Kimi Raikkonen’s F1 days are numbered

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Brought to you by TJ13 contributor, Fortis

After a dismal year in 2014 where Kimi was soundly beaten by former Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, many believed that this year would see the resurgence of the ‘iceman’ in a James Allison designed Ferrari.

Yet just eight races in to the 2015 F1 season and we see the Finn trailing his new teammate Sebastian Vettel by 48 points. Kimi does have a podium finish this year with his second place in Bahrain – but he has been out qualified 7-1 by Vettel.

This has lead team principle Maurizo Arrivabene to issue a warning to Kimi that he’s currently driving for a contract extension with Ferrari: “We were very, very clear – and we meet time and again – and I say to Kimi,’look it depends on your performance’.

Given Raikkonen’s lack lustre results, it would be easy to conclude he is on his way out of Ferrari at the end of 2015.

However, Arrivabene remains positive: “He has demonstrated that he is a great driver, so if you are asking me now if he deserves the option today then [the answer is] yes.

Kimi is giving the best when he is a bit in trouble – this is a psychological approach so the paper at the moment is white.”

Though being candid, the Austrian GP was a disastrous weekend where Raikkonen failed to make it out of Q1. He then proceeded to bin the car only 2 corners into the race and Sport Bild are now reporting that Ferrari have launched a bid to replace Raikkonen in 2016 with the highly rated 25 year old Williams driver Valtteri Bottas.

Williams does though have an opinion to retain Bottas’s services for the 2016 season and there is no apparent reason why the team from Grove will part with the highly rated younger Finnish driver.

“It would be a pity if he leaves the team,” said technical boss Pat Symonds. “I know he feels very comfortable here, and he is an important part of the team.”

Ferrari though are willing to compensate Williams with a €4m payment to release Bottas from his current contractual arrangement.

Interestingly, Claire Williams is playing cute on the matter and demanding a sum in the region of 15m to release Valterri Bottas, a number at present not palatable for Arrivabene.

For many there is a more obvious choice to replace Kimi at Ferrari who are averse to recruiting drivers with little experience.

Le Mans winner, Nico Hulkneberg is said to be in the frame, but rumours suggest Ferrari are not happy with an all German driver line up.

Should Bottas join Ferrari, then it’s possible Hulkenberg would return to the Williams team, whom he drove for last in 2010. Whilst this would be a step forward for Hulkenberg, rejoining Sir Frank’s team would also carry with it greater risk.

When all is said and done, right now Kimi Raikkonen’s F1 future looks bleaker by the race weekend.

47 responses to “Kimi Raikkonen’s F1 days are numbered

    • Hard to see what his options are.. Gutierrez seems likely for Haas, and Rossi will want to get in there as a regular FP1 driver at least, while Ferrari would rather put Hulk there (or maybe Vergne?) than in the big team. Is that left for Bottas, or even Ricciardo?

      But if Haas had Hulk-Gutierrez.. see Sauber 2013! Hulk-Massa at Williams.. that would be a line up as good as now, and if they get a big payment to make it happen… maybe there’s a space at Force India for a Mercedes protege? Wehrlein? Ocon? Lynn and Palmer will want to move into a race drive as well..

      • Nice one Fortis. Way to kick off the silly season!!

        With JEV and GUT at Ferrari they are likely using sim data to make that choice. Seeing GUT in the car could mean Ferrari are shopping him to Haas or that they will compare him to Bottas in some way. Once we hear about Bottas sightseeing at Maranello we’ll have a better idea, LOL

        If i were Hulk I would much prefer Williams to Haas, unless Haas gave me oodles of cash. I would think Haas needs good development driver more than anything so that might cut RAI out, as he’s known to be no fan of the simulator. OTOH he’s raced NASCAR so who knows. Probably the folks at marketing will make that choice anyway.

        I completely see Wehrlein at FI next year with a drive. Unless something goes completely sideways.

        • Wehrlein won’t get a superlicence next year though will he? I was under the impression he doesn’t currently qualify unless he does a few races for Force India towards the end of this season.

