Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber, 2001

Raikkonen will return to Sauber for 2019 and 2020

2019 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Kimi Raikkonen has announced he will join Sauber for the 2019 F1 season following his departure from Ferrari.

The 38-year-old announced in a social media post he will return to the Swiss team he made his debut for in 2001.

Alongside a picture of his first season at the team, Raikkonen wrote: “Guess who’s back? Next two years with Sauber F1 Team ahead! Feels extremely good to go back where it all began!”

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur confirmed Raikkonen will drive for them in 2019 and 2020.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Raikkonen will trade places with current Sauber driver Charles Leclerc, who has gone to Ferrari. The team is yet to confirm whether Marcus Ericsson will continue to drive for them in 2019.

Don't miss anything new from RaceFans

Follow RaceFans on social media:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld, Peter Sauber, 2001
Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld, Peter Sauber, 2001

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

106 comments on “Raikkonen will return to Sauber for 2019 and 2020”

  1. Woah! Ok, didn’t expect that!

    1. Going to be fascinating who he is paired with. The guy certainly still has lots of speed so the comparison will be very interesting.

    2. It’s great to see Sauber being so ambitious

      Is it the first time a WDC will drive for them?

      1. Villeneuve drove for them when they were BMW Sauber, but otherwise I think yes.

      2. Jacques Villeneuve drove them in the mid 2000s

      3. Not sure, but it might be, but sauber has been around 30 years or so, don’t remember the older years.

  2. There’s also some reports that he has an ownership option/offer so will be taking a percentage of the team – which is last thing I thought I’d ever see Kimi doing!

    Also “Alfa Romeo Sauber Raikkonen F1” is getting up their with RBs full moniker of “Aston Martin Red Bull Tag Heuer”

    1. Säubennen

    2. Should help them secure some of that lucrative ice cream sponsorship money…

      All kidding aside, I’m a huge Kimi fan and I’m glad he’ll still be on the grid for two more years (and with a team I like!).

  3. He’s driving for money now, not exactly a crime. Brilliant news for Sauber’s development though.

    1. Or maybe he’s driving because he loves racing in Formula one. Sauber seem to be on the up at the moment.

      I’d imagine he could make more money racing elsewhere.. but chose to stay in F1 which is great news!

    2. Most expensive Sauber driver ever ?

      1. Given today’s monies probably yes, but they also had Villeneuve in 2005-6.

      2. Probably still under a Ferrari contract @webtel, @johnbeak. Or maybe him getting his feet under the table with Ferrari / Alfa funding as a severance package and to buy his loyalty until the end of the season to support Vettel clinching this title.

        Also, let’s not forget Heidfeld and Kubica started earning solid money when the team was BMW-Sauber.

    3. Seems like a waste of a seat to me.

      What is he really going to achieve in a Sauber? He’ll have a good race here and there but there are so many talented driers without a seat for next year that I can’t but feel that having one more seat going around for Ocon, Vandoorne, Russell, Giovanazzi, Wehrlein or Kubica to allow them to stay in/reenter the sport unfortunately seems like a shame.

      1. If you can choose between Ocon, Vandoorne, Russell, Giovanazzi, Wehrlein, Kubica or Kimi to help you develop a competitive racecar. Who would you choose? I would go with Kimi 100%.

        1. Jussi Matias Puurunen
          12th September 2018, 2:10


    4. The thing that bugs me is that there’s a lot of promising young talent out there that deserves that seat. But for Sauber’s it makes a lot of sense to have a driver who can help incredibly with development, he’s also apparently taking part ownership…

    5. Driving because of the love for racing, as a bonus, still racing to support his family. Well done Kimi

  4. Wow… talk about a demotion!

    I’m surprised he’s still interested in making up the numbers on the grid. I would hang up my gloves and call it a day…

    1. I reckon if they are finally going to get rid of Ericsson then perhaps they want some experience in the team.

    2. I agree. I don’t like Kimi going in a midfield team to end his career. Hopefully he can lift them up.

      1. Right now they’re closer to back marker status than midfield.. which is what makes it even more depressing. If Kimi was going to Renault it would be interesting, but a Sauber….

