Maurizio Arrivabene has confirmed that it was his decision to tell Kimi Raikkonen his time at Ferrari would end after the 2018 season, with the 2007 world champion set to leave the team for Sauber, with Charles Leclerc coming in as his replacement.
With Raikkonen’s contract running down, there was speculation throughout the season as to whether they would hand the Finn a new deal or bring in a younger driver, with Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull even mentioned as a possible candidate at the time.
The decision was made to promote junior driver Leclerc to the team at the expense of Raikkonen. This was thought to be the desire of former Ferrari CEO, Sergio Marchionne, who tragically passed away during the summer after health complications following shoulder surgery.
However, Arrivabene has put the speculation to rest as to who made the decision, saying he made the final call with the blessing of upper management including Louis Camilleri and John Elkann.
“It was my decision,” the Italian told Sky Sports.
“They understood the logic behind the decision, but I was the one who made it.”
Arrivabene went on to reveal that he was emotional when making the decision as he considers Raikkonen a friend, but that professionalism must come first.
“For me, Kimi is also a friend, so you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to tell him,” he continued.
“Drivers are just as human as I am, but in situations like that they are treated as professionals.”
Now, Raikkonen is headed to Alfa Romeo-Sauber for 2019 and he will be replaced by Charles LeClerc. Last week, in Austin, Texas, the veteran Finn proved that he still had it in him. Raikkonen is relishing his final 3 races with the Scuderia for this season before returning to the team where he made his F1 debut.