It seemed like something of a wrong turn when Daniel Ricciardo bolted Team Red Bull, where he often found himself on the wrong side of reliability issues with his Renault powered cars, to join Renault, but he only dropped one position as far as the constructors’ standings are concerned.
That move seems almost one of sheer genius compared to that of 20017 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen, who is leaving the second place Ferrari squad to join Sauber, the ninth ranked of the 10 constructors in the 2018 standings.
From the drivers’ perspective, Raikkonen currently sits in the third position and he has consistently managed to keep himself near the front of the grid. In his last six races, he has made the podium five times.
His last win, however, was the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, so it is easy to imagine that he must have been experiencing a frustration level akin to that of Ricciardo.
What he hopes to accomplish by moving to one of the bottom feeders is hard to imagine. Ferrari is going to give his seat to Charles Leclerc, who is leaving Sauber to team up with Sebastian Vettel, who finds himself 30 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the points standings going into this weekend’s race in Singapore.
Ferrari thanked Raikkonen with a statement that gives true meaning to the word “terse.” It was three sentences and read, in part, “As a World Champion for Scuderia Ferrari, he will always be part of the Team’s history and family. We thank Kimi for all of this and wish him and his family a prosperous future.”
The Sauber team was much more jovial in its welcoming statement to Raikkonen, as might be expected, but in the world of F1 racing, where reaction time is calculated in nanoseconds, the 38-year-old Finn might be considered well beyond his prime.
Leclerc is just 20, but has zero wins and zero podiums in 14 starts with Sauber. His first race was this year’s Australian Grand Prix. His best finish in 2018 was sixth in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.