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Kimi Raikkonen is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season
Former world champion Raikkonen will call time on his five-year spell with the Prancing Horse once the season reaches its conclusion.
The Finn is one of the longest serving members of the current crop of F1 drivers and was the last man to win the world championship for Ferrari with his 2007 triumph.
The 38-year-old has driven for Ferrari in two spells, from 2007 to 2009 and from 2014 to the current season.
Here’s all you need to know about today’s breaking F1 news regarding Raikkonen.
Why is Kimi Raikkonen leaving Ferrari?
Rumours circulated last week suggesting that Ferrari told Raikkonen they would not be retaining his services beyond the current season at the Italian Grand Prix.
Despite Raikkonen’s wealth of experience in the driving seat, he has struggled to match the performances of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel and rival Lewis Hamilton.
Ferrari are keen to give another young driver a chance with a mutual decision seemingly being reached between all parties.
A Ferrari statement read: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that, at the end of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen will step down from his current role.
Kimi Raikkonen first won the World Championship with Ferrari back in 2007
Kimi Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of the season
“During these years, Kimi’s contribution to the Team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental. He played a decisive role in the team’s growth and was, at the same time, always a great team player.
“As a World Champion for Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the Team’s history and family. We thank Kimi for all of this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.”
Raikkonen currently sits third in the F1 Championship standings after earning five podiums in his last six events.
But his failure to win the title since 2007 and having reached the age of 38 have convinced Ferrari to go in anothe direction.
Kimi Raikkonen confirms he’s joining Sauber next season
Who is going to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari?
Ferrari have confirmed Sauber’s Charles Leclerc will be partnering Sebastian Vettel from the 2019 season.
A statement on Ferrari’s website read: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that in the next Formula One racing season, Charles Leclerc will drive for the Team alongside Sebastian Vettel.”
The 20-year-old has been handed the opportunity just 14 races into his first full season of Formula 1.
Leclerc has close connections with the Italian team after coming through the ranks as a Ferrari development driver.
He has consistently out-qualified his experienced team mate Marcus Ericsson and scored 13 of the team’s 19 points so far this season.
“Dreams do come true,” Leclerc said on Twitter.
“I’ll be driving for @scuderiaferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. I will be eternally grateful to @scuderiaferrari for the opportunity given.
“To @nicolastodt for supporting me since 2011. To a person that is not part of this world anymore but to whom I owe everything of what is happening to me, Papa.
“To Jules, thank you for all the things you learnt me, we will never forget you, and to all the persons that supported me and believed in me.
“To my family I will work harder than ever to not disappoint you. But first, there is a season to finish with an amazing team that gave me the opportunity to fight and show my potential. Let’s go @SauberF1Team.”
Kimi Raikkonen is being replaced by Charles Leclerc next season
What is Kimi Raikkonen’s next career move?
With Leclerc leaving Sauber, Raikkonen will now take up his position with the Swiss team.
Raikkonen posted on Twitter: “Guess who’s back?! Next two years with @sauberf1team ahead! Feels extremely good to go back where it all began!”
The Finn made his debut in F1 at Sauber back in 2001, where he was teammates with fellow countryman Mika Salo for a year.
“Kimi has a good relationship with Sauber and they fit together perfectly,” Salo said recently.
“Firstly, he lives near their headquarters in Switzerland, and it was his first team in F1.”