Raikkonen, Leclerc to swap seats in 2019

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

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.

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The Captain

This has been the silliest of silly seasons in a loooong time. Also if any of the rumors are to be believed it really wasn’t a ‘simple’ decision made after Monza but a long drawn out fight within the team.


Tell us more about those rumours please Captain

The Captain

The short version is Arrivabene wanted to keep Kimi on and give Leclerc one more year. The ‘upper management’ side wanted to go Marchionne wishes and move Leclerc now. So that was a drawn out fight. Other rumor is Kimi also didn’t want to race with anyone else but was offered a stake in Sauber to do so.

All rumors.


Cheers Captain,
So much for Camelleri backing Marchionne to manage the F1 team……
Do you know what financial stake Raikonnen has received in Sauber, and is that in lieu of pay?

The Captain

Nope, and I have no idea even if any of this is true. I’m just repeating the rumors that where going around on twitter from people with access to inside the paddock.


Cheers Captain, I’m sure more information will emerge over time.
Though, not from Raikonnen, of course


Here’s a good article on this…

I lament what Ferrari did to Kimi this year (forgetting to gas the car is just one example of their thinking of Vettel first and, sometimes, foremost).


One other thing… unless Ferrari orders prevent it, Vettel’s competition just arrived with a back-stabbing he may not survive.


Good link Peter, thanks. Interesting comment on Raikonnen’s motivation to stay in F1, and about how he was first selected to drive for Sauber in 2001. You have a good point about the way Ferrari have treated Raikonnen, not just this season. There have been a number of times that they’ve made strategy calls that appear to favour Vettel. Then again, if Raikonnen’s role has been as a number 2 driver, he does a pretty poor job of it. He often doesn’t hold onto 2nd or 3rd position’s to protect Vettel and take points off Mercedes, and when he’s put… Read more »

Schumie Toronto

I thought Kimi said many times that “he wouldn’t be interest driving around, just making-up the numbers” or something to that effect – WTH? I’ve also heard that he’ll be given shares in the team, so that he’ll be part owner, after he hangs-up his helmet. I guess that and millions of other dollars have changed his mind, eh? I bet he’s signed-up for only minor sponsor commitments and guest hand-shaking too! You know, the stuff that Kimi really loves about F1!


Did you check out the link Peter posted? That’s quite interesting on his motivation for staying.


About damn time, now they can win the WCC again.


If Le Clerc really proves to be in the Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Raikonnen, Ricciardo class of drivers, and isn’t a one season wonder.


Its a big call by Ferrari to promote Le Clerc after less than one season. He’s driven well in the Sauber, but it does seem to be an extraordinarily good car, as its not just Le Clerc who has been able to turn in strong results in that car. We’ve all seen how a young drivers second season can be a difficult one – as Ver-crash-en is demonstrating this season. And moving Raikonnen to Sauber, wtf??? There have been so many races over recent seasons where he appears to lack the will to fight for places and cruises to a… Read more »