Prost: Dropping Raikkonen could disrupt Ferrari harmony

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Four-time Formula One world champion Alain Prost says dropping Kimi Raikkonen could end up hurting Ferrari more than promoting “a quicker driver”.

The Finn’s future at Maranello beyond 2016 remains in doubt, as his contract expires at the end of the current campaign. While Raikkonen delivered improved performances across the first five races this year, the 2007 world champion is coming off a trio of error-strewn grands prix.

Prost believes Raikkonen’s healthy relationship with team-mate Sebastian Vettel, as highlighted by his moving over to allow the German through in the recent Grand Prix of Europe, could help him retain his seat.

“Everybody can see the positive points and the negative points,” Prost said of the situation at the FIA Sport Conference in Turin.

“The positive sign for him [Raikkonen] to stay is that he has a very good relationship with Vettel and you have a number one and number two, not on paper, but in fact. For the atmosphere it is not bad.

“To be honest, I don’t blame them [Ferrari] and I don’t criticise. I am sure they are going to make the right decision.”

Both multiple podium finishers, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas headline the list of young prospects that could replace Raikkonen at Ferrari next year.

But Prost, who drove for the Scuderia in 1990-91 and knows a thing or two about intra-team rivalry having raced against Ayrton Senna at McLaren, warns that performing in smaller outfits does not necessarily translate onto a bigger stage.

“There are one or two drivers on the market who could be quite good for Ferrari, maybe a little bit quicker, but you do not know [for sure],” the Frenchman added.

“One thing you also have to take into consideration is the pressure at Ferrari. Sometimes you can see some very good drivers in an average team and, when they go to a top team, they do not perform the same because it is a little bit different.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has already said he is “in no hurry” to address Raikkonen’s contract situation, though he described the Finn as “a good team-mate” for Vettel in Baku.

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