Ferrari to confirm Alonso and Massa, McLaren close in on Raikkonen
McLaren
Ferrari to confirm Alonso and Massa, McLaren close in on Raikkonen
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Sep 2009   |  4:18 pm GMT  |  222 comments

It is looking as though the long running saga over Fernando Alonso’s move to Ferrari is drawing to a conclusion. Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali said that things would be settled in the next two weeks.

An announcement of Massa and Alonso for 2010 would play very well if it were made in Brazil, at Massa’s home race, but they may not be able to hold on to the story for that long, so it may come sooner. Traditionally Ferrari has made its announcements by this time of year, they usually come at Monza.

When pressed Domenicali did not rule out Massa making a return to the cockpit for the final race of 2009 in Abu Dhabi.

He and Massa are in the luxurious position of not having to rush into a decision on that. Massa is back in training again and they can monitor his progress in kart testing and general fitness and make a call on it when the time is right. It may happen, it may not, although from Massa’s psychological point of view it would be an advantage to get back behind the wheel before the winter, if he was not quite 100% it could be counter-productive. F1 is an unforgiving business.

The Robertsons, David and Steve, who manage Kimi Raikkonen, were extremely busy over the weekend and the wheel has definitely turned in this story now. It looks like a deal is being done and Raikkonen is on his way and both Brawn and McLaren are interested in him.

The McLaren connection looks the most likely because it appears that Santander has been involved in the funding of the transfer, by settling Raikkonen’s final year salary at Ferrari and they will have a sponsor presence on the McLaren during the 2010 season, so they stand to get some return on their investment which they would not do if he went to Brawn.

Meanwhile Renault F1 managing director Jean Francois Caubet let slip on Sunday night that the team would be saying goodbye to Alonso at the end of the season,

“Alonso is a great champion, he clocked the fastest lap in race, he did the most of the strategy and fight until the end. I think Renault will always be his family. We will miss him but he will miss us too.”

As for Raikkonen at McLaren, Autosport has quotes from Mercedes’ Norbert Haug, to the effect that the team could handle two drivers of the calibre of Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, despite the fireworks with Alonso and Hamilton in 2007,
“Whatever you can do to get the best available drivers, that is what you have to do,” said Haug. “It’s a question of money, it’s a question of capability, a question of the amount of talent. Managing two megastars, I don’t think that honestly it was a problem. With Alonso there were some noises to the outside world, but in reality inside the team everybody did his job and in reality we should have won the world championship.

“I stress, I do not confirm that there is change. This is very important. But managing drivers ifs and whys is the name of the game and we are qualified to do so.”

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1

I always imagine how Kimi can back to MM after alonso take his place at ferrari. Alonso maybe on of the best champion like Hamilton in this new era. forget the Scumaker. Focus on Kimi. Yes most of them say he is the fastest driver. But he is not consistent driver. far away than Scumaker. Always blame the car is anything bad happen same like alonso. The pure driver is Schumaker and the Hamilton is next. The champion

on his way without blame anibody.

2
Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I expect Kimi to do two years max in F1, or possibly only one.

If Hamilton starts to politicize things, surely Kimi will just get up and go rallying in 2011?

3

That sentimentality Ferrari feel towards Massa is going to come back and bite them in the arse, I suspect.

I cannot wait to say it, so many subplots its untrue… Kimi and Alonso out to show their old teams they were wrong to slight them, Mclaren v Ferrari back fighting at the top with the best four drivers between them, no embarassing Heike to make excuses for, the cool-headed steely Northern Europeans v the passionate Latinos. I must say, when push comes to shove, I fancy the steely resolve and no-nonsense approach to win through.

Let’s face it, for all the anymosity directed at Hamilton and Kimi for being over-pampered, they tend to do their talking on the track. Massa and Alonso are just a little too prone to throwing their toys out of the pram for my liking and I don’t think anybody in their right mind really believes Massa is in the same league as the other three.

