Kimi Raikkonen to Drive for Ferrari in 2014, Signed Thru 2016
KIMI RAIKKONEN SIGNS WITH FERRARI THRU 2016
Ferrari Scuderia announced that Kimi Raikkonen will be rejoining Ferrari in 2014. Raikkonen won the 2007 Formula 1 World Championship driving for the Italian Marque. Kimi will be replacing Brazilian Felipe Massa who has underperformed his entire career with Ferrrari.
Ferrari seeks to end an era of Red Bull dominance by being the only race team to field two world champions next year. The pairing of Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso will create unique challenges. One needs to look no farther than the 2007 season, when McLaren paired Alonso, who
had just won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006 with hot rookie prospect Lewis Hamilton. Alonso and Hamilton spent most of the year battling for the number one spot within Ferrari, the competitive nature proved to be too much for Alonso who left after just one season. Hamilton went on to win the 2008 Formula One World Championship.
Strong words have been exchanged as Alonso has made it very clear that he believes the addition of Raikkonen will not enhance Ferrari anymore than Massa has. When asked about Raikkonen, Alonso said “For next year, with Kimi I think we can do a very good championship for Ferrari, trying to again score as many points as possible,” he went on to say “But I think in terms of the speed I think Felipe is not any slower, when they were racing together Felipe was as quick as Kimi anyway, so if we have a competitive car we will enjoy the season and we will do very good things. If we don’t have a competitive car it will be very similar to this season I think”. Falling just short of mathematical elimination for a title shot in 2013, Alonso and Ferrari have turned the focus towards the constructors’ championship.
Raikkonen has been outspoken about the reasons for leaving Lotus to move to Ferrari next year: “The reasons why I left from the team is purely on the money side. They haven’t got my salary.” Skeptics have been critical to whether such outwardly personalities shared by both Alonso and Raikkonen will be able to work together. Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo had said that he did not want “two roosters in the same henhouse” even with this view, Di Montezemolo chose Raikkonen over Nico Hulkenberg, who was rumored to be moving to Ferrari in 2014.
Massa has not won a race since the Grand Prix of Brazil, 2008. Ferrari chose to stick with Massa after he received a life threatening injury during the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. Since joining Ferrari in 2010, Alonso has gone on to win 11 grand prix victories while Raikkonen has won two races since returning to F1 in 2011.