Ferrari retains Kimi Raikkonen for 2016 season

Scuderia Ferrari has announced that Kimi Raikkonen will remain with the team for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari in 2014 on a two-year contract with the option for a third that has been exercised by the team.

Speculation had been rife that Raikkonen could be replaced for 2016 by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, but this has now been eased after Ferrari confirmed on Thursday that the Finn has been retained.

“Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen,” a statement from the team reads.

“The driver line-up next season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel.”

Raikkonen first raced for Ferrari between 2007 and 2009, winning the F1 drivers’ championship in his maiden season with the Italian team.

After spending some time out of F1, Raikkonen returned to the sport in 2012 with Lotus. He then rejoined Ferrari for the 2014 season, and was joined by Sebastian Vettel for 2015.

“For me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on,” Raikkonen said on the news. “The Scuderia is my family, as I always said, it’s here I want to end my career.

“I am more committed than ever and I want to say thank you to the people who gave me this chance. Also, a big thank you goes to all my Ferrari fans, for their continuous support.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene added: “We believe that extending Kimi’s contract into the next season will provide further stability to the team.

“This has been our guideline, also considering the very good relationship between Kimi and Seb. On our side, this shows our great confidence in him, and I expect this confidence to be well rewarded.”