4

I like Kimi, he won the World Championship for Ferrari in 2007. Kimi is as fast as they come. However, he is so intraverted that it does not fit with the marketing arm of Ferrari. They Trifosi are passionate about their teams and they expect the drivers to be the same. Remember Schumi leaping on the podium… he won the hearts of the Ferrari fans. In 2008, Kimi had a disastrous year and instead of showing that he cared and wanted to improve he gave the impression that it is what it is. It just did not bode well with Ferrari and that I think was his downfall. Schumi was the best driver F1 has ever witnessed and yet he also had the most controversy surrounding him. Alonso will do well in Ferrari. He speaks Italian and he is technically the best driver out there right now. It is a perfect fit and I bet Ferrari won’t have the problems McLaren had when Alonso was there.

5

While we all have our favorites, let’s attempt at being practical, let’s analyze what’s happened :

Lewis & FA battle all out, it ends in a draw both scoring the same (I repeat, the same points). The result a happy Ferrari & a happy Kimi who ends up WDC

At Mac everybody’s unhappy. Ron & Haug are worn from the ” intramurals ” with Lewis & FA preferring to split ways.

As FA goes to Renault, Ron & Haug breath easy. FA’s not going to provide them a new worry.. at least he’s not at Ferrari

Peace reigns at Mac & Lewis is free to win. Devoting his efforts to keeping Massa at bay, he finally succeeds. The result, Mac & Lewis are happy while Ferrari is sad & feeling Kimi might have done a little more.

Ferrari figure they should have had FA in the first place but remember it was Todt who put Kimi in. So how do they work around this until Kimi’s contract runs out so they don’t have to pay him for his early exit ?

Business is business.

Santander then foots Kimi’s 2010 paycheck having him drive at Mac. Staying on as a sponsor for 2010

Mac is happy because they get Kimi who’s way better than Kova. Lewis & dad weren’t counting on such a strong competitor but since they’re not the owners….

FA brings with him, the best crew he’s had at Renault & MAC in addition to the support from a crew that will develop the Ferrari race after race with his inputs…. down to the last race each year.

While Massa, what has he to lose ? All he’s got to do is show he’s learned.. from all those he’s been with & maybe he may make WDC

While Mac isn’t happy FA’s at Ferrari as they understand they face a formidable competitor that can win multiple WDCs in the next few years they now have Kimi who together with Lewis might make this task more difficult.

Interesting times gentlemen !

6

Add to this the prospect of Lewis starting to have tantrums mid-season and father Anthony putting out feelers to teams to find out where he could be No 1. Expect to see another father & son spectacle next season with plenty of muck, should make for good tv and keep James’s visitor numbers growing

7

Great analysis manodemono. Completely agree on the story and very much look forward already to 2010.

Lets hope the cars this time around are designed as expected from Mclaren and Ferrari.

8

Just thinking aloud: LEWIS & MASSA, ALONSO & KIMI. Nevermind.

9

Ok, Alonso to Ferrari. We figured that would happen at some point as Kimi clearly isn’t Tifosi material. I totally understand that, but why couldn’t Ferrari handle this with a bit more class? Disgraceful in my opinion.

James, I’m also wondering. Are we not in a global recession? How is it that Santander, a bank, can just shell out 40+ million to pay off Kimi, another 25+ to pay Alonso and possibly fund Mclaren for Kimi’s ride. Do they have that kind of disposable cash on their balance sheet? And if so, are they that desperate for a spanish driver that the bank’s board would actually approve that kind of expenditure. Just curious, as banks have been especially hard hit in these times.

10

Santander were one of the clever/lucky ones who avoided lending to certain risky markets.

In short, they lent to people who can and are paying it back while many of the other banks lent to people who can’t and aren’t.

Because they don’t have the same levels of bad debt, they’re also in a great position to capitalise on the downfall of competitors as people look for safe havens for their cash. But when times are hard, people like names they’ve heard of to give them some crumb of confidence. What better way of becoming a household name than being a sponsor in Formula 1?

It’s a well run bank and make no mistake, this is a clever investment not an expensive whim.

11

Actually, it was more luck than skill. The Spanish regulators made it difficult/unpalatable for their banks to engage in structured finance vehicles compared to other jurisdictions.

