In a surprise turn of events, it’s been announced that Scuderia Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen will move to the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team for the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship season, effectively trading seats with current Sauber driver Charles Leclerc. Rumors had swirled for some time regarding the possibility that Scuderia Ferrari might replace the aging Räikkönen, up until last week, when it was reported that the driver had been told after the Italian Grand Prix that his seat would be given to someone else.
It was reported then that Scuderia Ferrari had the young Charles Leclerc in mind to replace Räikkönen.
Kimi Räikkönen has signed on for the next two seasons with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team. A beloved driver with a devoted fan base, Räikkönen cut his teeth in Formula One driving for the Swiss Sauber F1 Team, before spending several seasons with McLaren, ending up at Ferrari in 2007. He won his singular Formula One World Champion title that season, before leaving the sport for two years after 2009. In 2012, he returned, spending the next two seasons at Lotus before again signing with Scuderia Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel was brought on as his teammate in 2015, following the departure of Fernando Alonso.
Throughout his F1 career, Kimi Räikkönen has scored 20 wins and 100 podium finishes, although he’s been on a win-less streak for the past few years. His last victory came in 2013, driving for Lotus at the Australian Grand Prix, and he’s entered more than 100 Grand Prix since then.
“Signing Kimi Räikkönen as our driver represents an important pillar of our project and brings us closer to our target of making significant progress as a team in the near future,” says Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur. “Kimi’s undoubted talent and immense experience in Formula One will contribute not only to the development of our car, but will also accelerate the growth and development of our team as a whole.
“Together, we will start the 2019 season with a strong foundation, driven by the determination to fight for results that count.”