Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne says that Kimi Raikkonen could be replaced at Ferrari in 2019 if the team can't unlock his form. Marchionne believes that the Iceman still posses raw speed, but needs a car that works for him.
Raikkonen extended his contract with Ferrari in August earlier this year, keeping him at the team for at least one more season. The 2007 world champion rejoined the Maranello squad in 2014, but has since played second fiddle to Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
Marchionne stated at Ferrari's annual pre-Christmas dinner that Raikkonen must impress in 2018, or otherwise face the danger of being replaced: "My personal opinion is that if we find the right key, Raikkonen drives like a God," Marchionne said. "But we need to find it.
"When things go right, it's a pleasure see him driving. He has an incredible coldness. Otherwise, in other moments it seems like he takes a break. He needs more consistency in terms of performance, but it's important to find the right key to make him driving like in Monaco also on other circuits.
"Probably this is the last season to find the right key and we must do it. I think that would be a shame if he would leave F1 without showing his real potential."
With Raikkonen being the oldest driver in the field, Marchionne said that Ferrari is likely to take on a younger driver when the time comes for Raikkonen to move on. The Italian squad possesses young talent in Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi.
"We see Leclerc, [Max] Verstappen and Giovinazzi, drivers with great skills, who can deliver a big change in the driver market," Marchionne acknowledged. "I'm still happy to have chosen Leclerc. I think that if we can not find the right key for Raikkonen, the choice will fall on a young driver."
Would you like to stay up to date with the latest Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 news from GPtoday? Activate free push notifications and be the first to know!