Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene is adamant the swap of race seats between Charles Leclerc and Kimi Raikkonen is the best option for all parties and the Italian manufacturer’s future in Formula 1.

During the build-up to the Singapore Grand Prix, it was confirmed Leclerc would be promoted to Ferrari alongside Sebastian Vettel with Raikkonen heading into the opposite direction to Alfa Romeo Sauber – the team where he started his F1 career in 2001.

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With Leclerc set to complete just one year in F1 before his step up to the factory squad, making him the youngest Ferrari driver since Ricardo Rodriguez in 1961 and the least experienced driver in its line-up since Stefan Johanssen in 1985, questions have risen about whether the 20-year-old is ready for the pressure of being a Ferrari driver.

Arrivabene has shrugged off any concerns and sees the promotion as a positive move for Ferrari’s future.

“When you make some choices like this, that are related to the driver, you don’t have to look only at the short-term commitment but also at the long-term commitment,” Arrivabene said. “A long-term commitment means it’s not only for next year, it’s for the future of the team – how you are going to grow a young talent, and what you want to expect from him for the future.

“This has nothing to do with the respect that I have for Kimi, which is great, as a human being and a driver. If you have to do a choice, thinking about the future of the team, I think we made the right choice, for us and for Kimi.”

The Ferrari team boss also pointed to similar moves being taken by its F1 rivals Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull promoting young drivers earlier than in previous generations and feels it is the best way to develop ‘future champions’.

“If you look at the overall situation in the paddock, it’s an important sign that all the talent they are giving to Formula 1,” he said. “Look at Mercedes. They made a choice a couple of years ago with Bottas, a young driver, next to a champion like Hamilton.

“The guy for McLaren for next year, Carlos Sainz, is a guy that is considered a rookie. Next year Sauber have Kimi and if you look at Red Bull they were brave enough to have Verstappen nearby Gasly.

“There is nothing strange in all of this but I think the good signal to Formula 1 is that we are striving to look for, to create the future champions.”



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