Mercedes paid a classy tribute to Kimi Raikkonen once news broke he was leaving Ferrari to join Sauber at the end of the season. Ferrari have opted against extending Raikkonen’s deal beyond this year, despite the Finn sitting third in the standings and having secured five podium finishes in the last six races.
The 38-year-old has penned a two-year contract with Sauber, the team which gave him his first big break in Formula One.
Highly-rated youngster Charles Leclerc will complete a straight-swap with Raikkonen to partner Sebastian Vettel for the 2019 campaign.
And Mercedes hailed Kimi Raikkonen with a classy message on Twitter: “Immediately cancels all content plans for the day #Kimi7 #F1,” Mercedes wrote.
The Silver Arrows then teased a potential announcement by writing: “Think of the havoc we could wreak today without anybody noticing…”
But the posts were just light fun as they allowed Raikkonen to have his moment. Kimi Raikkonen has expressed his excitement at returning to his old Formula One team, tweeting: “Guess who’s back?
“Next two year with @SauberF1Team ahead! Feels extremely good to back where it all began.”
Ferrari confirmed Raikkonen would be leaving earlier today: “Scuderia Ferrari announces that, at the end of the 2018 season, Kimi Raikkonen will step down from his current role,” Ferrari said – “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.”
And Sauber also confirmed Kimi Raikkonen’s return. Frederic Vasseur said: “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.
“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.”