Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ferrari Should Replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2016 by Kunal Shah, plus the latest Inside Line F1 podcast

I am annoyed with Kimi Raikkonen.

After his much hyped reunion with Ferrari in 2014, a single podium finish is all that he has managed to date. He was comprehensively beaten by Fernando Alonso last season, and is facing drubbing in the 2015 Formula 1 season by his friend and team-mate Sebastian Vettel. (Read: Mercedes Should Reconsider Nico Rosberg For 2016)

Kimi Raikkonen has struggled to match his world champion
team mates
Photo: Octane Photography
I am annoyed because Raikkonen has robbed us of a classic fight between two World Champion team-mates - a rare possibility in modern day Formula 1, especially given how the 'number 1' driver of the team almost usually has a say in the selection of the 'number 2'. Maybe Alonso knew a thing or two about Raikkonen's fading talent before 'allowing' Ferrari to sign him in 2014? Before you take a dig at me, I know that Raikkonen was brought on board to challenge Alonso and the Spaniard didn't have a say (for a change) in selecting his team-mate. (Read: Thank You McLaren)

Is it the modern formula of Formula 1 that Raikkonen is yet to come to terms with? I wouldn't know. But I do know that almost every other driver (if not every) has managed to adapt. Is the older Raikkonen unlike his younger self who managed to adapt to Formula 1 (and a far challenging formula in 2001) after just 23 single-seater races in a Renault series? Your guess is as good as mine. But the consensus is and Raikkonen knows that he is running out of time to renew his contract for 2016. (Read: Vettel The Champion, Raikkonen The Entertainer)


Performance aside, I am also annoyed with Raikkonen's attitude in press conferences. Mind you, I am not against his classic one liners, I enjoy them as much as you do, but I am against his general lack of interest in the media briefings. As a former World Champion, a Ferrari driver and somewhat of a cult figure in the sport, he is one of the ambassadors and I do expect him to get his basics right. If Ecclestone opined that Vettel was a bad World Champion for Formula 1, I believe that Raikkonen is probably the worst - un-Formula 1 like, in my words. (Read: Formula One Is Cruel)

Will Raikkonen's departure herald a big
shift in the drivers' market?
Photo: Octane Photography
For those who'd love to argue about my nit-picking on Raikkonen's demeanour or the lack of it, do remember that Ferrari and Mercedes battle in Formula 1 to get the edge in automobile market too. I know I am not the only one who believes that Hamilton-Rosberg represent the brand Mercedes in a far better manner than Vettel-Raikkonen do for Ferrari.

It would be heroic for Raikkonen and the fans to see him resurrect his career and earn his contract for 2016. But should that fail to happen, Raikkonen will lead the change in the driver market for next year. While Bottas and Hulkenberg have been discussed openly as his replacements, I wouldn't rule out Ricciardo who has publicly expressed his interest in Ferrari should it be possible. (Read: Raikkonen Needs A New Challenge)

Ricciardo's former Toro Rosso team-mate Jean Eric Vergne would be an interesting option too. After being dropped unceremoniously by Red Bull last year, he competed in a few races in Formula E (won his debut race!) and is contracted with Ferrari as one of their test and reserve drivers. And basis current form, I would love to see Massa make a return too.

If you're a Ferrari fan, the next few months should decide the team's long term driver combination with Vettel at the helm. If you're a Raikkonen fan (much like I am), I hope that apart from his one-liners and radio messages there’s much for you to cheer too.

And here's the latest episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast – Change Is The Name Of The Game For F1 that I would like to invite you to tune in to.



This article and podcast were originally published on Kunal's F1 Blog and have been reproduced with permission.

Kunal has also since his last post on here written an article 'Ban the Grid Girls' on his site that you might want to check out here: http://www.kunalsf1blog.com/f1-humour/ban-the-grid-girls/

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