Kimi ‘Iceman’ Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari

A chosen few get to race for Ferrari in Formula One. And even fewer are given a second chance to ride in the red beast. ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen will become one of the very few such men as he returns to Ferrari in the 2014 season to partner Fernando Alonso.

While people anticipate ‘fireworks’ between the duo, there is a lot about the Ferrari move that has left them speculating:

What happened the first time around? Will it work out this time?
Raikkonen ended his stint with Ferrari a year before his contract had to end on the grounds of incompatibility and questions over his performance in 2009. Ferrari wanted Alonso in their stable along with the sponsor Santander and paid a handsome amount to the Finn to prematurely end his contract.

“There are many reasons. In F1 there is always a lot of money and there can always be different options. That’s what happened in the end. It’s nothing to do with racing or what I do in the team,” Raikkonen had said after ending the contract, apparently making a reference to Alonso’s entry into the team along with Santander.

Now that Raikkonen is coming back to drive for Ferrari with Alonso, who had replaced him in the first place, speculations of rivalry are doing the rounds. Current Ferrari driver Felipe Massa recently fuelled the speculations by saying he expected Raikkonen and Alonso ‘to collide’ next year.

Though Raikkonen is known for his ice-cool attitude, it will be a test of his patience if Alonso tries to intimidate him in the next season.

What does Raikkonen bring to Ferrari?
Apart from the having amazing skills and being adept at racing tactics, the Finn has an ice-cool attitude — both on and off track. He hardly seems to get under any sort of pressure. Whether he clinches a victory or his car breaks down, he remains cool and composed, rarely showing any emotion of any kind. This quality will help Ferrari in a big way. Alonso is known to be a driver who gets easily worked up and has occasional outlandish approach to things. Raikkonen has the potential to balance out the Spaniard’s deportment.

The Finn is also known to push his cars hard, very hard. This gives him the edge as he fights his way up the pack during the races.

Where does Massa go?
If media reports are to be believed, Massa is planning to go to Lotus for the 2014 season. He is also believed to have contacted McLaren, but the response was reportedly lukewarm.

Back in 2009, when Ferrari had to take a decision on letting Raikkonen go, Massa had played a big role in the whole scenario. A bad injury and questions over his career almost complicated the Raikkonen exit. But the Brazilian seemed like he was on the path to a quick recovery and Ferrari decided to hold on to him.

What’s in it for Raikkonen’s fans?
Apart from the adrenaline-pumping races, F1 fans love to see high-profile rivalries. “The sport still needs to have those battles; not only between different teams racing each other, but also internally. It is good to have the battles inside the teams too,” Raikkonen’s on-track competitor Mark Webber recently said.

Fans are driven by personalities. Personalities made of true mettle and grit. While Raikkonen has a very strong character, Alonso has shown on the track that he can handle the tough going. There are millions of Ferrari fans. But there are millions more who follow the two individuals based on their demeanour and performances. If there is any clash between the two, their fans will clash too — on social networking sites and other harmless platforms (hopefully).

Will Raikkonen give us more marvels of wit?
Well, going by his past disposition, he most certainly will. Asking a question to the Finn has often turned out to be a nightmare for journalists. Sample these:

Lewis Hamilton once said that winning his first race felt better than having sex. Raikkonen had an insightful comment on the whole situation. “Maybe he (Hamilton) never had sex,” he quipped.

In another interaction, a scribe said: Kimi Raikkonen doesn’t seem interested in the proceedings going on up there. Kimi, you missed the presentation by Pele.

Raikkonen: Yeah
Scribe: Will you get over it?
Raikkonen: Yeah. I was having a shit.

But arguably the best he ever came up with was when a journalist asked him “how to win a race, Kimi?”
“Just be the fastest,” he said without letting a smile slip.

Such antics from the Finn will sure continue as, somehow, he manages to find hauntingly stupid questions around him — all the time.

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