Kimi Räikkönen hopes that Alfa Romeo Racing can continue the incredible rate of development that it showed throughout the 2018 Formula 1 season.
Around 18 years after his last race for the Swiss team in its Sauber guise, Räikkönen returned to the outfit that gave him his F1 debut in 2001.
His move comes as an effective swap deal with Charles Leclerc, who earned a promotion to the full Scuderia Ferrari team on the back of a highly impressive rookie season.
Previewing this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, Räikkönen refrained from making any predictions as to where Alfa Romeo will be in the field.
“There is always some uncertainty when you head to the first race of the season – you could even call it a mystery,” said Räikkönen.
“Anything is possible.
“The midfield is tight and we can’t predict where we stand at the moment.”
Courtesy of an increased link to Ferrari that included a current-spec power unit and title sponsorship from Alfa Romeo, Sauber enjoyed a vast improvement on its 2017 form – a year that saw it finish bottom of the Constructors’ Championship for the first time in its history.
The improved 2018 package helped it to move ahead of Williams Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso in the standings and score 43 more points, the majority through Leclerc.
The link to Ferrari’s junior programme stays with 2016 GP2 Series runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi inheriting Marcus Ericsson‘s seat.
Räikkönen expressed his hope in Alfa Romeo continuing its form with the technically intriguing C38, a car that showed promise during winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” the Finn added.
“But the team has shown massive development last year and I am confident that we can have a strong start in Melbourne.”