Happy to disappoint by keeping Ferrari seat – Kimi Raikkonen Q&A
Barely 24 hours after signing a contract extension for 2017 with Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen came out of a scrappy qualifying session at Silverstone with a half-second advantage over team mate Sebastian Vettel. Cause for celebration? Not exactly, according to Raikkonen – although he is happy to have put to bed the constant speculation linking other drivers to his seat with the Scuderia…
Q: Kimi, let’s start with the obvious: you have been confirmed for another year. Does that make things easier?
Kimi Raikkonen: For sure it makes things easier. Because people will stop asking the same question over and over again! And that makes a huge difference. (laughs) It also gives me pleasure that it is disappointing a lot of people who had high hopes. So it was good that there was a decision now and not towards the end of the season, because from now on we can fully concentrate on the remaining 2016 season and the changes for 2017. The rest – the racing and working with the team – doesn’t really change. Of course I am very happy to stay with Ferrari. Also I am interested to experience the changes of 2017. Faster cars and wider tyres – that sounds pretty good to me.
Q: Coming to today, what do you make of the gap to Red Bull and Mercedes?
KR: Well, it is not ideal. But the conditions have also been pretty tricky. There was simply not enough speed and with the wind that is here we probably knew that we would suffer a bit. I hope the race will be much easier, at least concerning the wind.
Q: And what about your gap to Sebastian Vettel – more than half a second. What do you make of that?
KR: Ah, I don’t make anything out of that. I know that the media jump on things like that. But for me it is completely irrelevant. If it would be about pole position and P2 I probably would waste a thought on it. But it is about P5 and P6 – and that is not worth thinking of.
Q: You just mentioned that the conditions were not easy for Ferrari. Did you come here expecting to face some oddities?
KR: Well, we probably knew that there would be some issues in the handling of the car. But then you come here and find conditions that make it a bit harder to handle than expected. Overall we are where we expected to be. No big disappointment – and no miracles.
Q: Was there a particular reason for your spin?
KR: It was just going over the kerbs – but it didn’t have any impact other than probably losing some time.
Q: What kind of difficulties are you facing here exactly? Is it the set-up, the temperature of the tyres? Can you say? And are they Silverstone-specific, or more generic?
KR: It is the same story at all the races so far this season. We want more downforce and find it hard to settle on the right set-up in that situation. And then if you have conditions like today it adds fuel to the fire. But that is how it is and we know that not enough downforce is one of our weaknesses – but we also know that you don’t fix that in the blink of an eye.
Q: So the set-up issues are at every circuit, or particular to Silverstone?
KR: It is basically just here. On top of that we had some small issues here and there to be really comfortable. That adds up. And on top of that we suffer from the wind. Everybody is suffering from it – maybe us more than others.
Q: When you look at the race tomorrow, do you expect to suffer more than others again then – at least if the conditions stay dry?
KR: Ha. I have not driven other cars so how would I know? And as for suffering from the wind, the key question is always the direction it blows. Maybe we will see tailwind tomorrow – who knows?
Raikkonen: scelta a perdere
8 luglio 2016 – Non spetta a me giustificare la scelta della Ferrari rinnovando il contratto a Kimi Raikkonen per la prossima stagione.
Comprendo l’entusiasmo dei tifosi di Raikkonen nel vederlo ancora al volante di una Ferrari: hanno ragione. In uno sport che cambia così rapidamente, il tifo ha bisogno di identificarsi in personaggi stabili e Kimi è un personaggio stabile, ultimo pilota di Maranello ad aver vinto un titolo mondiale, per cui ha tutti i meriti. Invece mi risulta difficile capire la scelta non facile della Ferrari. Incompetenza? Scarso potere attrattivo verso i piloti? Nulla di tutto questo. Molto peggio. La Ferrari in questo momento è una squadra alle prese con tante variabili e cerca disperatamente di semplificarle. In matematica una equazione con un numero di variabili molto elevato, tali da rendere l’equazione irrisolvibile, se ne scelgono alcune facendole diventare delle costanti per ottenere il risultato attraverso successive approssimazioni: quanto tempo ha la Ferrari per continuare a fare delle approssimazioni?
Oggi Maranello, forse per necessità, è in balia del suo primo pilota, Sebastian Vettel, sul quale ha puntato tutto per una rivincita che ancora non c’è. Mentre Raikkonen rappresenta una non scelta e in Formula 1 le non scelte raramente portano al successo. Sergio Marchionne ha una bacchetta magica che deve preservare perchè lo ha salvato da ogni problema. Marchionne è l’uomo degli annunci che non sempre diventano realtà, però se la cava sempre come accaduto con la Fiat quando fiato non ne aveva più. La Formula 1 con i suoi tempi serrati – quattro Gran Premi nel solo mese di luglio, per fare un esempio – comporta verifiche puntuali e ricorrenti. Lo stato attuale della Ferrari rispecchia lo stato d’animo di un Marchionne che per la prima volta in vita sua rischia la faccia.
Se non arriva una vittoria, dov’è finita quella bacchetta magica? In fondo la Ferrari rappresenta una piccola parte dell’impero FCA, però esprime una consistente parte di immagine. Allora come giustificare un insuccesso del genere? Forse è più facile giustificare ritardi del prodotto o delle politiche commerciali, mentre con la Ferrari il giudizio non è più mediato attraverso organi di stampa e organismi finanziari, è quello dello spettatore che siede in tribuna o davanti alla televisione e che trae delle conclusioni. L’aver rinnovato il contratto a Raikkonen porta alla conclusione che la Ferrari ha scelto di non scegliere, esemplificando il proprio stato di difficoltà, di quasi panico. Confido che i risultati di Silverstone mi smentiscano. Ma non credo.