12

The other unanswered question is What happens to Renault now? I heard Alonso not content with developing the team’s f1 car single-handedly without engineer support, has also been developing Renault’s road cars in his free time.Rumour has it that a certain Nelson Piquet is the lead crash tester.

13

I personally feel that Jenson would fit better as Kimi’s team mate than Lewis, but I can’t see why Kimi will end up in a Brawn instead of an established outfit like his old team McLaren. Unless of course Mercedes takes over Brawn completely, which is not likely to happen for a few more years yet going by what’s been reported.

It will be a home coming for some unfinished business b/w Kimi & McLaren. Perhaps McLaren has promised to provide Kimi the equipment and support to rewrite the record books straight… that is, Kimi wins a/two/etc championship(s) with McLaren ?!

Besides, I think Kimi looks better in white racing suit than a red one.

As with the payoff/salary, Kimi doesn’t flaunt his wealth. From photos at each race, he turns up wearing the same ol’ camo/pyjama looking shorts, wears the corporate polos/shirts, and I’m sure he invests his earnings wisely and puts much back into the sport thru his double R Racing team. It’s assuring to read that Matti & Paula Raikkonen actually watched the Spa race from the spectator mound on Eau Rouge according to Peter Windsor’s recent Spa review. Let Kimi’s racing do the talking because he has been stoic, while maintaining his dignity and composure during the Alonso/Ferrari speculation, not to mention the appearance of being “dumped” by Ferrari.

So, GO KIMI GO !!

Perhaps the Massa-Alonso-Ferrari marriage will turn into an F1 sideshow soap opera. Should be entertaining especially at one of those many new boring circuits….!

14

Based on what the people who are in the best position to make a considered opinion on the current F1 drivers, (Martin Brundle, to name one), Alonso is the most complete driver! Martin added a little while back, when Button was on song, that he was up there with Alonso. It seems as though that the further away an interested observer is, the stronger the opinion, to the extent that it is inconsistent with astute observers of the sport who are very well placed and employed to give good considered assessment!!

All F1 drivers past and present have their flaws, includng Schumie and Kimi. Alonso is a latin and behaves differently to the teutonic Schumie and morose Finn. That doesn’t mean to say that he should be so villified for the failures of Mclaren, when Hamilton joined the team. Mclaren and especially Dennis, failed as a team to manage that driver combination better and naturally a driver of Alonso’s standing expected, and should have been better treated. His frustration could have been better handled, but he’s a latin. He still delivered post Hungary ’07 in a very hostile environment; a team that had already become Hamilton’s.

I look forward very much to 2010; at last we will have 4 WC’s racing each other from 3 teams.

15

Looking at the alleged details of Alonso’s contract, Massa is going to be anything but equal next year. I can’t see Alonso having signed for the team without something to ensure he will get the full focus.

16

Matt, I would’t think Alonso would feel that much pressure racing against a semi-invalid team mate next year, and after that they’ll probably just get rid of Massa for the remainder of Alonso’s contract if he presents a threat and wheel in someone who’ll be happy to be a designated number 2.

17

I don’t know, I mean nobody expected Hamilton to get anywhere near him in his first season.

Massa is one of those drivers that just seems to chip away and I can see it causing trouble if he keeps with Alonso.

18

I read on one motorsport website (can’t remember which one – maybe Autosport) that Lewis isn’t keen to have Kimi return to Macca and would prefer Kovi to stay.

Would have thought it would be good to have a stronger team mate: someone with more experience and who can bring in good points for the team.

Lewis needs strong support around him – which he will get from Macca. Kimi doesn’t and will survive well enough on his own. Perfect match in many ways …. so long as Kimi isn’t a clear number 2 to Lewis.

Should be good for racing and good for Lewis to be pushed again.

19

“Lewis needs strong support around him – which he will get from Macca. Kimi doesn’t…”

And that is how Ferrari have done and people is saying that Kimi have lost it.

Of course Kimi needs some support and now when Massa is out and Ferrari turned their support to Kimi, you have seen a changed Kimi, a Kimi back in form.

