In a surprise announcement, Scuderia Ferrari have announced that 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen will stay at the team for a fourth consecutive season in 2017, his seventh overall at the team.
Since returning to Maranello in 2014 after a period spent in World Rally and two seasons at Lotus, Raikkonen has been convincingly out-performed by the two teammates he has had, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. In 2014, he scored just 49 points, and finished a lowly 12th in the driver standings, with no podium finishes.
2015 was a marked improvement for the Finn, who turns 37 in October, scoring podiums in Bahrain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, but being overshadowed by Vettel's wins in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore.
After nine rounds of the 2016 season, Raikkonen has more than held his own against the Quadruple world champion, with both scoring 96 points. Although, since he has returned to the squad, Raikkonen has been convincingly out-qualified by his teammates, with him only being ahead nine times, when both cars ran cleanly.
Nevertheless, the news about the resigning of Raikkonen will be good news for Vettel. The two get on well off track and the atmosphere in the team is the best it has been in many years, the complex new aero regulations coming for next year means that experience will be crucial next season and Vettel and Raikkonen will be one the most experienced in F1 history.
What does the news mean for the driver market?
The main candidates who were in the frame to replace Raikkonen were Force India duo Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, and more likely Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean. With Mercedes and Red Bull seemingly all locked down for 2017, the Ferrari seat was the most competitive seat widely known to be up for grabs.
Sainz is recently signed a contract extension at Red Bull/Toro Rosso, declaring "I want to win the title at Red Bull", may be the teams best option for 2018. Red Bull already have a driver line-up locked in, with boss Christian Horner happy with his team of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
The seats up for grabs for next season, near the front of the grid include both Williams cars, a McLaren - due to be between Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne. In all reality, there will most likely be not much movement, as F1's Silly season just got a little less silly.