One of the biggest dominoes has now fallen in next year’s driver market, as Ferrari made its first signing for the future.
Kimi Raikkonen is remaining a Formula 1 driver in the 2018 season, extending his ‘technical and racing agreement’ with the Scuderia.
There is no word yet on his teammate, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s initial three-year contract expiring at 2017’s end.
It is the first time that Raikkonen has been the first announced racer for a seat at the team as he prepares for an eighth season there.
So far, 2017 has statistically been the Finn’s best since 2013, ending his 128-race pole drought in Monaco, an event he only lost in the pitlane when Vettel got passed with strategy.
He has finished nine of the opening 11 rounds, ending second twice and third another two times. His only retirements came as a result of racing incidents with Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in Spain and Azerbaijan.
The 37-year-old currently places fifth in the drivers’ championship behind Vettel, both Mercedes and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, on 116 points – 86 behind his teammate.
He will become the third person to reach 150 starts with Ferrari power at the Bahrain Grand Prix, a feat only bettered by Felipe Massa (191) and Michael Schumacher (179).
Raikkonen will be 39 by the end of the next season and is set to be the oldest to compete in the sport since Schumacher at the age of 43 in 2012.
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