Ferrari takes the plunge with Raikkonen/Alonso super team
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2013   |  2:06 pm GMT  |  735 comments

Ferrari today confirmed the hotly anticipated news that Kimi Raikkonen has been re-hired for a two year contract starting in 2014.

The all star line up with Fernando Alonso will provide a compelling story for F1 over the next two seasons at a time when F1 risked becoming a little stale with the domination of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

The Finn, 33, is the last driver to win the world championship for Ferrari in 2007 and he will bring this heritage with him when he lines up with Alonso, who replaced him at the Scuderia in 2010. Ironically Raikkonen was paid off the last year of his contract in order to make way for Alonso. At the time the briefings from the team were that Raikkonen was not a “leader” and that Alonso had been hired for this as much as anything.

Four years later and with no world title to show for it, despite two near misses, both sides are frustrated and Ferrari has poured oil on troubled waters with this move.

Now the team has decided to bite on the bullet and clearly the Constructors’ championship is the goal. This has not been possible in the last four years as Felipe Massa has not scored enough points.

The strategy makes sense on that level. However what everyone will be curious to see is what effect Raikkonen’s arrival will have on Alonso. The Spaniard favours a lead driver scenario within a team – with him as the lead driver – and Raikkonen’s arrival will clearly complicate his life.

“For anyone thinking that the choice of Kimi is somehow an anti-Alonso choice, I can put their minds at rest,” said team principal Stefano Domenicali. “At Ferrari, everyone knows the interests of the team come first and only then those of the individual.

“Fernando is a key asset for this team and he will be for a long time. I’m sure he is the first to be happy with a choice made to strengthen the group, because he is too intelligent not to realise that a stronger team can only be an advantage.”

Alonso welcomed his new team mate,

“I’d like to welcome my new travelling companion: together, starting next year, we will have to tackle a very demanding technical and racing challenge,” he said.

He has three and a half years left on his contract, but relations are clearly strained, as illustrated by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo’s unprecedented public rebuke in July.

Should he decide to leave, Ferrari has a world champion in its team and a strong driver, who has proved he can win, given the machinery and who scores a lot of points.

Intriguingly Raikkonen’s contract runs to the end of 2015, the same period as Sebastian Vettel’s contract at Red Bull. Vettel has always left the door open to the possibility of driving for another team later in his career and his one year extension this year from 2014 to 2015 leaves him that option.


The superstar pairing also heaps pressure on the Ferrari technical department to build a quick car for next year. Rory Byrne has been working on the project with Ferrari’s designers around 100 days a year and James Allison was recruited from Lotus earlier this year. But the pressure is on the engine builders to produce a powerful and efficient power train and until this breaks cover and runs on track with the Mercedes and Renault engined cars we will not know if the Ferrari superteam will be title contenders. The pressure would be incredible should they have a similar level of competitiveness to this years McLaren, for example.

Raikkonen’s move is a huge disappointment for Lotus, which has been working hard to sort out its finances to keep him, but has run out of time. After the departure of Allison, Ferrari has now taken Lotus’ other prize asset. The team has punched well above its financial weight in F1 these last two seasons and Eric Boullier and his team will be knocked back by this second raid.

Nico Hulkenberg is expected to fill Raikkonen’s seat.

Now that the Raikkonen move has been made, the other pieces of the driver moves jigsaw will start to fall into place.


RAIKKONEN AT FERRARI – FACTFILE

52 Grands Prix 2007-9
World champion 2007
9 Victories
5 Pole positions
17 podiums

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1

Don’t call it a super team until you see how it works. It’s like most marriages, half of which fail: you don’t know who’s thinking what until it actually happens.

Gonna be damned interesting, though, no doubt…

2

Raikkonen is there because Montezemolo decided to check benchmark machinery against him. The he will decide what to do with Fry, who claimed the car was better for quali. And finally, if Alonso-Raikkonen will not deliver, then Domenicali will be fired.

It is a final year for him as team principal i hope…

3

*IMPORTANT* Was Red Bull running an illegal car in Brazil 2012?

Hi James, I can’t reveal my sources on here, but I’ve heard some stories seemingly prompted by some comments that Nelson Piquet Snr made in a public appearance in Brazil that Red Bull’s car failed post race scutineering after Brazil last year. But we never heard anything about this through the media. It was suggested that the FIA weren’t willing to make it public to impact upon the show that we’d seen on TV, and have a Championship decided away from the track. Having searched the internet I’ve found a quote from Nelson Piquet on a Brazilian TV interview in January of this year. These are his comments regarding the podium interviews, and his instructions from the powers that be: ‘They said the championship was not decided in that moment. You have to wait for maybe February to see if the car was not out of regulation.’

