Raikkonen approached Sauber for 2019 seat

  • 26 Jan 2019 18:47
  • comments 15
  • By: Richard Fletcher

Kimi Raikkonen approached Sauber to see if there was a drive for 2019 after Ferrari had told him that he would be released from his contract. The vacancy appeared at the Swiss team when Charles Leclerc was given the Ferrari drive and Raikkonen decided to approach Sauber rather than wait for them to approach him.

Raikkonen had been tipped by many pundits for retirement at the end of 2018 if he lost his Ferrari seat but the 39-year-old former world champion felt that he had more left to give and decided to finish his Formula 1 career with the team that launched it.

Raikkonen started with Sauber in 2001, and this year he will be partnering Antonio Giovinazzi, a Ferrari driver academy graduate like the recently promoted Leclerc.

Raikkonen's manager, Steve Robertson said, "When Kimi was told he wouldn't have a Ferrari contract for next year, he made a move. He started a dialogue about the potential to drive for Sauber."

"Kimi wanted to carry on, he had meetings with the owners at Sauber, then a meeting with Fred (the team principal) and Beat (the team manager). They could see Kimi was eager to carry on."

"And Kimi wanted to see if the team had the same enthusiasm as he did. And he felt that so he said OK, I want to do the deal. He was a bit negative at Monza, but he bounced back quickly. He wanted to keep driving because he feels he still has something to offer."

Replies (15)

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  • Honestly, even if Ferrari hadnt given him the boot, it would not have surprised me if Kimi had gone to Sauber. It feels like he is a bit tired, not really racing or attacking, mostly just "being there", while the money roll in. I think being in Sauber will be good for him, it'll put him right in the mix, and he'll get a project to work on, while the money still roll in.

    • + 0
    • Jan 26 2019 - 19:59
    • I agree 100%. I used to deride those that talked a out money being a motivatio, but seriously, Kimi is perpetually displeased, complaining about the sport more frequently than when he left the first time. He did a solid job with Lotus, but since switching to Ferrari it's been embarrassing. He tarnished his whole legacy as another sad Ferrari #2 driver.

      I really hope he finds new motivation in Sauber because if he doesn't I rather he get the hell out of F1

      • + 0
      • Jan 26 2019 - 21:18
    • Oh definitely. I am 100% with you on not believing him being "in it for the money", but looking at the situation it kinda makes sense. The dude's even been better paid than Hammy in some estimations. I think he has been stuck with a car that doesnt fit his style ever since he came back to Ferrari, just letting Vettel and Alonso run the show while he sat back and made the dough. I hope we'll see good stuff from him at Sauber. Surely a challenge like bringing his old starter team back to glory, and becoming the de facto lead driver, should ignite a spark?

      • + 0
      • Jan 26 2019 - 22:27
    • To be clear, I used to disbelieve the money motivations. Nowadays, I absolutely believe that money is the main reason for sticking around. He hasn't had any passion or joy since leaving Lotus. And still, that makes sense to me. What doesn't make sense is why Ferrari kept such a mediocre and expensive driver for so long

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 03:32
    • Yeah same... I did formulate that a bit poorly, didnt I? I used to think Kimi was a racing purist, his time at Williams really made me sure on that. After 2016 and onward, and after seeing the sums he allegedly earn, I kinda changed my mind. As for why Ferrari kept him: Kimi might be costy, but he also have a pretty decent selection of sponsors, and he is another big name driver. Furthermore, a major reason that has been confirmed is that Vettel wanted him to stay, and convinced Ferrari again and again to retain him. Him not staying now could mean that either Vettel's favour aint enough anymore, or Vettel doesnt have enough favour left for Kimi. My question now is: how will Sauber afford such a big name driver?

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 06:38
    • "how will Sauber afford such a big name driver?"

      Someone else must be paying for him. Maybe Liberty Media? They need to keep some big names. That's all he is now, just a name. He stopped being a racing driver a long time ago.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 11:45
    • mcbhargav

      Posts: 856

      Or may be Kimi is really intesrested in racing, and want to drive in F1.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 16:42
    • DGuzmanG

      Posts: 8

      Yes I don't know if this has been confirmed or denied, but some said he bought some stock in Sauber and him driving for them is part of the deal.

      I doubt it is for money, I believe he simply wants to drive, not the fight for the championship and the pressure and media obligations it brings...

      At Sauber he'll enjoy driving and battling the midfield even if he himself is somehow paying for that drive...

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 21:23
    • @DGuzmanG I actually agree with the fact that he is actually motivated to be at Sauber. I expect him to raise his game quite a bit. My comments were more about his entire embarrassing stint at Ferrari where he was neutered.

      • + 1
      • Jan 27 2019 - 21:35
  • stanbest

    Posts: 3

    Kimi drove for McLaren before going to Ferrari, he was brilliant in what was the fastest car then, his only problem was reliability. He was leading many races only to break down in the final stages. I suppose being a dad he is more cautious these days that's why Ferrari had to get a younger more committed driver.

    • + 0
    • Jan 26 2019 - 23:31
    • Thats a good point. However it should be noted that he joined Ferrari before being a dad, his kid was born pretty recently in comparison.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 06:40
  • xoya

    Posts: 303

    Kimi shouldn't have returned, like many before him, bar Prost, who had something to prove.

    • + 0
    • Jan 27 2019 - 04:40
    • If you refer to him returning to F1: I disagree that he shouldnt have returned. What he shouldnt have done was returning to Ferrari and settling for 2nd driver when he is such a big name.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 06:40
    • xoya

      Posts: 303

      I believe that he tarnished his reputation and image. He went out on a relative high and should've stayed out.

      On the other hand, I wouldn't really say no to a couple of millions every year either. :)

      So it was a balance between cashing in or staying remebered as a really cool champion. We can see which path he chose.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 13:54
    • mcbhargav

      Posts: 856

      Couple of millions? I m afraid its tens of millions per year.

      • + 0
      • Jan 27 2019 - 16:37

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