Ferrari retains Raikkonen for 2016 season

Kimi Raikkonen will remain with Ferrari for the 2016 Formula 1 season, the Maranello-based team announced Wednesday.

Raikkonen, who won the 2007 F1 title with Ferrari, will pair with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel for the second consecutive year.

The confirmation of the Finn’s return comes after months of speculation that another Finn, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, was linked to the seat for 2016.

With Ferrari picking up Raikkonen’s option, the Italian squad ensures some stability as they return a driver lineup in succession for the first time since the 2013 season.

“What can I say… For me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on,” said Raikkonen. “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. Also, a big thank you goes to all my Ferrari fans, for their continuous support.”

Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene added insight to the resigning of Raikkonen.

“We believe that extending Kimi’s contract into the next season will provide further stability to the team. This has been our guideline, also considering the very good relationship between Kimi and Seb. On our side, this shows our great confidence in him, and I expect this confidence to be well rewarded.”

Raikkonen, 35, is currently fifth in the championship standings, 84 behind Vettel. With a best finish of second at Bahrain earlier this year, the Finn has yet to score a victory in the 1.6-liter V6 turbo era.

The resigning could not come at a better time for Raikkonen as the series heads to one of the Finn’s historically better circuits, Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix, where he has four victories.

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.

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