Mauro Coppini da Formulapassion.it
Raikkonen??? Oh no!
8 luglio 2016 – La Ferrari ha annunciato il rinnovo del contratto per Kimi Raikkonen che quindi farà coppia con Sebastian Vettel anche nella stagione sportiva 2017.
Sono incredulo, lo ammetto. Questa notizia mi ha colto impreparato. Sono senza parole. Si vede che a Maranello hanno deciso di non vincere. Con una scelta del genere non vinceranno mai. In sintesi: quando le due Mercedes non hanno inconvenienti meccanici o non sono vittime di contrasti penalizzanti in pista, puntualmente realizzano primo e secondo posto, così come la Ferrari con Sebastian Vettel ha la possibilità di ottenere sempre il terzo posto purchè riesca a raggiungere il traguardo indenne. Invece Kimi Raikkonen sovente è impegnato nel cercare di scrollarsi di dosso macchine come la Force India o la Red Bull, per cui il giorno in cui Vettel non è in gara perchè scoppia qualcosa, gomme o motore o resta vittima di un incidente, Kimi non serve a nulla. La scelta di rinnovare il contratto a Raikkonen offre una chiara indicazione sulla filosofia seguita dalla Ferrari e sulla sua vision che rispetto ma, diciamo pure, non capisco.
Cesare Fiorio da Formulapassion.it
Ferrari senza coraggio
8 luglio 2016 – Pur nutrendo profonda stima e simpatia per Kimi Raikkonen, non mi sento di condividere la scelta operata dalla Ferrari rinnovandogli il contratto per la prossima stagione.
n Formula 1 hanno debuttato giovani e giovanissimi piloti con grande talento come Max Verstappen,
Stoffel Vandoorne, Pascal Wehrlein e alcuni di loro non sanno se riusciranno ad ottenere mai un posto in un team, escludendo le prove che possono fare di tanto in tanto il venerdi. Questi rappresentano un capitale inutilizzato per colpa di senatori che occupano da troppi anni un posto di primopiano, bloccando di fatto il ricambio in Formula 1. Risulta difficile valutare la posizione di Raikkonen in funzione dei piani Ferrari che comunque lo relegano al ruolo di seconda guida, scudiero di Sebastian Vettel. Così come non capisco Maranello quando avrebbe voluto ingaggiare Carlos Sainz per accontentare uno sponsor – una grande banca spagnola disposta a sostenere un proprio connazionale, un esempio che dovrebbe far riflettere – prontamente bloccato dalla Red Bull che invece attua una politica completamente diversa dalla Scuderia del Cavallino Rampante per quanto concerne i piloti.
E’ triste constatare che un team di rango come la Ferrari operi scelte in funzione degli introiti che possono derivare dall’appoggio degli sponsor, invece di privilegiare i migliori conduttori disponibili sul mercato. Alla Ferrari manca il coraggio di affiancare a un campione un giovane capace, invece hanno preferito destinare il nonno della Formula 1 – considerando che Raikkonen è il pilota più anziano in attività – al compito di guardaspalle di Vettel, quando avrebbero potuto dimostrare il coraggio di rischiare con un giovane. E’ sbagliata la filosofia che ha ispirato la scelta in favore della riconferma di Raikkonen, perchè alla fine si è tradotta in una vera e propria non scelta, è stata la dimostrazione palese della mancanza di coraggio, che a partire dal fronte dei piloti mi fa riflettere sulle possibili non scelte nell’ambito tecnico. Vettel con la riconferma di Kimi ha avuto il suo Barrichello, esattamente come nell’era Schumacher, con la differenza che a quell’epoca la macchina e la squadra funzionavano come un orologio svizzero.
E’ pur vero che Vettel ha vinto quattro mondiali, ma se a Maranello pensavano di raggiungere il titolo quest’anno con il solo pilota tedesco, è un disegno che svela tutta la sua assurdità insieme ai limiti che ha evidenziato Raikkonen, pilota dal carattere roccioso e mai felice, spesso vicino alle prestazioni del compagno di squadra, a volte davanti, ma non più all’altezza di Vettel. Eppure la Ferrari lo ha riconfermato e Kimi ha accettato il ruolo assegnatogli sapendo che il predestinato, vettura permettendo, sarà sempre il tedesco. La Red Bull al Gran Premio di Spagna ci ha offerto un esempio di come debba essere gestita la strategia tra due campioni, mentre la Ferrari per Raikkonen adotta sempre una strategia di serie B. Per non parlare dei lamenti inascoltati di Kimi quando in passato la macchina risultava per lui inguidabile. La Ferrari ha scelto l’uomo che in virtù di una certa età, accetta, subisce e non si agita più di tanto sapendo che il primo ad essere assecondato è Vettel.
n uno scenario dove sempre meno giovani seguono la Formula 1, dove il coraggio è scomparso, dove il futuro per il finlandese sarà senza acuti, se non quello scaturito dal seguito dei suoi inesauribili tifosi, obbiettivamente cosa potrà dare Raikkonen in più oltre a quello che abbiamo visto sin qui?
Siegfried Stohr da FormulaPassion.it
Ecco perché Raikkonen ha rinnovato alla Ferrari
Punto per punto, una tesi che non si può smontare ….
Naturalmente la Ferrari ha fatto benissimo a prolungare il contratto di Kimi Raikkonen a tutto il 2017.
