Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Formula 1 will be worse off in 2019 for losing Fernando Alonso and seeing Kimi Raikkonen leave Ferrari for Sauber. Alonso has quit F1 in order to pursue the 'Triple Crown' in Indianapolis, while Raikkonen has made way for Charles Leclerc at the Scuderia.
Ferrari's decision to promote Leclerc at just 21 bucks with team tradition. Indeed, the Monegasque will become the Italian squad's second youngest driver in its long F1 history when he launches from the grid in Melbourne next year.
Raikkonen had been expected to retire after being moved aside, but he has effectively taken Leclerc's old seat at Sauber – the team with which he debuted in F1 in 2001.
The Finn's win at the 2018 United States GP ended a run of 113 winless races for Raikkonen, but Wolff says the veteran still deserves a spot in F1's top teams.
"I think it changes a lot for F1 that Kimi is not in Ferrari anymore in a car that is able to win races," said Wolff.
"He is a formidable character. He is one of the very few people in this day and age, with social media and the ego getting out of control, that stays true to himself.
"He has his values and stays true to his values, and he is authentic. That is what the fans love. So Kimi not in a Ferrari is a blow for all of us.
"But at least he is not out of it completely. He is in Sauber and it is shame that, with Fernando [Alonso] going completely and Kimi changing from Ferrari to Sauber, we are losing two unbelievable personalities in some way. Kimi and Ferrari as a combination was attractive."
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