Monday, 12 march 2018, 07:12 , by Matthew Scott
Kimi Raikkonen could remain at Ferrari beyond 2018 if he can prove his pace once again Formula 1 this season, says Alex Wurz. The Finn has struggled to recapture his previous best since returning to the Scuderia, but the Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman joked Raikkonen has "12 lives".
Raikkonen returned to Ferrari in 2014 but has not finished higher than fourth in the drivers' title.
His inability to match the performances of compatriot Valtteri Bottas last season was held up as a key reason in Ferrari's inability to get close to Mercedes in the constructors' race last year, despite Sebastian Vettel challenging Lewis Hamilton for individual honours.
However, Wurz - a test driver at McLaren during Raikkonen's time there - backed the Finn's ability to stay on at Ferrari, despite the possible availability of Daniel Ricciardo and Bottas at the end of the year.
Wurz told Speedweek: "How many lives did he have? He is like a cat to me.
"A cat has seven lives, Kimi must have 12 or so!
"The stopwatch does not know how old a driver is.
"If Kimi performs well and the team is convinced they have the most productive driver pairing with this duo, then he can continue beyond 2018."
Raikkonen is generally seen as Ferrari's second driver behind Vettel, a standing Wurz believes improves harmony at the Scuderia.
By contrast, he believes the battles at Red Bull between Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could lead to tension.
"At Ferrari there is a clear division of roles," Wurz added. "At Mercedes, it will be very difficult for Bottas to beat Hamilton.
"But at Red Bull, everything is much more open. It's impossible to say how the rivalry will develop, but it will be extremely interesting. There is tension in the air."