New Ferrari president John Elkann pulled the plug on keeping Kimi Raikkonen at the Ferrari Formula 1 team before the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, as Charles Leclerc is set to be announced as a Ferrari driver before the Singapore Grand Prix.
F1 Hub understands Sergio Marchionne staged various levels of contract talks with Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc and even signed contractual agreements for the Monegasque to partner Sebastian Vettel from the 2019 Formula 1 season, and at that time a 2-year deal was agreed.
However, after Marchionne tragically passed away, Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Maurizio Arrivabene entered contract talks to retain Kimi Raikkonen for another Formula 1 season, given his almost perfect relationship with team-mate Sebastian Vettel and the support role to aid Vettel to a fifth title with the Ferrari Formula 1 team.
As Formula 1’s summer break came to an end, rumors inside the Spa paddock indicated Kimi Raikkonen was close to a new one-year Formula 1 deal with Ferrari to partner Sebastian Vettel, however John Elkann soon stepped in to create another conundrum in F1’s silly season.
Between the double header races of Belgium and Italy a final decision was made by Elkann along with key Scuderia Ferrari management to axe Kimi Raikkonen for the 2019 Formula 1 season and sign Charles Leclerc up from 2019. The exact details are still pending, and could yet have been adjusted from the original agreement with Marchionne, and it is expected Ferrari will make its 2019 driver line-up public before the Singapore Grand Prix.