15 June 2016
F1 European GP: Vettel wouldn't object to a Ricciardo Ferrari swoop
Sebastian Vettel says he wouldn't intervene if Ferrari was considering a swoop for Daniel Ricciardo, but wants Kimi Raikkonen to remain
Sebastian Vettel says he wouldn't veto any potential move by Ferrari to make a swoop for Daniel Ricciardo, even if the four-time world champion reiterates he would prefer Kimi Raikkonen to remain.
With 2007 world champion Raikkonen out of contract at the end of the year, his Ferrari seat is potentially up for grabs, even if the Scuderia has not made a clear indication it is looking to shuffle its driver line-up.
Indeed, though Raikkonen is enjoying a positive start to the season compared with twelve months ago, he has struggled to match Vettel in terms of raw pace. Nevertheless, Vettel has repeatedly stated his desire to keep the Finn alongside him, even if he admits his say doesn't go far in managerial matters.
“I think we definitely get along and it's very easy to work with him because you don't need to worry about any tricks or games or whatever things are potentially a distraction to getting the job done.”
With this in mind, Vettel says he wouldn't raise objection should Ferrari target his former team-mate Ricciardo, this despite rumours of ructions within the Red Bull camp in 2014 when the Australian arrived in the team and largely out-performed him.
“I raced with him in 2014 and we didn't have any problems. I knew him before that but, then again, it is not my decision to sign people. I like him, I think he's a strong guy and, obviously, had a good season in '14. Last year and this year, it's a bit difficult to judge because you don't know what's going on internally, but, from what I know, he's a good guy, yeah.
Indeed, Vettel plays down the suggestion of tension between the two drivers when they raced alongside one another at Red Bull.
“I think 2014 is behind me and the way I look at it is different to how the people look at it and how the people remember it because, in the end, you always take the raw result,” he continued. “It's the simple approach but it's not always that simple – the same as a test day when you say someone was P1 but he's P1 for many reasons.
“I haven't spoken to the team and it hasn't been a subject that has come up. Where we are currently, we're busy enough trying to close the gap – that's the main priority.”
Raikkonen's whereabouts is considered a key for the driver market in what is expected to be a major shuffle over the winter, with Nico Rosberg reportedly tentatively approaching the Scuderia as negotiations continue over a Mercedes deal.
Valtteri Bottas - who was long linked to the drive in 2015 - had been considered out of the running but will have spurred his hopes on with an eye-catching podium in Canada, while Carlos Sainz is known to be considering options beyond the Red Bull fold and Sergio Perez has also been mooted.
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