Ferrari Formula 1 chief Maurizio Arrivabene says there was no reason to end Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s stint together as teammates for 2018, having confirmed towards the end of August that both drivers would be returning next year.
Both Vettel and Raikkonen were out of contract at the end of the season, only for them to sign extensions that will see Ferrari run with the same line-up for a fourth straight year in 2018.
The announcements came as a surprise to many, particularly in Raikkonen’s case, the Finn having not won a grand prix in over four years and struggled to match Vettel for pace so far this season.
Arrivabene defended the call when asked about the rationale behind it, saying there was no good reason for Ferrari to make a change.
“The reason why [we kept them] I think is quite clear. They went through the last three years with great co-operation within them,” Arrivabene said.
“They feel very good together, being part of the team and translating this spirit to the overall team.
“I think we don’t find any reason why not confirming them together.”
It had been suggested that Ferrari could turn to one of its junior drivers for 2017, with 2016 GP2 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi and current runaway Formula 2 leader Charles Leclerc both on its books and eager to step up to F1 next year.
However, Arrivabene would like to see them both prove themselves in F1 first before getting a shot with Ferrari further down the line.
“Talking about the young drivers, they are growing,” Arrivabene said.
“Our objective is to of course to grow up young drivers and maybe to see them in the future with us. This is the final goal.
“But, before that, they need to demonstrate in Formula 1 that they deserve it.”