David Coulthard: Ferrari F1 team should look beyond Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen's former team-mate David Coulthard says it is time Ferrari considered replacing the Finn as he has reached a plateau Coulthard recognises from his own Formula 1 career

The 2007 world champion's Ferrari contract concludes at the end of the current F1 season and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said earlier this month that it was "too early" to make a decision on 2016.

Raikkonen endured particularly torrid weekends in Austria and Canada, and has scored just a single podium since rejoining Ferrari last season.

Citing experience from the twilight of his own career, Coulthard feels Ferrari would benefit from fresh blood alongside Sebastian Vettel.

"I think it's time for change," said Coulthard, who was Raikkonen's team-mate at McLaren from 2002-04 (pictured below).

"I'm not anti-Kimi at all, but having lived through that experience myself, there's a point in your career where you just stop getting better.

"It happened to me in my career; I was never the best driver, but there was certainly a point at the end where you just lose the edge.

"Right now, if Kimi goes and wins the next race, we'll all be super-excited, because we need that. But Vettel's come in and immediately established himself.

"When he was there with [Fernando] Alonso, Alonso was better.

"The facts are that whether it's bad luck or something else, he hasn't delivered in the last couple of years at the level he did in his previous career."

Coulthard nominated Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Williams driver Valtteri Bottas as the best candidates should Ferrari elect to replace his former team-mate, noting Hulkenberg's recent Le Mans 24 Hours victory with Porsche.

"The question is, is Kimi better value for money for Ferrari than say a Hulkenberg or a Bottas? One of these younger guys who are on the rise," he said.

"If I was Ferrari, I would seriously look at who could be the replacement for Kimi. Marketing-wise, it's one aspect of what he brings, but in the end the best marketing is a winner.

Should Hulkenberg ditch F1 for WEC?

"Bottas has a contract at Williams, but of course everything has a price, and Ferrari can afford to pay that option.

"I think Hulkenberg deserves a chance in a top car. He's won everything in his career and, OK, he didn't single-handedly win Le Mans, but it's a nice story to remind us that he's a winning driver.

"I've got to believe he's worth a chance."

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