Who in Ferrari is next up on the block?

Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne throws uncertainty on the future of the teams two drivers.

It appears that the theme of F1 heading into 2017 is “uncertainty”. Rosberg’s gone, new regulations are incoming, and there’s the ever-present worry about how much longer who will be racing for who.
Adding to that uncertainty, Sergio Marchionne – CEO of Ferrari – has recently issued a statement regarding his current drivers: Kimi Raikkonen and Sebestian Vettel.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo (Shell GP) on track  during qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 26: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H Ferrari 059/5 turbo (Shell GP) on track during qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 26, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“I saw Raikkonen at his best [in 2016], but I do not know if he wants to go beyond 2017…. Regarding the renewal of Vettel, it’s early to talk about it because first he must be comfortable with the car of 2017. We have to give him a competitive car, he has to drive well.” – Sergio Marchionne

Now we shouldn’t make mountains out of molehills of course, but there is a certain peculiarity in the way that Marchionne refers to the potential for extending contracts into 2017 – it’s as if Ferrari is hedging its bets on their car and not their drivers.

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 12:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari on the grid before the the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 12, 2016 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – JUNE 12: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari on the grid before the the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 12, 2016 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Sure, it is an automobile company after all, and God knows how many hours go into tweaking, perfecting, and updating their vehicles – but if that’s really the approach their taking I can’t help but feel that they’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Your vehicles are the beasts that make competing possible, yes. But undervaluing your drivers will get you nowhere but hamstrung. Raikkonen and Vettel are more than capable and it chafes my ass to see them so blatantly underplayed by the head honcho.

Then again, who knows? Maybe 2017 will be the year that segregates drivers from the rest of their team. Hamilton was the first to bite back at Abu Dhabi – perhaps there’ll be others on the horizon.