          • Regulations are not real clear, but he could qualify for a license this year, even without running a race as he has put in enough mileage to satisfy current requirements. What i didn’t find is how long the license stays valid.

          • That would mean that Susie would qualify too? Didn’t Simona do enough testing last year to qualify for one also? I thought with these new rules coming in, it was going to stop those two being able to drive and basically putting a stop to any chance of a female driving in the short term?

  1. The 2015 F1 Musical Chairs Game restarts after a short break, following Lewis Hamilton signing the Mercedes contract.
    Players are reminded that to compete you’ll have to include at least 5 “if’s”, 2 “swaps”, 4 “Ferraris'”, 3 “Williams”, 2″Hulks” and 1 “Haas” in every entry.
    Last entry in by Brazilian Grand Prix.

  2. I do not particularly see Hulk on the Ferrari hit list as he is now both a German driver AND a PORSCHE driver 🙁 I for one both like and dislike Kimi. his deadpan schtick got very old a few years ago. and he has pretty much done nothing for the last 1 1/2 + years. me thinks CYA from Ferrari is pretty much in the cards at this point… no disrespect,but I see Bottas as a nice guy and super solid racer – just not ever a future World Champion – not even in a 3’rd or 4’th Merc – he ain’t exactly dominating his old used and abused and nearly killed team mate now, is he…

    off topic: me thinks most of us are usually pretty impressed with the Torro Rosso boys. but I wanna give a shout out to the Sauber boys as well. they r both paid drivers, right?? both have shown some real racecraft and car control at times. I say they both belong in F1 – marginally, but for sure!
    and Stevens has been yoeman-like, but Merhi is getting it on lately. with his $$$, I see Leimer replacing Stevens pretty soon for good or bad…

    I see Wehrlein too @Mattpt55 . Merc is hitting on almost all cylinders! McHonda way not so much. they got a pretty decent driver in KMag and a potential superstar in Vandoorne. but how the hell do they dump the over the hill gang of Fred and/or Jens??? McLaren is backed into so many corners and Honda has been outclassed for decades on multiple venues, I see them nearly going outta the F1 biz over the next few years…

    just my humble opinions 🙂

    rich

  3. Daniel Ricciardo would be an option for Ferrari. The car would be an upgrade over the Renault unless they manage to make massive upgrades to the current power unit over the winter. The question would be, would Sebastian be okay with being teammates with Daniel again? Might Pascal get a drive at Force India next year in order to help Mercedes out with his development?

    • I’ve written to this point before… I agree Heidi. I think all-in-all, Sebastian would welcome Ricciardo for various reasons.

      • I never heard of vettel not wanting anyone as teammate. Not even rumours. Other people not wanting vettel as teammate did happen. There is much talk about his 4 titels being down to the car but if other top drivers don’t want you in the same car, there is a slight hint of fear in my opinion.

      • totally agree, seconds out…round 2 🙂
        Think it will provide Seb with a perfect opportunity to right the image of being ‘battered’ as some people like to maintain by Colgate (not an assessment I’d share to be fair)…people seem far to willing to forget the detail of the races Ricciardo won. I’m sure Seb would be delighted to have him back as a team mate. Its a win-win for Ricciardo too, as would provide opportunity to prove himself once and for all after his tough season with the old bull.

        I also feel Ricciardo is a better bet than Bottas from a Ferrari perspective.

        Shame that Hulk can’t get a look in, still my first preference.

        Looking forward to seeing what Vandoorne can do in F1 in 2015, Manor I suppose as a starting point.

      • Agree with wtf and Heidi, Daniel is one of the high rollers at the moment but would like to add one thing, thinking about you Jules

    • Why would Ferrari wasn DR? Nobody actually has an answer to that based in logic and facts. You think 1 average season gets you a Ferrari contract? You think DR’s 2015 performance has Ferrari dying to sign him? wow.

      • Wow indeed…

        “You think DR’s 2015 performance has Ferrari dying to sign him?” – Layercake

        It’s not about that… It’s a market economy; not an absolute calculation.

