Mika Salo urges Ferrari to keep Raikkonen for 2017

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Ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, who enjoyed a brief spell at Ferrari in 1999, believes that the Italian outfit should keep his countryman Kimi Raikkonen contracted for 2017.

Raikkonen, who clinched the world championship with the Scuderia in 200 before temporarily retiring from Formula 1, returned to the red squad in 2014.

His performance relative to team mates Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel was rather disappointing in the last couple of seasons but this year, the Finn has raced more or less on a par with the German, finishing three times on the podium.

Salo thinks that Ferrari should extend his countryman's contract into 2017.

"I hope he stays, as he's still a top driver," Salo told GPUpdate.net.

"I don't see anybody better as a team-mate for Sebastian at the moment. Kimi can still be right up there, speed-wise, he's just had an unlucky season because of different reasons.

"If you take another young guy – though Ferrari never takes a young guy, they take somebody who has experience – that would mean that the whole team would change.

"They know the drivers. Continuity is the key always. Räikkönen and Vettel  have been working together for a while, so it would be much easier for them [Ferrari] to build the car.

"I don't see anybody out there who could fit in the team well at the moment. I really don't see anybody out there. But I don't know what they are thinking – I'm glad it's not my decision!"

Salo also discarded the age argument often pointed at the 36-year-old Raikkonen.

"In the old days, yes, age was a bit of a limiting factor, because the cars were so hard to drive, but they look like they are a lot lighter now, with the assistance and everything.

"OK, there are more races, but in the old days we tested a lot more. You were on the road a lot more.

"Now you can actually have a life outside racing – you just do the races and then go home.

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