Ferrari boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, admitted to the media that the Maranello signed Charles Leclerc over Kimi Raikkonen because they were thinking of both the team and their academy’s driver future.
“I mean when you make some choices like this, they are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only short-term commitment, but also long-term commitment,” said Arrivabene.
“Long-term means not only for next year, it’s for the future, I’m talking about the future of the team, how you’re going to grow young talent.”
“It’s not a big surprise, he’s one of the talented driver we have in Formula 1, thanks god he’s a guy that grows up with us and I hope that is going to continue his career with us at least until 2022, for sure.
However, the Ferrari boss also urged fans and the media to not pressurize Leclerc too much. “The first mistake is to put too much pressure on the shoulders of this guy, [that] could be potentially a huge mistake.”
Raikkonen is one of the modern legends in F1, be it on or off track, as he proved yesterday, and the Ferrari boss was all praise for his Finn recruit.“He’s great as a human being [and] as a driver,” he said.
“If you have to do a choice thinking about the future of the team I think we made the right choice, for us and for Kimi.”
He also revealed that Ferrari broke tradition to honour Raikkonen for his services to the Scuderia. “The way that we wrote the press release was absolutely intentional,” he revealed.
“We were breaking a bit the rules of Ferrari [tradition] that normally [we] communicate this in one line. We were giving the respect to Kimi for what he has done for us and wishing him the best for the future.”
Raikkonen though will still remain in F1, as he put out a special Instagram story to announce his return to Sauber for 2019. His teammate is thought to be another Ferrari graduate, Antonio Giovinazzi, who Arrivabene revealed would know his fate in the coming days.