        Firstly, if Kimi is to be replaced – which is still an IF – then we, the fans, speculate on who’s potentially available. Of those drivers available, we naturally try to assess who is the best combination of being “the faster driver” and “the best fit” for what we collectively perceive to be the key parameters a team might desire in a driver (aside from pure pace, of course). In this case, the team is Ferrari, and the lead driver is Vettel.

        Therefore, for some, like me and a few others, it stands to reason that Ricciardo should at least be a nominee given a) who’s available and b) what Ferrari & Vettel might prefer.

        In relation to your comment, Vettel didn’t have a stellar 2014 either, and yet he finds himself driving a red car, doesn’t he?

        Sure, Vettel’s a four-time champion, but assess who else is available and how they’d fit at Ferrari IF Kimi’s replaced. You could use some of that “logic” you love? 😀

        Logic

      • Somewhere on the intertubes is footage of Ricciardo v Bottas at Silverstone in one of the junior formula. If you watch it you’d understand why folks rate RIcciardo.

      • Somewhere on the intertubez is footage of RIC v BOT in a junior formula at Silverstone. If you can find it watch it, you’d understand why folks rate him so highly.

        • Somewhere on the intertubes is Alonso unable to pass petrov. We can cherry pick all day long.

          • Not a cherry pick, just go find it if you have time. Far more exciting. It was a straight up awesome race.

        • Somewhere on youtube is the footage of VET vs HAM in a junior formula in Germany I believe. Even if you don’t know the context you can appreciate how Ham attacks, but for someone who really knows what was going on, that was also a brilliant piece of defense by Vet. Though I believe even the casual viewer should appreciate defensive driving more, it’s not something we see often nowadays, since they either use DRS to breeze pass which pretty much invalidates defense or get stuck because of aero without the guy in front needing much in the way of defense.

  4. Kimi’s performance in upcoming races will be crucial. If he closes this year with 4th place in WDC and Ferrari manage to hold on to 2nd place in WCC, I feel his place in Ferrari is safe. We know Ferrari want to pouch Bottas , may be maurizio was trying to negotiate for 2017, who knows.. Silly season

  5. The KIMI RAIKKONEN CONSPIRACY (LAYERCAKE 2015)

    Please cite LAYERCAKE, this is an original KIMI conspiracy theory.

    First of all, hello to all JUDGE commentators, i’ve been lurking but this is basically my first post. Second of all, no offense, but this is a conspiracy best understood by complex individuals, Kimi, is an extremely complex guy, whether i know him or not is irrelevant. If chess isnt your game, please refrain from commenting on this conspiracy and stick to worrying about Lewis’s instagram.

    Here we go:

    Phase1a) the Comeback. Good performances and good behavior put him right back where he wanted at ferrari, helped out by fantastic personal management.

    Phase1b) The airtight contract. Kimi was now in the position to demand one of the most airtight contracts in history. If ferrari wanted him out for a second time, it would cost them double what it cost the first time. Kimi can now do what he wants.

    Phase2) Bye Bye Alonso. Alonso is the most insecure driver on the grid, maybe in history. no real samurai calls themselves that in public – let alone tattoo’s it for instagram. When someone is this insecure they are quite easy to manipulate, the easiest way to control alonso is to make him feel in control. Kimi’s under performance in 2014 underlined alonso’s desire to be considered the ultimate. This desperation in alonso created a fire that wouldnt be put out and eventually spread to all upper management – alonso and his tantrums end up taking out all kimi’s enemies within Ferrari. Kimi only has to suffer a slight blow to his legacy, does he care? He’s kimi.

    Phase 2a) Bring in your friends. Kimi’s contract being as airtight as it was, it was always going to be cheaper to let go of alonso. Vettel has been on Ferrari’s radar for a long time. Vettel also crafted his own contract at red bull and was more than aware of his get out clause. By mid 2013 it was clear renault had dropped the ball on 2014 engine development, Vettel was going to have a new teammate who he could under perform against because nobody could say that Ricciardo ‘wasnt better’ than vettel, nobody knew (clearly a huge under peformance against webber would have raised the eyebrows on red bulls lawyers). So now Vettel has the perfect window to get out, knows alonso is out (thanks to the heads up from kimi), and negotiates one of the highest first year salaries of any F1 driver in history. Did Ferrari pay vettel this because he’s a nice guy or because he purposefully tanked 2014 (and also damaged his rep, id say 20+mil bonus was worth the damage to the 4x WDC rep) to secure the next 10 years of his life at ferrari. I’ll let you decide.