Mi fa piacere che Sergio Marchionne e Maurizio Arrivabene abbiano condiviso la mia tesi. Per le ragioni che seguono.
1) L’ultimo problema della Rossa è chi la guida. Vettel e Raikkonen sono terzi nel mondiale a pari punti. Hanno davanti in classifica solo i drivers della formidabile Mercedes.
2) Il Biondino finlandese in graduatoria sta ex aequo con il tedesco. Se Seb e’ un fenomeno e lo è, come si può considerare un disastro il rendimento di Raikkonen?
3) Kimi ha l’anima ferrarista. E’ l ‘ultimo iridato con il Cavallino nel. 2007. Fu sacrificato inutilmente sull’altare di Alonso. Bravissimo Fernando, per carità. Ma zero tituli…
4) Raikkonen capisce le esigenze della squadra. Va (quasi) forte come Vettel e non rompe le scatole. Mai una polemica in pubblico, una lamentela sbracata. Conta anche questo.
5) Uno che ha gli stessi punti del tedesco con chi lo sostituisci? Chi sta in Mercedes non si muove. Il predestinato Verstappen sta blindato in Red Bull. Con Kimi scegli l’usato sicuro e hai tempo per progettare il futuro a medio termine.
6) Poi, lo so, Raikkonen non gode della simpatia di molti osservatori. Bisogna capirli: lui li ha smentiti spesso, vincendo il mondiale al primo colpo con la Ferrari e poi tornando in F 1 in Lotus dopo due anni stop dando spettacolo.
Inoltre, sono orfani di Alonso. Se ne faranno una ragione: a fine 2017, Kimi si ritirerà.
Meritatamente, da ferrarista.
La vera storia della conferma di Kimi
Ringrazio quanti hanno voluto congratularsi con me per il piccolo scoop planetario di ieri mattina, l’annuncio anticipato della permanenza di Raikkonen in Ferrari
Respingo invece affettuosamente i complimenti di chi suppone io abbia avuto un ruolo nella risoluzione della stucchevole vicenda.
Onestamente, non c’entro niente.
Quando parlo con Marchionne (mi è capitato) o con Arrivabene, semplicemente ripeto le stesse cose che scrivo qua, che pubblico sui miei giornali, che racconto a Sky.
Niente di più. E niente di meno.
Banalmente ricapitolando, come sa chi ha la bontà di leggermi, io ho sempre pensato quanto segue. E l’ho sempre detto a chi sta in sella al Cavallino.
L’ultimo problema della Ferrari sono i piloti.
Se il guaio sta nella macchina, sostituire Kimi non garantirebbe alcun miglioramento nelle prestazioni della Rossa.
Se fossero stati disponibili Hamilton e/o Rosberg, per carità, tutto bene. Ma ovviamente nessuno dei due piloti Mercedes ha mai nemmeno lontanamente pensato di trasferirsi a Maranello. Mica sono scemi! E per questo certe ipotesi nemmeno hanno meritato un commento, in questa sede.
Verstappen è blindato Red Bull e provare a prendere Ricciardo significa, conoscendo la storia, quanto meno mancare di rispetto a Vettel.
Con buona pace dei suoi detrattori, dal Par in giù, se quasi a metà stagione Kimi ha gli stessi punti di Vettel delle due l’una. O Seb non è un fuoriclasse e invece lo è, io lo racconto come un predestinato da quando stava in Bmw perché me lo fece notare Schumi e mi tocca pure imbattermi in cialtroni che all’epoca manco sapevano chi fosse Seb e mi rimproverano di avercela con lui, roba da querela!. Oppure, se Seb appunto è quello che credo io, la stagione di Raikkonen è buonissima.
Sarebbe ora, lo dico con pietoso riguardo, che gli ‘Anti’ se ne facessero una ragione. Ohi, dico, il tempo passa, lo so che nel 2005 Todt, con largo anticipo, con il consenso di Schumi preferì il Biondino ad Alonso per la successione. Possiamo discuterne all’infinito, è andata così, se a fine 2017 Raikkonen sarà, con 7 anni di rosso vestito, tra i più ferraristi di sempre, dopo Michael e dopo Massa, no, dico, da cosa pensate dipenda? Da me? Per carità, sono solo uno scribacchino di periferia, figlio di un muratore che purtroppo non c’è più. Dai soldi di un Banco spagnolo? Non sarà che avete sempre avuto torto, come indica anche l’albo d’oro dei campioni del mondo e del trofeo costruttori?
Infine e concludendo, vedi libere di Silverstone, come dicevo all’inizio il vero problema Ferrari è la macchina, non chi la guida. Se mi dimostrassero che sostituendo Kimi vinceremmo il mondiale, andrei io a cacciarlo a pedate. Ma non è così, fidatevi.
Spazio sotto a chi volesse narrare la caccia alla pole inglese. E tanti auguri al nostro ammiraglio Nelson66, che sta risolvendo un piccolo guaio di salute e che si è commosso quando, ieri mattina alle nove, gli ho anticipato la notizia di Kimi.
Sebastian Vettel Q&A: Keeping Kimi the right decision
Friday at Silverstone brought news that Ferrari have retained Kimi Raikkonen for 2017 to once more partner Sebastian Vettel. Team principal Maurizio Arrivebene says the early announcement will relieve the pressure on Raikkonen, but what does Vettel think? The German spoke to the media about this and other topics following the opening practice sessions for the 2016 Formula One British Grand Prix…
Q: Sebastian, whatever happened on the track today was overshadowed by the news that Kimi Raikkonen will be your team mate for another season. Is that something that gets your nod?
