Vettel: Leclerc too young for Ferrari, prefers Kimi

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

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

6 responses to “Vettel: Leclerc too young for Ferrari, prefers Kimi

  1. “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.”

    I would argue the Sauber isn’t as bad a car as a lot of people say it is,What Leclerc is doing to Ericsson is what Wehrlien did to him last year. I would say that now Leclerc is a good qualifier who lacks real race skill and needs at least another year at Sauber or maybe Haas. The other thing is the new Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri,is from Philip Morris, just like Arrivabene. And its known Arrivabene wants to keep Kimi.

  2. One could also argue that Vettel knows what kind of pressure you get once you drive for Ferrari. Rookie or not, it’s immense. And it can break a career imo. Certainly for someone who drives around with nearly no pressure at all atm.

  3. Unless the French article was ‘live’ then it would have been conducted before the sad passing of Sergio Marchionne.

    Of course at this time our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends.

    However, the article reads as if the ‘rather unsavoury manner’ refers to Vettel’s comments and the timing of them as published in the French article.

    Does the authour of this article REALLY believe Vettel would disrespect Marchionne in this way?

    It is well known that Vettel and Raikkonen have an excellent working relationship and as stated in this article, Vettel aired his comments to that effect on TV which was shown during the German GP weekend.

    I also realise that some of the authours on this site write in English which may not be their first language and so some subtleties may be lost in translation. If this is the case and the article was meant to direct the criticism at the timing of the publication of the French article and not imply insensitivity on Vettel’s part, then please accept my apologies.

    As stated in the article, now is the time that our thoughts should be with the family, friends and colleagues of Sergio Marchionne who have sadly lost a very dear member of their community.

    • Perhaps writing breaking news well past midnight isn’t the best idea, yes the sentiment was that it was an unsavoury thing to publish and ill timed

  4. As I stated a few weeks back when the judge wrote up that Leclerc to Ferrari was a done deal, – premature ejaculation! Stop shooting your load judge!!! Just as Cav says, it will most likely be Kimi (70%), with perhaps Ricciardo(%25) and an outside roughy with Alonso(5%).

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