Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari, Singapore, 2018

Leclerc is Ferrari’s best choice for the long-term – Arrivabene

2018 F1 season

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Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene says he promoted Charles Leclerc in place of Kimi Raikkonen because he believes the 20-year-old is the best long-term choice for the team.

Leclerc was announced on Tuesday as the team’s new driver for the 2019 F1 season. Ferrari did not offer any explanation for the change in a brief statement which was issued in Arrivabene’s name.

Asked in today’s FIA press conference why the team made the change Arrivabene asked: “It’s not clear?”

“When you make some choices like this, that are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only at the short-term commitment but also at the long-term commitment,” he explained.

“It’s not a decision taken by Mr Simpson,” he added, “it’s a decision taken by me, discuss it also with the top management, that is taking into consideration many, many factors.”

Leclerc will need to be shielded from the pressure of joining Formula 1’s most famous team, said Arrivabene.

“The first mistake is to put too much pressure on the shoulders of this guy,” he said. “It could be, potentially, a huge mistake.

“I signed with Charles in November 2016 or November 2015 the first contract in the Ferrari Driver Academy. In that contract we already designed and committed and signed and wrote his future in Formula 1, as we have done with [Antonio] Giovinazzi, the same thing. And that means we change a bit also the way that we organise the Ferrari Driver Academy but also how we are going to develop the talent for the future.

“So Charles Leclerc is not a big surprise, he’s one of the talented drivers that we have in Formula 1. Thank God, it’s a guy that he grew up with us and I hope that he is going to continue his career with us, at least until 2022 for sure.”

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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...

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11 comments on “Leclerc is Ferrari’s best choice for the long-term – Arrivabene”

  1. Told you. Glad that they decided to take action.

  2. Arrivabene is not the one who can take these kind of decisions.
    So it seems he already is covering for someone.

  3. Yeah this is all commercial decisions. See for example how British media hates Raikonnen because he don’t play their game.

    1. Raikkonen is loved by the British media!

      1. I love these inane xenophobic/racist remarks that have so little meaning… lmao.

  4. Really? did you see the amount of them that want him out of F1: BBC, Autosport, Telegraph…

  5. Tacit admission then that Ferrari are looking beyond Vettel already. Man, after Monza qualy and now this Leclerc hiring I got the suspicion that there were cracks showing between driver and team. If Vettel fails to win this year’s WDC and if Leclerc does a Ricciardo on Vettel, the future looks a bit concerning for the champ.

  6. His Homer Simpson references, though. Overall, I’ve never before found listening to Arrivabene’s answers in a press conference this amusing. I genuinely found it a bit hard to hold the laughter during each of his answers especially the first and the last ones, LOL.

  7. LEC is nothing special. He could not put that Sauber on the podium like Perez who is ok. I don’t see why he gets the Ferrari seat, I would have kept Kimi over LEC.

    Arrivabene is making some terrible decisions.

  8. This is a pretty big departure from previous Ferrari management with regard to drivers. They’ve been so conservative in the past and I think it is a good sign they are looking to groom stars instead of hire them on already formed. It’s a big gamble too. Not to try young drivers in the big seat, but to commit to them for so long.

    I think that is also a good sign, because as we’ve seen with fickle McClaren, a team can ruin the prospects of young drivers when they don’t grow them into the driver they want to see and allow them to do so (Perez and Magnussen definitely, Vandoorne less so but it’s been despicable how they’ve harmed him with testing and inferior car). Feeling secure in a team frees up the mind to concentrate on the job and teams do a disservice by jerking them around so much. Since Haas took Grojean on, he has done far better than not, even with the mistakes, and Magnussen has shone far greater than last year or any time in the past. I hope Ferrari also let LeClerc reach his potential and I hope Vettel can see past himself to help his do so.

  9. Interesting that Leclerc is the future but Danny Ric was not…

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