Maurizio Arrivabene: Long-term perspective behind Charles Leclerc promotion
Maurizio Arrivabene says Ferrari’s desire to implement a long-term plan was behind its decision to replace Kimi Raikkonen with Charles Leclerc next season, with the youngster having been signed through 2022.
Ferrari confirmed earlier this week that Raikkonen, the second longest-serving driver in its history, would leave at the end of 2018, with protégé Leclerc taking his seat.
Leclerc will be the youngest person to race for Ferrari in over 50 years and will join Sebastian Vettel off the back of just one season in Formula 1, having competed for Sauber in 2018.
“I mean when you make some choices like this, they are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only short-term commitment, but also long-term commitment,” said Arrivabene.
“Long-term means not only for next year, it’s for the future, I’m talking about the future of the team, how you’re going to grow young talent.”
“It’s not a big surprise, he’s one of the talented driver we have in Formula 1, thanks god he’s a guy that grows up with us and I hope that is going to continue his career with us at least until 2022, for sure.
“[But] the first mistake is to put too much pressure on the shoulders of this guy, [that] could be potentially a huge mistake.”
Arrivabene also praised the contribution made by outgoing driver Raikkonen.
“He’s great as a human being [and] as a driver,” he said.
“If you have to do a choice thinking about the future of the team I think we made the right choice, for us and for Kimi.
“The way that we wrote the press release was absolutely intentional.
“We were breaking a bit the rules of Ferrari [tradition] that normally [we] communicate this in one line.
“We were giving the respect to Kimi for what he has done for us and wishing him the best for the future.”
When asked about the fate of current reserve and Sauber candidate Antonio Giovinazzi, he replied: “You will see in the future of Giovinazzi in the next few weeks so I’m not concerned at all.”