Sergio Marchionne says he has no assurances that either Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Raikkonen will continue with Ferrari beyond the 2017 Formula 1 season, saying it is up to the team to give them a strong car first.
Raikkonen and Vettel will enter into their third year racing alongside one another at Ferrari but will come to the end of their contracts at the end of the season.
With Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene already revealing he will wait until 2017 to discuss extending the contract of its lead driver Vettel, Marchionne reiterated that he wants to wait until the debut of the new generation Ferrari before considering contracts, not least determining whether Raikkonen will continue beyond next year.
“I saw Raikkonen at his best [in 2016], but I do not know if he wants to go beyond 2017,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport
. “Regarding the renewal of Vettel, it's early to talk about it because first he must be comfortable with the car of 2017. We have to give him a competitive car, he has to drive well.”
Ferrari head into the off-season with a restructured technical team headed up by Mattia Binotto following the exit of James Allison. Though the Scuderia
was linked with a potential swoop for Mercedes' Paddy Lowe, Marchionne says he wants to invest in the current team rather than chase another name to replace Allison directly.
"We worked on every area of the car, especially on the aerodynamics, in recent years historically weak point of the Ferrari. As for Paddy Lowe, you always look for the hero, but you have to invest on the structure that we have. With Mattia Binotto summer the situation has changed. I have no regrets."
Meanwhile, Marchionne says there is still potentially scope for Alfa Romeo to return to F1 in association with a satellite team as a breeding ground for young drivers, but will wait until it has completed its current new model offensive – led by the new Giulia and Stelvio – before considering it.
"There is space for a return of Alfa Romeo. It's a beautiful project and could also become an outlet for our youth, but until we have launched Giulia and Stelvio, it will have to wait.”
Ferrari announced 2016 GP2 Series runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi will join the manufacturer in 2017 as its reserve driver
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst