Raikkonen “more mature” since rejoining Ferrari

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Jerez, 2014Kimi Raikkonen has brought a new maturity to his work for the Ferrari team according to team principal Stefano Domenicali.

“I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team,” said Domenicali. “He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers.”

Raikkonen rejoined the team this year following a three-year stint with them between 2007 and 2009. He won the world championship in his first season with the team, but finished behind team mate Felipe Massa the following year and was released from his contract early at the end of his third season.

Having returned to Ferrari, Raikkonen is now team mates with the driver who took his place in 2010 – Fernando Alonso.

“[Raikkonen] knows his worth and he knows what team he has returned to and what challenges he will face, having a world champion like Alonso alongside him for whom he has respect and he will have to adapt to working with him,” said Domenicali.

“Fernando is extremely intelligent and has managed to stay ahead in whatever car he has driven. He has an ability to interpret the race and to read it in an amazing way and I think he will make the most of the new regulations, which will require some stages of the race to be managed in a different way. We feel close to him partly because it was such a long time ago that we decided to invest in him.”

Domenicali said the decision to pair two world champions at the team – something Ferrari haven’t done in over sixty years – was “a rational choice, based on the need to have an expert driver pairing, with the one aim of it doing well for Ferrari”.

“I hope the track will show that it was the right choice,” he continued.

Domenicali indicated Ferrari’s policy of prioritising one driver in the championship will not change:

“Decisions are always carefully considered, but they always have the same aim, which is that the sporting decisions are taken to reach the team’s goals, as the interest of the team always comes before all else. Decisions we have taken in the past have always been reached in this spirit.”

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Image © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

52 comments on “Raikkonen “more mature” since rejoining Ferrari”

  1. That car just gets uglier and uglier doesn’t it!

    1. I actually think the opposite.

  2. I think Alo will be challenged by RAI but eventually ALO will come out on top. What he has been doing for the last few season is just remarkable. In secret I’m hoping for another Senna/Prost-ish fight but without the hitting each other on purpose.

    1. We all very well know that after a whole year, Alonso will do it better than Raikk. Score more points, crash less, even qualify further up the grid. BUT, and it’s a important but; ..not by much!

    2. I hate to say it but I have to agree. I’m a massive Raikkonen fan. I think he’s in the top three for outright speed, and probably the best passer out there. Also an extremely clean racer. However, if there is anyone that can beat him, it’s Alonso. I’ve only been watching F1 since 1996, but I think Alonso is the most well rounded and gifted racer I’ve ever seen.

    3. I’ve said before that I think Alonso v Raikkonen won’t be Prost v Senna but more like Prost v Mansell when they were team mates at Ferrari in 1990.

      They were pretty closely matched for speed but Prost just seemed to have that little extra intelligence in knowing when to push and how to scoop up race wins. Prost was also far more savvy in getting the team on his side whilst Mansell was off playing golf rather than doing debriefs (of course Kimi wil be down the bar rather than the golf course!).

      One thing for sure we won’t see from Kimi is the histrionics and whinging we saw when Mansell was getting beaten by his team-mate. Kimi to his credit has generally – India last year perhaps being an exception – been a good team man.

      1. Aside from the (old) joke about Kimi at a bar, this comment is spot on.
        Even when asked about his opinion on DRS/tyres/etc. he is level headed and just says “well it’s the same for everybody”; no whining – I like that.

        1. Same for everyone is so true, yet I’m curious, and expectant, as to who might simply enjoy these cars better, and therefore have a little more ease with them, and therefore excel. Many, including some KR fans, are giving the nod to FA, but I say let’s see how they ALL do with these new cars. KR has a massive teammate, and that might just light him up and bring something out of him that we haven’t seen. Everyone can take this as a new chapter. But I think it starts with who is comfortable in their cars. Without confidence in the car, the best drivers are hampered. So much to be revealed, but only once they are racing.

          1. Kimis secret plan, 2 years rallying for low-grip tail-out driving practice, ready to bear fruit this year.

    4. @ardenflo You will surely have an unfortunate “fan battle” at least … Probably the two most “narrow minded” fan club, always thinking their supported driver is the best no matter how he drove this or that particular race. Hope it doesn’t get too ugly on forum either. Let’s hope for good sportman ship on and off the track.

