Formula One legend Kimi Raikkonen has been retained by iconic Italian racing outfit Scuderia Ferrari for the 2016 season, the team revealed today. The Iceman, as he is popularly known, was the subject of fervent speculation as to his future at the team following a series of lackluster performances this racing season.
There was significant talk of Raikkonen’s growing unhappiness with team directions, and he was said to have felt that his racing was stifled by the instructions he was given. Following this, very strong rumours surfaced that the Iceman’s compatriot Valtteri Bottas would be his replacement at the Prancing Horse. Bottas, who has had a series of strong performances this racing season, is tipped by many to be the next Raikkonen, and expectations of the younger Finn are high.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix earlier this year, several sources alleged that Bottas’ move to Ferrari was a “done deal”. Bottas, who has been with Williams since the start of his Formula One career in 2012, will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, but his team have expressed repeated interest in retaining him.
Bottas himself has remained largely mum on the issue, and has said he wishes to “concentrate on my racing instead.”
Raikkonen had earlier this year said he would retire if he did not secure a drive with Ferrari next year. The Iceman will now race another day.