I’d absolutely love a Kubica-Raikkonen line-up. Kimi and Kubica would make me drool all over the place. Especially if the R31 proved to be as handsome as the R30 is :).
I think that Kimi would be an amazing option for Renault, not only because he is as we all know a very good driver, but also because he is a much more recognizable figure than Petrov, meaning more money for the team. The question is how much Renault still has a say in what is going on the F1 team, because Petrov opens up the Russian market for them.
I have not been impressed by Petrov this year. As a matter of fact, I think he has underperformed. I felt that he did rather well in the first few races, but except for Hungary he has never delivered. Petrov is losing Renault fourth in the WCC, which is a loss of money, which equals out his bringing money into the team. I understand that he’s a rookie, but other rookies have been much more impressive in my eyes. Kobayashi, for example, absolutely rips Petrov apart in a seriously inferior car. Similarly Hulkenberg has from time to time matched or even topped Rubens’ performance. Petrov is neither consistent nor quick. If you take away his fifth place in Hungary, he has on average scored less than a point per race. That would be fine if we had proof that he is reasonably quick, but his qualifying pace shows that he’s not.
Raikkonen would be the perfect way to make up for Kubica’s biggest weakness – lack of aggression. If you have a rookie as your teammate you have only ever once lost to (partly because you completely cocked up in Q3) you’d rather get your points home than risk the extra push. Of course, whilst often there’s no point in fighting the big three and it’s better to score regularly, a strong teammate surely would not fail to iron out that downside of Kubica’s approach to racing.
I don’t think Raikkonen would want to be back only for the money – he knows Renault cannot offer him ludicrous sums, and if he were interested in that he’d have accepted Toyota’s offer last year. Why he’d prefer F1 to WRC I do not know, but I think that Kimi’s departure was not only driven by Ferrari’s 16 million, but also by political reasons. He was fed up with all the bullshit that was present in F1. The situation has stabilized, and I think Kimi would not mind a shot at F1 in a reasonable car once again. Perhaps he realized that he’d never be able to master a rally car – Ogier has absolutely ripped him apart this year.
If I were Renault and had the choice between a mediocre driver that brings some money into the team but means a drop in performance, and a driver that is known to be a very good driver who requests quite a lot of money but is due to his star-status able to bring a lot of money in as well, I’d pick the latter any day. Especially because he doesn’t have the sort of personality that would result in a clash between Kubica and him.