The Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari saga has taken an ugly turn in the last few days, with multiple reports suggesting that the Finn is on his way out, following an agreement that was made between Marchionne and Leclerc.
Marchionne was a massive Leclerc fan and wanted him to drive for Ferrari in 2019. That ‘initial agreement’ has now created a massive ruckus, as Kimi now faces the sack, despite the new management preferring the Finn over the young Sauber driver.
Now, according to a report in Corriere dello Sport, the new Ferrari President John Elkann had held a secret call with Raikkonen, one where he informed the Finn about his imminent sacking, in light of the new Leclerc deal.
Thus, Ferrari couldn’t really ask Kimi to sacrifice a race win for Vettel and hence the Ferrari duo did not quite swap position going into Turn 1 and instead were racing against each other.
No team orders could have been issued and the general pattern of Vettel and Raikkonen alternating as to who went first out during qualifying also had to be followed. With the tow being massive in Monza, it would have been ideal for Vettel to go out behind Raikkonen, but of course, Ferrari having communicated the ‘sacking’ to Kimi couldn’t really ask him to do that.
The report also says that this was primarily why Vettel was a little concerned all through the weekend, as Mercedes were going to operate as a team, whereas Vettel was largely on his own.
Mark Hughes of Motorsport Magazine also felt that Raikkonen did not feel like a man who had just signed a multi-million dollar deal with the team. He suggested that Kimi was actually driving for himself in the absence of an agreement.
He also confirmed that Arrivabene and Vettel want him to stay but the Marchionne agreement isn’t allowing them to offer Raikkonen a new deal.