Kimi Raikkonen. Will he stay or will he go? At 38 years old the Iceman has had a pretty successful Formula 1 career winning the title in 2007, racking up 100 podiums across 20 years with 20 wins and setting the fastest ever F1 lap (averaging 163.9mph) last weekend in qualifying for the Monza Grand Prix but with little officially released about his future post 2018 will Raikkonen be in F1 next year?
To still be in the frame for the ilelustraus Ferrari seat is a remarkable feat when we consider his age as well as the vast amount of talent that has come and threatened his position in recent years but he has remained strong, fighting, especially evident this season. However with Charles LeClerc in the not to distant background excelling in his maiden season is Kimi’s time up?
When we analyse the lack of team orders by Ferrari ,something which they where not afraid of in the past, “Fernando is faster than you” immediately comes to mind, it has been quite shocking to see Ferrari not even suggest to Kimi to help Vettel in his quest to gain a fifth world title ,something Bottas seems happy to do for Hamilton, which has cost Vettel wins in Italy and Germany. Although I might be deemed as reading between the lines, surely if Kimi was under contract for next season he be more inclined to help Vettel and Ferrari like the previous year knowing he would have another shot at the title the following year but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He’s fighting to win every race and maybe believes he deserves the respect in his final season to not be second fiddle to Vettel. Let’s not forget Kimi is a World Champion too.
The other conundrum is Charles LeClerc the Scuderia protégé. After winning F2 last year in style he has converted his form into the lowly Sauber picking up 13 points already this season. At 20 the monegasques growth has been outstanding which has consequently been the trigger for why he is believed to be the right fit for the Ferrari seat next year, ousting Räikkönen. The speculation has only heightened since the summer break ended when it became apparent that LeClerc had taken the SF71H round Monza 2 months prior as part of a Ferrari marketing day in which he completed the full allocation of 100km (set by the FIA).
Everything considered I can’t see anything but LeClerc in the Scarlett Ferrari next season which will be a shame for F1 to lose the last of the V8 generation but a step towards diluting the new exciting generation of drivers into the sports most glamorous and competitive seats.