“You’ll Never Win with Kimi Raikkonen”- Former F1 Team Boss Bashes Ferrari F1 – Essentially Sports
Former F1 team principal Flavio Briatore believes Ferrari should have given youngster Charles Leclerc his first drive in their cars. This would have provided LeClerc with more top-line experience. The Italian made these comments of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast. He said if he was the Ferarri boss he would have promoted Leclerc to replace the aging Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari was going nowhere with the 2007 F1 World Champion.
Flavio Briatore: You’ll never win with Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen rejoined Ferrari from Lotus in 2014. The Finn picked up just one win in a hundred starts over 5 seasons with the Italian Constructor. He never challenged Fernando Alonso in 2014 or Sebastian Vettel from 2015-18. These facts are clear indicators of Briatore’s comments.
Perhaps Ferrari should have taken the gamble and gone for a driver from their academy. They eventually did so, and promoted Leclerc to the team instead of hunting for an experienced partner to Vettel.
The Monagesque driver repaid his side’s faith immensely with a phenomenal 2019 season. Leclerc took a pole in just his second race for the Italian team and became Ferrari’s youngest pole-sitter. Later on in the season, Leclerc won the Belgian GP from the pole position. In doing so, he became the Maranello side’s youngest race winner. He followed this with a win at Ferrari’s home race in Monza before finishing 4th in the year’s Driver’s Championship. Leclerc managed to beat his vastly experienced 4-time world champion teammate in Sebastian Vettel who finished 5th.
These performances would no doubt satisfy the Ferrari top brass. But at the same time, they would rue the decision to not hand him a drive in 2018 itself.
Charles Leclerc is unrecognizable
The form displayed by Leclerc over the last season led to Briatore to say he is not recognizable from his first season. However the Italian added that Max Verstappen is the more incredible driver. The Dutchman who like Leclerc is 22 years old is a 5 season F1 veteran having been backed by the Red Bull team as a 17-year old. Verstappen drove for the Austrian team’s sister outfit Toro Rosso for a year and a half. He was then promoted to Red Bull where he made an instant impact by taking the chequered flag in his first race.
Briatore backs Leclerc to join Hamilton and Verstappen who are the true superstars of the current field. These drivers are a step above the rest and Leclerc, “is a really strong guy, but Verstappen is the more incredible driver. He is fantastic in the way he is overtaking, the way he is a gladiator.
Leclerc has 3 years left on his existing deal with Ferrari. He will be looking to impress on track and be the man to end Ferrari’s near 13-year title drought.