The news ends recent speculation over Raikkonen’s future as his current Ferrari contract expires at the end of this year.

The retention of Raikkonen may also help Ferrari in its negotiations with Sebastian Vettel, who is known to prefer Raikkonen to remain as his team-mate. Vettel’s current contract also runs out at the end of this year.

Ferrari’s intention had been to make its 2018 driver announcements at next month’s Italian GP, but may have brought the Raikkonen decision forward to prevent the ongoing speculation from becoming a distraction from its fight for the world championship with Mercedes.

Raikkonen, who is the most recent Ferrari world champion driver, has had two spells at Ferrari: the current one which began in 2014, and an earlier period with the Italian team from 2007 until 2009.

At the end of 2009 Ferrari, unhappy with Raikkonen’s performance and apparent lack of commitment, dismissed the Finn despite him being under contract for the following year.

In a celebrated multi-million dollar payout, Ferrari was forced to buy Raikkonen out of his contract so that it would not be obligated to field a car for him in 2010.