Hot on the heels of news that Ferrari has dropped Kimi Räikkönen who was then signed by the Sauber F1 Team comes news that Charles Leclerc will swap seats with the 2007 World Champion.

The 20-year-old Monégasque driver is the first Ferrari Driver Academy graduate to race for the Italian Formula 1 team. He will also become its second youngest ever driver, older only than Ricardo Rodríguez.

“Dreams do come true… I’ll be driving for Scuderia Ferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship,” said Leclerc on Twitter. “I will be eternally grateful to Scuderia Ferrari for the opportunity given.

“To Nicolas Todt for supporting me since 2011. To my family. To a person that is not part of this world anymore but to whom I owe everything of what is happening to me, Papa. To Jules, thank you for all the things you learnt me [sic], we will never forget you, and to all the persons that supported me and believed in me.

“I will work harder than ever to not disappoint you. But first, there is a season to finish with an amazing team that gave me the opportunity to fight and show my potential. Let’s go Sauber F1 Team.”

Leclerc has had a rapid rise to Formula 1 and is considered one of the sport’s future World Champions. After winning the GP3 Series title in 2016, he romped to the 2017 Formula 2 Championship crown in a record-breaking season.

Placed by Ferrari at Sauber to make his Grand Prix racing debut, his impressive performances triggered speculation that he would replace Ferrari stalwart Räikkönen at the end of the 2018 season.

To-date, Leclerc sits 15th in the Drivers’ Championship standings with 13 points and a best finish of sixth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He has consistently outperformed his more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson.

His promotion to Ferrari was celebrated by Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur.

“It has been a great pleasure to support Charles Leclerc in his rookie year in F1,” he said.

“Since his arrival, he has given the team great motivation. We have constantly improved and we will work hard until the end of this season to achieve the best possible results together.

“We are aware of Charles’ talent and are confident that he will have a bright future. We will keep on following him closely and we wish him the best on his path.”

Image via Ignite Image

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.