An alleged firm contract binding Ferrari to Charles Leclerc could leave the Scuderia with no other choice but to field its junior driver next season and part ways with Kimi Raikkonen.
According to Auto Motor und Sport’s reputable Michael Schmidt, earlier this summer, former Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne committed the team to running Leclerc in 2019 following the Monegasque’s impressive performances with Sauber.
Louis Camilleri, the man now in charge of the House of Maranello, stated on Friday that no decision had yet been reached on the identity of the driver that will partner Sebastian Vettel next season.
“When we take that decision, and there is no timeframe, you will be the second to know,” the Italian executive told the media at Monza.
Raikkonen still the same driver he was 10 years ago
AMS however contends that Marchionne’s legacy deal with Leclerc stands, with Ferrari just waiting for the right time to announce it.
Raikkonen’s performances of late, and his pole position at Monza this weekend, attest to the quality of the Finn’s driving. The news of Leclerc’s arrival would undoubtedly rock the boat for Raikkonen’s fans, and therefore leaves Ferrari confronted with a public relations dilemma.
It’s unclear if the Italian squad could contest Leclerc’s alleged contract, but given the company’s moral obligation to the legacy of its former boss, not to mention the fact that Leclerc is managed by Nicolas Todt, the son of FIA president Jean Todt, such a course of actions appears unlikely.
Raikkonen has already stated his will to continue for a sixth consecutive season with Ferrari, although the 38-year-old insisted his fate was out of his hands.
“We’ll see. I don’t know,” he told the media on Friday. “You need to talk to the team. It’s not up to me. It’s not my decision in the end.”
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