Raikkonen Granted Superlicence to Race in 2001

The Sauber Formula One team today confirmed its driver line-up for the 2001 season today after the Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen was granted the necessary superlicence by the ruling body, the FIA, at its meeting in Monaco today.

Raikkonen Granted Superlicence to Race in 2001

The Sauber Formula One team today confirmed its driver line-up for the 2001 season today after the Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen was granted the necessary superlicence by the ruling body, the FIA, at its meeting in Monaco today.

The decision to grant the licence came despite fears that Raikkonen's inexperience in racing could cause him to be a danger to other drivers, and that he had not driven in either of Formula One's usual stepping stone categories, Formula Three or Formula 3000, which could lead to drivers being poached directly from go-karting. However, Raikkonen's ability has been rated highly enough by those that count to see him granted the necessary licence to race in next year's championship.

"Kimi was able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FIA the qualities that attracted us in the first place," team principal Peter Sauber said. "We are delighted to establish a relationship with a young driver who shows such clear promise for the future.

"Kimi's performances in Formula Renault this season attracted our attention, and when he tested one of our C19s at Mugello in September his driving skills were very impressive for a young man with such limited experience. It was clear from the outset that the step into Formula One was not too big for him, and he completed the test with very encouraging results. In the last three days Kimi tested again at Jerez in an impeccable manner, confirming his talent and readiness for Formula One.

"By signing Nick Heidfeld and now Kimi Raikkonen, I believe that we are sending a clear message of our intention to combine an investment in youth with our established engineering abilities to promote team Red Bull Sauber Petronas into contention in next year's World Championship."

The young Finn Raikkonen is happy with the opportunity he has received to take part in Formula One. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed the F1 testing I did earlier this year, and although there was pressure to prove myself to the FIA in Jerez, I believe that I demonstrated my potential successfully. Now I will be doing everything I can in 2001 to justify the faith that Peter Sauber, his team and the governing body have placed in me."

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