Look forward to hearing your thoughts and any further comment on this James. Many Thanks.

4

Ferrari now has all the pieces. The question is can it make a team out of them. Raikkonen will do his thing as always like a pro. I think Alonso has outgrown his tantrums of the past. Byrne is working overtime to take on Newey. The weak link might be towards the top or the organization. Montezemolo is not exactly a master delagator. And poor Domenicali reminds me of Massa more and more.

5

A polite correction. Byrne is working part time – about 100 days/year.

6

Hey James

i like your title with Raikkonen/Alonso super team & not Alonso/Raikkonen super team. Says it all isn’t it I’ve spoken to couple of journalists and they think ferrari will not favour Alonso but will try and build car around Raikkonen and let Alonso adapt with especially James Allison 365 days on duty with ferrari as tech chassis director compared to Rory bryne 100 days a year commitment.

Another thing i have to ask you what is reaction in paddock about kimi/alonso pairing? Comments of chritian Horner & especially Whitmarsh as he expected to see kimi in lotus in 2014? come one James ill be waiting for the reply to both the ques

7

Surprise when it was first mooted

General feeling is it will be tough to manage

Everyone waiting to see how Alonso deals with it next year

8

I will tell you how he will deal with it, he will fall apart like a house of cards as I mentioned earlier. A latin driver in a latin team just does not work. No matter how good he is. When is the last time a latin driver has done anything at ferrari? You have to go back to Fangio for goodness sake!!!!. The best predictor of future behavior is ones history in similar circumstances. This is a basic rule of life. I was stunned at the time that Ferrari got rid of Kimi to make room for Alonso. I said at the time on this very site that Alonso would never win the WDC with Ferrari. In a latin team full of hot heads with short fuses, you need a counterbalance of someone cool and calculated. ie Lauda, Shumacher, Kimi. These guys won WDCs with Ferrari. Look at the latin drivers in recent times with Ferrari. Albereto? Mentally destroyed. Prost? Got sacked. Alesi? Wasted talent. Barrichello? Spirit broken. Massa? A broken shadow of former self. Look at the obvious niggle between Alonso and Ferrari recently. Last driver to publicly speak against his team like that was sacked! Alonso is running out of time in his career to add more WDC’s. The rise of Ham and Vet makes it even harder for him. His team have now said you are not number 1 anymore. His poor spaniad brain is going to implode the first time Kimi out qualifies him!

9

die hard fan since i was a kid…watched as Lauda beat my hero Prost in ’84, saw the rise of Senna, watched Schumacher come from sports cars and and rewrite the record books, saw him (and joined in!) being called the villain in ’94 in OZ, in Jerez ’97, then watched him turn into a veritabel Terminator at Ferrari…but no-one has caught my eye, bar Vettel, in the way KR did when he joined Sauber.He was destined to be a stra, and “but for” appalling reliabilty with Mclaren should have had at least 3 titles to his name….

he sealed ity as my favourite dtriver with that famous “leave me alone, i know what I’m doing” quip…

Just imagine:

“Kimi, Alonso is faster than you…”

“So What”

“So, he’s FASTER than you…”

“Just leave me alone, i know what i’m doing”

next lap to Alonso

“Alonso, Kimi is faster than you”

in Italian from FA “*&^%%#$^&%&^%&^ idiots!”

10

653 posts and counting, on this topic.

Is this a record James?

The Kimi fans and Ferrari fans are coming out in force. The marketing benefits are already starting to show.

btw – how’s Murray Walker? I don’t know how else to ask. But can appreciate if providing details on a public forum is not appropriate.

11

Is this a record James?

I don’t think so, the multi21 incident had almost 1200 comments.

12

As did Germany 2010 post

13

You have to add comments in two posts as they are on same topic: this one and the reactions to this decision that currently has 350 comments. So it comes close to 1100 comments!

14

James, do you think ALO/RAI might just surprise us instead of “tearing each other apart” like Marko & some others suggest?

15

Raikkonen won’t be political with Alonso, he will just drive

It’s what effect a competitive Raikkonen has on Alonso which is the question, especially as Alonso was explicitly hired as the leader

16

It must be strange wakening up and reading things you are meant to have said, written by a team spindoctor…

“I am really happy to be returning to Maranello where I previously spent three fantastic and very successful years,” said Kimi. “I have so many memories of my time at Ferrari, memories which have stayed with me these past years, first and foremost, winning the World Championship title in 2007, which was really unforgettable.

“I can’t wait to be driving a Prancing Horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver, in order to bring the team the success it deserves.”

…’yes, yes, yes, can’t wait, now leave me alone’ would’ve been more believable.

17

To the specialists in ever lasting bla bla, those who talk endlessly about resources, management, work methods & organisation ¬ ethics and you name it, I would like to say that Red Bull has won 8 titles because it hired Adrian Newey. The “discussion about the method” should be left to philosopher René Descartes.

As for Kimi to Ferrari (which I believe is the topic of this thread), for me it is a sort of a little dream come true! After Kimi shook off the rust in his right foot, he has proved that he deserved another chance with a big team. I was a bit sad to see him leaving Maranello. In my view the swap with Alonso was necessary back then. But it meant wasting Kimi’s talent in the meantime. We have to realise that shit not only happens to normal people. It also happened to Hamilton, as he pointed out himself. And both are NOT normal people.

Nevertheless it comes as a big surprise to me that Montezemolo has accepted, for once, to have 2 drivers of such a caliber in the team. On rare occasions we saw a sort-of equal treatment to both pilots before. But I can’t remember Ferrari having 2 pilots at this level!

We will see if both pilots are really “free” until June or so.

I can’t wait to see if Montezemolo succeeds where Ron Dennis has failed the big hard way: managing 2 really great pilots!

18

anyone who ponces around with the words ‘iceman’ tattooed on his arm has to be suspect.

james, i am rather gobsmacked at the sheer size of this thread. it must be great for you to see the following especially when a lot of sites are crashing. keep up the good work , it is deeply appreciated.

19

Cheers. Tell all your friends!

20

From some of the comments here – ‘He doesn’t care” and similar sentiments – you would think Raikkonen was ego free but he has as big an ego as any other successful driver. He tends to show it in action not words. And as we saw in the saga of his leaving Ferrari that can be as explosive as lots of Italian or Spanish verbalising.

21

What strikes me the most is that it’s widely accepted that Alonso can’t stand the pressure and will be expected to crack at some point. In the same time, Alonso is highly regarded as one of the best. Pretty funny contradiction.

22

My beliefs…

Ferrari needed to do something and this is in the right direction.

Kimi = probably the most pure raw talent driver. ( great but not super great)

Alomso = the complete al round driver, has the smarts from hard work and coming up through the ranks. (gets too involved in the politicks)

Ham = super fast and has been nursed all the way – biggest problem out of all the top drivers is he’s (in my option is the easiest to mess with his head)

Ros = fast but needs more time to prove himself (worth holding a top team place)

Vet = super fast (it’s not just the car but that helps he got it so young) master of timing that 1 lap, is on the edge of greatness.(smart and still learning…booooing doesn’t trouble him too much, hard to get in his head, as he’s a hero worshiper “shuie” he likes getting the stats to prove to himself that he can break them…He’s his own worst enemy and I can see him burning himself out…and that would be ashamed.

Dan = fast but unknown in a good reliably car, has the race craft, has to prove he has it and could surprise a few…remember RB have heaps of data on him that others don’t.

Button = good & smart but not great, deserves a top car but he will be round in F1 forever, media smart and when he retires in a couple of years, he’s the next Murray Walker/James Hunt in one commentator 🙂

Bring on 2014 🙂

The Hulk needs a top drive…the rest have to prove they deserve it lol

23

It doesn’t even matter if the Ferrari car is bad next year. At least there will be the RAI/ALO race to watch! Thank you Ferrari!

24

If Newey creates another rocket, which history says is likely after big regulation changes, then the interest may well be:-

1st – The “Ferrari inter-team Championship”

2nd – The Constructors Championship

3rd – Sebs easy Drivers Championship

can’t wait but hope Ferrari can challenge Newey all season next year.

25

I don’ think this will end up like Senna/Prost or Hamilton/Alonso for one very big reason. Kimi does not care in the slightest what his team mate is up to. He doesn’t publicise inter-team battles and generally speak out against anyone because he doesn’t want the hassle of the publicity.