I see trouble, if he goes to McLaren because Kimi does need support and I am afraid Lewis can’t handle to share the team unless it a clear nr. 2 driver like Heikki.

20

I was there when he was asked if he would like Heikki to stay and he said yes. Kimi wasn’t mentioned then

21

I expect some spin has been put on the report I read…. though I haven’t been able to find the article again.

Cheers

22

Well I now realise that it will happen, Alonso joining Ferrari. If Kimi goes to Mclaren, for the 2nd time, I hope to see some of them 2005 performances. Be great to see if Mclaren can win him his 2nd championship after letting him down in his first stint at Mclaren.

23

I think Kimi is much stronger in mind than Lewis and that will be decicive.

24

Slightly off-topic here James, but do you think Williams are heading for expulsion from FOTA again?

They want to keep KERS next year and we now know courtesy of Eddie Jordan that they’re blocking an increase in brake thickness too.

I love the way Williams goes about racing – any chance of an article about why they always seem to be treading a slightly different path and what the future might hold for them?

25

I don’t know.

I know it’s tough, and they still punch well above their weight … but it seems lately they’re in danger of heading-off into Stoddart territory.

Yeah, it’s all fair-enough to try and maximise your hand, play whatver limited selection cards you have, and use your veto to contrive a quid-pro-quo deal elsewhere, but it does tend to aggravate the others afterawhile.

You can certainly keep that up for a good while, but you are all the time bulding up a lot of debt on the goodwill front.

One day something unexpected will happen, it’s inevitable, and you’ll need a quick favour from all those teams you’ve spent the last coupla years winding-up.

And that’s when the F1 chickens come home to roost and the wheels fall off. Hope not, but kinda sorta seems to be headed that way.

26

Sir Frank and Patrick have run their race team in the same way for thirty years, so I suspect they won’t lose sleep about chickens coming home to roost – especially when they own the most successful team on the grid after Ferrari and McLaren.

But you’re right in that they seem to be the constant “thorn in the side” (and the tone of voice from EJ when he accidentally named them on mic on Sunday said a lot too).

So far this year they’ve;

1. Gone against FOTA and signed the Concorde Agreement

2. Blocked Schumacher getting a test day

3. Opted to use KERS next year in defiance of FOTA

4. Apparently blocked an increase in brake pad thickness

No doubt James knows of other disagreements too!

It’s easy to say they’re the odd one out. But part of me also wonders if they’re the actual true racers, sticking to the rules and contracts of the day while the others are possibly thinking more as accountants and managers?

Every decision made above makes perfect sense to me apart from the brake pads (as a potential safety issue). But then again, if they’re confident they can make brakes last the distance with no changes then why shouldn’t everyone else? That’s part of the game isn’t it?

But of all the team bosses, I suspect Sir Frank is the one least likely to play games. Everything seems to be played with a “straight bat” – even his letter to the FIA in support of Renault seemed heartfelt and genuinely in the interest of the sport he clearly loves.

Finally – one point they made themselves earlier this year; they’re a racing team. Nothing else. Are there any other teams on the grid today that can say the same?

I hope to see Sir Frank and Patrick on the podium collecting trophies again in the next couple of years. They’ll be richly deserved.

27

Ken Tyrrell, not Paul Stoddart, comes to mind for me. He too fought the majority, including at the time Frank Williams, and the team punched above its weight for years before running out of steam. I fear Sir Frank and Duke Patrick are going the same way.

28

Yes I have looked at them earlier this season but am overdue a revisit. Thanks

29

Hi James, one thing puzzle me about Williams’ stance on KERS. Maybe you’ll be able to clarify this for us. Of all teams who developed a KERS system they are the last one standing pushing for it but they have not used it at all all year! Why is that so?

Is their own system – different technically from all others – so complex they could not fine tune it on time for 2009 or are they other reasons?

30

As I understand it, Williams bought into a company developing flywheel/mechanical KERS, leveraging their own, never-raced, continuously-variable transmission to match flywheel speed with drivetrain speed for energy input/output. I hope they get it on the grid next year. It’s Luddism to pull back from these technologies, the Mercedes and Ferrari systems already successful, the others having already developed it, too. Why waste that investment, even if it calls for a little more? Its actually immediately relevant beyond F1!

31

hamilton-kimi

alonso-massa

It will be nice to see how they compare.

Hamilton should beat kimi in qualy and during the races. The ferrari duo, is not that clear to me. If he comes back 100% after the accident, he is probably faster in a qualyfing lap. During the race i think is the other way around.

it will be exciting to see. And very close.

32

2010 is a lot different year. Qualifications with empty tanks, no refuel and no kers. I think Hamilton might face a little problem with his overaggressive driving style and he might have to take one more tyre change in GP than any1 else if he keeps driving like that.

Kimi, Alonso and Massa have ability and driving style that can adjust quite easily to this. Hamilton might get more support from his team but Kimi is quite near to that McLaren to be perfect fit. Alonso example was perfect for Hamilton but now he don’t get any emotional feedback from Kimi like he did get from Alonso.

Kimi will drive as fast as he can go with that McLaren. Hamilton just need to be faster if he can. That is the main risk. Hamilton might risk too much while he wants to beat Kimi All the time. Kimi isn’t Heikki so he will get a better contract that have equality in there.

Massa isn’t coming back faster than he was. He might beat Alonso but all because that Ferrari is really hard to adjust. But we will see how huge impact Alonso have in that team. If he controls everything then Massa can’t do nothing but that would be weird when in Renault Alonso didn’t even know the crashgate happening. So why would he be doing more in Ferrari?

33

Do not forget races with water. FA LH is the pair to beat. Massa has enough to not spin the car, silverstone 08 anyone? I think he established the record of 6 spins on a race,

34

Hamilton china 5 spins!!!!!

Massa not 6, it was 5 and he was on the wrong tyre.

35

Alonso’s contract.

25M euros per season (less than Kimi 30M euros)

6 years= 3+2+1

3 fixed

2 both parties could walk again with certain conditions

1 any party could walk again without conditions

Ferrari negotiating to obtain staff from Renault and Red Bull for 2010.

Alonso already “working” on the Ferrari next season.

Joan Viladelprat (ex-Ferrari and ex-Benetton) claims that Michael “stole” (politically correct term “employ”) 22 people from Benetton when moving to Ferrari.

36

“Ferrari negotiating to obtain staff from Renault and Red Bull for 2010.

Alonso already “working” on the Ferrari next season.”

lol

I was waiting for something like that pop-up. What is Alonso doing? Is he working in the Ferrari windtunnel? If Alonso is already “hard at work” on next year’s Ferrari then he better hope that it isn’t another R29. 😉

The Spanish press were talking about Geoff Wills and Jorg Zander, but it has actually been rumoured now for a while that they would join Ferrari, it has got noting to do with Alonso.

37

sorry… I meant “walk away”

38

If it is true that Alonso has persuaded Ferrari to bring in a number of the current Renault F1 staff from his side of that garage then it strongly suggests that Alonso is “team-buildnig” at Ferrari in a manner he didn’t when he was at McLaren. And he very nearly won the title for the latter in an apparently alien environment, so the potential is surely for Alonso-Ferrari to be extremely strong indeed.

39

It seems NP sr has picked up from where left off and made comments about Alonso running things at Renault, which could possibly jeopardize his move to SF (although I doubt anything will stop it now).

So just in case this whole Kimi/Fernando/Ferrari thing blows up for some reason, I’d like to use this opportunity to coin the terms Transfergate and Kimigate. That’s Transfergate or Kimigate. Everyone’s obviously free to come up with other gates but remember you read these here first. If the predicted soon to be scandal concerns Fernando directly, I think naturally we could use Fernandogate or Alonsogate.

40

No. Just, no.

You see ‘The Watergate’ is a hotel where some dodgy US government papers were stolen leading to all kinds of trouble for President Nixon in 1970’s America.

It’s gone, it’s past… attaching the suffix ‘gate’ to any sodding word you like represented maybe a snippet of journalistic wit the first time it was done out of context way back in the 70’s (probably). Now i’m sure it exists purely to irritate me… (and also to enable Ed Gorman to meet his word count every other day).

