CARROT OR THE STICK: Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen will have to keep up his performance if he wishes to keep his race seat. Image: AFP/Patrik Stollarz
MANAMA, Bahrain - Ferrari is prepared to play a game of 'carrot and stick' with Kimi Raikkonen to keep the veteran performing at his best.
Raikkonen is without a contract at the end of 2015 although the Ferrari has an option of keeping him alongside newcomer Sebastian Vettel.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who took on the job in November 2014, told reporters at the 2015 Bahrain GP that the decision would depend on Raikkonen's performance on track.
THE ICEMAN RETURNS
Raikkonen responded by finishing second in Bahrain on Sunday (April19), grabbing his first podium finish since he was at Lotus in 2013 and first for
Ferrari since 2009.
Arrivabene commented: "Every driver here in the paddock wants to drive for Ferrari, this is normal. Even guys that were quite a lot of time world champion. I'm happy with the drivers that we have.
"This does not mean that I am going to sign with Kimi tomorrow,"
He said that the "real Raikkonen" was back, the one who seized his championship against the odds with a string of late wins rather than the one who sometimes looked bored in 2009.
Arrivabene said: "We are very clear. I repeat again: I said to Kimi, 'look, It depends on your performance' and he has demonstrated that he's a great driver. So if you ask me now, does he deserve to renew the option, now today I am going to say yes.
"But if I am going to say yes, I don't want the driver to fall asleep. So I want to keep him up. Kimi is giving the best when he's in a bit in trouble."
Arrivabene said: "This is a psychological approach. So the paper at the moment is white. Sometimes I have to take the pen, then take it back. And Kimi is going to the podium."
Raikkonen, who returned to Ferrari in 2014, said he is enjoying life at Ferrari more than ever: "This year is the best that I have had in any team; how the team works together, how people work together, how the atmosphere is and how things are being run. That tells you a lot. I'm very happy."
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