Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen (R) and Sauber F1's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc (L) wave from a truck during a parade ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix de France at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, southern France, on June 24, 2018. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari‘s last world drivers’ champion (WDC), will not be driving for the Maranello-based team in 2019. The Finn returns to the Sauber F1 team, the Formula 1 team he started his career with. Young Charles Leclerc in his rookie season with Sauber will partner Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari in 2019.

Kimi Raikkonen Returns To Sauber As Charles Leclerc Moves To Ferrari In 2019

The 2018 silly season in F1 has been the wildest in a long time. There have been several surprising driver moves and signings. In yet another dramatic day today, it was announced that Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of 2018. The Finn returns to Sauber F1, his first F1 team. The Iceman made his debut in F1 in 2001 with the then Red Bull Sauber Petronas F1 team. He finished 10th in the drivers’ championship with nine points.

A furiously fast Raikkonen then moved to McLaren, one of the top teams at that time (2002-2006). Two stints at Ferrari followed, interspersed by two-year tenures in the world rally championship and the Lotus team.  Raikkonen is the last world drivers’ champion for Ferrari (2007). The Finn leaves with his head held high after scoring nine podiums in 14 races in 2018 so far.

Charles Leclerc To Partner Vettel At Ferrari In 2019

Just as Raikkonen’s move to Sauber was announced, Ferrari announced that 20-year old Charles Leclerc will move from Sauber to Ferrari for 2019. Leclerc has performed well in his rookie season at Sauber. The move is a little out of character for the Italian team which normally hires very experienced drivers only. For the young Monegasque driver, it is a dream come true to partner 4-time world champion Vettel at a marquee team like Ferrari in 2019.

Leclerc has an outstanding record in the lower formulae as he has won the GP3 and the F2 championship on his way to F1. The rookie driver currently stands 15th in the drivers’ championship with 13 points. He has been impressive as he has outqualified and outraced his more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson. It will be interesting to see how this talented but inexperienced driver handles the pressure of driving for a top team like Ferrari alongside a daunting teammate like Vettel.

 

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