Ferrari Formula 1 chief Maurizio Arrivabene says he is not yet thinking about Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s contracts for 2018 despite both drivers currently being free agents for 2018.
Ferrari has made its strongest start to a racing season in over a decade in 2017, led by Vettel with three race wins en route to a 25-point lead in the drivers’ championship.
Vettel and Raikkonen are out of contract at the end of the year, and while speculation about the future of both drivers continues to bubble in the paddock, Arrivabene is preferring to focus on Ferrari’s championship bid than plans for 2018.
“We are not thinking about contracts now, we are thinking about the championship,” Arrivabeen said.
“They are two separate issues. We are all concentrated.
“As I have said many, many times we are working all together, including the drivers, we are very focused on our job.
“I have to say the contract is not an issue.”
Vettel has been linked with a move to Mercedes for 2018 in place of Valtteri Bottas, although the team recently said that a deal, while not impossible, was “not on the table”.
Raikkonen’s future with Ferrari has become a yearly staple of ‘silly season’, the Finn being the oldest driver on the grid. While the 2007 world champion is yet to win a race this year, his charge to pole in Monaco showed that he still has a spark and ability to succeed at Ferrari.
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: