Ferrari’s team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said the team broke its own rule regarding Kimi Raikkonen’s announcement of leaving the team while explaining Charles Leclerc’s early Formula 1 promotion.
Traditionally, Ferrari only use one to two sentences in their announcement as opposed to a full statement with quotes from either the driver or the team management. Even for Leclerc’s hiring, the team only used one sentence.
However, the release preceding to Leclerc for the announcement of Raikkonen leaving, it had two long paragraphs thanking the Finn for all the effort put in for the betterment of the team in difficult times.
Arrivabene revealed that the release was intentional by the team in respect towards one of the leading F1 drivers on the grid. The Italian also revealed that Raikkonen was told about the decision on Thursday itself at Monza before the Italian GP.
Further, the Ferrari chief also went on to explain the idea of promoting Leclerc only after one season in F1 with Sauber. It more or less matched to what FormulaRapida.net wrote in their column post the announcement.
“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,” started Arrivabene. “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. That’s very simple. It’s not a decision taken by Mr Simpson; it’s a decision taken by me.
“[It was also] discussed with the top management, that is taking into consideration many, many factors. This has nothing to do with the respect that I have for Kimi, that is great, as a human being and a driver.
“But 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. And the way that we wrote the press release was absolutely intentional.
“We were using a different style, breaking a bit the rules of Ferrari, that is normally going to communicate this in one line, broke the rules, giving also tribute and respect to Kimi for what he has done with us and wishing him the best for the future.
“I have to say that the relationship with Kimi is so good that he understands. It’s not only a question of telling him this is the decision. If you do my job properly, it’s to take him through the process.
“I took him through the process of the decision and he didn’t even try to say ‘yeah, I would like you to change your mind’ or something. He’s a professional driver. Then I heard many other things like ‘ah, you know, telling him in Monza was the wrong time.’
“Think about if I had told him in Belgium and Sebastian was winning the race? Kimi was in the same position and then it was wrong to tell him in Belgium. So the right time is not written on the paper.
“But what is written on the paper is that when we sign contracts with a driver, we sign a contract with professional drivers. I always talk with my two drivers as professional drivers and I’m expecting from him the maximum of professional effort.
“To use all their professional skills and Kimi is one of them. Kimi was so nervous and so unhappy that I told him on Thursday, if I’m not wrong, in Monza but he was so unhappy that he made pole position on Saturday. We’re talking with professional drivers.
“When I read some criticism and I said I accept the criticism, I was thinking OK, if it’s like this, I’m going to make him unhappy every weekend so he’s going to give us the pole position.
“We are talking about professional drivers not kids that they are driving at the luna park.” The team received criticism over the timing of the news to Raikkonen amid rumours that he was told during the weekend over the phone when in fact it was done in person.