Believe me when I say the world does not require any more ‘gates’ unless they are intended to stop cows escaping from fields.

41

Glad to see my charming bit of wit didn’t go unnoticed, although the inherent sarcasm and disregard of etymology seems to have eluded young master Richard.

Believe me Sir as long as there are tabloids and those tabloids aren’t being bought for their intellectual content or beautiful prose, every major scandal will be dubbed something-gate.

The fantastic thing is we can make them up in advance so the journo’s can’t claim credit, such as the above or in anticipation of coming scandals how about Todtgate, USF1-gate, Brawngate (alternatively the smaller Buttongates and Rubensgates), Nicogate could come in handy and of course Toyotagate.

Help me out Richard and find a suitable ending for a smaller scandal that doesn’t quite make it to the gate-level?

42

OK touché… in fairness I suspected sarcasm but I chose not to give you the benefit of the doubt. So my bad.

Regarding your question; how about ‘stile’?… yes, I very much look forward to a refreshing read all about Button’stile’ in the near future.

43

How would the Alonso/Schumacher relationship work at Ferrari? It was obvious that there was no relationship between Kimi and Michael. Michael will stay at Ferrari in an advisory position, will Alonso allow Michael to advise him?

When Kimi was confirmed to go to Ferrari, one of the Mercedes guys commented that he hope for Kimi’s sake that Ferrari can build engines that will last, because he is so hard on the cars. Have anything change dramatically in Kimi’s driving style or are the Mercedes engines a lot better?

If Kimi are really going to McLaren, it will definitely be interesting to see who will finish 3rd in the constructors championship?

Time will tell, be I do agree that it will be an exciting season next year.

44

Sorry, can’t find the link, but there are stories that Alonso is insisting that Schumacher departs.

45

I think Kimis recent show of form was too little too late. He was in dreamland before Massa’s accident and he only really kicked into gear after Hungary. He has been amazing since then but i feel its time for some new blood in the team and i feel Alonso will deliver consistently throughout the season.

McLaren will be looking good next year and a strong driver lineup. Heres to a more competitive 2010.

46

” This is want all the fans, at least the Spanish mob, want to see for a long time. In my opinion Massa and Kimi are a bit below this pair, they might bring some winnings but H/A will bring the championships. Although Massa deserved to win last year, Kimi did not deserved it on 2007, it should’ve gone to Hamilton..”

How didn’t Kimi deserver it in 2007. Most wins? Did gain most points and only thing was that Hamilton drop the ball too many times.

Massa and Kimi have bring more wins and championships than Alonso and Lewis together. 1 WDC, 2 teams title.

But ofc Ferrari will trust that Alonso is the Schumi and can make miracles but really the car for 2010 is already coming so how much impact will Alonso make? Car is quite much made for Massa and Alonso might be in trouble. Ferrari couldn’t change the car to Kimi so how can they do that for Alonso. And when Alonso Wants that number one status he might be again in situation where number 2 takes most points and gains more than him. Then Ferrari looks like clowns that have made 50 million mistake.

47

As I said earlier, in my humble opinion the 2007 WDC was not win by Kimi, it was lost by Hamilton and his errors during the last 2 races. The best driver did not win.

The best FA quality and I quote de la Rosa (McLaren test driver), it is not the fact that is the most consistent driver, it is the fact that FA adapts to new circuit/conditions/car faster than any other driver. FA is not the quickest, that honour has to be for Hamilton or/and Kimi on my view.

48

The one thing history teaches us is that we never learn from it.

Ferrari’s big problem pre-Todt/Brawn/Schuey (T/B/S) days was that they could not, seemingly, manage drivers in a manner that got the best from them. Or even an adequate performance. And given Kimi’s history with them it would seem like they’ve dropped back to their old ways.

If, as seems a popular theory on here, Alonso was defeated by McLaren politics then he’s got a shock coming at Ferrari. The phrase ‘most complete driver’ is bandied about but being able to manage a team and get them on your side is an essential skill.

