Was Raikkonen Ferrari’s second choice?

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Mark Webber has revealed in his book, that there were contracts ready for him to sign in Maranello that would see him race for Ferrari in 2013.

“There was now a very real chance I would be joining the Prancing Horse team. Flavio, Stefano, and Fernando all wanted it to happen; contracts were sent but they were for one year plus an option, instead of the two years we were pushing for.

“I just wasn’t interested in switching to another F1 team for 2013 when in July of that season they might tell me my services wouldn’t be required the following year”.

Red Bull got wind of these discussions and according to Webber, “were having a bit of fun talking to other drivers too, Lewis in particular, as they had clearly got wind of the Ferrari approach, so there had been no dialogue about extending my contract.”

The out of the blue, just days after his win at Silverstone, Christian Horner came up with a new one year deal to retain the Aussie driver at Red Bull Racing.

Webber claims Alonso begged him to wait before agreeing his new Red Bull deal, as Ferrari were presumably flexible on the length of the contract term they were prepared to offer Webber.

Always regarded as someone who knows his own mind, Webber concludes, “my gut was telling me Ferrari wasn’t right for me.”

Bernie Ecclestone had originally poo poo’d the idea of Webber driving for Ferrari, however, following Mark’s announcement in June 2013 that he was to quit F1, Ecclestone approached Mark: “he asked me if I was comfy with my decision [to leave F1] and said he believed we could still make the Ferrari deal happen for 2014.”

“It would have been a change of scenery to go to Ferrari: it was also nice to feel a little bit wanted”, Webber reveals – yet his decision to leave for sports cars and be offered a top line drive with the returning Porsche team was too much to resist.

Of course all this pre-dates Ferrari’s eventual recruitment of Kimi Raikkonen – which at present despite assurances to the Finn that he is no number two driver – is looking no better for Ferrari than when Massa was driving for them.

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9 responses to “Was Raikkonen Ferrari’s second choice?

  1. It seems that only one driver at a time can thrive at Ferrari. Maybe that’s why Webber decided against tit.

    • easily forgotten, but Webber was ahead of Vettel after the British Grand Prix and looked good to fight for the world championship at that point, so I think maybe he felt snubbing the red bull offer to sign on for ferrari would result in Seb being backed for the title at his expense.

      With the benefit of hindsight he may as well have moved, from the next race on it all went rather pear shaped ..or was it a German apple 😉

  2. I remember hearing this at the time.. An even more critical decision for Webber was going to Williams-BMW in 2005 instead of Renault with Alonso and Flavio.. He probably would have won races in 2005/6 that Fisichella instead did.

    However, if he hadn’t have ended up back at RBR by 2009, then he was better to wait for the dominant car, as Rosberg did by snubbing McLaren’s no.2 seat for 2008.

  3. Maybe there was some interest, but I struggle to think Webber could have achieved anything significant had he gone to Ferrari. The 2014 Ferrari was a lemon and Webber was past his best (which I think was 2009 and 2010). Aging driver in a poor car just waiting to rejoin his nemesis the following season, that spells disaster.

    His 2013 exit was gracious enough, he should be thankful for it.

  4. Ferrari didn’t want another rooster. They wanted a good number two. Remember Flavio whispering in LdM ear, Kimis not a rooster.
    Who knows what they want under the M&A regime, but if it is still a good number two, Kimi may keep his seat

  5. To continue the Kimi theory recently posted in the comments, in the driver’s press conference today, Kimi repeatedly said: “it’s all a part of the game”, whenever the crash was mentioned.

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