    Phase 3) Get the money. Divorce costs a lot, so does a new wife, so does a kid. This is the real motivation. The multi-staged effort also sees a big pay off for Vettel. A 2nd year of under performance from Kimi, and this time in a car he likes. At a surface level we can forgive Kimi for 2014, Kimi’s driving style couldnt be more different than alonso’s, 2014 he was driving the dog alonso developed and it was the best he could do (surface level). 2015 was the car he helped develop and his teammate, this time vettel, is quite easily thrashing him. Again at a surface level, one would have to say that if kimi was the measure of standard, Vettel could be better than alonso. Is this backed by a big private payment from Vettel? I dont know. Is it? 🙂

    Eitherway, expect a turn around from kimi, just in time to secure his contract option. And then further de-motivated performaces. Vettel, his good friend is gunning for schumachers legacy, kimi isnt and never was. F1 is a playground for Kimi – if you take it 10% seriously, that is 10% more serious than Kimi ever has. Models and an easy, comfortable life are what matters to him. He’ll leave ferrari with an additional 100 million, a free enzo, a free La Ferrari, and who knows what else.

    Truth is always stranger than fiction. Chess. Money. Models.

    • I like it. What a wonderful web you weave!
      My prediction is for Kimi to be replaced by James Hunt.
      Or a gorilla.

    • That’s a mighty twisted mind you have, layercake! I am amazed, amused, and salute your train of logic and speculation.

    • Interesting (conspiration) theory. Makes fora a good summer read, thank you. Having said that though, do you really think that KIMI (who I am a big fan of btw) needs/cares about extra money for the divorce, kid and what not? Last I checked, he was fairly set for life, especially after his first Ferrari exit. Finnish vodka is not *that* expensive 🙂

      • Maybe you should make friends with people who have money like that, it will shed light onto your assumption that if you have 100m, you dont mind losing 50% of it. The money from the first ferrari exit will have been part of what he lost. How bad can it be to drive F1 cars to make it back?

        Plus we dont know how bad kimi’s divorce was and how much she got. How would you feel about losing 50mil for instance? His management are ruthless negotiators, you dont employ people like that if you dont care about money. Kimi cares. I know I would. If i could kick my arch enemy to the curb, make money back i lost in a divorce, set my children up for life, and help a good friend become the best driver in history. I wouldnt think twice. It might even be fun 😉

        • As much as your theory is interesting, you’re making many assumptions. 1) I do know people with that kind of money and they all have prenups. 2) You’re assuming Kimi doesn’t. You may be right. Or not.

          Suggesting that kimi needs more money at this time in his life is another assumption. Maybe he is an emotional guy who wants to make sure he is compensated what he thinks he is worth as a matter of principle, not because he needs more money to pay bills.

          As for having a hardcore management team? If he decides to use one, he might as well get a good one regardless of what his underlying logic is.

          • @John A
            “Maybe he is an emotional guy”

            Kimi, emotional? I recall when he wrestled the 2007 title from Hamilton against all odds, his complete display of emotions on the podium were to (1) grab the trophy and (2) start looking for the exit. At that point Monsieur Todt gently barred his way, explaining him that he needed to celebrate a bit, if not for himself at least for the cameras.

            Kimi is as emotional as he opens up his mouth before mumbling something to the outside world… 🙂

          • @ landroni

            I guess in my mind there is a difference between being emotional “inside” vs displaying your emotions by jumping up and down on a podium. Or would “sensitive” be a better word? non-native English speaker here 🙂

          • @John A.

            Non-native speaker here, too.

