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2018 F1

Raikkonen announcement still unclear

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It is still not clear if Ferrari is planning a driver announcement for Monza.

While some expect the Italian team to confirm Kimi Raikkonen for 2019, Finland’s Turun Sanomat says “reliable sources” report that is not the case.

Ferrari spokesman Alberto Antonini would not comment.

Earlier, La Gazzetta dello Sport predicted that Raikkonen would be replaced for next year by young charger Charles Leclerc.

Correspondent Luigi Perna now says: “The Leclerc move seems to have been put on ice. The situation changed when Sergio Marchionne died.”

Sebastian Vettel said at a pre-Italian grand prix event in Milan: “I hope for another victory now in Monza and also that it is a good race for Kimi, who was unlucky at Spa.”

Italian Grand Prix Preview: “It’s Italy, it’s special” – Ferrari

Off the back of the Belgian Grand Prix, and one day after the great street show in the heart of Milan, comes Scuderia Ferrari’s home race. It’s hot at Monza, but conditions may change for the worse tomorrow. Anyway, for both Kimi and Sebastian, this is not a race like any other.

“I enjoy coming to Monza”, says Kimi “it’s a great circuit, a lot different from many others. It’s a challenging track even if on paper it’s only a few chicanes and a few corners; it’s not easy to be fast here. I have a lot of mixed memories from racing on this track; on some occasions we have been fast, but we never really got it together. There’s a lot of passion here from our tifosi, they give us a lot of support. Ferrari is Ferrari and our fans are loyal, in good and bad years, no matter the results we have. It’s Italy, it’s special, it’s our home grand prix.”

“But the pressure we have here in Monza is the same that we have in other places. It doesn’t matter how the last race has gone, good or bad, it doesn’t guarantee anything for this weekend. We are in a different circuit and with different conditions; it will be a bit tricky over the weekend again here. It’s impossible for me to know now what will be the end result, it’s pure guesswork. The further you are up in qualifying the less you risk to end up with an issue. We ‘ll see how the weather will be tomorrow and how it goes . We’ll do our normal job and we’ll see what it brings”.

Seb adds: “In Spa we brought some updates, including the new engine and this track in Monza is somewhat similar to the one in Spa, but there are turns too, not just straights, that can make the difference. We need to find the right rhythm for this weekend. For sure, we don’t want just a podium. Winning is always great, but obviously winning here means much more to us as we are in Italy, the country where Ferrari was born. Our task is to make sure our car gets even better than in Spa. We know we have a very good engine, a great package, and we look ahead to the challenge. It’s great to get into the car and feel that it is possible to fight for first place. I believe 2016 and 2017 were fundamental for the development of the car and it’s so beautiful to see we have kept on with the pace. However, we want to get stronger and keep working hard”.

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