Despite Kimi Raikkonen’s solid performance at Monza over the weekend, it would seem that Ferrari might still be looking to replace him with promising Sauber star Charles Leclerc in order to honor the late Sergio Marchionne.
Before he died, Marchionne planned on bringing in Leclerc and have him team up with Sebastian Vettel for the Scuderia come 2019. However, since his passing, new Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri looked to give Raikkonen more breathing space. Or at least it seemed that way.
Word is now circulating that Ferrari has again decided to stick to the original plan and honor Marchionne by bringing in Leclerc as Raikkonen’s replacement for next season, as reported by Autosport.
When asked whether or not he had spoken to Ferrari’s new bosses over the weekend, and also about his relationship with Marchionne, Leclerc had this to say: “John [Elkann] came earlier here with Michael [Manley], the new FCA [boss] just to introduce the whole team to him and it was a good opportunity [to meet]. But it was just an introduction [rather] than to speak about the future or anything.”
“I’ve never had a direct contact with Mr Marchionne, but he was speaking well about me all the time. Obviously it was always a pleasure to have positive comments, but I didn’t have direct contact with him.”
The 20-year old Monegasque driver has already claimed 13 points in the Drivers Standings in his first Formula 1 season, while also taking his Ferrari-powered Alfa Romeo Sauber into Q3 on three separate occasions.
As for whether he felt he had done enough so as to merit being teamed up with Sebastian Vettel in 2019, Leclerc stated that the decision lies with Ferrari:
“They know which driver I am and then they will judge whether or not it is enough. I’m still young and I still have a lot of races to learn and in the case I’ll go there it will be a dream come true, but it’s not to me to say if I’m ready or not.”