The Raikkonen and Ferrari link
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Aug 2013   |  4:32 pm GMT  |  326 comments

Kimi Raikkonen’s future in Formula 1 continues to top the headlines ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, with speculation that the Finn is set to return to Ferrari, the team he won his only world championship with in 2007, intensifies.

On Monday, his manager Steve Robertson said the 20-time Formula 1 race winner would not be driving for world champions Red Bull next season, with Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo set to get the seat alongside reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.

That seemingly leaves Raikkonen, 33, with two options – stay with Lotus for a third season or move back to Ferrari, the team which paid him not race for them in 2010 after ending his contract early.

The speculation started when Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported that Raikkonen had already agreed a move back to Ferrari. The Italian team say that no decision has yet been made about their driver line-up.

The BBC’s Eddie Jordan claims that the Finn wants a move back to Ferrari, and that a deal may be as soon as next month’s Italian Grand Prix. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has not been keen on the idea of the return of a man who they released from his contract, instead deciding to partner Felipe Massa with Fernando Alonso in 2010.

But Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport suggested that Montezemolo would sanction the move for Raikkonen if he was the best driver available. That would of course create some interesting questions for Ferrari, with Alonso and Raikkonen forming the strongest driver line-up on the grid.

During the Michael Schumacher era, the team put all their support behind the German’s title challenge, with Rubens Barrichello playing a supporting role. The team changed their strategy when Massa partnered Raikkonen, with the two drivers allowed to race.

Raikkonen won the title in 2007, but it was Massa who was the stronger driver in 2008, narrowly missing out on the championship to Lewis Hamilton, and in 2009 before his accident in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

They returned to their strategy of favouring one driver with Alonso and Massa, largely because Massa has been unable to challenge for the title. Will the team be prepared to allow their drivers to race again if Raikkonen and Alonso are team-mates?

It would certainly help their chances of winning the constructors’ championship for the first time since 2008. However, it would hamper their chances in the drivers’ championship with Alonso and Raikkonen taking points off each other.

There is of course the question of how Alonso will feel about having such a competitive team-mate, especially after his explosive partnership with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren during the 2007 season.

And Raikkonen needs to decide whether he believes Lotus can provide him with a car that can challenge for the World Championship in 2014 or whether a drive at Ferrari, where he finished first, third and sixth overall during his three seasons with the team, would be a better option.

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1

It seems that everyone is waiting for Lotus to sort out their finances. I wonder for how much longer before they/he give/s up. If KR goes to Ferrari that will be for one and only one reason, MONEY!!! There is no unfinished business for KR at Ferrari. Initially I was very surprised to see that RBR has given up on KR. Why would they? Is DR a better option? Or is it to justify the young driver’s programme? Let’s think. This is a big money game. No sentiments I’m afraid.

2

Don’t join the the dark side again Kimi! You’ll be treated as well as dirty laundry.

3

Com’on, this man belongs in a Red Bull. Did you notice Vettel’s new hair style? It is as blond as Kimi’s hair. Now, if that is not a hint … ?

Here’s my driver line-up, to end the silly season:

Red Bull: Vettel x Kimi

Lotus: Hulkenberg x (Grosjean)

Ferrari: Alonso x Kovaleinen

Yes, Kovaleinen! He has tons of experience and has worked with Alonso before. Also, he is very fast on a single lap.

4

HA HA!

Kimi calls in sick for the THurs. press-conf. Clearly he didn’t want to monopolize the entire proceedings. 🙂

But I would have love to have seen how many different way the press would have been able to phrase the same question. Personally, if given a chance I would ask Kimi:

“What is your favorite color?

If he would say Red, we know all we need to know!

5

😀

That would’ve been awesome question. Hope James or someone will ask it today.

6

I wouldn’t be so sure that next year’s Red Bull will be so reliable. Newey takes a while to adapt to change. Witness his first seasons at RB. Kimi’s experienced this phenomenon in 2005, why risk it again?

If Lotus can sort their budget out and get rid of Grosjean and his manager, then Kimi should stay. Otherwise there are worse places than Ferrari. They are usually in the top three, reliable and well-funded.

Amazing how one driver can have such an effect on the sport!

7

Why would Lotus need to get rid of Grojean and his manager- Eric Boulier?

8

True about Newey maybe. But has Lotus got the financial and technical punch themselves? RBR would be better placed to come out of a rut than Lotus can, given its resources. The same holds for Ferrari also. So that is why the drivers think there are better chances with well-funded technically sound team than someone who just surprise everyone for a year or two (read Lotus).

9

Bring it on. But it’s such a pain that RB shut the door on him. It would have been good to properly calibrate Vettel’s driving pedigree against another formidable world champion.

10

He’s on a good run but still has nightmares about Kubica’s WRC performances. Which will only get better. Its time F1 woke up. Luca you old goat, sign Robert!!!

