While the press, fans and even Sir Jackie Stewart have been wringing their hands over Ferrari’s appointment of Kimi Raikkonen as Fernando Alonso’s teammate in 2014, other Formula 1 luminaries aren’t seeing it as an explosive train wreck waiting to happen.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber says it’s merely an aggressive move and all part of a two-year plan to get Sebastian Vettel when the German’s contract expires at the energy drink team. Webber told Sky Sports F1:
“There are so many reasons why it’s a bit of a gamble to help Ferrari.
“Two years for probably both of them actually I think. And then what they do after that obviously [is] pick Seb up off the back of Red Bull and they keep moving from there.
“But it’s a very short-term aggressive statement from Ferrari to put the team at the front.”
Webber believes that Spanish driver Fernando Alonso needs to be challenged. If rumors are true, Alonso has become frustrated at Ferrari with the lack of championships and perhaps to that point, if he were challenged more by his teammate, it couldn’t hurt the points haul each grand prix weekend.
“They need Fernando to be pushed,” Webber added.
“He needs to be squeezed on Saturday afternoon to get the car further up the grid. That’s why the car is phenomenal at starts and got all those other strengths because they think there is inherent weakness obviously in qualifying.
“Fernando over one lap needs to be pushed and that will help him on Saturday afternoon with Kimi being there.”
Webber is one of the paddock’s most outspoken and forthright drivers. His commentary is usually sought after due to its plain-talking approach to an issue and Raikkonen’s appointment at Ferrari is no different. Webber sees it as a good move and one that will potentially pave the way for Vettel in 2016. With Alonso, Raikkonen, Pat Fry, James Allison, Rory Byrne and Dirk de Beer, they may actually have a program to lure Vettel in 2-year’s time.
Ferrari hired Lotus F1 technical director James Allison and Kimi Riakkonen. Today they’ve announced the hiring of Lotus F1’s aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer. Has Lotus F1 become the proverbial minor league ball club for the majors?