Kimi Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson says the Finn joined Sauber as he feels he still has “something to offer” in Formula 1.
The 2007 world champion looked set to retire when he lost his seat at Ferrari to Charles Leclerc for 2019 but the Finn then rejoined Sauber, where he began his Formula 1 career in 2001.
Robertson has revealed Raikkonen made contact with Sauber and was encouraged by their enthusiasm. “When Kimi was told that he wouldn’t have a contract [with Ferrari] for next year, Kimi made a move,” he told the official F1 website.
“He started a dialogue about the potential to drive for Sauber. “Kimi wanted to carry on. He had meetings with the owners at Sauber, then a meeting with Fred [Vasseur, team principal] and Beat [Zehnder, team manager].
They could see Kimi was eager to carry on. “Fred has since made it clear that when they first had the meeting, Kimi was so focused on what the plans were for next year.
“And Kimi wanted to see if the team had the same enthusiasm as he did. And he felt that, so he said ‘OK I want to do the deal’. “He was a bit negative at Monza when he found out what happened, but he bounced back quickly.
He wanted to keep driving because he feels he still has something to offer.”
Raikkonen will partner rookie Antonio Giovinazzi in a new-look driver line-up at Sauber next season after Leclerc’s departure, with Marcus Ericsson now the third driver and a brand ambassador.