AUGUST 24, 2017
Alesi tips Vettel to sign next Ferrari contract
The decision to keep Kimi Raikkonen is a move by Ferrari to retain its harmonious team "atmosphere".
That is the view of former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi, whose own comments comes amid claims the 2018 deal for Raikkonen is a precursor to Sebastian Vettel also staying at the Maranello team.
Referring to 37-year-old Raikkonen, Alesi told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "He is very much a loved Ferrari driver.
"We are talking about a guy who really loves driving and is a real point of reference for the whole environment at Ferrari," the 53-year-old said.
"Ferrari made giant strides this year and now has a winning car on almost every circuit. And then there is the team spirit that is the great work of Maurizio Arrivabene and Sergio Marchionne.
"The decision to keep Kimi consolidates this atmosphere, as neither Vettel nor Kimi is jealous of the other," Alesi added.
Indeed, Alesi thinks the next step for Ferrari will be to announce a new contract for its de-facto 'number 1' driver, German Vettel.
"I think Vettel will renew as well," he said. "A house is built upon its foundation, but I also think it's true that if there is a driver other than Seb at Ferrari in 2018, he will also have no problems with Kimi."
Finally, Alesi agreed that Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc are in the running to be Ferrari drivers in 2019, but also mentions his own son Giuliano, who is a GP3 race winner and Ferrari junior.
"I wish good luck to my son," Alesi smiled. "Seriously, both Leclerc and Giovinazzi have done very well, but I think it's really premature to talk about 2019 now."