F1 world began wake up from winter sleep after Jerez tests took place in Spain. We are reading news more frequently in Twitter and web sites. All eyes are on Mercedes challenger W03, Marussia’s non-KERS but “Pat-Symondesque” revolutionary 2012 car and more significant results of Barcelona tests. I wanted to share my ideas in a few subjects with you in this silent week.
Raikkonen’s Lotus adventure
I wanted to write this subject after I heard how top Lotus guys appreciated Kimi. Recently, Gerard Lopez and Eric Boullier expressed some words about Kimi like “we feel very good with him and he clearly feels at home. He smiles a lot when he’s with us! But most importantly that says he feels more like part of the family” To speak frank, I downplay these. Yes, Lotus (the old Renault actually) was one of top teams which has more primary relationships rather than secondary and huge team spirit. However, these words made me think that they smell a bit “advert”. They are making most of Kimi in terms of his name. What Kimi thinks is more important than this for me. Let’s remember, Kimi has stated similar words when he has been at Ferrari like:
“Ferrari is a great family to me. The relationships here are warmer than Mclaren, I feel myself relaxed”
Sorry, but I am not sure if he will use same words again.
The other subject is Lotus way of Raikkonen utilization for adverts. What are these? You should have seen this Twitter. To explain every minute of Kimi, in the car, out of the car, ate a bowl of muesli, went to toilet, drinking Coke and so on… If they keep this speed, they will over-use “Public Affairs and Adverts” what Kimi hates! Kimi will get disappointed again. What has Iceman been saying? : “The only thing I like in F1 is driving on circuit!”
Will he succeed? Yes, definitely he will succeed. We can not know the degree of succession but everyone will accept that he succeeded. I am sure that Kimi’s non-F1 experiences improved his driving more and he will make the most of these.
Caterham’s 2nd driver limbo
I have always special feelings and sympathy for Caterham F1 Team, in other words the old Team Lotus. What impressed me most were a dedicated team for success, racing with experienced drivers instead of pay-drivers and improving technical team consistently. I believe that Renault engine and KERS system, Red Bull gear box and hydrolic system will boost team performance much more than most people expect. Undoubtedly, these did not happen easily, you need money for these. But, you need also belief to spend money. This is absolutely what impresses me. However, Caterham’s 2nd driver limbo confuses me. I don’t believe (like many) that Trulli’s seat is safe though he says reverse. Heikki Kovalainen did an outstanding job in last two years what caused eradication of Trulli’s respect. I don’t think that he should stay at the team. But, neither Petrov nor Van der Garde are not the man who should replace Trulli. Petrov is an inconsistent like Trulli and Van der Garde does not have any eye-catching success anywhere. I was already quite surprised when I heard that he will drive in Jerez.
The only thing I suggest to team is differentiating themselves with honesty in F1 world where we used to meet lies frequently. If they will replace Trulli, I suggest to make them imminently, not right after expressing that Trulli’s seat is safe. (Remember what Toro Rosso did to Buemi and Alguersuari and what Renault did to Heidfeld) I don’t tolerate such an action to Trulli who is liked by everyone on and off the track.
If he will be replaced, who is right candidate? He is neither Petrov, nor Van der Garde, nor Liuzzi, nor Heidfeld. He is definitely Rubens Barrichello!
First and second driver dilemma
This is quite sophisticated and frequently confused subject in Formula 1. In last decade, the only driver representing 1st driver tag perfectly was Michael Schumacher. Why? Because, 1st driver is not that driver leading the other side of the garage on circuit. First requirement is that 2nd driver should have to accept that the other driver is 1st driver (like Rubens did in Ferrari) Fernando Alonso and Sebastian are not 1st drivers officially. However, they lead their team mates quite dominantly, so everyone accepts this. Even the technical team create the design by thinking 1st drivers driving style. Let’s remember, due to Schumacher’s preference on oversteer tendancy, Ferrari was designing the car compatible with him. We don’t see this recently in F1 world.
I did not label Mateschitz a liar when he claimed that Webber and Vettel will start the season on an equal basis. I put Mateschitz to the most honests leauge in F1 circus. In 2010, before the last race he was asked whether Vettel will support Webber for his title chance and responded like “Let the two drivers race and what will be will be. if Alonso wins we will have been unlucky. I predict a Hollywood ending. Worst case scenario we don’t become champion? We’ll do it next year. But our philosophy stays the same because this is sport and it must remain sport” This was not a bullshit as it has been told before the race and there has been 15 points gap between Vettel and Alonso. As a result, he did what he promised and honesty won! But, I can not say the same words for Horner and Marko…
Yes, I insist that Alonso and Massa start the season on an equal basis. I know so many people claim the reverse but if Massa wins 3 of first 6 races and puts a 40 points gap to Alonso and continue his success in European season also, Ferrari will not insist on Alonso. Remember 2008 season and remember what has happened with Massa/Raikkonen battle. Also, if Grosjean wins over Raikkönen several times, Lotus will not insist on Raikkonen. I see the only exception in Red Bull, because there are two top guys who adore Vettel. All other teams are hungry for title and who proves to carry champion blood, they will tail behind him.
Please do not misunderstand me, in my opinion both Alonso and Raikkonen will lead teammates clearly. As will Vettel…