  3. F1 has changed so much since both joined this world not many drivers can be competitive in more than one era and in this case both have very different 2 styles yet both are very highly regarded, I have never been so interested and so clueless to know who’s going to be fastest.

  4. This is going to be the most highly-anticipated driver line-up since the Massa-Alonso partnership in Ferrari (even though it ended pretty one-sided). I just can’t wait. I personally believe that Alonso will have the edge on points and podiums and wins but Kimi will beat him on many of the races and especially Qualifying. Wouldn’t it be so cool if they both were the only ones with the chance of the champion at the final race. Suzuka 1989 perhaps?

  5. I still find it hard to believe that Ferrari have NEVER had two world champions paired up together since Farina and Ascari in 1953. And this is in the oldest and most successful team. Wow!

    1. Agreed. Especially when they only just recently literally declared themselves (like it wasn”t obvious) a one-rooster team. A fantastic reversal for us. One of the better things to happen to F1 within this new chapter.

  6. As kimi’s biggest fan since 03, i’m torn, I hated ferrari because of how they handle whole situation last time around. Kimi proved his worth with Lotus and Ferrari realize their mistake whether they will admit it or not, they wanted the best drivers for the most challenging season of change in F1.

    I honestly don’t know who will come up on top, my heart say Kimi not because of emotional reason, also because of technical and logical conclusion from my pov.

    Both Kimi and fred will put best effort i’ve no doubt about it, I really hope Ferrari will give both of them equal opportunities with regards to car development and team support.

    I’ve got good feeling about this, i think ferrari will take constructor this year because of both drivers. Now every top running team has to keep eye on both the ferrari driver all time, they are both good with race management and coming through field and finishing the race way above their qualifying position. I don’t believe that both driver lost their qualy pace, remember those two during Michelin era? those two were the best, they did lost some qualy pace i think mostly because of tire characteristics but since this year race is more about making best of what you have and not to drive like crazy whole time, these two will shine like no one.

    Only one will win, Ferrari.

    1. Unless the car is a dog and none of them win anything :P

      1. of course, but considering this year its about controlling your pace over race distance, i think ferrari will manage.

  7. If the car is good, then it will be fascinating. If it’s the 3th or 4th fastest as we’ve seen the last few years, then it will still be interesting fight, but a bit disappointing/underwhelming.

    1. “Fernando is extremely intelligent and has managed to stay ahead in whatever car he has driven”
      Tell that Renault in 2009.

      1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
        16th February 2014, 22:49

        I think he meant ahead of his teammate, which he has.

  8. Stefano, Toto says he have a better pair than yours.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, Alonso is marginally better Hamilton and Raikkonen is slightly better than Rosberg – so I have to disagree with Toto here. Overall, Ferrari have the best and most consistent drivers for race day. The Merc duo has the edge in qualy though.

      1. What about this guy Vettel I heard about…?

        1. Most people wouldn’t rate him above either Alonso or Kimi, and then, there also that bland teammate of his, that really doesn’t make anyone excited.
          Except maybe a dental company looking for a model for a commercial.

        2. Paired with Ricciardo.

      2. Which is why Alonso and Raikkonen only have three WDC’s combined while Hamilton and Rosberg’s have lots…. eh…?

        I really don’t think it is that simple at all and I don’t think any of the four are very complete. At the different areas at which they excel, all of them are among the best, but they basically all have pretty obvious flaws. At the end of the day it means that it is impossible to determine overall superiority as it all depends on the car, the tires, the day, the amount of pressure and many other factors.

        I am certainly no Vettel fan but I still find him to be more complete than either, even though each of the four might be better in specific areas. However, I think some of the younger generation of drivers may be more complete as well and I honestly think the number of WDC’s left for these four during their careers will be rather limited.

        Personally I would love to see Alonso and Raikkonen fight for the title to the end but Hamilton…. unless the Merc is really superior I just don’t see it anymore.

