Formula 1: Raikkonen to leave Ferrari, return to Sauber at end of 2018

Formula 1: Raikkonen to leave Ferrari, return to Sauber at end of 2018

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary - July 28, 2018 Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen waves to the fans after qualifying in third place. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

MILAN: Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen will leave Ferrari at the end of 2018, the Italian Formula 1 team announced on Tuesday (Sep 11).

"Scuderia Ferrari announces that, at the end of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen will step down from his current role," the team said in a statement.

"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."

The 38-year-old has started 287 grands prix, winning 20 since his debut in 2001 with Sauber, the team he will race for again in 2019.

"The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team is delighted to announce that Kimi Räikkönen will join the team from 2019. The 2007 Formula One World Champion has signed for the next two seasons," Sauber confirmed.

Raikkonen left Formula 1 two years after winning the world title with Ferrari and spent two years competing in the World Rally Championship, before returning to F1 with Lotus in 2012.

Raikkonen moved back to Ferrari in 2014.

"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," the team added.

The Italian team has already announced the Finn's replacement - Charles Leclerc.

"Scuderia Ferrari announces that in the next Formula One racing season, Charles Leclerc will drive for the Team alongside Sebastian Vettel," the team said in a statement.

The 20-year-old Leclerc - a Ferrari Driver Academy graduate - made his debut in Formula 1 this season with Sauber.

Source: AFP/nh

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