Brundle: Raikkonen move hurts young talent

Kimi Raikkonen

Martin Brundle has said he finds Kimi Raikkonen’s move to Sauber “a bit surprising” and feels it damages young drivers trying to progress in Formula 1.

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Rumours of retirement were put firmly to bed after the Finn confirmed he would be rejoining his first team, Sauber, on a two-year contract at the end of the 2018 season.

And while 20-year-old Charles Leclerc is moving in the opposite direction to the Scuderia, Brundle believes Raikkonen is preventing other young talent emerging with a deal that will still see him racing when he is 41 years old.

“There is a bit of a changing of the guard going on in Formula 1,” Brundle told Sky Sports News.

“The [Leclerc] move makes sense. It energises Vettel, energises the team. Leclerc is 20 years old and they [Ferrari] can prepare him for the future which is what they need.

“Raikkonen is a great and popular driver, but in a way, I wish he would have moved aside now because there is a lot of great young guys without seats next year at the moment.

“Esteban Ocon would be a good example of that. There is also Stoffel Vandoorne, George Russell coming through leading the F2 World Championship.”

“So there is clearly an end game for Raikkonen now, moving to Sauber which will take him to a 41st year and it is a bit surprising [to see him move].

“But I do admire that he wants to carry on racing. I just hope this is not a step too far for him.”

The announcements from both Ferrari and Sauber mean that Mercedes are potentially set to be the only team on the Formula 1 grid to announce an unchanged line-up for 2019.

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