Charles Leclerc has signed a contract to replace 2007 Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen at Scuderia Ferrari starting in the 2019 Formula 1 season.
The long-awaited decision regarding who Scuderia Ferrari’s second driver will be in the 2019 Formula 1 season alongside four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel has finally been made.
Instead of re-signing 2007 Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen to another contract extension that would keep him in Formula 1 for his 17th season and keep him with Ferrari for the ninth overall season and the sixth consecutive season, the Italian team have opted to sign Alfa Romeo Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc.
Formula 1 announced the news on their Instagram account.
Leclerc confirmed this news on his Instagram account.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, is set to replace Leclerc at Sauber next season.
Leclerc, 20, has driven in 14 Formula 1 races over the course of his career, which began in this year’s season opener, the Australian Grand Prix. He has driven for Sauber in each of these 14 races, and he is set to do so in each of the season’s final seven races as well.
The Monegasque test drove for Ferrari and Haas in the 2016 season, and he test drove for Ferrari and Sauber last year before being named Pascal Wehrlein’s replacement at the Swiss team for this year.
After winning his championships in the GP3 Series and Formula 2 in the 2016 and 2017 season, respectively, the Ferrari junior driver has had a great rookie Formula 1 season thus far.
Through the season’s first 14 races, Leclerc has racked up 13 points as a result of his five top 10 finishes, which took place in a six-race span. No Sauber driver has scored 13 points in a season since Felipe Nasr scored 27 points for the team in the 2015 season.
In fact, only 13 points have been scored by all of Sauber’s other drivers since the 2015 United States Grand Prix. A total of 58 Formula 1 races have taken place since then.
Leclerc’s best finish so far this season and in his career is his sixth place finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. His other top 10 finishes so far this year are his ninth place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix and his 10th place finishes in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Canadian Grand Prix and the French Grand Prix. He currently sits in 15th in the driver standings.
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Are you excited that Ferrari opted to sign Charles Leclerc for the 2019 Formula 1 season as opposed to re-signing Kimi Raikkonen once again? How do you believe Leclerc will perform in his first season driving for the Italian team?