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.
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.
The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.
“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.
Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”
Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.
“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.
Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.