Sebastian Vettel: I think it was the right thing to do. We are both pushing very hard in the primary target to catch the leaders – Mercedes – so there is plenty work ahead of us.
Q: We have recently seen some high-profile team mate clashes. What about Kimi and you?
SV: I would say that Kimi and I have the fewest ego problems in the whole paddock – and that should be good for the team in the long run. Working in the same direction will pay off. On the track we both race hard – also against each other, but there is no personal agenda attached to it.
Q: Is Kimi the easiest team mate that you ever had?
SV: It is the least complicated. But in the end I’ve got along with all my team mates. Yes, there have been little issues here and there. But with Kimi there are no politics – and that is good and keeps everything quiet. […]
Maurizio, you’ve confirmed Kimi Raikkonen today for the 2017 season. Was that mainly due to his performances and podiums so far this season and did you have any other candidates under serious consideration?
MA: We confirmed Kimi because first of all he deserves it. Having said so we are looking for the interests of the team and the interest of the team was not looking for another driver but concentrating on car development. We have two good drivers so that was not an issue for us, so we remove all the pressure from the shoulders of Kimi in taking this decision, that actually was confirmed yesterday in a phone call from the President, and a couple of hours [later] we are with Kimi. We turn the page and we look forward to work very hard where the problem is.
Q: (Andrea Cremonesi – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Maurizio, talking with the TV you said that to explain why you signed a contract with Kimi so early in the season that he signed a little bit the pressure you wanted to take off the pressure from his own shoulders. Could you explain us how a driver show you that the pressure, that he’s under pressure about the contract please?
MA: The story of the pressure was at the end of my answer because I said something more interesting before and I said that our main interest, our issue, was not related to the driver. We were very proud and very happy about the work of Kimi since the beginning of the season. He was asked to show his commitment, his results so he deserved the confirmation for next year. Then I was talking about the fact that we needed a kind of good atmosphere in the team and the drivers could help to keep this atmosphere and due to the fact that the team is still quite new and we need to keep the same commitment for everybody without inserting into the team elements that they can disturb or something new that could break this balance. Having said so, I also said that we confirm Kimi not very soon, because we are in July but normally the tradition of Ferrari, this is probably what you refer to, it was to do a press release in Monza. We are a new team, we have changed the tradition and we are confirming now because I think we would like to be, as I said, focused and concentrated on car development and not about confirmation or non-confirmation of the drivers. So it’s a message of stability.
Relating to the pressure, you know better than me that in the last three or four races every time that Kimi was sitting in a press conference somebody would ask what about his contract, what about your contract? I asked many, many times for a bit of respect for a driver that was a World Champion with Ferrari. I know that his nickname is Iceman but he’s a human being. Sometimes in Formula One we need to be conscious that we are talking, not with cars because actually the computer talks with the car but the cars are driven by human beings so even Iceman is a human being with his emotions and I think he could feel the pressure. That’s it.
What should Ferrari have done for 2017?
The subject of what Ferrari should do with its second seat has dominated the Formula 1 driver market talk for the last two silly seasons.
Both times, the team from Maranello has opted to retain Kimi Raikkonen – a polarising choice given the Finn’s popularity with fans and his strong CV from years gone by, but a difficulty to get on terms with two world champion team-mates since returning to Ferrari for 2014.
So following the news that Raikkonen will remain alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2017, we asked Autosport’s reporters what they would have done if they’d had to make a call on Ferrari’s second driver.
SIGNED A VETERAN WHO HAS PUSHED ALONSO
Ben Anderson, Grand Prix Editor, (@BenAndersonAuto)
Ferrari is Formula 1’s grandest team, and as such it doesn’t believe – to paraphrase ex-footballer Alan Hansen’s famous Match of the Day quote – in ‘winning anything with kids’.
It wants (and can afford to pay for) experience – proven F1 race winners and world champions.
In which case, why did it not gun for the most experienced driver on the grid?
Jenson Button is out of contract at McLaren-Honda, with no guarantee of an extension.
If I were Ferrari I’d have done everything in my power to tempt Button to swap Woking for Maranello.
The logic of retaining Kimi Raikkonen for another year is apparent, but F1 is a results business, and Raikkonen hasn’t performed consistently at the level required for Ferrari to challenge for a world title.
Unless Raikkonen finds that consistency there is a danger Sebastian Vettel’s own level could drop.
Button would arguably do a much better job of keeping Vettel on his toes. He provides the same positives as Raikkonen but with fewer negatives.
Like Raikkonen, Button is an A-political operator, with a super-smooth driving style, and keen sensitivity for car set-up and tyre behaviour.
He is a world champion, and has the charisma to play well with Ferrari’s corporate backers.
Button is also operating at a higher level presently than Raikkonen, who was unable to push Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in 2014 to anything like the degree Button is doing at McLaren now.
Of all the un-contracted drivers on the market currently, Button would have been the ideal choice for Ferrari.
IT’S RIGHT TO KEEP HIM AS VETTEL’S #2
Lawrence Barretto, F1 Reporter (@lawrobarretto)
Ferrari made absolutely the right call in keeping Kimi Raikkonen.
A lot has been said about the Finn not being good enough and that Ferrari should give young talent a chance. But Ferrari has never been a team to do that.
Its strategy is to run a number one and a number two, which worked well in the Michael Schumacher era, and Raikkonen fits the bill for the latter role.
He gets on well with team-mate Sebastian Vettel, with the pair unlikely to give Ferrari the kind of headache Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are giving Mercedes, and he says he remains as motivated as ever.
