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2019 F1

Ferrari could replace Raikkonen with Leclerc, Iceman in McLaren frame

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rel=”attachment wp-att-88309″>2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who turns 39 in October and is the sport’s experienced driver, finished on the podium at last week’s French GP but reports have claimed that for 2019 Ferrari are leaning towards promoting Charles Leclerc, who is currently excelling in his rookie season on loan at Alfa Romeo Sauber F1.

McLaren has sidestepped reports that Kimi Raikkonen might be in the team’s sights for 2019.

It is already rumoured that Daniel Ricciardo is being lined up as a potential replacement should ‘number 1’ Fernando Alonso leave at the end of the year.

Press Association is now reporting that former McLaren driver Raikkonen, who could be replaced at Ferrari by Charles Leclerc, is also in the frame.

A McLaren spokesperson said: “We don’t discuss driver matters.”

Ferrari’s Raikkonen is out of deal at the end of the season and the source Sky Sports News understands McLaren would consider their former driver among alternative options in the event that Alonso did not drive for the team in 2019.

McLaren’s 2019 driver options were discussed on this week’s F1 Report.

Matt Bishop, who served as McLaren’s communications director for a decade until 2017, believes McLaren would require a high-profile addition if Alonso did not continue on their F1 programme.

“If Fernando stays then I’m afraid Stoffel is vulnerable because I think they might well decide to bring in Lando because that would be the perfect blend of experience and the rookie,” said Bishop.

“If Fernando leaves, then that’s the lifeline for Stoffel because they might want to keep him for consistency and continuity.

“Would they really want to pair Lando with Stoffel? It hasn’t got that McLaren feel about it really, has it? That’s probably why they are talking to Daniel, Kimi and others in order to bring a bit more experience in to the mix.”

And former F1 driver Will Stevens told the F1 Report: “It’s time of year when everyone is going to be linked to everyone.

“Especially with Kimi talk of him not going to be at Ferrari, he’s a guy with a lot of experience and McLaren have always wanted some experience in the team.

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