Scuderia Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene answered questions from the media during the FIA press conference which took place on Friday ahead of the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix. Not surprisingly, one of the most discussed topics was Ferrari’s decision to replace Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen with Charles Leclerc at the end of the current season.
Asked to comment on the situation, Maurizio Arrivabene said: “The decision was taken by me… It was nothing against Kimi, he is a great driver and person. It was the right decision for us and for Kimi. We did a different style in the Press Release.. we broke the rules of Ferrari by using one line and respecting Kimi with it” – he said, as reported by the British media earlier today.
“It is quite simple.. I also said it’s very important to look at it in perspective of two to three years and to have a young driver. Its not looking at only next year and but the future of the team which justifies the decision. The best thing is to let Kimi develop… His recent races have been good. To have a name like that in Formula 1, a driver that wrote so many records in the pages of Maranello. Let him have fun… concentrated and focus. Then have fun. How can you say no to a name like that?. The relationship with Kimi is so good. My job was to take him through the process and explain it to him. And he was not trying to make me change my opinion. This is a professional driver.”
Maurizio Arrivabene on race management: “Who is so crazy to give team orders at the start of a race? Before the start of the race we look at the video.. our team manager is giving the drivers the best line.”
Maurizio Arrivabene on Charles Leclerc: “Putting a lot of pressure on Charles early could be a big mistake.. we signed Charles in November 2015. We changed a bit the way we arrange the Ferrari Driver Academy. Charles is one of the most talented drivers and thank god that he is with us.. and hopefully up to 2022.”