According to rumors, Scuderia Ferrari could be readying to replace Kimi Räikkönen with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 driver Charles Leclerc after the 2018 Formula One World Championship season. Räikkönen, who won the Drivers’ Championship with Scuderia Ferrari in 2007, will turn 39 in October, making him one of the oldest drivers currently competing in F1.
This year marks Räikkönen’s sixteenth season competing in Formula One, and his eighth driving for Ferrari. It also marks his third consecutive one-year deal with Scuderia Ferrari, website Beyond the Flag notes, and given that he hasn’t won any races since the 2014 season, a fourth one-year contract seems unlikely.
Charles Leclerc, 20, is in his rookie Formula One World Championship season, driving for Alfa Romeo Sauber F1. He came up through the Ferrari Driving Academy to win the GP3 Series Championship in 2016, and the Formula 2 Championship the following year. And so far, Leclerc is showing promise, achieving three of Sauber’s four top-ten finishes this season, with a personal best sixth-place finish at Azerbaijan.
Still, the prospect of Leclerc replacing Räikkönen on the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team is, for now, just a rumor, and there are many who believed that Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo would be the one to take Räikkönen’s place on the team. Ricciardo, currently in fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, has won two races already this season, helping to disrupt the monotony of a podium routinely filled with Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG drivers. The 28-year-old Australian is the only non-Ferrari or Mercedes driver in the top five in this year’s Championship standings.
Räikkönen, Leclerc, and Ricciardo will all have the chance to prove themselves yet again this weekend at the 2018 French Grand Prix, June 24th.