This year, he has been far more consistent with four podiums in nine races and has the same number of points as Vettel.
He will not rock the boat, will score points for the constructors’ championship and might even get the odd win if things fall his way.
A title challenge will probably be a step too far, but that’s not what Ferrari requires from its second car.
It may not have been the decision everyone was hoping for but for Ferrari, it’s the right one.
TAKEN GROSJEAN FROM HAAS
Ian Parkes, Chief F1 Correspondent, (@ianparkesf1)
It appeared a strange move at the time, but there was method in the apparent madness when Romain Grosjean signed for F1 newcomer Haas.
Why leave a team in Lotus on the brink of being taken over by his country’s major manufacturer Renault?
Behind the scenes, the suggestion was made Grosjean would have the opportunity to prove himself for a season with Ferrari partner Haas before being given the chance to take over Raikkonen’s seat.
If Ferrari had the slightest doubt about Grosjean’s maturing credentials then they were surely dispelled with his season-opening drives in the Australian and Bahrain Grands Prix.
The 30-year-old pulled off remarkable results for Haas in securing sixth around Melbourne’s Albert Park, before improving a position with fifth at Sakhir, while there he was also eighth two races later at Sochi
Although Haas then endured a tough run of races, struggling notably with tyres in cooler climes, it has worked incredibly hard to resolve the matter, with Grosjean back in the points in Austria, where he finished seventh.
That should have been enough to prove he was worth a shot.
GOT LECLERC INTO F1
Glenn Freeman, Autosport.com Editor, (@glenn_autosport)
On the day Ferrari confirmed it was retaining a 36-year-old veteran with 239 F1 starts to his name, its potential next big thing was making his GP weekend debut in first practice for Haas at Silverstone.
Eighteen-year-old Charles Leclerc is the most impressive junior driver Ferrari has signed to its books since the late Jules Bianchi, who arguably could have been in Raikkonen’s seat by now were it not for the unfortunate events of Suzuka 2014.
Leclerc has wowed on the lower rungs of the junior ladder so far, building a burgeoning reputation with his performances in the ultra-competitive Formula Renault 2.0 category as a car racing rookie in 2014, before winning races the following year in European Formula 3, and making an explosive start on the F1 support bill in GP3 this year.
Ferrari would never do something as risky or as interesting as hauling someone so inexperienced into a topline race seat, but that’s why it should have signed the deserving Romain Grosjean to replace Raikkonen, and followed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen template to get Leclerc into F1 as soon as possible.
SHAKEN THINGS UP WITH VANDOORNE
Mitchell Adam, International Editor (@DrMitchellAdam)
You know what Ferrari really should have done to show legitimate intent and move on from an underperforming old driver?
Signed the best young driver not currently in F1. Poach Stoffel Vandoorne from McLaren.
The reigning GP2 champion’s pedigree is outstanding, and Vandoorne is keeping sharp enough this year racing in Japan’s Super Formula series. He has even shown he knows what he’s doing in a grand prix car over the course of a grand prix weekend, if anybody needed proof, in Bahrain in April when he stood in for the injured Alonso.
McLaren has said Vandoorne is not for sale and the Belgian owes the team a lot. But if McLaren wants to continue with Alonso and Button again next year, Vandoorne will have to feel time is ticking.
Every year he’s on the sidelines is one he is not in F1, and if he has to wait until 2018 he’ll be 26 by the time he really enters F1. And the cards dealt to Kevin Magnussen were not pleasant, the Dane could very easily have been out of F1 this year.
Money should not have been a factor to Ferrari to prise Vandoorne away from McLaren, so the least it could have done was ask the question, while McLaren keeps him waiting…
REPLACED ONE FINN WITH ANOTHER
Scott Mitchell, Features Editor, (@ScottAutosport)
So Vettel will have a Finnish team-mate in 2017. But it’s the wrong one.
As we declared on the cover of Autosport’s first issue of 2015 – yes, 2015, not this year – Valtteri Bottas is F1’s real Flying Finn.
There’s been hype around Bottas for some time and the strength of Williams since the turbocharged hybrid era of F1 started has meant he’s been able to prove himself well up the grid.
That said, Bottas has needed to add a little something to his arsenal in his time alongside Felipe Massa. His inability to ‘blow Massa away’ seems to have counted against him to some people, based mostly on Massa’s stock dropping during his obliteration by Alonso at Ferrari in the seasons before he joined Williams.
But Massa has been rejuvenated at Williams – and Bottas has still outscored him in each season and leads him 9-5 in terms of podiums. Short of winning a race, it’s difficult to see what more Bottas can do.
He chased Raikkonen extremely hard in the drivers’ championship last year, despite the Ferrari – in Vettel’s hands at least - clearly being capable of more than the Williams.
Now 26, what more does Bottas have to do? Hopefully Williams gets the new rules right so he can show Ferrari just how big a mistake it has made.
DO WHATEVER IT TOOK TO GET RICCIARDO
Matt Beer, Autosport.com Deputy Editor (@mattofautosport)
OK Ferrari, we know you don’t want to gamble when you feel you’ve got other problems to solve before you can tackle Mercedes. But there would have been very little risk in taking an experienced F1 racer, a proved grand prix winner, who’s shown he’s as quick as your current number one when they were paired at Red Bull.
Daniel Ricciardo was the golden choice that fitted both the ‘safe pair of hands’ and ‘breath of fresh air’ boxes. Though he would have had to be extricated from a Red Bull contract, the potential advantages would have made that process more than worth a go. He gets full marks in the main areas Raikkonen is now lacking too: raw qualifying speed, overtaking urgency in races and outright hunger.
