Ferrari 2014: Will team Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso prove worthwhile?
At last the unthinkable has happened! Ferrari has let go of Felipe Massa and instead has hired Kimi Raikkonen on a two-year contract to partner with Fernando Alonso. As a result, two legends, two of the greatest drivers of the modern era, will be battling it out in the same team, the legendary red of Ferrari.
Arguably, this has to be the strongest line-up since perhaps Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost together in McLaren. It also signals a significant change in the Ferrari policy of having only one rooster in a hen house (to put it in the words of Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo). It would be the first time in the modern era that Ferrari will be fielding two world champions together.
It would be interesting to see how it pans out next year particularly from Fernando Alonso’s camp as the last time Alonso had to partner with a strong driver, Lewis Hamilton in 2007, things came to a bitter end with Alonso leaving the team at the end of the year.
The perception in the paddock since then has been that Alonso likes to be the clear number one as he was in Renault and has been in the recent years with Ferrari. Now, this will most definitely change as another world champion walks into the team and excitement is sure to ensue. Kimi Raikkonen, on the other hand, is known to be a calm and cool individual, not bothering about politics, but instead relying on his raw talent to overcome any difficulties he may face. This is evident by his decision to walk into a team which has another world champion already settled in since the last four years.
Ferrari has not won a Constructor’s Championship since 2008 or a Driver’s Championship since 2007 when it was Kimi Raikkonen who did the honours for the red giants. To date, Kimi is the most recent Ferrari Champion, as Alonso has failed to beat Sebastian Vettel in the last three seasons and it looks increasingly difficult this year also.
Ferrari now has two very good drivers who can push each other and hopefully beat Vettel in the process, but even more importantly, the two drivers can get the team a Constructor’s Championship. The rules are changing significantly from next year and Ferrari has hired James Allison and recalled Rory Byrne to help on the 2014 challenger.
Now with two world-class drivers to push the machinery to its limits, they can hope to beat Red Bull that has been at the top of its game since the last four years. All this, plus Lewis Hamilton at the helm of a resurgent Mercedes and McLaren vying for a return to glory with Jenson Button surely will make 2014 one of the most anticipated and hopefully one of the best seasons in recent history.
Now we just can wait.
As a genuine Ferrari fan, I am happy with the future prospects, but I can't say that I am not sad to see Massa go. He has been a great asset to the team for the last eight years. His life threatening accident in 2009 did indeed affect his performance when he came back and this can be seen in his loss to Alonso. However, one will never forget that he had emerged as a first class driver before his accident, and was champion for almost 38 seconds at the last race of 2008 season before Lewis Hamilton took it from his hands.
At this point, all I want is for people to remember the old Massa who showed brilliance all around and hope that he comes back to his full potential soon enough. I wish him the best of luck for the upcoming seasons!
Buckle up people, we have a bumpy ride in store with politics, changes and great races!