So if there is a problem, it will be one sided from Alonso. I don’t mean that as a diss on Alonso, but if he has one weakness it is his short temper and arguments he has over inter-team battles.

This is a very clear sign to Alonso that he is not Ferrari, he is part of Ferrari. His position has now been weakend and this has gone out as a reminder to everyone within the team what is expected of a Ferrari team member.

26

Call me a cynic – but as tasty as this partnership looks, it seems to me like a stopgap team before they nab Vettel.

I wonder actually if Vettel has taken the plunge on a 2016 Ferrari deal, and that’s why Raikkonen only has a deal until 2015, and why Vettel only did a 1-year extension.

1-year extensions are few and far between, and even further and fewer when you consider that it was renewed so far before the expiration date.

27

Fire and Ice, I like it!

I like both drivers, and can only hope the only fireworks that happen is on the race track and not off it.

If Alonso can keep his cool on and off the track, I do believe he’s a shade faster than Kimi overall. If he does lose every now and then will be the test of how much he’s learned since Mclaren days.

Feel a bit sorry for Massa, but as the saying goes, “Nice guys finish last”. And unfortunately in F1 world, you have to be a shark to succeed.

Now I definitely can’t wait to be in Singapore live to see all the off track action!

28

To me, Fire will melt the ice almost everywhere, except maybe Spa.

Ice has melted a lot since 2005, especially in 08 and 09. Fire is burning even brighter than in 2005. 😉

29

Forgot to mention, I know Kimi is the most popular driver on the grid among fans.

But his diefard fans need to chillout big time. Let’s just wait and see until next year and enjoy all the action Ferrari has gifted all of us fans.

30

Just as long as Ferrari comes first.

Being more a KR fan, I wasn’t too thrilled when FA replaced KR at Ferrari, but Alonso has lifted his game since he joined.

Both of these guys can be blindly quick, but both needed assistance to achieve the results they did.

I can’t wait to see these two little red roosters go at it, and don’t really mind which one wins the title. They’re a couple of old stagers on the back end of their F1 careers.

I do think The Hulk might have been fun a Ferrari.

Something tells me if Hulkenberg gets the Lotus drive, and Lotus have a competitive car, we might see something special…and I’m also keen to see what the hell an 18yr can do with an F1 car.

31

I think any prospect of Hulkenberg at Ferrari ever again has just perished, to be honest. McLaren-Honda will be his long-term future now.

32

poor resource management again from ferrari

good for marketing and supporters

does not address the real issue of bad design, technical and management capability

near misses at WDC level nothing to do with drivers- all to do with strategy and team function

ferrari throwing money at situation but addressing wrong issues, poor structure = constant recalibrating to fix.

Domenicali is a mouthpiece for LDM who is the REAL problem at Ferrari

Whoever oversees operations at Fiat or the boardroom at Agnelli dynasty needs to look at LDM-HARD

all dollars no sense comes to mind here

Redbull situation same but its working because they have a good car- as soon as it starts going sideways-watch for the same dynamic

Alonso gets a lot of bullets but he is a competitor that EXPECTS the best

Vettel and Schu have shown same traits when things don’t go their way, its just that alonso has had more things go bad for him-when they clearly should not have.Poor in race strategy, bad personnel appointments, overspending on the wrong things..revenues will go up-i love both drivers-but I am a performance geek and that car is a pig.alonso has to be the best adjustment driver ever when one considers vettels and schus easy rides to their WDCs…

33

Agree, it is desperation from di Monty to keep his job.

It deflects away from his poor attempts at managing the creation of a fast car in recent years, pathetic effort to fix their calibration issues, and failure to develop a car well enough in-season to be able to challenge for wins at the final races.

di Monty doesn’t have Newey but still should be making a better job of in-season development.

Alonso has made them look way better than they have been in recent years which is why the Team Bosses voted him best of 2012 and Autosport puts Alonso’s 2012 campaign as one of the best in F1 history.

Stop the pouting and gesturing di Monty, get your finger out and sort the car and engineering.

34

agreed…ferrari lost all competitive edge when in season testing was limited. They could no longer throw money and outspend everyone on development. All money no sense, as soon as the brakes come on. I guarantee that if there were ever salary caps put on ferrari would be THE WORST. LDM good at spending cash, his management technique is for the dogs. He may come from same country as medici and machiavelli and hope that he operates in similar style. WRONG. they’re pro ball, he’s still playing shirt and skins…weak

35

You are 100 percent right. It is marketing rather than reliable structural change. They had to replace management, at least Domenicali, because he does not deliver.

