Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says that Kimi Raikkonen must prove that he deserves a seat with the Italian team in Formula 1 for next season.
Raikkonen’s current Ferrari contract expires at the end of the season, and is known to be at risk of losing his seat after failing to match teammate Sebastian Vettel across the opening eight races of 2016 despite showing an upturn in performance compared to the previous two years.
Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jr. have been linked with Raikkonen’s seat, but with both firmed up at Red Bull and Toro Rosso respectively for 2017, the list of drivers that could replace the Finn is growing shorter.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, Marchionne said that Raikkonen’s future was in his own hands and dependent on his on-track performances.
“It is up to him. Kimi’s time with Ferrari will depend on his performance,” Marchionne stated.
“He has to show he deserves to stay here, otherwise I think he won’t want to continue here as well.”
Raikkonen has stated that he would like to remain with Ferrari for 2017, while teammate Vettel is also keen of the Finn to stay on.
Should Raikkonen get a one-year contract extension, it would take his current spell with Ferrari into a fourth season, having also spent three years at Maranello between 2007 and 2009.
If Ferrari opts to replace Raikkonen, Force India’s Sergio Perez, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Haas’ Romain Grosjean are thought to be the leading candidates for his seat.