        1. Sauber build a better car than a top team like MCLAREN.

    3. It is not too bad. Sauber is close to his home and he still gets Ferrari money. And kimi knows he has had a fair number of swings of the bat. It’s going be interesting to see how he looks against Vandoorne.

    4. I wouldn’t be so sure. Apparently he knows what he’s doing.

    5. You really are a sad little boy.

      1. Wouldn’t you want to see an Ice Cream manufacturer’s logo on his racing suit.?
        This just screams of OPPORTUNITY.
        Haagen Dazs would be one, but I am sure there are others.
        Come-on folks, wake up and feel it meling down your arm and smell the chocolate.

  5. Excellent news for Sauber & for Kimi fans. Sauber now can replace Ericsson
    (nothing against the lad, just his driving is average) & get Giovinazzi in! They can create a super strong lineup and fight for best of the rest next year! Good news in generall

    1. @miltosgreekfan Vasseur is a Vandoorne fan, so I can see him teaming up with Kimi for the next two years.

      1. @ijw1 Vasseur said that he isn’t interested in Vandoorne & having Giovinazzi in the waiting makes me think that they’ll prefer Antonio over Stoffel. They have a good relationship from GP2, but after a horrible season like Vandoorne had, its difficult to see him going in there.

      2. I expect to see Antonio Giovinazzi in the other Sauber. It would be interesting to see a young, talented driver up against one of the proven talents who is still quite fast and an excellent benchmark for the youngster.

        1. GIO has been passed by Leclerc in the ranks and has not impressed Haas or Sauber enough to get a seat. Ferrari has no need for him in a race car and just put Raikonnen in the only seat they have available (like they did with Leclerc this year). Gio will be a sim and reserv driver, nothing more.

    2. I’m a Kimi fan and I’m really pleased with this news. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought he was on the verge of retirement after some poor showings, but he’s acquitted himself well recently and has arguably deserved more points – it seems like he gets more than his fair share of bad luck and poor strategy calls from Ferrari. Not that he’s done much complaining. Still, he’s never really looked like being a WDC contender, and with Vettel’s sometimes erratic form, it makes sense that the team would want to bring in an exciting prospect like Leclerc to see if he could be their long-term future. Next year is going to be very interesting.

      I expect Kimi understands too. This move might have been the only way of extending his career, but it’s got the nostalgia factor, and it’ll be fun seeing what Kimi can get out of a Sauber. If he could just somehow win a race before the end of this season, that’d be perfect.

  6. georgeboole (@)
    11th September 2018, 9:32

    So its like he’s been demoted to the junior team just like RBR and TR?
    Never mind.


  7. You guys are going to enjoy the second Kimi book IF they EVER decide to release the details for this cluster, from what I hear thru the grapevines…
    Lets just put it out there, there are contracts, and then there are F1 contracts. And then there is Ferrari.

    1. Is this a teaser comment?

    2. This has nothing to do with dodgy contracts, though.

    3. Do not drink those grapes is my advice.

  8. I’m very happy with this ad. It closes a remarkable cycle, with great dignity and an absolutely dedusting form. In the Kimi style, there is well for all the moments provided to the real motorsport lovers so far, and we will look forward to waiting for more … Go Kimi ……

  9. Well, this, uumm… I don’t know. I don’t think I understand this move. Is this really necessary for Kimi’s career? After reading his book I was sure he is fed up with F1.

    1. @huhhii Oh, come on… Cheer up! As long as there’s still Kimi on the grid, I’d be happy enough.

  10. Great choice of image from Kimi in his tweet, sporting the sponsors of Ferrari’s main 2 rivals.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      11th September 2018, 10:49

      It’s Kimi… at Sauber. There is only one correct image for this story and that’s it! Who on earth gets defensive over sponsors? 😂

  11. Not a fan of this move. Kimi isn’t a winning driver anymore and is gradually declining. He had a respectable career behind him and now he’s just filling a seat that a promising young driver could be given the opportunity with.

    And I can’t imagine he’s cheap either, they could probably have gotten better results and paid less money for Vandoorne .

    1. On the other hand it frees a top seat that will be filled with a promising young driver.

      Maybe he just to wants to keep racing.

