While he’s just an interested observer, when Mario Andretti speaks, his words carry a lot of weight.
And Andretti, a former F1 champ, believes the best thing for Ferrari going forward in 2016 is to keep veteran Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen to continue working as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate.
Raikkonen is in the final year of his contract with Ferrari, although the team holds a one-year option it can still exercise.
There has been considerable speculation that Raikkonen may be out of the Ferrari camp at season’s end, and with Williams driver Valtteri Bottas as among the front-runners to replace him.
But Andretti, a former Ferrari driver himself, believes Raikkonen and Vettel form a team that shouldn’t be messed with, at least not for 2016.
“Quite honestly, I think they’re good teammates, so it’s probably better that way, even for Sebastian – not to have a thorn in his side,” Andretti said to GPUpdate.net.
“That’s why I really hope Ferrari keeps the team the same for next year.
“When teammates get along, it’s a good thing for the ambiance of the team and everything. They are still competitors and all of that, but they still get along.”
Andretti likes the progress Vettel has shown since joining Ferrari after his sub-par performance for Red Bull in 2014.
“I like Sebastian a lot – his records speak for what he’s capable of,” Andretti said. “I think he had something to prove to himself, and everyone, at Ferrari, and he’s done exactly that.
“Ferrari will keep on working hard to give him the best opportunity, and he will do his part, so it’s a fabulous match – just like when Lewis [Hamilton] went to Mercedes.”