As he turned 27 recently, Ricciardo admitted he’s painfully aware Vettel had four titles by that age – there’s a frustration-stoked fire sizzling behind that massive grin.
A change of scene would’ve been in Ricciardo’s interest too. Red Bull may well become increasingly Max Verstappen-centric and the Dutch teenager could prove the sort of rival best tackled from a different garage.
ANYONE BUT KIMI
Kevin Turner, Autosport magazine Editor, (@KRT917)
This may seem a rather harsh answer, but let’s be clear about this. Raikkonen is not the driver he once was, and hasn’t been since rejoining Ferrari.
I’d argue he hasn’t been since he returned to F1 in 2012. Given Lotus was rebuilding and Raikkonen was able to score consistent podiums, that didn’t matter. But Romain Grosjean was outpacing him by the end of 2013.
Plus, Ferrari’s goal is higher. It needs all its cylinders firing if it is to take that final step to challenge Mercedes for world championships.
That’s not to say Ferrari’s failure to do so during the hybrid era is entirely down to Raikkonen. The car has not been good enough and some strange tactical decisions have crept in this year.
But Raikkonen is a weak link. In 2014 he scored a mere 34% of team-mate Fernando Alonso’s points tally. Last year, he managed 54% of Vettel’s effort.
Even against arguably two of the best drivers on the grid, that’s poor.
In Autosport’s Grand Prix driver ratings, Raikkonen is currently averaging less than 6/10 per race. That’s lower than anyone else in the top 10, including Daniil Kvyat, who Red Bull decided to demote to Toro Rosso.
A relative lack of speed and a surprising number of errors have been apparent in Raikkonen’s game.
I’d rather see an old hand who is still performing (Button), an established driver looking to move up the grid (Bottas, Grosjean) or a promising youngster (Vandoorne) alongside Vettel.
Ferrari re-signs Kimi Raikkonen for 2017 F1 season
Ferrari has re-signed Kimi Raikkonen to partner Sebastian Vettel for the 2017 Formula 1 season.
The 2007 world champion’s future had been the subject of speculation over the first part of the season, but Ferrari ended the rumours on Friday morning at the British Grand Prix by confirming Raikkonen will remain at the team.
The Finn’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season, with several drivers including Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean linked with the seat.
The second Ferrari drive was expected to be key to the 2017 F1 driver market, and Raikkonen’s deal now means one of the most desirable seats on the grid has been settled.
In a statement, Ferrari said: "Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen.
"The driver line-up for the 2017 racing season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel."
Raikkonen is currently level on points with Vettel in the third place in the drivers’ standings, and he is the only driver in the top four to have scored more points at this stage in the season compared to last year.
Earlier this month, Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne said it was up to Raikkonen to prove he deserves a seat with the team next year, and Raikkonen told reporters at Silverstone on Thursday he felt is driving as well as ever.
Ahead of this weekend’s British GP Raikkonen said: "This is my 100th race with Ferrari, it doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s quite a few years.
"This is the best team in F1, together we won a title in 2007, we had good years and some difficult ones.
"I’m really happy to be part of Ferrari, the atmosphere is fantastic, we are always pushing each other forward and hopefully we’ll get the team back where it belongs."
Raikkonen’s second Ferrari stint (2014-present)
2014 12th, 55 points (Fernando Alonso 6th, 161 points)
2015 4th, 150 points (Sebastian Vettel 3rd, 278 points)
2016 4th, 96 points (Vettel 3rd, 96 points)
Kimi and Ferrari together in 2017
Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has renewed its technical and racing agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The driver line-up for the 2017 racing season will still consist of the Finnish driver and Sebastian Vettel.
Why Ferrari kept Kimi Raikkonen for 2017 Formula 1 season
Re-signing Kimi Raikkonen for a further season was an entirely predictable move by Ferrari.
After all this is a team that is ultra-conservative when it comes to choosing drivers, and which values experience and stability in its line-up.
Only Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button can claim more grand prix starts to their names than Raikkonen, so if you’re minded to go for experience over youthful exuberance the options are limited.
The contractual situations of other potential candidates, say Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo or Williams’s Valtteri Bottas (linked heavily with Ferrari last season), also mean Ferrari cannot go out into the market and easily replace Raikkonen.
But Raikkonen’s form has been so patchy since he returned from Lotus for 2014 that a clear case could be made for not renewing their partnership.
He was well-beaten by Fernando Alonso in a difficult car that season, but could rightly claim he was returning to a team that had gradually geared itself around the Spaniard’s needs in the years he’d been away.
And Raikkonen is not the sort to go around Maranello making demands and turning up tables.
His record against current team-mate Sebastian Vettel is better, but still inferior, though this year circumstances have dictated they are tied on points after nine races.
In pure performance terms the merit of this decision is debatable; in pure results terms – based on this season – the debate swings slightly more in Raikkonen’s favour.
Whether or not you agree with Alain Prost that Raikkonen is a perfect ‘number two’ driver to Vettel, there are some clear positives for Ferrari in retaining the 2007 word champion.
He is a no-nonsense guy and honest to a fault. As Vettel said earlier this year, there are "no games" with Raikkonen, which allows the two to work together well and does wonders for harmony within the wider Maranello environment.
Promoting an unknown younger gun with a point to prove risks destablising that atmosphere.
Perhaps Ferrari feels this is more important than hiring a driver who may (or may not) push Vettel harder on a more consistent basis than Raikkonen seems currently able to himself.
