London - Ferrari's Formula One driver line-up will remain unchanged next season
after the Italian glamour team ended speculation surrounding Kimi
Raikkonen's future by confirming him for another year on Wednesday.
Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing
agreement with Kimi Raikkonen," the team said in a short statement ahead
of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
"The driver line-up next season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel."
the 2007 world champion who returned to Ferrari in 2014, was out of
contract at the end of this year although Ferrari had an option on his
services and he had made clear he wanted to stay.
principal Maurizio Arrivabene had been keeping his options open,
however, about one of the sport's highest paid drivers.
Had the 35-year-old Finn been ousted from a seat coveted by most of his rivals, it would have triggered a driver merry-go-round.
has been mounting speculation for weeks about who might replace the
'Iceman' alongside four-times world champion Vettel, who moved from Red
Bull at the end of last year and has already won two races for Ferrari.
compatriot Valtteri Bottas, currently with Williams, had been
considered a frontrunner after impressive performances for the former
champions although his form has faded recently.
Speculation in the Finnish and Italian media has suggested Bottas has an agreement with Ferrari for 2017 if not next season.
Corriere dello Sport newspaper last month claimed Ferrari had agreed
to pay Williams some €12 million for releasing
Bottas early from an option on his contract so he could drive for them
That is clearly not the case, and Bottas is likely to remain at Williams for at least another year.
India's Nico Hulkenberg and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo are other names
to have been linked to Ferrari in media speculation.
eclipsed by Spaniard Fernando Alonso at Ferrari last year, has been
outperformed by Vettel in 2015 with the German scoring 160 points to the
Finn's 76.The Finn, who can now look forward to his sixth year
at Maranello after first joining from McLaren in 2007 and then being
dropped at the end of 2009, has made just one podium appearance so far
this year - a second place in Bahrain.