Formula One: Could Kimi Leave Ferrari Behind?

Formula One Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has been painted as the “slow one” out of the crimson duo, but has the Iceman had enough of playing second to Sebastian Vettel?

You’ve got to feel sorry for Kimi. It seems it’s every year that his capabilities are called into question when he’s compared against his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Perhaps it’s due to his demeanor, but the Finn has been the subject of continual derision from all over the paddock for being arguably “too slow” – even Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne went on record as branding Kimi as the “laggard” of the team.

There’s just one slight problem with that – it doesn’t stack up to reality. While it’s true that Kimi has had his fair share of pace issues during 2017, the large majority of those have been due to tire or car issues – when he wasn’t completely taken out of the race by an unwieldy Bottas, that is.

The crimson-clad Finn has borne the brunt of the assault on his capabilities without commenting on it much, but it seems that that period is slowly coming to an end.

 

Although Ferrari has made it clear which horse it’s backing in the championship, Kimi has started to show signs that he might be reaching his limit of enduring his designated position as the No.2 driver.

The Finn uncharacteristically spoke up about his situation in the team, saying that he’s aware he’s got the speed necessary out on the track, and that something else has got to give:

“Personally, I’m not happy with the results. I want to win races, I want to be up there all the time and that hasn’t been the case this year too often.

I know when things are correct and there are quite a few things that happened and you pay the price for it.

Driving-wise, I have the speed, so I’m not worried about that. It’s about putting things in the correct places.

Is that enough whatever happens in the future? I don’t know. We’ll see at some point. The team knows what I want. In the end, it’s up to them to choose whatever is best for them.” – Kimi Raikkonen

This marks the first time that Raikkonen has hinted – albeit slightly – at a future outside of Ferrari. Just where he would go is a anyone’s guess, but perhaps what we’re seeing now is more of a tactic to return the favor and stoke the fire under his employer’s seats in the hopes of balancing out the team’s current support structure.

Ferrari have proven themselves hungry as ever in securing the 2017 championship win – both in the driver’s and constructor’s championships. After years of Mercedes-led dominance, it’s easy to understand why they’re pining for the bells to ring at Maranello.

Their current strategy of funneling their resources to Vettel has proven that they see the German as their best chance at deposing the Silver Arrows this time around.

It’s still far too early to tell if that strategy will pay off for Ferrari, as the longer they go with relegating Kimi to the role of a position-warmer, the more problems they could see themselves having to deal with down the road. At some point, they’ve just got to let the driver’s race.