Ferrari Considering Leclerc as Räikkönen Replacement for 2019


Charles Leclerc - Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Scuderia Ferrari are considering replacing Kimi Räikkönen with Charles Leclerc next season, with the Monegasque racer impressing in his rookie campaign with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.

Räikkönen’s current contract expires at the end of the current campaign, but has yet to claim a victory with the Maranello-based team since he rejoined the outfit in 2014, and currently this year has only sixty-eight points in the opening seven races compared to team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who has one hundred and twenty-one, including three wins.

Leclerc has put his Sauber into the second phase of Qualifying for the past four events while has also converted three of those into top ten finishes, with the Monegasque racer securing his best result of sixth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Leclerc is not the only driver being linked the ride, with Motorsport.com suggesting current Aston Martin Red Bull Racing racer Daniel Ricciardo is also a contender, especially as the Australian will be out of contract with his current employers at the end of the season.

However, Ferrari are wary of the cost of hiring Ricciardo alongside Vettel, which leaves the door open for Leclerc to make the giant step up to the Scuderia in what would just be his second season in Formula 1.

Leclerc has been a star in single seater junior categories, with a fourth-place finish in a highly fought FIA European Formula 3 Championship season in 2015 being followed by consecutive titles in both the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 Championship, with the twenty-year-old becoming the first ever driver to win both championships.

No decision has yet been determined to just who will partner Vettel in 2019, with Räikkönen certainly still in contention, but it may need the Finn to return to winning ways for him to be there next year, while at thirty-eight years old, he also does not have age on his side.

Should Leclerc grab the seat, he would become the first member of the Ferrari Driver Academy to drive for Ferrari.