        1. Hamilton has the ability, but lacks the mental strength. That’s something that develops over time, so I wouldn’t say I don’t see him winning any titles in the future.

        2. If you gave Hamilton a car he could push all race he’d be my choice for WDC but if you keep telling him to slow down you take away his competitive advantage and you could probably do just as well with Jev or Pic.

  9. Ferrari “more mature” since rejoined by Raikkonen :)

  10. Kimi, with his past experience with Ferrari would be a lot more prepared to work in the environment. He would very well know how the ‘guys in red’ operate and what they expect from him. One reason pointed out in 2009 by Ferrari was Kimi’s lack of involvement which Kimi would be well prepared to iron out and also having a break from F1 would have helped him become more mature and a ‘team guy’ of sorts.

    On the other hand having Alonso alongside and a chance to topple Red Bull (finally!) with new regulations would be a fresh injection of motivation for the Finn.

    As a team, I believe the Fernando and Kimi together will bring in qualitative interpretations of the data from the car and on the race track might turn out to be the safest pair of hands. Both will bring in consistency (name of the game in 2014) provided the scarlet is a reliable machinery.

    There will be a tug of war between the Spanish Bull and the Iceman in regards to the competition each one will put up against the other but over time they both have matured so at least there won’t be an outburst like 2007 at McLaren.

    All in all, they are a solid pair and Ferrari can only progress from the shambles of having a slow car and a slow driver for the past few seasons.

    1. One reason pointed out in 2009 by Ferrari was Kimi’s lack of involvement which Kimi would be well prepared to iron out and also having a break from F1 would have helped him become more mature and a ‘team guy’ of sorts.

      I wasn’t excited by this line-up as much as most of you did. In fact, I was pretty disappointed by Kimi since his come-back. I have been a fan of him during his first career but he lost a bit of his speed since he returned IMO. Grosjean was often faster than him in qualification which was a great disppointment for me (kudos for Grosjean here).

      However, if what Domenicali says is true (“I have found a more mature Kimi, more closely knit to the team. He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers.”) I’m really excited about this.

      I think Kimi never had the ambition to win more than 1 title, he just let it go after the first one. However, he knows that he has to up his game now that he is racing Alonso. I hope he found his motivation again and we will see his speed of the old days combined with the amazing amount of point finishes he has had in the past two years.

      1. I don’t think he really lost the will to win after his first title, he had some great drives in 2008, although his retirement in Canada (due to the later champion’s error in the pit) and his clumsy final laps in the Belgian GP saw him written off compared to Massa by a lot of people. I’d say Kimi’s 2008 was a lot like Schumacher’s 2008 or Hakkinen’s 2000; a combination of odd mistakes and retirements leading to a neglect of the rest of the year’s performances.

        I also don’t think Kimi really ‘lost’ his motivation in 2009, or not as it’s being portrayed. Personally I think he just poorly adapted to the changes in 2009, like the lack of testing and switch to simulators (not to mention Ferrari being miles behind some other teams as far as simulators go) and rather than ‘lost interest’ thought he could get away with replacing the lack of testing with doing nothing.

        The fact he didn’t sign for Toyota or Renault in 2010 was a sign to me he’d rather take the year off (being handsomely paid by Ferrari) than spend a year in the middle of the pack. I don’t think the will to win has closed, but I do think his best years are behind him. I’d love him to prove me wrong, though.

      2. Can’t imagine how you could be disappointed be Kimi’s return. He may of lost a tiny fraction of outright speed, but his racecraft has absolutely improved. He was best passer in the last two seasons, and out qualified Grosjean both seasons as well. He’s also considerably more consistent than before. Fewer errors as well. As much as I love Kimi, I fear that if anyone can beat him in the same car, it’s Alonso – the best driver I’ve ever seen in the eighteen years since I became a fan.

    2. I think a big part of Ferrari’s decision was to have two very experienced drivers to help with the massive changes this year. These new cars will require a lot of adapting. Having two drivers who have driven a number of different cars and engines and tires will undoubtedly be useful. Both of them have shown to be able to adapt to all the changes over the years. It certainly helps too that they are giving similar feedback on the new car. This can only strengthen their development.

