector times from testing they were actually ninth fastest rather than last.
That's not to say Raikkonen is a disaster and there have been some glimpses of form. At the start of last season, he looked much stronger before fading. And there is the odd weekend here and there when he goes well and hits some bad luck - Singapore last year for example.
But no other driver's record benefits from such a strong defence. You could analyse the weakest driver on the grid, picking out very selective high points, but it doesn't make them Fangio or Senna.
There's no doubt Ferrari favours a number one/number two driver setup. And that doesn't help Raikkonen. But even so his scoring rate isn't strong enough and he's not cutting out enough points for Ferrari's title rivals.
Given Ferrari is up against a Mercedes team with two strong drivers, it is immediately putting itself on the back foot. After all, during the time Raikkonen has been back at Ferrari, Nico Rosberg has scored 88.5% of Lewis Hamilton's points.
Based on that, for Ferrari to win the constructors' championship, it would be down to Vettel not just to beat Hamilton by a few points, but also to make up for the deficit of Raikkonen to Rosberg. In 2015, Hamilton outscored Rosberg by 59 points, whereas Raikkonen was 128 points behind Vettel - over double the gap.
Don't underestimate the value of taking points off people. Let's say Vettel wins with Hamilton second - that's a gain of seven points. Put Raikkonen into the runner-up spot ahead of the Mercedes and it's a 10-point swing. If that happens three times over a season, that's more than a race win's worth of advantage for the Ferrari driver.
Points do make prizes and, with Raikkonen on the team, Ferrari is harming its chances of winning the constructors' championship very seriously as well as compromising its drivers' title hopes. Why is this acceptable?
The answer is that it isn't. Some pretty high targets have been set for Ferrari, so why hold yourself back with a driver with a proven record for not delivering enough in recent times? You can argue the car isn't quite to his liking, but it's part of a driver's job to be adaptable.
Even if Ferrari doesn't want a driver who would be going toe-to-toe with Vettel day in, day out, it needs one capable of finishing behind him consistently and taking some wins here and there.
Only seven times in 46 races has Raikkonen finished directly behind his team-mate. Five times he has beaten him in races where both made the end. So let's say that's 12 races where he has delivered an acceptable result. Even if you take the nine non-counting races out of that sample set of 46, that's still only 12 out of 37 races where the result was acceptable.
So Arrivabene and everyone at Ferrari need to ask themselves a very simple question - are they serious about delivering? Because if that's the standard of delivery they expect from the personnel at Maranello then, sorry, it's not in keeping with the stature of Ferrari.
As for replacements, there are plenty of contenders. Ferrari can legitimately not want to upset the Vettel applecart, but there are options out there who could slot in and contribute more to the team than Raikkonen in terms of results.
It makes you wonder if it's a defensive position from those making the decisions. Put in an unproven driver without wins to their name and they deliver the same results, then you can be blamed for a poor choice.
Put a proven world champion in the car, then it's hardly your fault if they are not delivering - just look at their CV. Could it be someone is too scared of failing to be successful when it comes to second-driver choice?
And while Raikkonen does have some wider appeal, he's hardly a golden goose commercially. There are apparently occasions when Ferrari partners have requested Vettel over Raikkonen because the German offers better value in terms of his personality.
The bottom line is that Raikkonen is a former world champion, a 36-year-old with an illustrious career who should be delivering more for his team. He's not, so what is the argument for retaining him?
The only argument is that 'not good enough' is good enough for Ferrari. If this was the Raikkonen of 10 years ago, it would have one of the fastest grand prix drivers ever to have lived on its books. But that counts for nothing in 2016.
If Raikkonen were an inexperienced driver in his first season, you would make more allowances. But he made his grand prix debut in 2001, he's a veteran and expected to deliver.
Maybe you can argue if he's given absolutely the perfect car then the old Raikkonen will return. Perhaps. But how often do drivers have the perfect car?
He's not without strengths and his failure on his Ferrari return does nothing to undo the fact he won the world championship for Ferrari in 2007, or his incredible performances during the McLaren years. But that was another time. He is not without value, but it's just not to the level needed for a team aspiring to topple Mercedes.
The bottom line is that if you aren't delivering today, then you have no business being in a top drive. This is no one-season malaise, it's gone on for two-and-a-half seasons.
None of this is Raikkonen's fault - he's doing what he can and you can't blame him for wanting to race on. Instead, the blame lies with those making the decisions.
It's time for Ferrari to put its money where its mouth is and pull out every single one of the stops in its bid to end a growing championship drought.
If it doesn't, then it's impossible to take Sergio Marchionne or Maurizio Arrivabene's claim of winning titles seriously.