The Italian press differs to that of every other country when it comes to reporting F1. They alone seem to be pleased with T/B/S moving on as the series of successful races and seasons gave them little to criticise – not that they stopped doing so of course. Now that the car is underperforming they are back to their rampant ways.

Ferrari used to take a great deal of notice of the media coverage pre-T/B/S and I can’t help believing that this concern will return. Alonso has shown himself adept in the past in dealing with the press but his display of arrogance at Singapore should, perhaps, be his one and only slip up. Threatening to talk in a language foreign to the interviewers won’t go down well in Rome.

He’ll start with them on his side I should assume, although Massa’s recovery might well give them lots more column inches for a while. A victory or two will provide a buffer but Ferrari are not that well known for being able to come up with a car that’s fast out of the box. If other teams, as some were this season, are much faster out of the box then FA might well come under pressure.

FerrariF1 has the aura of a supremely confident and competent company but recent history has shown otherwise. They did well in 2008 but took a dramatic leap backwards this season. They need a strong team leader, a role Kimi was never going to perform. Alonso would appear to have that authority, at least when driving for Renault under Briatore.

As a previous poster said, not there can be no more excuses. He’s moving to the richest team. Much is expected of him. The Italian media needs managing and sympathy is not its strong suit. These will be testing times for FA.

The key, I think, will be Massa’s performance.

I can’t help thinking that Ferrari will revert to its old ways and do something really silly. If Todt gets in then the current management might well be seen as a bit of a liability given the antagonism that exists between them. Will they consider putting someone in charge who is more acceptable to the new president of the FIA? A bit of positive discrimination by promoting a member of a minority?

They behaved in such a way before, choosing politics before ability.

Kimi, on moving to McLaren, will have no such pressure apart from the competition from a strong team mate. I’ve been impressed by the way Whitmarsh has run the team since RD’s departure. He’s overseen the loss of a major sponsor, or a major part of it, but that had been on the cards for some time.

I’m really looking forward to next season. If Rosberg goes to Brawn we have the promise of six drivers capable of winning the championship and three pairs of drivers going head to head.

For some drivers the off season might well be usefully dedicated to making up excuses.

Shame thee will be a Singapore GP next year that will, in all probability, be devoid of thrills.

49

“I’m really looking forward to next season. If Rosberg goes to Brawn we have the promise of six drivers capable of winning the championship and three pairs of drivers going head to head.”

I presume you are discounting Red Bull next year as any threat then

I too am looking forward to next year but think Red Bull will also be in the mix

Not sure about Williams.

50

I’m not discounting Vettel so much as Red Bull. I think, but have little evidence to support it, that Ferrari and McLaren will be at the front next season with Brawn in close attendance. Then there will be a narrowish gap.

I can’t see two seasons going by without MM & F being the class of the field.

Mind you, I’ve been wrong often enough in the past. I had a bet on for Rosberg to come in second at Singapore. Still, gave all my friends a laugh. Still does.

51

McLaren cannot manage Hamilton and Raikkonen. Every single time when the drivers of the same calibre are joining McLaren the story of Senna and Prost is told again and again. But then it was different because back then F1 was pure racing.

McLaren failed with Raikkonen and Montoya and also failed with Hamilton and Alonso. There is every reason for them to fail again. Raikkonen could drive for Macca in 2010 but will surely not do it in 2011.

52

IF the predicted moves go through, we should see some good racing as we were meant to with Kimi at Ferrari and Fernando at McLaren. While Fernando will no doubt realise his potential at the Scuderia, Kimi was always going to be cool, so I can’t imagine what Ferrari were expecting when they hired him in the first place. Fernando & Felipe in red will be good entertainment, not just because of the likelyhood of a bust up between them. I’m really looking forward to a 5-way WDC battle next year (KR/FA/LH/FM & somebody else).

I would also expect to see McLaren enforce some limit on driver retinues, currently it seems Lewis has the whole band with him. Kimi is sure to accuse Lewis’s entourage of stealing his hubcaps if they don’t give him space to eat his popsicles in peace & quiet.

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