The Scuderia folks at Ferrari have not had a particularly good time over the last few years. Furthermore, 2014 has not been fun even with the return of the ‘Iceman’ Kimi Raikkonen who won the last championship for Ferrari in now a distant 2008. Shackled with an inferior season, the brief and somewhat desolate Finn says of the current days in Maranello:
“It’s no fun.”
This season began with some promise considering Raikkonen’s heralded return to Ferrari, teaming with the amazing Spaniard Fernando Alonso; all which seem to give Scuderia a fighting chance. However, roughly halfway through the 2014 schedule has Alonso a scrappy but distant fourth overall in the championship standings, while Kimi sits a disappointing 12th.
To be fair, anyone not driving with the Silver Arrows is mired far behind the two Mercedes drivers: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Still, for anyone to see a Ferrari with a former Formula One (F1) champion sitting in the seat not in the Top 10, is madly stunning.
Was crash the icing on the cake?
Raikkonen has had to overcome the extra problem of being new to Ferrari in 2014 after a five-year absence. Yet, no one could have foreseen such a dismal effort nine races into the season. Raikkonen has yet to start any race in the top two rows. Also, the Iceman has not had a top five finish to date. And to add insult to injury – literally as well as figuratively – Kimi had a ferocious wreck at Silverstone that totally destroyed the car and had him hobbling away in an ambulance afterwards. He had a bruised leg and angle to go along with sore ribs, but seems okay and ready for the Grand Prix of Germany this weekend.
Raikkonen’s teammate Alonso has battled valiantly for most of the year in the top five and almost all would agree that the two-time world champ is driving with all the talent he can muster to keep the car competitive. It appears that if Ferrari could ever put a decent racing machine under the Spaniard, he would certainly be on top.
Yet, Fernando has struggled with the Ferrari F14T – never starting a race on the front row and earning only one podium so far in 2014. Amazingly, Alonso started with his worse grid spot of the year (16th) at Silverstone, nevertheless was able to salvage a sixth place finish. The usual rumors have been flying that once again, Fernando Alonso may be heading elsewhere. However, Fernando has denied he’s looking. That remains to be seen.
It certainly wasn’t fun in April, after a slow and disappointing start to the season, so Ferrari itself made some changes at the top, sacking Stefano Domenicali as team principal of its F1 team and replacing him with Marco Mattiacci who was running Ferrari of North America. Domenicali had led Scuderia for the past six seasons – a period of time that has seen Ferrari win only one drivers title as well as just one constructors championship … and none since ‘08. This is a distinctive lack of results considering Ferrari has won more constructor and driving titles than any other F1 team.
For his part, Raikkonen has let it be known that he will retire when his contract with Ferrari is up after 2015. Kimi left F1 after ’09, taking a two-year sabbatical of sorts to race rally cars as well as dabble in NASCAR. He will be 36 at the end of his current contract with Ferrari and in most circles, that’s about the life of a F1 driver’s career.
Whether the “fun” comes back is questionable right now as Ferrari desperately works to get their cars back up the grid and into contention for wins again. In the mean time, a difficult season likely continues for Raikkonen and Alonso at Scuderia with the hope that some improvement will bring back a glimmer of glory … and fun to the proud and once dominant racing team from Italy.
Sources: L.A. Times, F1