11

Hold it, hold it, hold it!

With all the fantastic speculation (F1 sugar) going on, why not include a sprinkling of Sebastian Loeb driving a few classic F1 races for Red Bull/Toro Rosso as he continues his bucket list tour after killing it on Pikes Peak!

At the very least it would be good fun to see a Top Gear style challenge around Monaco on F1 weekend. Sebastian Vettel would play the Stig and crack off a qualifying lap in his dominant 2011 car. Loeb would then follow up with a blitzing lap in his Pikes Peak machine to see how competitive it might be.

12

There have been rumors or a ferrari run at lmp1. I could see massa possibly going to that program or a gt program. Similar to fisi did

13

I don’t think the RBR-link is over just yet. Robertson is still playing the game. If you look at Kimi’s past contacts, the Robertsons strike out as one of the best agents in sporting history..

14

“Raikkonen won the title in 2007, but it was Massa who was the stronger driver in 2008”

Stronger only because the car was setup in Massa’s favor as I understand it.

http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

“There is of course the question of how Alonso will feel about having such a competitive team-mate”

This implies that Massa is the weaker competition and contradicts the first quote above. However, I totally agree that Raikkonen would be much more competitive than Massa and I hope if this move happens that they are allowed to race. There should be no team orders until one or the other has been eliminated in the WDC.

Didn’t Ferrari used to have a policy whereby the drivers were allowed to race until the final pit stop? They were then to hold station. Maybe that was another team. But, that sounds like a good way to handle things.

15

It seems the wild card here is Infinity Racing. When they bought a stake in Lotus two months ago is was understood that they would be injecting money into the team but it appears that has not happened so far for whatever reason. They had a stated goal of winning titles in the “near future”. Allowing Kimi Raikkonen to leave would be an odd way of going about that.

16

The apparent backflip from Marko is disappointing (but perhaps not surprising). As someone else posted against a previous story, Red Bull should be careful how they manage the public story – if Ricciardo is their guy then they should take the opportunity to pump him up, not let him believe he was second choice.

Likewise if he isn’t then they should be telling him before it’s public knowledge and explaining why (and the same should have gone for Vergne when he dropped out of the running).

Hard to believe in a “Young Driver Programme” that so far has treated all participants except one as disposable and interchangeable commodities, to be discarded without notice at any time. If the “Programme” is to have real value, it must not just identify talent (and again, one out of many isn’t a great strike rate) but develop it.

17
Adrian Newey Jnr

I have always thought that the RB young drivers academy was as much about keeping good talent out of the hands of the other teams as it was trying to find the next Vettel.

18

Interesting.

19

I’m not sure why the RB driver development program gets so much stick. (except that some people like giving RB stick at every opportunity)

McLaren have a similar driver development program. As with the RB program it has had only one real success: Lewis Hamilton. As an aspiring F1 driver you’re better off working with RB than anyone else, since at least there is a decent probability that you’ll get a shot driving an F1 car for a couple of years. After that it’s up to you to show you deserve to keep it. That’s all anyone can really ask for.

20

It seems that Kimi to Ferrari is a done deal, it makes perfect sense for them to take him as they desperately need someone who will help them score those all important constructors championship points. Ferrari could end up 4th this year which would be a bit of a disaster money wise. They have tried the “putting all your eggs in the Fernando basket” method and it hasn’t worked, giving Alonso the weak team mate he wants is costing them a huge amount of money, and they can’t afford to carry on. Lots of people think that Fernando may move to Red Bull, but he has a Ferrari contract till 2016, and I doubt he would want to buy himself out of that. It seems that Vettel is Ferrari’s long term target and it seems to me that Alonso/Raikkonen would see them through very nicely till Seb’s arrival.

I think Red Bull will go with Vettel/Riccardo as it will keep Seb happy, the single driver approach is working for them, so why change it? promoting Daniel validates the young driver programme, and gives them a chance to properly evaluate his performance level, it will also free up a Torro Rosso seat for Felix de Costa, and it seems they really want to get him into F1 as soon as possible.

Hopefully Kimi’s exit will leave a space for Hulkenberg at Lotus, they seem a good match for each other, Hulkenberg is quick and cheap, and Lotus should give Nico a chance to show what he can do.

Expect a few mind games form Fernando next season, and a few silently effective on track answers from Kimi! We can also expect a much higher constructors championship result from Ferrari, yes their two drivers will take points of each other, but it’s the WCC that pays the bills…

21

I really don’t like the fact that Kimi could be back at Ferrari. The Scuderia dumped him so bad back in the time, I remember my anxiety waiting for any renewal of contract, the he left F1 and went to Rally. Lotus is far better for his own good. Maybe they should pick another consistent driver instead of Romain for 2014!

