F1’s Iceman. Should he stay or should he go?

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Kimi’s fans will tell you he is special because he is not affected by pressure, doesn’t pander to corporate expectations, displays no emotion and is simply his own man. He is said not to do simulator work and never does the Thursday track walk, because he believes it to be a waste of time.

Yet you have to wonder whether Kimi’s character model was fellow countryman and F1 predecessor, Mika Hakkinen. The double world champion had plenty to boast about, yet Mika came across as incredibly humble and modest person when questioned over his achievements. His press conferences were short and to the point and he never publicly criticized his team or got into petty arguments with fellow drivers.

Hakkinen’s modesty was never better personified than following his incredible overtaking manoeuvre on Michael Schumacher during the 2000 Belgium GP (No DRS/KERS etc). When asked how to describe it by a reporter, he replied, “It was different.”

By comparison, there are those who would argue that ‘iceman’ Kimi is but a shadow of his countryman in terms of racing skill and cool persona. Kimi did go public on his spat with Lotus over money and recently has been anything other than ‘ice’ cool in his furious radio communications during the race.

At the last race when asked about rumours of a possible paycut, Raikkonen all but lost it and responded: “I heard something about that – I’d be interested to know who wrote it.

“First of all you have no idea what my contract says. You never have. It’s the bullshit nonsense you guys come up with all the time. It’s fine with me.

“Have you seen my contract? So you just come up with bullshit – yes or no? You don’t know the contract but you write stuff. You write stuff that’s not true.

“Maybe you should start writing some things that make sense.”

Ironically, Kimi concluded, “Write what you want, I don’t really care.”

But the big question on everyone’s lips is should Ferrari retain the services of Kimi beyond this year, or ditch him for someone younger and who can do a better job in scoring points for the red team.

Sebastian Vettel clearly believes Kimi should stay on at Ferrari in 2016. “I am pretty happy with Kimi,” Vettel commented during a recent Ferrari media event. “As I said many times, there is tremendous respect between each of us.”

Vettel goes on to explain it is normal for an F1 driver to have spells where his results are not so good. “I had four phenomenal years and had one year where a lot of things happened, where a lot of things broke down in the car and where I did a lot of mistakes, and I got criticised. Now things are changing again.

“That is why these things are not so important if you know who you are. I think Kimi knows who he is and he knows what he wants.

“Obviously the last couple of races were a little bit up and down for him, and it is normal in F1 that you get criticised immediately.

God effort Sebastian, but Kimi’s woes are not coming off the back of four consecutive years of driver and constructor F1 championships.

David Coulthard believes its time for Kimi to quit F1. “There’s a point in your career where you just stop getting better. It happened to me in my career; I was never the best driver, but there was certainly a point at the end where you just lose the edge”.

Coulthard observes that Kimi was soundly beaten by Fernando Alonso last year and is being so again by his new team mate, Sebastian Vettel.

In 2014, Raikkonen after 8 races ihad just 19 points so this year’s tally of 72 at the same stage of the season is much improved.

Yet Ferrari have improved significantly in 2015, but the gap between Kimi and Vettel is some 50 points and to Alonso last year before Silverstone was 62. A marginal improvement.

Coulthard concludes that in the end that the numbers speak for themselves. “The facts are that whether it’s bad luck or something else, he [Kimi] hasn’t delivered in the last couple of years at the level he did in his previous career.”

Nico Hulkenberg and Valterri Bottas are the most likely contenders to replace Raikkonen at Ferrari, as Maranello has demonstrated over the years to be reluctant on recruiting anything but proven F1 drivers.

Silverstone 2014 was of course the scene of a big Kimi accident, which could possibly have been prevented had he done a track walk and understood the lie of the land he found himself in when off track on the Wellington straight.

Raikkonen is a winner of the British GP, though unless Vettel has problems it’s difficult to see the ‘iceman’ winning out in the Ferrari battle of the team mates this weekend coming.

Whether this will be Kimi’s last British GP is yet to be decided.

18 responses to “F1’s Iceman. Should he stay or should he go?

  1. F1 is a business. Winning is the goal, and there is only 1 winner, but, you also need the characters to keep the fans entertained. Kimi is coming out of his shell and his comments while driving as well as in the above news story are entertaining. Coulthard was entertaining when he wore his superman cape when he finally made a podium, but was boring otherwise. I say keep Kimi.

  2. Got to say I’ve never really got all the fuss about Kimi and his ‘personality’. He seems to get a free pass from most people and I have no idea why. If you’re looking for likeable people then I’d probably say Vettel comes across as the most likeable person. Just look at the stick he still gets, and granted I’m not a fan but I’m not going to go out of my way to put him down like many others. (wandering off track here).

