Last Updated: 11/09/18 9:23am
Ferrari have confirmed Kimi Raikkonen will leave the team at the end of the season.
Charles Leclerc is expected to drive for Ferrari in 2019, replacing Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel’s team-mate.
Watch Sky F1 on your mobile phone
Race Control is now available on the Sky Sports app and your mobile phone
The Finn, who won the world championship in 2007 during his first stint in Ferrari colours, is currently third in the standings after finishing on the podium in five of the last six events.
A week ago, he qualified on pole position for Ferrari’s home race, the Italian GP. But the absence of confirmation around the Monza week that the 38-year-old would be retained was interpreted as a signal Raikkonen’s time at Ferrari was up, and Leclerc’s appointment was rubber-stamped at a meeting at Ferrari’s headquarters on Thursday.
Full statement from Ferrari
‘Scuderia Ferrari announces that, at the end of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen will step down from his current role.
‘During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the Team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental. He played a decisive role in the team’s growth and was, at the same time, always a great team player.
‘As a World Champion for Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the Team’s history and family. We thank Kimi for all of this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.’
Raikkonen to leave on a high
Since returning to Ferrari in 2014 as a replacement for Felipe Massa alongside Fernando Alonso, Raikkonen has failed to consistently hit the heights – and outright speed – of his previous stint with the team for three years between 2007 and 2009.
In 2014, he scored just 55 points compared to Alonso’s 161. A year later, the newly-signed Vettel out-scored Raikkonen by 150 points to 278. In 2016, Raikkonen fared statistically better, scoring 186 points to Vettel’s 212, but was substantially out-performed in 2017 when Vettel ran Lewis Hamilton close in the championship.
Curiously, therefore, Raikkonen has been dropped in the middle of a season when he is enjoying something of an Indian summer. Although a victory has eluded him, the Finn has registered nine podium scores and heads compatriot Valtteri Bottas, retained for next season by Mercedes, in the standings.
But it has not proved enough to persuade Ferrari to keep him for what would have been a ninth season with the team.
Following the news of Alonso’s imminent exit from the sport, Raikkonen’s likely departure from F1 at the end of the year is set to leave Lewis Hamilton as the oldest driver on the grid in 2019 at the age of 34.
Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.
Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.