Sauber

Raikkonen leaves Ferrari for Sauber, Leclerc joins the Scuderia in 2019

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After eight seasons with Ferrari (2007—2009 and 2014—2018), it has been confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen is leaving the team. At 39, the Finn has signed a two-year deal to drive for Ferrari powered Sauber, with their up-and-coming star Charles Leclerc set to take Raikkonen’s place alongside Sebastian Vettel.

For Raikkonen, he leaves the team with which he claimed his only drivers’ championship. After a disappointing reversal of form in the following years he was replaced by Fernando Alonso in 2010, only to return to later drive alongside the Spaniard.

Despite currently placed 3rd in the drivers’ championship, Kimi is returning to the team where he made his debut.

For Leclerc, it has been a meteoric rise. After claiming the GP3 and Formula 2 titles in his rookie seasons, he was fast-tracked into F1. At 19, he has impressed many in his debut season, claiming points in 5 of the 14 races, including a masterful P6 in Azerbaijan.

Making three Q3 appearances so far this season has demonstrated that Leclerc has raw pace, and isn’t just benefitting from the misfortune of others.

With his promotion, Ferrari have thrown down a marker to their main rivals. After decades of attracting (and retaining) established senior drivers, Leclerc will become the youngest driver to race in red overalls since 1961, and the least experienced since they signed Gilles Villeneuve who had only 1 race finish to his name at the time.

Tell us what you think of the change: Are you sad to see Kimi go, or excited for some fresh blood?

Behind the scenes of Monisha Kaltenborn's exit from Sauber

Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein have commented on their Team Principle stepping down, shedding light on the inner workings of the team.

While it can't exactly be considered a shock, the dust is settling on Monisha Kaltenborn's announcement that she's stepping down as Team Principle of Sauber and the situation at Sauber is becoming clearer.

Wehrlein, it seems, was informed by Kaltenborn herself:

“I spoke to her on Tuesday evening when she called me,” explained Wehrlein. “I was obviously very surprised about it when she told me about what would happen. Coming to here obviously everyone is asking those questions and it feels different.”

Wehrlein indicated he had some understanding of the reasons by Kaltenborn’s dismissal, which came about so quickly the team has not yet appointed a replacement.

“I didn’t ask her for the perfect explanation because she doesn’t have to tell me the explanation,” he said. “She told me what will happen and what’s happening.”

Wehrlein has also praised Kaltenborn for standing by him throughout his injury at the start of the season, and ensuring he returned to the seat when he was ready.

Ericsson had, it seems, been informed not by Kaltenborn but the team owners about her departure. 

“It’s nothing I’m involved with so I don’t know what’s been behind it,” he added. “For me it’s just the last couple of days I knew about it.”

Simulaneously, Sauber has been dousing the rumors that the team is helping Ericsson over Wehrlein.

“The owners and board of Sauber Motorsport AG take strong exception to speculative and widespread media reports today that our race drivers have not been, and are not being, treated equally,” it said.

“This is not only patently untrue, it would be contrary to the team’s absolute and longstanding commitment to fair competition.”

“These reports, attributed to anonymous ‘sources’, are highly detrimental to both Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein as well as to the management and all staff of the Sauber F1 team.”

Sauber are currently sitting in 9th place on the constructors' table ahead of McLaren thanks for Wehrlein's 8th place finish in Spain, while Ericsson remains pointless.

To suggest they are favouring Ericsson over Wehrlein would suggest their ability to "aid" one driver over another is in a pretty sorry state.