22

Don’t forget that Ferrari hired Rory Byrne to design their 2014 car. This is the same guy who did all of schumachers cars.

http://jaonf1.wpengine.com/2013/02/ferrari-goes-back-to-the-future-rory-byrne-to-work-on-2014-turbo-f1-car/

23

Wind tunnel isnot working

24

That is a fair point, one would assume they are still using toyotas wind tunnel to fix these issues in the interim.

25

This has always summed up Kimi for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMBP1T_jw5w

26

Well Mclaren 07, Singapore 08 and Germany 2010 pretty much summed up Alonso for me….

If you REALLY think that gives right picture about Kimi (btw Kimi didnt even see the child and rightfully told the woman to go and take care of her child) then you dont know nothing about him…

27

Yeah, it does, because he clearly told the lady to get back to her crying child on the ground that she knocked over to get an autograph.

Kimi Raikkonen probably has more life perspective than the rest of those egomaniac nutjobs in F1 combined.

28
Michael Grievson

In what way?

29

Looks like late 2009 all over again. Looks like he’ll get annoyed at some point and say… aaahh…Forget it… I am going to WRC.

30

Eddie Jordan has been 100% accurate to leak important movements within F1. James, can we presume Raikkonen will be a Ferrari driver 2014? I also feel that you don’t post rumors here.

31

Eddie said Kimi wants to go to Ferrari.

32

Does anyone else in believe that there’s is anychance of Raikkonen ends having no seat at all for the next season? I mean…no team, even Lotus, will wait longer than mid of September to set their drivers lineup and won’t wait forever for KR until he is making his decision…

33

If Fernando,Lewis,or Sebastian are not available and Kimi still is- the door can be left open till they are ready to test. It’s not like Lotus don’t have enough reserve drivers waiting in the wing !

34

no chance at all, Lotus will wait. Kimi’s F1 stock is just too high at the moment for him to not drive for anyone.

35

I do. This has the hallmarks of late 2009 all over again.

36

James, do you know what the philosophy was behind hiring Alonso to begin with? Were they after a team leader in the vain of Schumacher in terms of leading development or were they after a more traditional relationship with less development input from the driver.

If it was the former, perhaps Ferrari should be a tad more patient as it took 5 years for the Schumacher era to bear fruit.

If it was the latter, that may suggest Ferrari are unhappy with the performance of their drivers, hence a possible move for Kimi.

37

I’m not sure I understand Ferrari’s impatience.

But for Vettel’s remarkable recovery after being spun round by Senna at the Brazillian GP last year, Alonso could have been WDC.

Alonso could also have been WDC had Ferrari not chosen to cover Webber at the Korean GP 2010, but instead drive for the best points finish.

There is no question Alonso delivered. It’s Ferrari that hasn’t delivered the best car. But then, no other team has delivered a consistently better car than RB . . . until Mercedes this year?

38

Alonso could have taken the 2012 title had he not tangled with Kimi in Suzuka.

39

Yes, that was the stated aim, A leader, a proven winner, champion a serious person.

Santander would also come in big with Alonso in a Ferrari (but they probably would have done the same had he stayed at McLaren)

I don’t think you specify degrees of technical leadership. That’s what engineers are for. You want a champion in your car who won’t leave points on the table

40

I think it’s safe to say alonso doesn’t leave points on the table.

41

Either he’s trying get more money from Red Bull and the Ferrari rumour is helping or he’s indeed going to Ferrari. Can Ferrari afford having Kimi Raikkonen in Red Bull, probably not.

42

Do you know what would be truly awful after all this? If Kimi stays at Lotus. It’d be great to see two WDC’s in the same team, whoever they are!

Make sure it happens, Bernie! It’ll be good for the ratings! :p

43

I don’t care if Kimi goes to Ferrari or Alonso goes to RedBull, I just want to see top drivers in the same team for the good of the sport.

44

I’ve never had the privilege to see one, but the way I understand it, many top drivers have an out-clause in their contract that allows them to walk if the team hires another top driver.

We saw it happen with Williams in the 90’s when first Mansell and then Prost walked away with the World Drivers Champion trophy tucked under their arm. (Along with the No. 1 plate. Who’d want to be a nothing?)

Wouldn’t Fernando have a list of drivers in his contract who he would/wouldn’t allow?

45

James, do you think there is any chance of Kimi moving to Mclaren for 2014? I’m not sure JB is contracted.

46

Plus I assume Perez is only on a 1 year deal as he is unproven.

47

Perez is on a multi-year deal, he is bringing Mexican sponsors when Vodafone leaves at the end of this year.

48

So the rumours about his Mexican sponsors are not true? I though that was the reason McLaren hired him, since they will need money when Vodafone leaves.

49

I hear its a one year deal

50

He is contracted until the end of 2014.

But contracts…

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