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Ferrari to use new contract as motivation for Kimi Raikkonen

Arrivabene says he doesn't 'want the driver to fall asleep'

Maurizio Arrivabene

Maurizio Arrivabene says he won’t rush renewing Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari contract in order to keep the Finn fully motivated and producing performances.

The 2007 world champion is out of contract at the end of the season and the Scuderia have an option to retain him for 2016.

Ahead of the Bahrain GP, Arrivabene told reporters: “You want to know what I said to Kimi? He was telling me about his contract and I said ‘it depends on your performance’.”

The lure of a new deal seemed to spur Raikkonen on as he produced arguably his best drive since returning to Ferrari in Sakhir when he beat Nico Rosberg to finish in second place behind Lewis Hamilton.

The Ferrari team principal says those are the kind of performances he wants from the Finn, but won’t be rushing to secure his signature to ensure Raikkonen doesn’t become complacent.

“We were very, very clear and we meet time and again and I said to Kimi ‘look it depends on your performance’ and he has demonstrated that he is a great driver so if you are asking me now if he deserves the option today then yes,” he told reporters in Bahrain on Sunday evening.

“But I don’t want the driver to fall asleep, I want to keep him up. Kimi is giving the best when he is a bit in trouble – this is a psychological approach so the paper at the moment is white. Sometimes I have to take the pen and then take it back and Kimi is going to the podium.”

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Kimi Raikkonen secured his first podium since Korea 2013, finishing second behind Lewis Hamilton

One potential replacement for Raikkonen could be Lewis Hamilton with the world champion’s Mercedes deal also expiring in December and Bernie Ecclestone has declared he would like to see the Briton in red. However, Arrivabene says there has been contact from Ferrari.

“Did Lewis Hamilton call you because he never called me,” he remarked before mischievously adding: “Every driver in the paddock wants to drive for Ferrari.

“But I am happy with the drivers that are here, but this doesn’t mean that I am going to sign tomorrow with Kimi."

Catch the F1 Midweek Report on Wednesday April 22 at 8:30pm on Sky Sports F1. Marc Priestley and Mark Gillan join Natalie Pinkham to analyse the Bahrain Grand Prix.

F1 Midweek Report

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