September 10th, 2013 (F1plus/G. Roche).- Oh yes. That is the question lingering in everyone’s mind? Will Kimi Raikkonen come back to Maranello? Really?...well, it is not the first that a speculation of this caliber materializes, and it is not the first time that something different happens.
There are many elements to take into account here; this is a complicated matter to analyze, and any attempt to do so from one sole perspective, well, it would be flawed. Ok, lets: see what we have with no particular order:
- Kimi Raikkonen is a complex man.
- He’s also adverse to the PR loaded teams such as Ferrari and McLaren. (He left both)
- Ferrari is a top team (yes, higher than Lotus)...on the long run, it matters.
- Lotus seems to be better fitted to his lifestyle.
- He needs to get paid (here that Lotus), maybe the amount does not matter much, but getting the check now and then is important.
- Red Bull deal is off the table, unless, Vettel plans on going to, let’s say, Force India (In a parallel world maybe). So everything is set there.
- Alonso presence at Ferrari means division of status and taking victories away from each other. Yes, that will happen.
- He’s a race driver = wants to win. That’s what a top driver always wants.
- He wants to be left alone.
- Boullier is well liked, and so is his crew, which does not care about Kimi’s antics and rants.
As we can see there’s more to his decision that what meets the eye. His current team Principal, Eric Boullier, acknowledged that the Finn is "Is being chased by most of the paddock” which in a way can’t be a good thing happening as it probably has most of Lotus management on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
If Kimi leaves, those are going to be big shoes to fill. Sure, Hulkenberg will be a very capable driver, maybe a little better than Grosjean…they might just hit the jackpot and the German finally flourishes and becomes a top driver, but see, that’s still speculation and uncertainty.
If there’s something Kimi brings is certainty, and at many levels. Certainty in performance, points, race finishes, and a no B.S type of feedback.
Personally, I believe the man will and should stay at Lotus. It won’t be the worst decision of his life to march towards Maranello either as he will have a competitive car from the get go and will reunite with former Lotus Technical Director, James Allison.
However, at Lotus he will be more at peace and still get a competitive car. Next year could be a surprise (for all teams given then -again the word- uncertainty of the new “turbo era”) and the E22 could be a REAL title challenger.
Yes indeed, every man should get paid for his work and decently for this type of work, so if this hasn’t fully been taken care in that department that’s a bad thing. Kimi could be thinking that Lotus is not actually that solid financially and that for sure will have implications over development and hence competitiveness.
On the other side, that financial issue is never a problem at Ferrari. Besides, don’t forget, he won his championship wearing a red overall and that has to weight a little.
So…all the card are on the table for Kimi, and even though the wait is consuming us all, it won’t be long before we know his destiny for 2014.