The whole thing on the BBC (and possibly elsewhere in the UK press but I get most of my sports news from the BBC) about Raikkonen possibly leaving Ferrari struck me as complete nonsense at the time. And that’s not hindsight talking, I have witnesses whose ears I bent decrying the unspeakable stupidity of the BBC correspondent for going with this line.
Now, I’m not an insider, and have nothing like the same access to information, so why did the story not pass the sniff test for me:
1 – Ferrari as a team suffers from inertia. They stick with ideas, plans, team members for far longer than anyone else would. It’s a failing, one that Ferrari himself would hate. They most certainly wouldn’t have publicly announced Raikkonen’s departure before they’d completed sorted his replacement.
The only time recently that Ferrari have moved quickly was in replacing Marco Mattiacci with Maurizio Arrivabene.
Which leads to
2 – Signore Arrivabene appears to actually like Kimi. If the drivers that are on the market are all much of a muchness, that sort of thing is going to count in Kimi’s favour.
3 – The drivers on the market are much of a muchness. There are 3 drivers that stand out, and Ferrari have said arrivederci to one of them, have one of them and can’t afford the third, nor do I think that Hamilton wants to drive for the Red Menace. Of the rest, Bottas either said ‘no, thank you,’ or was never asked, Danny Ricciardo is under contract to Red Bull and Nico Hulkenberg is too tall. I would love for any of those three to drive for Ferrari, but I couldn’t see it happening before 2017, and if it does ever happen, I don’t think it’ll be Hulkenberg that becomes Ferrari #2.
Before anyone says Max Verstappen, along with not making quick changes Ferrari seem to be allergic to young drivers and Mighty Max needs more seasoning. That’s not me being mean, both Verstappens agree with me.
4 – Vettel seems to like Kimi. I don’t know if that’s because he knows he can beat him or because they do actually get on. Either way, since Vettel is one of the big three, it’s worth keeping Raikkonen to keep him happy.
Like I said, I have no inside information but the story as it was told made no sense given what we know of Ferrari and I have no idea why, other than a BBC F1 columnist trying to justify his job and it being silly season, this non-story got so much column space.