    3. All in all, they are a solid pair and Ferrari can only progress from the shambles of having a slow car and a slow driver for the past few seasons.

      a bit of hyperbole in there, but more or less to the point otherswise @neelv27.

      I hope to see a less lacklustre Ferrari, and it will be interesting to see how the improved Kimi who has returned to the sport more focused than ever, and a Fernando who really wants to finally get that 3rd championship will manage to build up the season and get to grips with each other as well as the competition.
      Who will come out on top? Hard to tell, I would tend to think Alonso, but Kimi cannot be underestimated.

  11. I for my part have trouble seeing Räikkönen really challenging Alonso over a longer time. From what we know (I emphasise that because we can’t really look into either man’s head), Räikkönen just lacks that certain ruthlessness guys like Alonso and Vettel have: that ruthlessness to do anything that’s needed to win.

    I mean, I can easily imagine how last winter Räikkönen enjoyed his holiday whilst Alonso was out there trying to get the team’s workers on his side (again) and in the end it is the team that builds and runs the cars and therefore has a significant influence on the performance a driver can draw from it.

    Obviously, if Kimi’s able to prove me wrong, I’ll withdraw those statements.

    1. Hm, I think you let yourself be fooled in part by the image of Kimi there @klon. Kimi’s approach is that he drives good enough that he does not need that ruthlessness (in my view) to show through.

      And Kimi who he is now, after his return to F1 is a different Kimi than the guy that drove a McLaren, won the WDC with Ferrari and then got lost a bit. He seems more focussed, and certainly does more of that behind the scenes work with the team. Remember, he was in Maranello as soon as his Lotus Contract was up (and after his back operation), and he has even committed to simulator word and has been doing that a lot this winter.

      Will it be enough to beat Alonso? Only time will tell. But I don’t think we can count on what we saw from Kimi last time to see it as an almost foregone conclusion.

    2. Rumour is that Kimi has been spending more time at Maranello then Alonso. But then again there properly is much to do for a driver these days at the factory.

  12. “He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers.”


    1. Almost every week is alot for a driver – last time I checked, building a racing car is not in the job description of a professional racing driver ;)

    2. That struck me as well. Hope those occasional visits to the factory don’t wear the poor guy out :-)

  13. Why is management of every team so obsessed with talking about their drivers in a way which implies that there was something wrong with them before. Of course everyone improves, those who don’t suck, but they almost feel the need to overemphasize the contrast between where the driver was 5 years ago and where he is now. Most of them are simply doing the same thing they did before, and since they’ve learned a few things along the way, they are trying to apply them and trying to avoid repeating the same mistake twice. It’s not like any of them is a returning convict or something like that. It’s till the same guy, with additional wisdom and knowledge. I doubt Kimi thinks he was a completely different person 5 years ago and that he was no good back then.

  14. Are they saying he was immature in his previous stint ? He won the WDC for them in his first year with them for crying out loud. I always felt that Kimi was one of the most matured driver in the last 10 years without any of the drama and the theatrics around him.

    1. I know! Well, I guess they have to feed the press :)

    2. @tmax

      “He’s more mature now” =/= “he was immature before”

    3. Logic. Lets assume, in a scale from 1 to 10, in 2009 Kimi was an 8. Now, in 2014, he might be a 9 or 10. He is more mature, but that does not mean he used to be immature.

  15. As excited as I am to see ALO vs. RAI, I still would have really liked to see Hulkenberg in red this year… Ok, I promise I won’t mutter about this anymore.

  16. Oh well until they come out with he’s lazy or not motivated again!

  17. Porsche have car number 14 for Le Mans – maybe they have signed Alonso up for 2015…

    Not sure whether they were allocated numbers by the WEC powers that be – it’s a mystery why 4, 5 and 6 aren’t being used – or whether Porsche picked 14 & 20 for historical reasons.

  18. More mature? i thought he was already mature.
    Well I guess that can only mean more wins and some
    pressure for Fernando!

  19. “He comes to Maranello almost every week to work with the engineers.”

    Why not every day like the rest of us?

  20. Kimi more mature? No more binge drinking then?

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