Sauber to sign 'racing rookie' Raikkonen

Finn Kimi Raikkonen will move up to Formula 1 next season with just 23 car races under his belt, according to this week's Autosport magazine

Sauber to sign 'racing rookie' Raikkonen

The British Formula Renault champion has twice tested for the Swiss-based squad and is expected to sign a contract this week. Sauber's recruitment of Raikkonen to partner former Prost driver Nick Heidfeld in 2001 will leave the team's Brazilian test driver Enrique Bernoldi out in the cold.

Team boss Peter Sauber said: "There are several aspects why we very strongly believe that Raikkonen is the right man for us. First of all his very professional approach towards his work and his astonishing maturity considering his age.

"Even more impressive is his natural speed," he added. "He seems to crank out fast lap times effortlessly. In comparison with other drivers, we never got the impression that he reached his limits. We still have to find out how fast he can go!"

The 21-year-old does not qualify for an F1 superlicence by dint of results, but is expected to be granted one by the FIA, the sport's governing body, based on his testing pace.

Raikkonen joins a growing list of current F1 drivers who have graduated from karts then jumped to the sport's highest level with minimum single-seater experience. But unlike Jenson Button, Jos Verstappen and Jarno Trulli, the Finn will make the leap without first undertaking a season in Formula 3.

"This is a great opportunity for me," said Raikkonen. "I actually found driving the F1 car was quite easy - much easier than getting back in a Formula Renault car afterwards."




shares
comments
Toyota Readies for F1 with Race Track Purchase
Previous article

Toyota Readies for F1 with Race Track Purchase

Next article

Button to try his hand at rallying?

Button to try his hand at rallying?
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022