Is it just me or does it feel like Raikkonen is going backwards in his career? At one point he had just been crowned the 2007 World Champion in addition to being the highest payed driver on the grid. It was like he had it all in his hands – and even managed to squeeze out a smile every now and then. In 2008 it seemed like he thought a World Championship winning car could drive itself, resulting in him crashing out in Monaco and Singapore due to his lack of focus. 2009 has given us a taste of the Raikkonen we all know and love, the Raikkonen we are proud to be fans of. The second half of the season saw him perform extremely well, better than what he has been getting credit for. He is finally getting used to the Ferrari that ceased development for the rest of the season. Capable of squeezing out every millisecond of the car during an off weekend is one of his specialities. On top of all that, Raikkonen usually keeps to himself throughout pit activities. He rarely communicates, or should we say, communicates clearly. That attitude usually implies the ‘i-don’t-give-a-shit’ view on most things in life.
Norbert Haug felt like he was on top of the world today, announcing that the McLaren driver line-up (set to be one of the strongest) with Hamilton and Raikkonen was almost settled. ‘With Alonso there were some noises to the outside world, but in reality inside the team everybody did his job…’ Haug explained when asked about the risks of a Lewis-Fernando repeat. There were some noises? Whatever those noises were – outside world or not – they affected the racing world and the way the team performed.
McLaren is Hamilton’s team and is has been ever since he joined in 2007. The second they fitted his seat, the team have been developing a car perfectly fit for their star driver. Obviously, a team is tempted to lean to developing a car better suited for their more successful driver. In Hamilton’s case, the leaning comes with preferential treatment and better equipment.
I’m just worried Raikkonen won’t like what he steps into and decides to bail. At the same time I remember his tone during press conferences and that cool, Finnish look on things that might just be able to get him through. It might even affect Hamilton. Having a teammate not talk to you might suggest superiority. Raikkonen might also be the only person, in such a one-sided environment, able to bring it to Hamilton. I’m sure Raikkonen is getting a nice sum of money for the move as well.
Whatever the reasons for Kimi’s move, I just hope he shows them the cool and composed Finnish we all know and love.