Kimi Raikkonen should have stepped away: Brundle
F1 pundit, Martin Brundle has stated that Kimi Raikkonen should have retired from F1 after Ferrari announced Leclerc earlier today in order to make seats available for younger drivers like Vandoorne and Ocon.
“Raikkonen is a great and popular driver, but in a way I wish he would have moved aside now because there is a lot of great young guys without seats next year at the moment," said Brundle.
“Esteban Ocon would be a good example of that. There is also Stoffel Vandoorne, George Russell coming through leading the F2 World Championship."
"So there is clearly an end game for Raikkonen now, moving to Sauber which will take him to a 41st year and it is a bit surprising [to see him move]."
However, the former driver was in support of Leclerc moving to Ferrari, a move which made sense, according to him. “The Leclerc move makes sense," he said.
"It energises Vettel, energises the team. Leclerc is 20 years old and they [Ferrari] can prepare him for the future which is what they need."
The words certainly echo the lack of seats for young drivers in F1. Toto Wolff had even gone as far as to say that Mercedes may close down their junior programme because the upgrade to F1 just does not seem to come. Currently, Ocon is unsure of a future in F1.
He did put out an emotional post on social media after the Leclerc announcement:
The problem has exacerbated with McLaren sacking Vandoorne earlier and bringing in Lando Norris. Though it is a positive move, Vandoorne was only given two seasons to prove his mettle and that too with an underdeveloped car.
Raikkonen, on the other hand, has been in F1 since 2001 and his move to Sauber completes a fairytale return for the Finn, as he made his debut for them all those years back.
However, Brundle's words do make a lot of sense as it guarantees that Vandoorne, who was reportedly looking at Sauber as an option to return to F1 next season, does not have a way back.
The Belgian is a talented driver who won the GP2 title in 2015, which impressed the McLaren bosses in the first place. For the future of F1 and for his own sake, he'll be hoping that a seat does crop up somewhere for him, either at Toro Rosso or Williams.