In a bit of a twist, Kimi Raikkonen will be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season to join, or re-join, Sauber for 2019. In essence, Kimi and Charles Leclerc will swap seats and Kimi will return to the team he debuted in back in 2001.
It seems that former Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marchionne, had wanted to make the swap and the new leadership decided to honor that desire after discussions at the Italian Grand Prix.
“During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental,” said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
“He played a decisive role in the team’s growth and was, at the same time, always a great team player.
“As a world champion for Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the team’s history and family.
“We thank Kimi for all of this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.”
Ferrari chose to go with the younger driver, a bit of a departure from Ferrari norms, and now Sauber is going with the older driver and team boss Fred Vasseur is happy.
“Signing Kimi Raikkonen as our driver represents an important pillar of our project, and brings us closer to our target of making significant progress as a team in the near future,” said Vasseur.
“Kimi’s undoubted talent and immense experience in Formula 1 will not only contribute to the development of our car, but will also accelerate the growth and development of our team as a whole.
“Together, we will start the 2019 season with a strong foundation, driven by the determination to fight for results that count.”
It will be interesting to see how well Kimi can do at the team and how much he can help them develop their car. Equally it will be interesting to see how well Leclerc does after his brilliant rookie season.