            Re Kimi and emotions, I suspect that deep down all human beings are volcanoes of emotions. Some show it more readily, while others less. It seems that Kimi needs to dig deep down, very deep, even deeper than that, before he decides he wants to display a faint whisper of something that someone might call… emotions. 🙂

        • I saw situations many times growing up where women married professional athletes just for the lifestyle and the money. In these cases, the athletes married the women truly believing that the women loved them when, in fact, the women were already think about how they could possibly get around prenups and get the most that they could in a divorce settlement. Once the athletes stopped playing there sport, the constant recognition was gone, the invitation to the fancy parties/global events stopped, and the women had to live with athlete full time; the divorce proceedings were started a short time later. The women were only concerned with maintaining the upper class lifestyle that they had with the athlete for the rest of their life post divorce. In many cases, the women needed the huge divorce settlement because they didn’t have many skills or education that they could use to get a job to support themselves adequately post divorce as a result of being nude models, etc. pre-marriage instead of concentrating on acquiring skills and education that would lead to being self reliant. Sometimes, the women will divorce one professional athlete and start dating another professional athlete when their financial resources start to get low.

          Seeing things like this happen to their colleagues, many professional athletes, if they get married and have children, will try and accumulate as much financially as they can while they’re playing to not only pay necessary sports related expenses, agent fees, etc, give their children a good upbringing but also prepare for a possible large divorce settlement if there is not an iron clad prenup or the woman finds a way around the prenup.

    • And of course the motivation would have been being dumped by Ferrari for Alonso in 2010, after somehow managing to win at Spa in 2009..

  6. Why does a team looking for performance take into equation the political idea of the nation of a driver. When Hulkenberg is good, what does it matter that he is German. You want to win, you recruit good drivers. And I am frankly not that convinced about Bottas given his up and down performance in the Williams which was very flattered by its Mercedes engine last year.
    As for Ricciardo, he has to show better leadership in his current team. All smiles when he lucks into a win, but the last races a doubtful Kvyat is beating him or getting very close. Ferrari still thought Vettel was good enough to hire after last year. But what is Ricciardo worth now? He is not Vettel and he is not looking good at the moment.

    But, for a Barichello-position at Ferrari, Bottas and Hulkenberg will both do fine.

      • @bruznic

        Don’t seem to apply to Schumacher, the savior and idol of Ferrari for a decade or so. Nor to Sebastian “Ferrari is back!” Vettel, after the Malaysia GP…

          • Agreed. It only seems to make sense (especially from a marketing perspective) if the team’s nationality matches that of the drivers concerned – see McLaren/Hamilton/ Button, or Mercedes/Schumacher/ Rosberg.
            Q. How many other times have there been this kind of team-and-both-drivers nationality sync?

          • Every time someone mentions Mercedes as German I have to stop and think, “Are they German? Oh yes, they are”, since they give too much British vibe.

  7. Pastor for the seat?..just think of the savings with crash testing 😉 one thing I did note, no one is talking about Max getting a chance so maybe teams are finally listening,an apprenticeship needs to be served in a mid field team before landing a top role.

    • Interesting to note who is conspicuous by their absence.
      In addition to Pastor (the high priest of dangerous driving) and Max(imize your exposure by being a bit too gung-ho) no one is also talking about Romain (I’m a man not a lettuce), Checko(ut my totally average driving), Marcus (down for another mid-field drive), or Felipe (the one on the way up, but not to the same altitude as the old one).

  8. whoo great reading today! loved the conspiracy theories..i’m sure ricciardo would love to drive for ferrari( along with everyone else)..wasn’t the only reason he was picked up in the first place (over jev) that the market for red bull drinks, and the flying stuff is huge in australia?!..and while i’m writing it’s suddenly occurred to me that daniil is marketed in the same way what does russia drink vodka and what do people put with it red bull! that doesn’t mean both of them aren’t good drivers or competitive but that’s their edge over other drivers being picked at the moment… the markets they can break into..these days it really isn’t the best drivers it’s marketability/overall sponsorship package and relative talent…in my opinion of course : ) as far as ferrari picking up bottas as a cheapy fine, but i agree with other posters here they’re not going to drop kimi for him,unless they can whip up a storm and convince everyone he’s amazing better to stick with what they have and look towards newer drivers coming in for 2017.

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