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Kimi Raikkonen's move means 'Sauber is now Ferrari' - Bernie Ecclestone

2018-10-22 08:06
Leclerc back on pole for 2019 Ferrari seat

Image: MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

Bernie Ecclestone has applauded Kimi Raikkonen's move to Sauber.

Raikkonen, 39, surprised the Formula 1 world by signing up with the small Swiss team for the next two seasons after being dropped for 2019.

'I think a lot of Kimi'

Asked if it's a smart move, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone answered: "Absolutely.

"I think a lot of Kimi. He will do the Sauber team a lot of good.

"I've always regretted that top engineers from Mercedes or Ferrari hardly ever go to Sauber, although their infrastructure is great. It's obviously very difficult to get people from Italy or England to go to Switzerland," he told the Swiss business newspaper Handelszeitung.

'Sauber is now Ferrari'

But he says the new Raikkonen association, and the backing by Alfa Romeo, is good news for Sauber.

"Absolutely. Sauber is now Ferrari. With Kimi the connection is strengthened more and Sauber will benefit as a team," said Ecclestone.

The 87-year-old said he hopes a stronger Sauber helps Ferrari too, because Mercedes is now too strong at the top of the sport.

"Mercedes is doing a great job. But it's bad for business when the tension goes out of it because someone is dominating.

Mercedes still the team to beat

"That's why I regret that Ferrari wins the championship so rarely. We can't forget that F1 is the entertainment business as well. And if it doesn't entertain, it's bad," said Ecclestone.

"We could see that when the TV numbers went down," he added.

But Ecclestone thinks even a sweeping change of the rules won't stop Mercedes.

"I would still bet on Mercedes. Because they have so much money at their disposal that they will always be at the top.

"Then Ferrari is an Italian company which means they're always surprising and lingering between strategies. Mercedes is very German so they're clearly aligned and optimised," he said.

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Read more on:    sauber  |  ferrari  |  kimi raikkonen  |  bernie ecclestone  |  usa  |  motorsport  |  f1

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