Raikkonen in dreamland after new Ferrari deal

Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:38pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen expressed his love for Ferrari on Wednesday after the Formula One team said the Finn would be staying with them next year in an unchanged lineup with Germany's Sebastian Vettel.

"What can I say?...for me, to be able to stay another year at Ferrari means that the dream goes on," the 35-year-old told the team website after an announcement that caught the sport off guard.

"The Scuderia (team) is my family, as I always said, it's here (that) I want to end my career. I am more committed than ever and I want to say thank you to the people who gave me this chance."

Raikkonen was out of contract at the end of 2015 and facing an uncertain future, with media speculation already focusing on who might replace the 'Iceman' at one of the most coveted seats on the starting grid.

Instead, a short statement from Maranello forced a rethink.

"Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen," the team said as the paddock regrouped in Spa-Francorchamps for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

"The driver lineup next season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel."

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion who returned to Ferrari in 2014, had always made clear he wanted to stay but team principal Maurizio Arrivabene had been keeping his options open about one of the sport's highest paid drivers.   Continued...

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen of Finland during a press conference ahead of the British Grand Prix. Reuters / Phil Noble