After months and months of speculation, Ferrari have finally announced Kimi Raikkonen is to leave the team at the end of the season.
The Scuderia confirmed that the Finn will ‘step down from his current role’ at the end of the current campaign.
Charles Leclerc has been named as his replacement.
Raikkonen, who began his Formula 1 career back in 2001, has spent a total of eight seasons with the Scuderia and is currently their most recent World Champion, having clinched the title in 2007.
In a short statement made to the press, Ferrari has paid tribute to Raikkonen for all that he has given to the Scuderia.
“Kimi’s contribution to the team, both as a driver and on account of his human qualities, has been fundamental,” said team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
“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 subsequently confirmed on social media that he was returning to former team Sauber on a two-year deal
He posted: “Guess who’s back?! Next two years with @sauberf1team ahead! Feels extremely good to go back where it all began!”
Sauber then released their own official statement to confirm the news: “The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team is delighted to announce that Kimi Raikkonen will join the team from 2019. The 2007 Formula One World Champion has signed for the next two seasons.
“In his career, Kimi Raikkonen has secured 20 Grands Prix wins and 100 podiums, making him one of the most highly regarded drivers in the history of the sport.
“The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team looks forward to the arrival of the Finnish driver, with whom the team shares the common goal of achieving ambitious results.”
Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur added: “Signing Kimi Raikkonen as our driver represents an important pillar of our project, and brings us closer to our target of making significant progress as a team in the near future.
“Kimi’s undoubted talent and immense experience in Formula One will not only contribute to the development of our car, but will also accelerate the growth and development of our team as a whole.
“Together, we will start the 2019 season with a strong foundation, driven by the determination to fight for results that count.”
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