With the technical regulations due to change substantially for next season, Raikkonen also provides stability during a period of uncertainty for the technical teams.
He also possesses extraordinary sensitivity for the tyres, and ultra-precise feedback on car behaviour – an ability to spot problems that other drivers cannot.
Engineers who have worked with him closely say he is among the best there has ever been in this regard.
With all-new Pirelli tyres bolted to the cars and drastically revised aerodynamics on the way for next season, Raikkonen is a useful guy to have in your corner during these times of severely limited testing.
This should aid Ferrari’s pace of development, while avoiding the need to ‘bed in’ a new driver.
The changes in regulations could also bring F1 back towards Raikkonen’s skill set next year.
He will surely be enthused by an aerodynamic platform that may bias the emphasis back towards those with less flamboyant, more minimalist driving styles.
Raikkonen likes to make the car do the work, and if the cars are more capable in the corners that should suit him.
He has also struggled with the current generation of harder Pirelli tyres – particularly the fronts, which he often struggles to work properly with his super-smooth style.
With the construction of the rubber changing completely there is also the potential for a re-set on that score.
This announcement will again frustrate the ambitions of hungry young drivers who are waiting for Raikkonen to retire, and those who feel he is no longer the same driver that wowed F1 with McLaren in the middle of the last decade.
But whether or not you feel, as Raikkonen does, that he is "driving as well as for ever", Ferrari has clearly decided he is driving well enough.
And that’s all that matters in the end.
Ferrari F1 team and Kimi Raikkonen in no hurry over 2017 deal
Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen are not in a hurry to confirm their plans for the 2017 Formula 1 season, according to team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.
The Finn’s contract expires at the end of the season, with speculation linking several drivers, including Valtteri Bottas and Romain Grosjean, to his seat.
Raikkonen, who was not confirmed for 2016 until the summer break last year, has said he wants to stay at Ferrari.
He has had a stronger start to this year, scoring three podiums and accumulating nine more points than at this time last season.
When asked by Autosport if Raikkonen’s 2016 performances were enough to justify a new deal, Arrivabene said: "Kimi is back on and is fully concentrated on doing his job.
"On Sunday, he demonstrated that he is a good team-mate of Sebastian [when he let Vettel through as he was on fresher tyres]
"But if you look at Kimi in a certain sector he was the faster one at one stage.
"We are looking, we are not in a hurry and I must say that he is not in a hurry."
Raikkonen is currently only 15 points adrift of Vettel, whereas he trailed his team-mate by 48 after eight races last year.
A 2017 deal would extend his current Ferrari stay into a fourth year and be his seventh season at Maranello in total.
Arrivabene said 2017 driver talks had to take a back seat all the time Ferrari was struggling to beat Mercedes to wins in ’16.
"It is too early to talk about next season because the number of victories we have is still zero," he said.
"There is a long way to go."
Perché Kimi mi deve un caffè (a fine 2016)
Scrivevo nei giorni scorsi che qualcuno mi doveva un caffe.
Era Kimi. Va bene che ha accettato di ridursi l’ingaggio pur di restare, ma gli spiccioli non gli mancheranno.
Sono molto contento dell’epilogo del tormentone estivo.
Non ho mai creduto nella soluzione Bottas. Non aveva senso pagare la Williams per portarlo a Maranello.
Né ho condiviso l’accanimento terapeutico nei confronti del Biondino. Andava pianissimo solo nelle fantasie dei detrattori.
Secondo me Arrivabene ha fatto la cosa giusta, meglio l’ha fatta fare a Marchionne.
La Ferrari deve pensare alla macchina, non a chi la guida.
E nel 2017, al posto del Santo Bevitore, potrà arrivare una alternativa credibile.
È una bella notizia, grazie.
Was Ferrari right to keep Kimi Raikkonen for 2016 F1 season?
Ferrari brought the Kimi Raikkonen contract saga to an end this week by announcing the Finn as part of its 2016 Formula 1 driver line-up, but was that the right decision?
Both Raikkonen and team principal Maurizio Arrivabene have fielded questions (and slammed speculation) on the subject for the majority of the season, but after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix everyone will be able to move on from talking about it.
Ferrari has opted for consistency going into next year rather than replacing Raikkonen with someone younger. IAN PARKES and BEN ANDERSON debate if that was the right thing to do.
YES – Raikkonen is still box office
Ian Parkes, Chief F1 correspondent (@ianparkesF1)
Raikkonen may be 36 in October, out-qualified by his Ferrari team-mates 24-5 since his return at the start of last year and out-raced 20-3, but you can understand Maurizio Arrivabene’s decision to retain the Finn for 2016.
There were specific reasons as to why Raikkonen languished behind Fernando Alonso so often last year as the F14 T struggled in many areas and was almost the complete opposite in the way he likes a car to handle.
With those faults addressed over the winter, and with the hiring of a team-mate in Sebastian Vettel he is close to and has considerable respect for, Raikkonen has been a far happier man this year.
The results, however, have betrayed him as Vettel has enjoyed seven trips to the podium, including two wins, compared to Raikkonen’s one second place.
There have been mistakes in qualifying, highlighted by the team, that have undermined Raikkonen’s grid position, and ultimately his finishing spot.
Arrivabene has long made clear, though, the key to Raikkonen’s future was in his own hands, and as long as he showed sufficient appetite and desire, a new deal was his for the taking.
Now in the Indian summer of his career, by his own admission Raikkonen is more content than he has ever been, the initial key ingredient to extracting the best from him.
