Actually firing Raikkonen was probably the worst thing Ferrari did for their 2010 hopes.
As much as Kimi’s motivation and abilities had slumped, give him a good car and he’d still do the job for you. It can’t have been fun driving that dog of a car around the world for a year. It turned a strange 2008 slump into a permanent feature.
The problem is the way Alonso was presented. For all the world to see, here was Ferrari’s new man, the chosen one to bring them back the world championship. Trouble was that Felipe Massa was also paying attention. The team had gone from an outpouring of emotion at his accident, constantly saying how they wanted him back with them soon, only to have a new favourite, the guy who had defeated Ferrari time and time again no less.
Now, even at full speed Massa wasn’t going to be a threat to Alonso over the whole season. But in individual races, he would have been a threat to others. Button may have taken points off of Hamilton in China, but he took them off of Hamilton’s rivals throughout the season. Massa barely did any of that. Maybe Kimi would have only got 90% of Alonso’s points tally (he certainly wouldn’t had the shockers of Valencia and Silverstone), but a competitive Massa could have made up for that.