Ferrari keep Kimi Raikkonen for 2017
2007 world champion stays alongside Vettel for a third season
By Pete Gill at Silverstone
Last Updated: 08/07/16 11:57am
Ferrari have confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen has been retained for 2017.
The Finn will stay on as Sebastian Vettel's team-mate for a third season.
When is the British GP and how can you watch it on Sky Sports?
Qualifying and the race both underway at 1pm UK Time
The unexpected announcement is likely to have significant repercussions for the rest of the driver market.
In-form Force India driver Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Haas' Romain Grosjean had all been identified as potential replacements for Raikkonen, whose deal with the Scuderia was due to expire at the end of 2016.
"Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen," the team announced ahead of this weekend's British GP.
"The driver line-up for the 2017 racing season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel."
After finishing third in last week's Austrian GP, Raikkonen is currently third in the Drivers' Championship, level on points with Vettel.
"I would not be here if I did not enjoy it or if I did not feel like I can drive, if I did not feel like I can do it 100 per cent," Raikkonen told reporters at Silverstone.
"It hasn't changed. I feel I drive as well as I've driven for ever. If I didn't feel like I'm driving well, I'm the first one to go away and not do it. If I wouldn't be motivated, I would not be here wasting my own time or the team's time.
"I've always said, for nearly 10 years, that my last team would be Ferrari and it's still like that."
Raikkonen is in his second stint at Ferrari after winning the 2007 Drivers' World Championship during his first spell with the team. He left the team, and Formula 1, in 2009 but after two years of rallying he returned with Lotus for the 2012 campaign and then re-joined Ferrari in 2014.
Vettel's existing contract also runs to the end of next season, although the German is thought to be in the process of negotiating an extension beyond 2017.
Why have Ferrari retained Raikkonen?
Sky F1's Anthony Davidson:
"The announcement is good news for Raikkonen and his many supporters. I must admit l was slightly surprised because there are quite a few talented young drivers on the market at the moment and l feared that would affect Kimi's chances to keep his drive.
"At this stage, he sits with equal points to his team-mate and he brings consistency and stability to the team - and a wealth of experience.
"Kimi hasn't been at his best this season but next year we could see the Kimi of old. He's always been a driver who excels with more grip than less grip and l truly believe he will be back to his best next year. He really might enjoy driving F1 cars again."
Watch the British GP live on Sky Sports F1. The race starts at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up underway at 11:30am. Or watch the race without a contract for £6.99 on NOW TV.