Technical director James Allison has also stated in terms of speed there is nothing to separate Vettel and Raikkonen, with only those little errors letting him down.
So you have a fast, happy, and a clearly still hungry Raikkonen, and in terms of box office, he continues to remain one of the top attractions in the business.
One can only assume in assessing the competition for the seat – Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo – there was no-one to compare to Raikkonen at present when you take the aforementioned characteristics into consideration.
In that respect, Ferrari has done exactly the right thing in holding on to him for one more season.
NO – This is a results business
Ben Anderson, Grand Prix editor, (@BenAndersonAuto)
Ferrari’s decision to retain Kimi Raikkonen makes some sense, but from a pure results perspective it is overwhelmingly the wrong one.
Looking at the numbers, Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari represents 29 races of almost uniform disappointment.
Setting the limitations of last year’s woeful F14 T aside, the Finn was still totally trounced by team-mate Fernando Alonso in the first season of his Maranello comeback.
Alonso dominated Raikkonen in qualifying (16-3) and Raikkonen accumulated less than 35 per cent of the Spaniard’s points total across 19 races.
Things have improved marginally this season, but Raikkonen has still scored less than 50 per cent of Sebastian Vettel’s points across the first 10 races of 2015.
True, Raikkonen has been unlucky in a few races this campaign, but he has also made his own life difficult with a succession of errors – particularly in qualifying.
In a tighter constructors’ championship fight than Ferrari currently finds itself in, Raikkonen would potentially represent an expensive liability.
He is no longer the super-fast qualifier that lit up F1 with McLaren in the previous decade – insiders at Lotus calculated he was 0.3s a lap slower than Romain Grosjean over a single-lap during their two recent seasons together – and prime Ferrari target Valtteri Bottas is one point better off than Raikkonen in this year’s title race,
despite driving a slower car and missing the first race of the season through back injury.
Don’t get me wrong, Raikkonen is still a fine driver, but he is not currently the best one available to what stands as the second best team in F1.
So it seems Ferrari has weighted Raikkonen’s underperformance against the bad luck he’s encountered this year, his marketing pull as a one of only five world champions on the current grid, and the harmony he brings to the team through a productive working relationship with Vettel.
It has decided the pros outweigh what represents a significant con in the grand scheme of things – results.
But this won’t be the end of the matter. Next year will surely represent Raikkonen’s farewell tour before Ferrari signs his replacement.
Frontrunner Bottas is free to leave Williams at the end of 2016, which is perhaps another reason why Ferrari has stuck rather than twisted.
Williams would thus be wise to strike a fresh deal with its star asset before the next ‘silly season’ comes around.
Kimi Raikkonen says he wants to stay with Ferrari in F1 in 2016
Kimi Raikkonen says he wants to stay with the Ferrari Formula 1 team next season but is none the wiser as to whether it wants to keep him.
The 2007 world champion’s future has been the subject of intense speculation this year on the back of an inconsistent first half of the season which has left him 59 points adrift of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said recently it would be demotivating to decide the Finn’s future already but he added it is up to Raikkonen to prove he deserves the seat.
Raikkonen’s deal runs until the end of this season, with an option on the team’s side for 2016.
"Every year I’m in the same situation – it makes no difference if I have a contract or not," said Raikkonen. "I have a contract but it is an option.
"I made it very clear to the team what I would like to happen which is to be here next year, but I don’t know any more than you guys.
"I don’t read a lot of stuff in the press but I can see a lot being written.
"I don’t know what will happen so there is no point in guessing.
"I would like to know but I will wait until I know and we see what happens after that.
"I’m pretty sure I will be one of the first to know rather than reading from a newspaper."
Despite the speculation surrounding his future and the number of problems he has suffered so far, Raikkonen remains confident in his ability.
"I don’t see the point in racing if I didn’t believe I have the speed," he said. "I am sure I have.
"I have demonstrated many times but when you look at the points and results sometimes it doesn’t show.
"I know the real story, it’s no real problem for me."
Raikkonen hasn’t lost it, says Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Vettel
Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is still one of the most skilled drivers in Formula 1 and has no doubt about his ability.
Raikkonen insists he wants to stay with Ferrari into the 2016 F1 season, but the Scuderia has yet to decide whether to take up an option to retain him amid inconsistent performances.
Vettel said he had been a Raikkonen fan before he reached F1 and also admired his stint in the World Rally Championship in 2010-11.
"I remember the days when I was sitting in front of the TV at home and looking at Kimi’s onboard laps full of admiration," said Vettel.
"It’s still the same guy in that car and there is no doubt if you go up and down the paddock, Kimi is one of the most skilled drivers we have.
"I don’t know if other drivers could switch to rallying and be that successful.
"OK, he didn’t win but just look at some of the stuff they are doing, it’s very different and he didn’t grow up with rallying.
"So I found it was very impressive and then to come back from his excursion and be competitive again in F1."
Raikkonen has been outperformed by Vettel in the first half of the season, with the Finn 59 points adrift of his team-mate in the drivers’ standings.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams’s Valtteri Bottas have been linked with Raikkonen’s seat in 2016.
Vettel said that while he is unaware of how things are progressing with the other seat, Ferrari’s priority must be to retain the good morale and atmosphere which has been a feature of the Scuderia this year after a tough 2014 season.
"Whatever happens, it’s important we keep the morale and atmosphere because I think ultimately that is what allows us to be stronger and get back on top," he said.
"Right now, it is not the time to put your personal preferences on top.
"It’s time to work together with the team and try to do everything we can to be the best."