Ferrari appear to be on track to confirm that Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will remain at Maranello beyond 2017, but the Italian team’s big boss Sergio Marchionne hinted that there were discussions with Lewis Hamilton which until now have come to naught.
Speaking to reporters Marchionne revealed, “Ending his career with Ferrari would be a privilege, but up until now we did not get very far with Lewis. I will not talk about the future.”
Contractually Hamilton would only be free to move from Mercedes to Ferrari at the end of 2018. It is interesting to note that the three times World Champion has only driven Mercedes powered cars in Formula 1, but at the same time has admitted his fascination with the sport’s most famous marque.
Meanwhile Marchionne virtually confirmed that the current Ferrari driver line-up will remain unchanged for another year, “We have two great drivers in the house and do not want to talk about alternatives.”
“I think I have been public on the Sebastian issue, if he wants to stay he is more than welcome to stay. And in the case of Kimi, we are pretty well sure…we know he wants to stay. Hopefully we will bring them on soon.”
Raikkonen’s future is constantly debated in the media, when asked if the Finn would remain with the team for another year Marchionne replied, “Probably better than 50 percent chance. We will wait and see…”
In keeping with tradition, the 2018 Ferrari driver line-up is set to be announced at Monza in September.
When quizzed about this, Marchionne said, “That’s what I heard. I heard Maurizio [Arrivabene] was going to do that. I have no planned timing, it is early enough. This is the 11th race out of 20 so we have a lot of races to go.”
Ferrari have aggressively developed their young driver pool over the past few years and fruits of this programme are Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc, while the likes of Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean have been linked with the team.
Big Question: Would Lewis fit in at Ferrari?