Ferrari: 2018 last chance to rediscover Kimi Raikkonen's top form

Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has suggested the team will replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2019 if it cannot find a way to unlock his best form consistently next year

Ferrari: 2018 last chance to rediscover Kimi Raikkonen's top form

Raikkonen, the oldest driver of the current grid at 38, returned to the Maranello squad in 2014 but has failed to win a race in four seasons, first alongside Fernando Alonso and then as Sebastian Vettel's team-mate.

The German has won eight races in the past three years and has finished ahead of Raikkonen in the standings each season.

Raikkonen was given another one-year contract for the 2018 season, but Marchionne said the 2007 world champion will need to find his old form again if he is to stand a chance at securing a deal for the following year.

"My personal opinion is that if we find the right key, Raikkonen drives like a God," Marchionne said during Ferrari's traditional pre-Christmas media dinner.

"But we need to find it. 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, but it's important to find the right key to make him driving like in Monaco also on other circuits.

"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."

Marchionne said if Ferrari needs to find a replacement for Raikkonen, it will take a young driver like F2 champion Charles Leclerc (pictured), who will race with Sauber in 2018.

"We see Leclerc, Verstappen and Giovinazzi, drivers with great skills, who can deliver a big change in the driver market," he said. "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."

The Ferrari president also said four-time champion Vettel has the responsibility to learn from the mistakes he made in 2017 in his championship battle with Lewis Hamilton.

But Marchionne said he does not see Vettel's moments of anger - like when he made contact with Hamilton in Baku - as a weakness.

"I don't know if it's a problem of weakness or personality," he added. "I don't see weakness in his anger expressions.

"Vettel has something like a guy from the south of Italy.

"He showed that a couple of times this year, but he learned from these situations.

"I continue to say that we have the obligation to give our drivers a car that allows them to fight for victory.

"In 2016 we didn't succeed, but in 2017 we gave them a great car. From now, he has his own responsibility, but he knows it."

shares
comments
Would Sirotkin demoralise Williams?
Previous article

Would Sirotkin demoralise Williams?

Next article

F1 qualifying a 'big limitation' for Lance Stroll so far

F1 qualifying a 'big limitation' for Lance Stroll so far
Load comments
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021