      And Vandoorne really? He is hardly matching Ericsson’s performances

      He is the Fabio Paim of F1

      1. @johnmilk
        Since you’re an expert of Portuguese football, I’d say that Vandoorne is the Carlos Alberto Gomes of F1 :)

        1. @tifoso1989 he is Brazilian but I guess you are referring to his Porto connection. He won the champions league though so at least he has that on his resume

          1. @tifoso1989
            I’d say on a personal performance level he’s like Vandoorne, he only had one good game which is the 2004 UEFA champions league final (like Vandoorne in the 2016 Bahrain GP) and he then disappeared.
            I thought that he will be an international football star, Even Mourinho a couple of years ago when asked about a young prospect he cited Carlos Alberto Gomes as an example and said that he doesn’t know where he is at the time despite the fact that he was a very promising striker when he launched him in the first squad in 2004.

          2. That was a reply for @johnmilk.

          3. At least lets compare the champions league final with a proper race, Monaco for example @tifoso1989, but yes I see your point

  12. Can Sauber afford Kimi’s wages?

    1. equity in the team, @andyhoudini.

    2. Alfa Romeo can

  13. Raikkonen and Kubica?

  14. That should give him the all-time race entries/starts reconds by the time he’s done.

    Even if Alonso comes back in 2020 ;)

  15. Can we please make this a little more accurate?

    Raikkonen‘s publicist wrote: “Guess who’s back? Next two years with Sauber F1 Team ahead! Feels extremely good to go back where it all began!”

    Plus, I assume Ferrari will still be paying him, not Sauber.

    1. I think he manages his own Instagram. Or his publicist plays with Kimi’s kid a lot.

    2. His account, his statement, even if he hired someone else to do the boring stuff.

      Did you really think that I write these comments myself :P

    3. Apparently there is nothing to do with Ferrari.

  16. All my hopes are for giovi alongside kimi now

  17. If Kimi sees out his contract, he’s going to retire as the driver with most starts in history. Bwoah!

  18. I like it when a quality driver sticks around and passes on their experience and knowledge to a sport that has treated them well. It only seems fair to me.

    Full respect to Kimi for sticking around instead of retiring and I look forwards to him being given the chance to race again rather than play support to another driver.

  19. I don’t get it… why?

    Hoped he’d go out on a high, dropping down to Sauber just to make up the numbers for a couple of seasons isn’t something I ever expected Raikkonen to do.

    1. I don’t get it… why?

      Because he now owns a part of the team.

      1. If that is true (and I have read it in a few places though seen no official word) then it is great news.
        Kimi could become the Finnish Jackie Stewart :)

    2. To be honest, my initial reaction when I saw the first news on Twitter was – ‘Fake news! This just cannot be real!’

      But it looks like being in F1 is more important to Raikkonen than fighting for podiums. Also, Ferrari might be happy that they still have a safe pair of hands available in their C-team, just in case. And F1 bosses are certainly not complaining, given Kimi’s marketing value. If the F1 grid was not so ridiculously small and there ware a couple more spare seats, I would say that this is the perfect solution that makes everyone happy. Unfortunately, this also means that some young talent (most probably Giovinazzi), who probably deserves an F1 chance, will have to try his luck elsewhere next year.

  20. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    11th September 2018, 10:51

    I don’t know why but this move to me feels far more dignified than Massa or Rubens sticking around for way too long past their sell by date.

    And I honestly can’t tell you why, but I respect and admire Kimi for this.

    1. I don’t know why but this move to me feels far more dignified than Massa or Rubens sticking around for way too long past their sell by date.

      Well, probably because you are a Kimi fan with a very distorted view of reality. If you criticise Massa and Barrichello (who was still a top 5 driver in the sport by the time he was forced to leave it) for sticking around too long, yet praise Kimi for moving to a backmarker despite being past it since the end of 2014, you are either failing at basic logic or do not occupy the same planet as we others do.

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        11th September 2018, 11:55

        @klon have some manners, I am clearly a Mercedes / Lewis fan and was simply thinking out loud as to why this move feels different.

