Ferrari Could Honor Marchionne By Signing Leclerc To Replace Raikkonen

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.”

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  • Markey

    I’d love Leclerc+Kimi and I’d drop Seb. Way too many mistakes for the money.

    • ChrisInIL

      Yeah, not so much.

      Vettel – 226 points, 5 wins, 8 podiums
      Raikkonen – 164 points, 0 wins, 9 podiums

      Vettel was brought into Ferarri to drive the car they were building for him. It’s taken time, but they’re getting close.

      • fabri99

        If Ferrari (and F1 teams in general) would let their drivers race each other, the results would be different (Kimi has more podiums than Seb, and that says something). Vettel makes too many mistakes, it’s getting annoying. I know he’s under pressure, but I’m starting to feel like he is overrated. We should go back to every single race to say this with certainty, but I’m pretty sure that if there had been no team orders whatsoever Kimi would have more points by now.

        • ChrisInIL

          Teams allowing or not allowing their drivers to race one another is secondary to results.

          Vettel’s record + “too many mistakes” = one helluva driver. Just imagine how he’d be if he didn’t make those mistakes you claim. (No need to imagine – see “Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Racing for more information).

          Kimi and Seb have only been racing together for 3 years, so what is the reason for Kimi’s record the other 17 years? I’m not saying he isn’t a good driver – I think he is excellent. He’s excellent as a second driver.

          I think LeClerc has promise, but they shouldn’t put a new kid in Seb’s seat. Look at SIngapore 2017 and what happened when Red Bull put a new kid in Seb’s former Red Bull seat.

    • Vassilis

      I’d drop neither. I just think Charles should go to Haas.

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