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?