        Maybe because it shows a real love of the sport and I admire his performance just last week, never been a real Kimi fan if im honest.

        Simmer down and learn some respect, this isnt Planet F1.

  21. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    11th September 2018, 11:11

    This seems similar to Schumacher going to Merc in terms of bookending his career with the team that started it all.

  22. So I can keep pretending that my youth has not ended yet. Kimi is still driving in F1, just like he was when I was a high school student. It cannot be that it was a long time ago.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have got some work to do – those grey hair will not colour themselves.

  23. Nice to see Kimi stay on if that what he wants but I’m disappointed a seat at a lower midfield team is being taken by someone at the end of their career when there’s so many young drivers waiting for a spot.

  24. Really intresting! Love the move.
    And i think Ferrari got the opportunity to change driver midseason if Leclerc move is too soon.
    ME might be safe in this move with Sauber wanting someone from this season still racing next season.
    Depending on ME last races on this season.

  25. I didn’t see this coming despite the earlier rumors, which I didn’t buy at all. I was fully expecting him to either continue at his current team or quit the sport altogether, not move to another team anymore especially a latter-midfield one. This means that he’s going become part of the majority who’s going to be lapped by the drivers of the top-3 teams on a regular basis, and the irony is that as of now he’s one of those six drivers who have the luxury of being able to lap more or less everyone else on the grid on a regular basis thanks to the pace advantage he enjoys over them. I can already see him being lapped by Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen, and Gasly in Melbourne, LOL.

  26. I take this as: ferrari are keeping Raikkonen around in case Leclerc falters

    1. That did cross my mind as well, but if the rumours of Kimi buying into Sauber ownership are right then that would cause problems.
      Still, it would give me a very slight pause for thought if I was Leclerc … not much … but still.

    2. My first thought was “in case Seb throws a tantrum, bins it and walks out” @maciek. Shortly followed by “ah, buying Kimi’s loyalty to support their no.1 driver clinching this championship”.

      I guess that about exactly a year after Vettel binned his hopes of winning last year, he can now show he’s improved now.

  27. I love Kimi, but this is a massive shame. Not that Giovanazzi doesn’t get a seat, because he’s not that special. But if every move now falls into place, that’s no seat for Ocon (or Russell). If Ocon misses out on a seat in F1, that’s criminal. A future WC. One of the best in the sport already. All because of paydrivers and politics.

      1. Great comment. But what about Ocon at Williams with a financial bonus from Mercedes (discount for engines, etc)?

      2. sorry, this was meant to be a reply to @hahostolze

  28. Personally I like it, he’ll offer something that a team like a Sauber need; a reference, feedback and a known quality. If you look where they (Sauber) were 18 months ago, this is huge progress. As for blocking the progresses of youngsters, Charles will be in a Ferrari and that will Sauber seat will be a much more coveted one once he departs it. I bet Williams would much rather have Massa around right now than Sergei or Lance, and I don’t think post-2009 Massa was at the level Kimi is at now.

    Also, in a sport where driver finances are everything it’s nice to see someone there for no reason other than he clearly loves driving (though might not show it all too often). He can’t need the money, the early Ferrari termination alone would have set him up nicely. It’s not like he seems to have penchant for mansions in Miami or gold chains, just a snowmobile or two.

  29. Guess this is what happens when you disobey team orders and don’t curb your speed and let the cry baby behind you get pole.

    I understand they want to honor what their president wanted but what Raikkonen has done for the team is not something to cast aside so easily. I can’t stand Ferrari as a team. At no point do they allow their drivers to really race. I understand the prestige but racing for Ferrari puts the drivers legacy at risk.

  30. Big news! The Sauber rumours have been around for a while, which didnt make much sense seeing what he has acheived and how much money he has. But if he is getting some equity it makes a lot more sense.
    I thought Kimi would retire and ride off into the sunset, but seems he has other plans.

    Maybe sick of playing no.2 and just want a mid field car to ring it neck and show what he can do with no team orders. Next step maybe stepping into management & pass on some of his knowledge !
    I think its cool, hope Antonio is next to him.

