Leclerc will replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2019


Leclerc will replace Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2019
In the picture, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen during the Italian Grand Prix, September 2, 2018. Photo: Reuters

20-year-old rookie Charles Leclerc of Monaco will replace Formula One veteran Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari next season, in a driver exchange for which Sauber will sign the 2007 Finnish world champion.


The changes were long awaited and were announced by both teams on Tuesday.


Leclerc, a Ferrari protege who has been long tipped for promotion to the sport’s oldest and most successful team, debuted with Sauber this season after winning last year’s Formula 2 title.


He will now be the team-mate of four-time world champion and title contender Sebastian Vettel.


“The Ferrari Scuderia announces that, at the end of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen will leave his current position,” Ferrari said.


“As world champion for the Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the history and family of the team. We thank Kimi for all this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.


Ferrari is the most glamorous team in Formula One and Leclerc will be one of the youngest and least experienced drivers to compete for the team.


Raikkonen, 38, posted a message on Instagram announcing that he would rejoin Sauber, a team with Ferrari engines and Alfa Romeo sponsorship, on a two-year contract.


The Finn started at Sauber in 2001, before moving on to McLaren and then Ferrari, where he won a title that remains the team’s newest.


“Guess who’s back?! The next two years with @sauberf1team ahead! It feels extremely good to go back to where it all started,” he told his 974,000 followers.


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