Charles Leclerc has been confirmed to drive for Ferrari in 2019 in a straight driver swap that will see Ferrari incumbent Kimi Raikkonen take over Leclerc’s vacated seat at Sauber.
Ferrari announced the news with a single sentence press release signed by the race team principal Maurizio Arrivabene: Scuderia Ferrari announces that in the next Formula One racing season, Charles Leclerc will drive for the Team alongside Sebastian Vettel.
Leclerc, who will be the second-youngest driver in history to race for Ferrari, posted the news on Twitter:
"Dreams do come true... I'll be driving for Scuderia Ferrari for the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. I will be eternally grateful to Scuderia Ferrari for the opportunity given.
"To Nicolas Todt for supporting me since 2011. To my family. To a person that is not part of this world anymore but to whom I owe everything of what is happening to me, Papa. To Jules, thank you for all the things you learnt me [sic], we will never forget you, and to all the persons that supported me and believed in me.
"I will work harder than ever to not disappoint you. But first, there is a season to finish with an amazing team that gave me the opportunity to fight and show my potential. Let's go Sauber F1 Team."
It has been a meteoric rise for the 20 year-old who is still only in his first season in Formula 1. After a series of stellar performances in uncompetitive Sauber equipment this year, Leclerc came under serious consideration by Ferrari amid continuing doubts over veteran Raikkonen's race winning ability.
However, the recent death of Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne, and the selection of Louis Camilleri as his replacement, put matters on hold. Camilleri is a known supporter of Raikkonen, but it appears he has chosen to honour his predecessor’s wishes in opting for the younger driver.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, ends up back at the same team which gave him his start in Formula 1 18 years earlier.