  31. Kimi Raikkonen confirms he will continue to drive the 2018 Ferrari in the 2019 world championship

    1. I thought he was going to Sauber, not Haas.

  32. I also thought that Kimi would rather retire, but it sounds like he still enjoys F1. Actually the move makes perfect sense. It has been two seasons in which he wasn’t really good enough for a seat in a top team was indeed blocking the path of more promising young drivers. But he is certainly good enough for Sauber !

    As for Ocon, yes, he will most probably be without a drive in 2019, yes, it is a terrible shame, but I don’t think it has anything to do with Kimi. The writing was on the wall, as could be inferred from Toto’s spiteful late interviews. I do like Toto, but clearly he has been taken completely by surprise by the Ricciardo move, has run out of options, and has unwillingly let Ocon down, although the guy was good enough for a Mercedes seat. It is not such a surprise that no team wants to have Ocon on loan, and then have to let him go whenever Mercedes calls him. Christian Horner is quite right to gloat about the contrast with Verstappen’s career.

  33. My goodness, when I read about the last race that Kimi won – for Lotus in 2013 – it seems like a life ago! I struggle to remember any of these facts even though I definitely watched the race.

  34. I forgot to mention that Ocon and Hülkenberg are the tallest drivers on the grid and stand to gain the most under the 2019 weight limit rules…

  35. 2019 – Sauber finds loophole and RAI finds himself in the hunt for championship!!!

  36. Kimi would have been a great fit for Red Bull. That’s a shame. Bad timing.
    Come to think of it, he could do worse than Sauber. Like a return to McLaren for example.

  37. Looks like Ericsson will be beaten even more comprehensively than before. Fire him and take Ocon!

  38. oh, I would have liked to see:
    Raikonen to McLaren
    Alonso to Ferrari
    Sainz to RedBull

  39. Glad to see Kimi still in F1 for 2 more years.

    And back with Sauber. It takes you back to his early days when some tried to keep him out of F1 saying he was too young and inexperienced, only to later become WDC of course.

    Now I suppose some will say he is too old. Oh, the irony. I’m glad to continue watching Kimi race in F1. He can help Sauber and he still has the desire to race. Could be interesting.

  40. Just… why?

    Whatever. Should be entertaining at least.

  41. This is great news really. He won’t be playing second fiddle and can actually race without getting stooged on strategy.

    I’ve always thought more top tier drivers should go back to lower teams instead of retiring. Every team should have an old dog and a new dog that can learn from them, rather than young driver teams where they are expected to learn from no one and compete against each other when there is no solid measuring stick for them to be compared to.

    Great move from Raikkonen, hope his heart is in it though or we could see shades of ’09 Kimi…

  42. The biggest surprise in all of this for me is that Raikkonen is going back to Sauber, I thought that when he left Ferrari he would retire as an F1 driver unless who he had the opportunity to go to a team who could challenge for wins, and considering the drives available I thought this would be what would happen. I can’t remember for certain if he actually said something like this publically but for some reason I thought he had.

    He won’t be competitive at Sauber, he will go from a good weekend being where he has a chance at pole and challenging for the win to a good weekend being getting into Q3 and a points finish, maybe achieving best of the rest behind the top teams if things go his way, and while he will still be on a good contract financially I seriously doubt it will be at the same level he enjoyed at Ferrari.

    Maybe he is just living up to his public image of ignoring all the superfluous rubbish and just wanting to race.

    It will also be a change to the image of Sauber, at least in my opinion, outside of the BMW period, Sauber have been a mid-table to back of the grid team and with that you expect them to have either drivers who bring finance to the team and/or young drivers with potential.

    I would not expect a former world champion who can still put in good performance, who would also be on a big contract, to sign for the team, maybe it is Sauber wanting to alter things, the team did change hands in 2016 afteralland then there is the partnership with Alfa Romeo.

    It will be interesting who partners Raikkonen at Sauber next year, whether they stick with Ericsson or sign someone else.

  43. “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.” – Frédéric Vasseur.

    This is exactly why I had hoped that he would go to Williams; the REALLY need someone with experience with current F1 cars (sorry Robert) to get a handle on theirdreadful performance this year. I expect he’ll do better at Sauber than maany would think.

Comments are closed.