Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel will partner Charles Leclerc at Ferrari next season. In this picture, Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Oct. 28, 2018, in Mexico City, Mexico. Clive Mason/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel will have a new teammate at Ferrari in 2019 after the team decided to ditch Kimi Raikkonen and promote Charles Leclerc, who is part of the team’s young driver program.

The German, four-time world champion, joined the team in 2015 after winning consecutive titles with Red Bull Racing. He partnered Raikkonen for the last four seasons and has helped make Ferrari, reigning champions Mercedes’ closest rivals.

Vettel was expected to take the fight to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in 2018 after they produced a car capable of challenging the dominant Silver Arrows machine that has won both the titles – Constructors’ and Drivers’ – in the last four seasons.

And the Ferrari driver did mount a challenge in the first half of the season but a series of errors from the team and Vettel saw Hamilton being crowned the 2018 Drivers’ champion in Mexico, while Mercedes are again favored to win the Constructors’ crown.

Vettel is signed on with Ferrari until the end of the 2020 season, while Raikkonen’s contract expires at the end of the season. The Finn has had his most consistent season with the Italian team which includes winning a race, his first since joining in 2014.

It was expected Ferrari will retain his services for at least one more season and that was also the wish of Vettel. However, it was not to be as the team decided to promote one-season old Leclerc in place of the experienced Raikkonen for the 2019 season.

The German driver admitted it will be different without “Kimi” but made it clear the team takes priority over any personnel changes. He is certain that Leclerc will be keen to beat him and he expects nothing less from the Monegasque driver.

Leclerc is inexperienced since the 2018 campaign is his first in Formula 1 and Vettel revealed that he will be around to help him get used to his new surroundings and he is now aware of the pressure that comes with driving for the famous Italian marque.

He also made it clear that he is not interested in playing any mind games with his teammate and referred to that as a reason for his great relationship with Raikkonen over the last four seasons. Both the drivers are known for their straightforward approach when it comes to racing.

”It’s going to be different for sure because Charles is not Kimi and Kimi is not Charles," Vettel said, as quoted by "He is young, so he will have a lot on his head and a lot of things in his mind. So I think for the team we need to work together on track."

“I am sure he wants to beat me, [and] I want to beat him, the rules are clear. It was the same with Kimi. But I think the key is that we work together and, as I said, he will have a lot of things going on in his head. ... I am his teammate, so I am also here to help. I am the last one that is trying to hide or playing any games or anything like that,” the German racer explained. "That is why I think I get along very well with Kimi, because in this regard we are very similar. So we will see."