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Confirmed: Leclerc to Ferrari as Kimi returns to Sauber in 2019

Written by  Sep 11, 2018

Charles Leclerc will be making the move to Ferrari in 2019 replacing Kimi Raikkonen, who will return to Sauber on a two-year deal it has been confirmed.

The announcement follows days of speculation which began over the Italian Grand Prix weekend when it emerged the new bosses at the Scuderia wanted to retain the Finn for one more year but were tied by a contract promoting Leclerc which was signed by former chairman Sergio Marchionne.

As rumours of an announcement last Thursday came and past without occurring, it was then suggested Ferrari had come to an arrangement to keep the Monegasque at Sauber for one more year but on a higher salary but now all that has been put to bed.

Leclerc has impressed in his rookie season at the Swiss team with a run of five points finishes in six races from Baku, which ultimately led to the decision by Marchionne to promote him, although since Austria he has failed to finish on three occasions without scoring a point.

For Raikkonen though, his move back to Sauber marks a return to where it all started in 2001 and confirming the news he alluded to that on an Instagram post.

"Guess who’s back?! Next two years with @sauberf1team ahead! Feels extremely good to go back where it all began!"

Image result for Raikkonen Sauber 2001

 

Confirming his departure from Ferrari, where he has raced for a combined eight years over two spells, the Italian team thanked the 38-year-old for his service.

Scuderia Ferrari has announced that Kimi Raikkonen will step down from his current role at the end of the 2018 season.

"During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental," a statement read.

"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."

Leclerc official confirmation and first comments are still pending at the time of writing.

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