September 11, 2013
Let's talk about Alonso and Raikkonen...and a bit about Massa.
Since the Raikkonen announcement, the only ones more giddy than Ferrari fans (and Bernie Ecclestone) have been the, mostly British, Alonso haters convinced the Iceman will wipe the floor with him and force him into a hissy fit.
Got news for you guys: not happening.
Kimi and Fernando are now seasoned professionals:
Kimi will be 35 next season, Fernando 33. They have been around the block. It's not to say Fernando might not get impatient with the team but if he does it will be because Ferrari will not have been able to come up with a competitive car not because of Raikkonen hiring, an operation apparently a year in the making.
But, with Hamilton at Mclaren you say:
Very different situation. Alonso went to Mclaren in 2007 convinced he would be the #1 driver (he was a 2 time Champion after all) he found the team had other ideas to go along with stolen owner's manuals. With Ferrari next year, it's clear the whole point of hiring Raikkonen is to change directions away from the champion and brazilian doormat driver combos the Scuderia had for the last 13 seasons.
Since the Mclaren days Alonso had changed and matured tremendously, his never give up attitude now a model for Hamilton 2.0, you may have noticed.
Oh but Kimi will be faster than you Fernando, you say:
No, Kimi will push Fernando hard but there is no doubt Alonso is, all else being equal, the strongest driver in F1 today. If anything Alonso should feel measuring himself in the same car against one of the other three top drivers of the moment is much more satisfying than being faster than Massa, Red Bull for Vettel picked an obviously "#2" second driver.
Did "Felipe, baby" stand up and leave? No, he (understandably) wanted to be a Ferrari driver so badly he accepted the subordinate role.
Ferrari for their part have been very loyal to him, perhaps more than any other team would have been, maybe because he was happy to wear the Santa suit at company christmas parties.
I don't see where he could drive next year, Sauber perhaps if the Swiss team can find a way to keep Sirotkin as test driver for the first year. There he would bring good relations with engine supplier Ferrari and a wealth of invaluable experience.