Ferrari team principal has said that choosing Charles Leclerc to replace Kimi Raikkonen was the best choice for Ferrari's future. The young Monegasque driver is only in his first season of F1 but has impressed significantly in the unfancied Sauber, regularly outperforming more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson.
However their have been some people who have said veteran Kimi Raikkonen should have been given one more year whilst leclerc gains more F1 experience. Arrivabene though has claimed this a long term decision to promote the young driver to Ferrari where expectations will be much higher against four time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Arrivabene said this on the Leclerc decision: "When you make some choices like this, that are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only at the short-term commitment but also at the long-term commitment,” he explained. "It’s not a decision taken by Mr Simpson, it’s a decision taken by me, discuss it also with the top management, that is taking into consideration many, many factors.”
“The first mistake is to put too much pressure on the shoulders of this guy, It could be, potentially, a huge mistake. I signed with Charles in November 2016 or November 2015 the first contract in the Ferrari Driver Academy. In that contract we already designed and committed and signed and wrote his future in Formula 1, as we have done with Giovinazzi, the same thing.
"And that means we change a bit also the way that we organise the Ferrari Driver Academy but also how we are going to develop the talent for the future. So Charles Leclerc is not a big surprise, he’s one of the talented drivers that we have in Formula 1. Thank God, it’s a guy that he grew up with us and I hope that he is going to continue his career with us, at least until 2022 for sure.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing