Vasseur: Raikkonen all about Sauber’s future, not the past

Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says he’s delighted that Kimi Raikkonen will be returning to the team where he started his Formula 1 career.

The Finn will be back at Hinwil in a two-year deal after Ferrari decided not to keep him at Maranello for another season.

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Current Sauber driver Charles Leclerc is being promoted to the Ferrari team in what amounts to a straight ‘swap’ of drivers, and it seems to suit all parties concerned.

“Clearly Kimi has huge experience in F1,” said Vasseur. “For the team, we are building up every single department and I think he will be very supportive in the process.

“I think from aero to design office to track engineering, tyre management, I think everybody in the team is more than welcome to have Kimi on board in the future. It’s a step forward for us for sure.

“On the marketing and commercial side, for sure it’s a huge push,” he added. “Have a look at what we had last week in terms of social media – it was probably the first time in our lives that we have so many connections.

“On both sides, I think it will be supportive for us,” he insisted.

  • Vettel admits he’ll be sad to see Raikkonen go

Vasseur wasn’t at Sauber when Raikkonen spent his rookie season with them in 2001, but there are some back office staff who were.

“Some guys came to my office saying ‘Ahhh, superb that Kimi’s back.’ But I don’t want to consider the fact that Kimi’s coming back, we have to think about the future, not about the past.”

Sauber has yet to confirm who will be racing alongside Raikkonen next season. According to reports, Alfa Romeo’s backing of the team gives fellow Fiat-Chrysler affiliated company and engine supplier Ferrari the right to nominate their choice for the seat before mid-October.

Current driver Marcus Ericsson has strong backing from the team’s current investors, but that doesn’t make him a certainty to keep his current seat.

“The last two weeks for me have been a bit of a rush on the driver market,” Vasseur admitted. “We will sit down with all the persons involved in the discussions and we will take a decision quite soon.

“I think it’s also good for the team to have a clear answer. It will be soon.”

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