The rumours of recent weeks were confirmed in a 2018 drivers transfer market that continues to amaze us. This morning Ferrari officially announced Raikonnen’s departure at the end of the season and subsequently the arrival of Charles Leclerc. The real surprise was the confirmation that the Finn would go back to Sauber, the team that launched him into the F1 world championship in 2001, taking the place of the driver from Monaco.
Raikonnen signed a two year contract with the Swiss team and he will therefore have the chance to finish his career in the world championship where he began it, as well as finding once more Simone Resta who transferred to the team from Hinwil a few months ago to take the role of Technical Director. There is still the unknown factor of who will be his team mate. Another piece has found its place in the puzzle.
Over the last few days Toto Wolff used harsh words when he threatened to close the Mercedes Young Drivers Programme if Esteban Ocon could not find a team to drive, however, he opened a possibility that Gian Carlo Minardi had already launched a few years ago, that is the third car for rookie drivers. “I have long favoured this option, just as for years I have been asking that Friday morning be opened to rookies,” commented the manager from Faenza, “We must give a chance to those who invest in young drivers right from with the training formulas, starting already in karting. On the other hand, as of today it is increasingly difficult and the funnel is becoming ever smaller. If we do not put in place some new initiatives we will be faced with an extremely serious crisis,” he continues, launching a warning.
“We must consider that not all the teams have the financial strength to build and manage three vehicles on the track at the same time. Therefore we would need to review the whole points system by creating a class dedicated to rookies – as happens in the GT categories – in order to give the smaller teams the possibility to battle it out for the points zone which otherwise would be off limits with three Ferraris and just as many Mercedes, Red Bulls and Renaults,” proposed Minardi.
“By doing this the possibility of having four top teams and as many clones would be avoided, this is a road that does not fascinate me and which could distort the championship’s DNA. We are faced with an important change in an F1 that is in the hands of four great constructors such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda. We hope that they have the intelligence, the skill and, above all, the desire to manage to situation in the best way possible,” concluded Minardi.