JULY 29, 2015
Ferrari to let Raikkonen option expire
Ferrari looks set to allow the 2016 'option' in Kimi Raikkonen's current contract to lapse.
Roger Benoit, the veteran correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick, says that if Ferrari simply wants to retain the Finn by extending his deal, it must decide to do so before July 31 -- Friday.
But team boss Maurizio Arrivabene says Ferrari will in fact not be thinking at all about the "driver issue" throughout the summer break.
"In the summer break, you take a summer break. You go swimming, climbing, mountain biking -- otherwise it is not a break," he insisted.
As the sport enters that break, it is clear that while Raikkonen does have a chance of securing an all-new contract for 2016, Ferrari is also leaving its options open.
Valtteri Bottas was said to be the big favourite.
But Blick's Benoit claims that the deal may have fallen through after Ferrari categorically ruled out paying Williams the EUR 12-18 million it was reportedly demanding for the young Finn's release.
"This is not football," Blick quoted Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne as saying, "so we should leave these (sorts of) transfer fees there."
On the other hand, Benoit said that while Romain Grosjean also has a deal in place with Lotus for 2016, the Frenchman has an exit clause in the event that grandees like Ferrari and Mercedes come knocking.