Testing – Sauber’s Kimi Raikkonen had his first day of work with his new team on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi test.
The Finnish veteran showed up for work at Sauber on Tuesday, having requested permission from Ferrari to test with his new team before the winter break. With Ferrari & customer team Sauber closely linked through the FIAT parent group, he was granted permission and, just two days after retiring from his final race in red, was at the wheel of a Sauber for the first time since 2001.
He completed 102 laps over the course of the day, with Sauber saying the intention was to get him acclimatised to the car and the team’s operating systems.
He spent many laps on the new 2019 prototype, which is a compound somewhere between the 2018 Ultra and HyperSoft tyres, and his best time of 1:39.878 left him P11 of the 12 drivers running.
His day also came to a premature end when he suffered an apparent engine failure at Turn 7, although this was close to the end of the day. The team say the issue will be investigated thoroughly.
As Raikkonen remains a contracted Ferrari driver until 1st January, he completed the day in plain white overalls and a black cap as it’s expected he will still be used for Ferrari promotional days before he fully switches to Sauber.
2019 teammate Antonio Giovinazzi will be driving the Sauber for the second day of testing.