    Kimi just comes across and stubborn and isolated, I can’t see why Ferrari would want to keep him on, he’s costing a fortune and not even filling a role as a number 2 driver these days. I’m sure I’ll get shouted down by his many fans, but meh, each to their own.

    • No shouting down from me on this one, I have never gotten the Kimi thing either, I think he is a foul-mouthed, mumbling boor, why producing some of the most cringeworthy moments in recent F1 history is seen as cool and entertaining is beyond me, if he was producing the goods in the car it would be different, but he is fast becoming a liability and needs to go.

  3. as much as I’d like to see Hulkenberg in other Ferrari, Kimi, when he’s not crashing, seems to be a match for Vettel on race pace and possibly better, trouble is at the moment, he can’t string a weekend together to make use of it.

  4. I’d give him one more year. Illogical reason: I’m a Kimi fan.
    Logical reasons: Much depends on what is happening behind the scenes with engineers, etc relationships, Ferrari is still in catch up mode. Never a good thing to be changing drivers every year. Consistency and stability pay especially when the car is still dicey. Let’s see if he can pull a rabbit out the hat, especially Spa,and do some catching up. Adding some constructor’s points would do him a world of good.
    If not, Ferrari appears to have Bottas already lined up.

    Of course, there’s always the LayeredCake (or whatever that pen name was) conspiracy…which was intriguing and compelling and yet, hard to believe on all levels.

    • Your logical reason is exactly what most overlook. The downside to replacing him if it goes wrong might be greater than whatever he potentially costs the team in the meantime. With the exception of the disaster in Austria, he has mostly maxed out points for the team as a second driver. Certainly the team have cost themselves with their funky wheelnut thread in excess of what could be attributed to RAI’s performance in quali. Finally, and equally hard to measure, his presence may also be enabling Vettel to perform as well as he does, at least based on the fact that Seb has spoken out in favour of retaining RAI in the team. It might be worth the few points you lose now and then to have Vettel at the top of his game and comfortable.

    • Agreed, I’m not a fan and would be happy to see him go, but I think Ferrari would be insane to as he’s actually delivered a decent haul of points for someone doing a ‘crap job’ and on top of that, him and Seb keep the team even and pulling together, and Ferrari can’t afford anything but that whilst they catch Merc up.

    • Let’s not forget that when Kimi was still at Maclaren BernieE commented that the worst thing ever to happen to F1 would be if a boring nobody (or something similar) like Kimi would win the WDC. “Bernie don’t like him” gives already some justification to me that he should stay.

      Yeah, I admit for the same reason I start to like Nico a bit more.

      Have to say that the other area I don’t really get why teams don’t seem to be so excited about Hulk. I mean compared to all fans and ex-drivers rating him high.

  5. He’d stay if it were up to me. Not necessarilly at Ferrari, but certainly in F1.

  6. It is too early to decide on Kimi’s contract. 2 bad races does not necessary mean he has to be sacked from Ferrari, Still many races are left in this year and string of good performances from kimi will allow Ferrari to finish second in constructor;s championship. When Kimi puts weekend together he will be more than match for vettel but kimi wont do it every other weekend as he is lacking consistency in ferrari second stint, I dont see any good replacement for Kimi who would challenge vettel or get better of him. Bottas is struggling to beat massa convincingly, hulk is phenomenal in few races and not always beating perez. Ricciardo is good but vettel would not want him as his teammate for sure.

  7. F1 as in any other sport is all about results and performance. Since Kimi returned to Ferrari he has been very poor. How many truly memorable performances have we seen from him? I’d say just the one and that was Bahrain.

    Excuses were made for him last season that the car wasn’t designed for him, he did not feel loved it appreciated. So what’s the excuse now? Seb is out performing him in a car that I’d say wasn’t specifically designed around his driving style.

    If it had been any other driver performing like he has been in at Ferrari or any other team, he would’ve been kicked out already.

    So I say yes he should go.

    • Whilst I agree with most of your post Fortis, I don’t think Kimi should leave F1. Ferrari should probably give him the boot, but I can’t see any reason why he couldn’t do a very good at the likes of Force India, Williams (if the overrated Bottas departs) or even over at McLaren again when Button retires at the end of the season.

      I think Kimi would still comfortably beat many of the midfield drivers, but like the Webbers and Rosbergs of the world he’s not in the sports elite of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton.

  8. Taking into account the 2 DNF’s of this season (one due to a bad pit stop and the other due to the team putting him in P18 in the starting grid) the numbers are:
    Vettel: 15 pts/race
    Raikkonen: 12pts/race
    So far, Vettel has an slight edge over Raikkonen. That’s it, it’s not the end of the world. Let’s see the numbers by the end of the season.

    • So, basically P3 and P4, which is where the car places them. Give their package a little boost, and I could see Ham vs. Vet, Ros vs. Rai.

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