Ferrari: Leclerc in, Raikkonen out for 2019?

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It’s not without precedent that Ferrari would sign a young driver, they’ve done that in the past, but it was the distant past and rare for sure. Ferrari have normally chosen to hire to two best, mature and title-winning drivers it can find and this has made the Daniel Ricciardo option the much-talked about decision for Maranello.

However, Autosport’s motorsport minions have suggested that while Kimi Raikkonen’s career may be coming to an end, the open seat may not go to Ricciardo but to their own junior driver program star, Charles Leclerc. This would be the first driver from that relatively new program to make it to the top seat.

The reasoning, Autosport says, is that the price for Ricciardo would be too much coupled with the high price Vettel demands so Leclerc may be a thrifty, quick and homegrown option versus other drivers on the grid.

The choice, which hasn’t been made yet, would be a good one as Leclerc has proven his ability to get on top of the current Formula 1 car and adapt his style to succeed at Sauber. IF you consider the struggles he had initially and the progress he’s made in the last three races, you can see the young Monegasque driver has put it all together in a complete package.

As a young driver, he may not present a political challenge like Ricciardo may or Hamilton did when he joined McLaren against the main driver—in this case, Sebastian Vettel. Not that Ricciardo is a political beast but his pace and his maturity would not suit him well as a number two driver and that would cause friction. I doubt Daniel wants to be this era’s Rubens Barrichello.

Will Ferrari hire a junior driver program star? Will they hire such a young driver? It’s happened in rare occasions before but it hasn’t been the norm for decades. Would it be the right choice and why? Who else, apart from Ricciardo, would you hire if you were Maurizio Arrivebene?

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Tom Firth

It will be the first Ferrari hire that definitely had no role/involvement by Luca Di Montezemolo so that may indicate a potential reason for the policy change if in fact Leclerc is signed?


“The choice, which hasn’t been made yet,…” sheesh, you wrote the headline like it was d done deal… if next year they have the same boring engines, super-wide cars (no passing), etc…. the absense of Kimi would turn many fans off.

Paul D

Why is it every couple weeks or so some pundit comes up with another story about replacing Kimi? If it were not for a couple of incidents he might in fact be in the top 3 points positions and has driven noticeably quicker than Vettel in qualifying. Maybe Maranello sees as fans do that Kimi is doing quite well for the team, again.


I think its because Raikkonen’s race performances are frequently poor, and have been for several seasons.
Now that Ferrari have a car capable of winning championships, it seems that Ferrari need a driver who is going to consistently finish ahead of the Mercedes and Red Bulls, (but still just behind Vettel).
Unfortunately, it seems Raikkonen isn’t motivated to do that, hence the ongoing speculation that he’ll be replaced.


That would be a mercurial progression for Le Clerc, into a potentially championship winning car in just his second F1 season. That would faster even than the pheom that is Ver-crash-en, with a far more risk averse team than RBR. Le Clerc has performed well so far, but it doesn’t yet seem that he’s ‘the execption’ that would warrant Ferrari taking that kind of risk. There are a number of experienced drivers in the grid who could do a brilliant job in a Ferrari, and have enough experience to be a less risky proposition. Ricciardo is the obvious choice, he… Read more »


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