The morning’s announcement took almost no one by surprise. Ferrari announced that Kimi Raikkonen, driver of car number 7, would be stepping down at the end of 2018. Raikkonen has actually had a rather good few races of late, yet is seen as playing a rather long second fiddle to Sebastian Vettel.
Then came the announcement that this year’s rookie driver Charles Leclerc would be taking the now vacant second seat for 2019 with a multi-year contract on the cards.
While Sauber congratulated their driver moving over to Ferrari, they also announced that Kimi Raikkonen would join them for 2019.
Frédéric Vasseur, CEO of Sauber Motorsport and Team Principal of the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team said, “It has been a great pleasure to support Charles Leclerc in his rookie year in Formula One. Since his arrival, he has given the team great motivation. We have constantly improved and we will work hard until the end of this season to achieve the best possible results together. We are aware of Charles’ talent and are confident that he will have a bright future. We will keep on following him closely and we wish him the best on his path.”
He went on to welcome Kimi Raikkonen, “Signing Kimi Räikkönen 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. Kimi’s undoubted talent and immense experience in Formula One 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.”
2019 Formula 1 driver lineup
|Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas|
|Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Charles Leclerc|
|Red Bull Racing||Max Verstappen||Pierre Gasly|
|Renault||Nico Hulkenberg||Daniel Ricciardo|
|McLaren||Carlos Sainz Jr||Lando Norris|
|Sauber Ferrari||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Force India Mercedes|
|Toro Rosso Honda|
* to be confirmed