Ferrari has admitted Kimi Raikkonen’s future remains uncertain beyond the end of his 2016 contract.
However, one impeccable source close to the Maranello team insists the Finn looks set to stay.
“I can confirm that the renewal of Kimi’s contract is approaching,” Leo Turrini, a well-known Italian blogger, is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV.
But Raikkonen, 36, has had up and down form so far in 2016, including being penalised for crossing the pit entry line on Sunday and then being passed by Sergio Perez for the podium.
Indeed, Mexican Perez – a former Ferrari development driver – has been on the podium twice in the last three races and is now linked with a return to Maranello.
Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene was asked by a courageous reporter on Sunday if team backer Carlos Slim, who also backs Force India’s Perez, will be pleased with Perez’s recent performances.
“I do not understand your question and what you mean about Carlos Slim,” he said.
“His company is a Ferrari sponsor, period.”
As for Raikkonen’s performance in Baku, his pit entry line mistake cost him a penalty and he was not able to stop Perez from beating him to the podium.
“Kimi’s mistake? Unfortunately it happened,” Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, in Baku for the race, said.
Arrivabene added: “Raikkonen was passed by the Force India in the end because of the fuel consumption.”
And when asked about Raikkonen’s future, he answered: “It makes no sense yet to talk about next season, because it benefits nobody and the end of this championship is still so far away.
“Kimi is totally focused on his work and today he demonstrated that he is a good teammate for Sebastian. Kimi did a good job but we are in no hurry to make any decisions.
“Today both drivers drove well but we need to improve our car,” Arrivabene added.
Marchionne added: “We are still clarifying but the focus at the moment is on supporting our pilots unconditionally.
“Kimi is a world champion and very experienced and his future depends entirely on himself.”