Ferrari have confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will retain his seat for 2017, and there’s one good reason why.
Kimi has been consistent for Ferrari since his return to the team, but has played second fiddle to Sebastian Vettel. The Finn has had to move aside for the German during races on several occasions, and will continue to be Ferrari’s number two driver.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 8, 2016
The Italian team’s most dominant era was achieved with a driver system that set a clear number one driver. Michael Schumacher built the Ferrari team around him, with Rubens Barrichello almost in an assisting role.
It is known around the paddock that Sebatian Vettel is at the top of the food chain. Ferrari has become his team in very much the same way that Schumacher was able to control.
It’s no secret that Vettel and Kimi are friends away from the grid, and although Kimi is still a very good driver, he’s beyond his prime. It’s also worth noting that Vettel has the option to veto incoming drivers at Ferrari, such is the control that the German driver has. Vettel will be comfortable with the fact that Kimi will be sharing the Ferrari garage next season, as he knows he will retain his status as the favored driver.
Where Ferrari opt for the favored driver model, their main rivals, Mercedes, have seen driver relationships shatter between Hamilton and Rosberg, who are given equal driver status. This lack of clarity has cost the Silver Arrows at least 49 points so far this season as Nico and Lewis have tripped over each-other in a clash of ego’s.
Yeah, Raikkonen will get to drive at Ferrari next season, but he knows his place in the pecking order. Ferrari have played a conservative hand by changing nothing in their driver line-up. Sergio Perez might have been the better option.