36

I think Ferrari have no choice:

1. They are competing against a team which probably is spending more (RBR) and they (Ferrari)do, and are not used to that, at least in recent years.

2. They have teamed up Pat Fry and James Allison to have a team perfect at 360 degrees as much as possible.

3. Now they will have 2 world champions – a very aggressive move.

4. In these last years, Marmorini’s (ex-Toyota) work on the engine proved vital, hoping that Ferrari’s new turbo engine will be over all better than Renault’s.

5.They have to speed up the updating of Renzo Piano’s wind tunnel. To beat Adrian Newey you need 3 things – aero restrictions, an excellent wind tunnel, someone better than Newey himself (at the moment he’s the best!).

37
rob in victoria bc

What I want to know is how much did Ferrari pay Kimi to leave? Looked everywhere on line, and can’t find it. Come on herowassenna and the rest of the regulars, if you know, let’s hear it.

38

I recall his annual base salary was. $51m p/a (€35m).- He was second only to tiger woods as the highest paid sportsman in earth. I don’t see how anyone could terminate a contract for any less. There was talk that he was negotiating a contract with Mclaren €10m and that would come off his termination agreement if he accepted and stayed F1 but he didn’t..

39

I think it was mentioned approx 20 million euros.

40

GAZETTA DELLO SPORT is saying €11m

The real figures never tend to be as high as the ones bandied around – I got that from a few managers and agents!

41

Oh the drama.

It is clear, from a team/ constructors point of view (which are how monies are awarded at seasons end) that the era of the two top-tier drivers are upon us.

This makes for excellent racing!

Anyone surprised that the deal was done in early August has not been paying attention.

Suddenly, Hamilton moving to Mercedes looks prescient.

I like Massa and wouldn’t be surprised to see him in either newly-engineered Sauber or Williams cars next year. I’d like to see him rejuvenated in the Lotus, and feel he deserves a good turn at this time.

In my view, the sad part is how racing fans are so eager to slag Alonso. He’s done everything possible to remain competitive against the seriously well engineered Red Bull car and the occasionally shining Mercedes. Not to forget the wickedly fast McLaren of the past two years.

Anyone who thinks it is a head-game battle between Fernando and Kimi should adjust their view — both know how difficult it will be to a) beat Red Bull and b) beat Mercedes in 2014. This task is not a singular, driver challenge, rather it is a collective team effort. If anything, Kimi and Fernando make a good combination to take on the other two constructor teams. They are much better friends than comments on this forum suggest.

I’ve read disparaging comments about Button lately that make me shake my head in disbelief… both Kimi and Fernando will tell you he is the smoothest driver on the grid. And both trust him, completely, when dicing into a corner at, say 320km p/h.

So, 2014 looks to be a real barnstormer of a season. Four teams, maybe five, with two top-tier drivers.

2014 Predictions –

1. Red Bull

2. Mercedes

3. Ferrari

4. McLaren

5. Lotus

In other words… probably not that much fundamentally different from 2013.

regards,

Andrew C.

42

Hi James,

do you have any information if Mark Slade (Kimi’s race engineer) is also joining Ferrari?

If not, then who will engineer Kimi side of garage, Rob Smedley?

Regards,

z.

43

Just look at the comments here and the other F1 forums. People are interested and excited and engaging each other in mostly good argument.

When was the last time we had such an opportunity to see a Ferrari number one driver told he now has an equal driver to compete with in the team. Sensational.

Next year is going to be epic. Forget the championships, people are going to be watching F1 to see the Kimmi Alonso battle. To be honest most people are going to watch to see Alonso go craze and have public melt downs. Alonso train wreck springs to mind.

The TV ratings and subscriptions are going to go through the roof because of this. The internet streams are going to lag big time cause of all the streamers watching.

I am going to support Kimi over Alonso because I think it is unfair that Alonso has for many years had a wing man giving him race wins, points and grid positions, worst of all crashing their car deliberately. I also dislike the way Massa has been used, it leaves a very bad taste indeed.

This is going to be the longest wait for the next season I have ever had to endure. It’ll be worth it though.

Forza Kimmi…

Go Kimmi Go…

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