(Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)
Scuderia Ferrari have not approached reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton about driving for the Italian team alongside Sebastian Vettel next season amid reports in Bahrain last weekend that the double world champion is set to replace Kimi Raikkonen.
Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed that the Maranello based outfit want to retain the Iceman but that they are not yet ready to offer him a new deal.
Raikkonen is currently into the second year of a two year agreement with the Ferrari while the team have an option to extend his contract into next season. Following an extremely difficult season in 2014, Raikkonen has had a resurgence in his performances, the Iceman scored his first podium for Ferrari since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix when he Merc last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix in second place behind Lewis Hamilton.
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Executive Director (Business) Toto Wolff is adamant that it is crucial that his outfit extend his contract.
Hamilton confirmed a number of weeks ago that a deal is nearly ready and that was 99.6% complete but that it was now going between the lawyers.
Meanwhile Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone told Sky Sports F1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix that he believes Hamilton who has made a dream start to his title defence by taking three wins from the opening four Grand Prix will remain at Mercedes next season.
© Ben Johnston 2015