Not even 24 hrs after the passing of Charles Leclercs biggest supporter, Sebastian Vettel comments in the French press featured in Autohebdo publication, calling for Ferrari to retain Kimi Raikkonen in 2019.
In a rather unsavoury manner (in terms of timing of this publication), Sebastian Vettel has again reiterated his support for Ferrari’s ‘No.2’ man Kimi Raikkonen over youngster Charles Leclerc.
Perhaps a habitual quirk but this time last year, the German driver came out in support of his Finnish friend and team mate, during a period of intense speculation that either Daniel Ricciardo or even Max Verstappen could sign for 2018.
During this period, Vettel made very clear that he would not be happy whatsoever if Ricciardo became his teammate once again. Readers will recall the pasting the Australian gave his senior and 4 time world champion teammate at Red Bull in 2014.
Over the last month or so, speculation regarding Sauber Alfa Romeo rookie Charles Leclerc potential move into Kimi’s seat next year gathered serious momentum within the paddock. The young man from Monaco had caught the eyes of everyone with some incredible results in a poor car, beating his far more experienced teammate, Marcus Ericsson.
As a young Ferrari academy driver, Leclerc had been monitored closely and soon garnered support from Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne. TJ13 broke the story last month that after more impressive results this season, the deal had been done for a drive alongside Vettel in a Ferrari on a 2 year deal starting in 2019.
The story was backed up by several other media outlets who also have sources within the Ferrari team, one of which being UK Channel 4 – confirming this deal on live TV.
Of course, with recent tragic events – that being the passing of Marchionne – such a preliminary deal with Leclerc could be in jeopardy, making Vettels comments even more weighty during an obvious period of flux and uncertainty.
‘I love Kimi,’ Vettel comments to AutoHebdo.
“I have never had one word of disagreement with him. We can get along well with each other, both on the track and next to it. We are both the same type of person. Honest and direct. That helps to build a relationship of trust. ”
“Kimi is Finnish,” continues Vettel.
“Charles is from Monaco. That is a difference of day and night in terms of mentality and experience.
“The one is not better than the other, it is just different. Personally, I think I can get along with the Finnish ways better.
“Do not get me wrong, Charles is part of the Ferrari Academy and I am sure he is going for a very great career. He is fast, intelligent and young, but you can also be too young to drive for Ferrari. ”
As for the wider picture, the world will be watching what happens next at Ferrari after such an unexpected and tragic occurrence.
Sergio Marchionne was admitted to the Zurich Hospital on June 28th after surgery to remove an invasive shoulder sarcoma – a form of cancerous tumour. His health had worsened “unexpectedly and very badly”.
Right now, it is more appropriate and correct to respect the fact that one of the most important people heading up a brand that is near enough a religion in Italy, who’s talent was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of Ferrari on and off the track, has been taken away from his family and friends.
Sergio brought stability and direction to Ferrari, earning huge respect worldwide, but obviously the Marchionne family will be going through a far worse trauma that we can ever imagine, indeed they are in our thoughts and prayers.
More F1 – Tributes to Sergio Marchionne
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/IAA96vOPlB
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 25, 2018
Jean Todt, FIA president
“It is with great sadness that I learned that Sergio Marchionne tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motor sport worldwide. He dedicated himself fully to turn around the FIAT-Chrysler group and put all his energy to bring Scuderia Ferrari back to the top.
“He was an endearing, upstanding and brave man, an unconventional and visionary leader. He was an eminent member of the FIA F1 Strategy Group and of the FIA High-Level Panel for Road Safety. His death is a considerable loss. On behalf of the entire FIA community, all my thoughts go out to his family, his friends and his Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler group teams.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest at Le Mans
“Sergio Marchionne made a significant mark on the automobile world – and motorsport – for many years. His passion, subtleness and insight were undeniable. On behalf of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, may I extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.”
Sergio Marchionne, who passed away today, was one of the most brilliant & successful car executives since the days of the legendary Henry Ford. It was a great honor for me to get to know Sergio as POTUS, he loved the car industry, and fought hard for it. He will be truly missed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2018
Chase Carey, F1 CEO
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne. He was a great leader of not just Formula 1 and the automobile world, but the business world overall. He led with great passion, energy and insight, and inspired all around him. His contributions to Formula 1 are immeasurable. He was also a true friend to all of us and he will be deeply missed. At this difficult time, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.”
All of us at Ferrari feel privileged to have worked alongside a courageous leader like Sergio Marchionne, a man of enormous humanity and intelligence. In this moment of sadness, we join with his family in remembering him with immense affection. pic.twitter.com/chxYZWnjWs
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 25, 2018
"This is a sad day for all of us in @F1. We have a lost a huge supporter of our sport, a fierce competitor, an ally and a friend. Our heartfelt sympathies are with Sergio's family and all at @ScuderiaFerrari at this difficult time."
– Toto Wolff pic.twitter.com/LddZsUa4cI
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 25, 2018
— Giancarlo Fisichella (@OfficialFisico) July 25, 2018
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) July 25, 2018
Sergio Mattarella, Italian president
“Marchionne wrote an important page in the history of Italian industry. As leader of Fiat he went through years of very deep and radical transformation of markets, production systems, financial strategies, and trade union relations. He has ensured the continuity and the re-launch of the group by building a new combination able to keep up with the competition.”
He was a giant in the auto industry, a friend of the Italian-Canadian community, and a visionary in the corporate world. Sergio Marchionne’s death is a huge loss, and Sophie and I send our condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/cpdYJ5YAzC
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 25, 2018
IMSA Statement On Passing Of Sergio Marchionne. pic.twitter.com/nV6Yrc3Ebf
— IMSA (@IMSA) July 25, 2018
Bill Ford, Ford Executive Chairman
“Sergio Marchionne was one of the most respected leaders in the industry whose creativity and bold determination helped to restore Chrysler to financial health and grow Fiat Chrysler into a profitable global automaker. His extraordinary leadership, candor and passion for the industry will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”
Mary Barra, General Motors CEO
“We at General Motors offer our condolences to Sergio Marchionne’s family and friends. Sergio created a remarkable legacy in the automotive industry. Our thoughts are also with our industry colleagues at Fiat Chrysler as they deal with this sudden loss.”
Carlos Ghosn, Renault CEO
“Our entire team at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi were saddened to learn of the death of Sergio Marchionne. At this difficult time, we would like to express our sympathies to the Marchionne family, to our colleagues at Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari and CNH International.”
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO
“The auto industry has lost a real giant. And many of us have lost a very dear friend: Sergio Marchionne.”