Formula 1

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Ferrari opt against pursuing Daniel Ricciardo as Kimi Raikkonen replacement

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Following his FIA Formula 2 championship win last year, Charles Leclerc took his single car racing career to the next level when he made his Formula 1 debut as a driver for Sauber.

Since his F1 debut, the 20-year-old has caught the eye of many people, both on and off the track - including Ferrari.

Ferrari will be looking at their options as current driver Kimi Raikkonen is approaching the end of his one-year contract extension with the Italian team from last year.

That's after Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said the former world champion needed 'more consistency' and how this would be "the last season to find the right key."

Despite a strong start to the season, claiming three podiums in the first four races, the Finn has failed to finish in the top three at the previous two races in Monaco and Canada.

According to Motorsport, Ferrari were initially interested in signing up Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo for next year, with his contract also set to expire.

But the same publication have reported that the Italians were deterred from making a move for the Australian because the cost of hiring him while keeping Sebastian Vettel - one of the highest paid drivers currently in the sport - would be too much.

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Qualifying

Could Ferrari be eyeing up Sauber's Leclerc?

That leaves Ferrari with the choice to stick with their current driver Raikkonen or Formula 1 rookie, Charles Leclerc.

On paper, the obvious option would be to stick with their current man, who is Ferrari's most recent world champion, despite his current form since rejoining the team back in 2014. Leclerc, on the other hand, has only completed a total of seven F1 races.

Although fans shouldn't get too excited just yet as a final decision has not yet been confirmed, however, it's believed that Ferrari will be leaning towards offering Leclerc a race seat.

If the move does go ahead, it might be worth noting that the team would be swapping a driver with a total 277 race starts with a F1 rookie who is just about to get ready for his eighth F1 weekend.

Canadian F1 Grand Prix

Asked by Motorsport ahead of this week's race in France, about his position on extending his F1 career, Raikkonen said he was 'not any different to one week, two weeks, a month ago'.

Meanwhile, Leclerc who would become Ferrari's first ever Driver Academy graduate to make it to a Ferrari race seat, has said that although driving for the Italian constructors is an exciting prospect, he's got to be 'realistic' about his future.

He said: "It only makes me smile, but on the other hand it doesn't feel realistic for now.

"When it will be time to think about next year I will think about it, and hopefully we have an opportunity to take that seat."

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Topics:
Charles Leclerc
Daniel Ricciardo
Kimi Raikkonen
Sauber
Ferrari
Red Bull
Formula 1

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