Kimi Raikkonen may have endured a mediocre season, coming in 5th overall in F1 Championship standings with 135 points, but it now looks as though the Finn is far from finished with Ferrari. In fact Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed that Raikkonen will remain on board for the 2016 Formula One season, despite the fact that the Maranello team had indicated it had been poised to replace him with Valtteri Bottas earlier in the season, only to find out that the younger Finish national will remain with Williams, after the asking price (said to be around £10 million) to release him from his contract was deemed too high. It was also stated that Vettel’s friendship with Raikkonen has a lot to do with his being kept on for another year, although there is still some speculation that the team may look to consider assigning his seat to Max Verstappen if Bottas is still not available in 2017. The up and coming Verstappen is half Raikkonen’s age. In fact, Kimi is currently the oldest driver in F1 at the age of 35.
“What can I say? For me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on,” Raikkonen stated. “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.”
Kimi-Matias Raikkonen, nicknamed “The Ice Man” has been with Ferrari since 2007 (although he left the team for 2-years in 2009). Before that he entered Formula One as a regular driver for Sauber-Petronas in 2001, followed by several years driving for McLaren Mercedes. He finished runner-up in the 2003 and 2005 F1 championships to Michael Schumacherand Fernando Alonso, respectively. Although his 2002, 2004 and 2006 seasons were plagued by severe unreliability from his McLaren cars, he became the highest paid driver in motorsports with an estimated salary of $51 million when he was signed by Ferrari in 2007, and went on to capture his first Formula One World Drivers’ Championship, beating McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso by one point, as well as becoming one of the very few drivers to win in the Italian team. Although he equaled the record for fastest laps in a season for the second time the following year, Ferrari’s desire to sign Fernando Alonso along with his Santander sponsorship, caused Raikkonento leave the sport in 2009. He then went into WRC to drive a Citroën C4 WRC for the Citroën Junior Team in the World Rally Championship for 2010.
In addition to rallying, Raikkonen also competed in NASCAR, and made his debut for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. Räikkönen made his return to F1 when he signed a 2-year deal with Lotus starting with the 2012 Formula One season. In his comeback season, he won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His consistent performances allowed him to end the season 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship. However, he returned to Ferrari under a 2-year deal beginning in 2014.