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Mercedes' Wolff: Raikkonen's move to Sauber a 'blow' for F1

Written by  Dec 21, 2018

Losing Kimi Raikkonen from the battle at the front of the grid is a "blow for all" in Formula 1, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

The Finn has given up his seat at Ferrari to Charles Leclerc for 2019 but will remain on the grid after signing a two-year deal at Sauber, the team he began his career with in 2001.

While that means the ever popular 'Iceman' will be remaining in the sport, Wolff thinks just the fact he'll be competing further down the order is a disappointment.

“I think it changes a lot for F1 that Kimi is not in Ferrari anymore in a car that is able to win races,” he said in an interview quoted by PlanetF1.

“He is a formidable character. He is one of the very few people in this day and age, with social media and the ego getting out of control, that stays true to himself.

“He has his values and stays true to his values, and he is authentic. That is what the fans love. So Kimi not in a Ferrari is a blow for all of us."

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He did concede, however, it is a relief Raikkonen isn't retiring completely, which, at 39, many drivers in his situation would have probably decided to do.

“He is in Sauber and it is shame that, with Fernando [Alonso] going completely, we are losing two unbelievable personalities in some way," he claimed. “Kimi and Ferrari as a combination were attractive.

“Kimi says he is coming to enjoy things with Sauber, but the Sauber proved to be a best of the rest car,” Wolff added, admitting he'll still be relatively competitive.

“It is also just 40 minutes away from home, so he is able to stay at home and I think with Fred [Vasseur as team boss] they have a racers group that is coming together and a strong relationship with Ferrari, so why would he not continue to do what he enjoys doing?

“We were too much driven about what should he do: should he leave F1 because it is not a winning car anymore?

“But we are all here to be happy and we are all here to enjoy ourselves, and if driving is something that he truly enjoys then he is right to follow his passion.”

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