In the past month, the drumbeat about Kimi Raikkonen's future at Ferrari has risen from a whisper to an all out group chant.
Journalist and commentators, perhaps tired of repeating Max Verstappen is "only 17" or that Nico Hulkenberg has won Le Mans, have been calling for forks to be stuck in Kimi because the man is beyond done.
Granted, 2015 started well for the Ferrari Finn but has since served up a streak of unfortunate events: the spins the missed qualifying laps, the being shoved but, if Kimi is at Ferrari to support what is a rebirth clearly led by Vettel then he's not doing that bad of a job.
Going into the British GP he is fourth in the driver standings, behind Hamilton Rosberg and Vettel. He is also an asset to Ferrari in the fans eyes, he was voted most popular driver in the recent GPDA F1 survey, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
If there are behind the scenes reasons why Ferrari would not want to renew Kimi's contract they might be related to communications, feedback, perhaps cost. It's unclear what Raikkonen's demands might be and how prepared he is to take the pay cut Sergio Marchionne will inevitably demand.
But if you were Ferrari, would you change now and with who? It's certainly not a given any of the options will perform better.
|Red Bull Photo|
Another option would be promoting one of the reserve drivers but I just don't see Vergne or Gutierrez as having what it takes to fill Raikkonen's shoes.
Bottas is the man everyone has decided will be Raikkonen's replacement. Without a doubt a driver with a lot of talent but also one who has been out qualified by Massa, Add to that that Bottas is a driver in the Mercedes family via Toto Wolff and it becomes potentially more complicated for Ferrari. Would Ferrari be worse off swapping one laconic Finn antihero for a laconic Finn who seems very serious?
Ultimately Ferrari's decision might come down to securing the best available driver for the next few years, There is no obvious choice out there. Alonso's not coming back, Hamilton is a couple of years away if ever. Rosberg I don't see happening, Button's done, all the youngsters are too unproven. If you are going to get someone with an eye to the future, Bottas is probably your best choice.
For his part, Raikkonen has to show he still has the desire to be in the game. One gets the feeling that psychologically he may not be the Iceman of legend but rather a driver who needs to feel the embrace and reassurance of the team. Ferrari has done that before but perhaps some in the team do not want to deal with another Felipe.
Saturday at Silverstone Bottas was out qualified by ol ''washed up" Felipe Massa and Raikkonen out qualified Vettel. There are no points for Saturday but there is delicious irony in that.
While on the subject of Silverstone, a big hand to all the British fans, all 350000 who are expected for the week end. At a time where it has become fashionable to literally shit on F1, from social media all the way to Bernie himself it's fantastic to see a crowd much larger that that at this year's 24 hour of Le Mans.
Face it Bernie, Silverstone and Monza ARE the beating hearts of Formula 1.