Kimi Raikkonen pens new deal with Ferrari

Ferrari keep Raikkonen for 2018 season

Ferrari have now confirmed Raikkonen will once again race for them next year, with a new extension for Vettel now thought to be close after they agreed to his demand to retain the Finn.

The 37-year-old, who is now standing fifth in the drivers' championship with 86 points, had earlier prompted criticism from Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, who described him "a laggard", reports Sport24.

"Ferrari N.V. announces that Scuderia Ferrari has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen". The world champions signed Valtteri Bottas to a one-year deal to replace the retired Nico Rosberg this season but have stalled on offering him another deal with uncertainty hanging over Vettel's future.

There had been speculation about whether or not he would continue but in a short statement, Ferrari announced on Tuesday, in the week building up to the Belgian Grand Prix, that Raikkonen would remain on board for 2018.

There have also been questions about his overall commitment and effort t, with Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne labelling him a "laggard" ahead of the Austrian GP.

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Raikkonen's signature comes after he chased home Sebastian Vettel in a dominant Ferrari display in the Hungarian Grand Prix last time out. There's a couple of weeks' stretch where there is no race but for now I think the focus is extremely high on working on the auto.

"I think I have been public on the Sebastian issue, if he wants to stay he is more than welcome to stay", he said.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso is the other major driver yet to formalise where he will be driving next year.

Raikkonen switched to Ferrari for 2007 and clinched the title in his first year with the squad, but departed at the end of 2009, bringing his time in Formula 1 to a halt.


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