Just when you think that it couldn’t get any worse. The sound of Formula 1 is gone. The Ferrari car is a dog. The Mercedes cars have effectively already won the championships. And when you finally had some hope that Ferrari had learned their lesson with Kimi this time around; that they would have been driver champions in 2008, had they just listened to his requests. But no. Santander and their upcoming IPO in Brazil was too important, so therefore they bet all their chips on the little Brazilian instead of their reigning champion. And it would seem karma made sure that this heinous strategy didn’t bear fruit.
2009. A year of some similarity to the current. The Ferrari was a dog. One team was dominating up ahead, winning 6 of the first 7 races. This was the year Ferrari decided to get rid of Kimi to bring the spaniard in. Coincidentally of the same nationality as Ferraris main sponsor, Santander. Never mind that Kimi brought in more points than anyone else in the second half of the season. The Ferrari engineers struggled to understand how Kimi could produce the laptimes and the results with the equipment he had. The answer is simple. Unlike most of 2008 and the first part of 2009, until Massas accident – they started listening to his demands. This gave Kimi a car he could work with. A car that suited him and his style. And the results spoke volumes.
So what do we have now? The 5th year with Alonso as the chosen son of Maranello. No titles. Just intrateam battles and namecalling of the team by Alonso. Twitter controversy and following power struggle and public scolding of Alonso by Montezemelo. And more. Some good results and close calls but that is all. Emilio Botin has Alonsos back though.
Ferrari bring back Raikkonen. A genius move in itself. The strongest team lineup in F1. To make sure they bring home at least one title. Equal status and a good car should have every chance to produce that. But other than producing a mediocre car at best, they decide to blow up the entire fucking thing in Barcelona. They ruin and lay to waste the little trust they had gained from Kimi in one fell swoop. And that happened when they decided to call in Alonso first to try and undercut Kimi in front. Even though Kimi had track position. Oops, that didnt work. Now what? Ok, bring in Alonso early again and tell Kimi to change his strategy from a 3 stopper to a 2 stopper. Knowing full well that Kimis final stint had to be done on tires that had been qualified on. The big point here is: There was no need for a different strategy!
This is one pissed off Kimi after the race:
Kimi did not sign a contract that states he is a support driver. Nor would he ever have. All he demands and ever have demanded is fair treatment and equal status. Unlike Alonso who has even stooped to threats of blackmail when he doesn’t receive preferential treatment. (McLaren and Ron Dennis) So the events of the Spanish GP is blatantly a breach of contract. Which is poorly being hid as “a different strategy choice”.
Martin Brundle also comments that the strategy was designed to get Alonso ahead of Kimi:
Brundle argues that it is an attempt to keep Alonso happy and therefore with Ferrari. My question is: Why? He is good but is he worth it? They should get Vettel or even Bottas instead.
But there is clearly an Alonso faction inside the Ferrari/Santander camp. Kimi still has good friends in the SF so there is a Kimi faction as well. But it is not as big and powerful as the first one. Which was clear on Sunday.
Did you know that Ferrari ramped up the power in Alonsos ERS in qualifying? See picture below. This was discovered by the FIA before the race and they were told to turn it down. So they tried real hard in getting Alonso to qualify ahead of Kimi – and failed. Do you think Kimi would have been called in first if Alonso was ahead? Of course not. This simply reeks and I can only be sorry for Kimi who must feel utterly betrayed after all the promises made to him before his re-signing.
These things are why Kimi stayed in the Ferrari motorhome for HOURS after the race. Demanding an explanation for this nonsense. Some info on that here: http://alturl.com/dqikj
A friend also told me that French TV broadcast this Kimi team radio excerpt after the race: “I didn’t come here to be the second choice. You should explain me this shit!”
The laughable thing here is that Ferrari went to all these lengths – and for what?? A measly 6th place! Bravo. Yaayy – Alonso finished ahead of his teammate in Spain. Fantastic! Outstanding! Wow. He was almost lapped by the winner of course. But nevermind that! Hooray for Alonso. Emilio Botin, the Spanish CEO of Santander was present. So it was VERY important that Alonso did, you understand. Ok, we had to kill off the last shred of trust that our last champion had in us. But who cares. 6th place, people! Woo!
It doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. It makes you throw up a little. Zero lessons have been learned from 2008. 0 titles gained. The Scuderia have sold their soul at the crossroads. And they have thrown their champion on the bonfire as a sacrifice. Was it worth it? Of course not. No matter what Ferrari do this year, they will never catch the Mercedes cars. So its a bonfire for the vanities. Ferrari is vain. No doubt about it. But right now they are nothing but a painted whore. Their car is out of breath. Trailing after the leaders with their tongue hanging out. And Alonso is cleverly wagging the dog. The dog being the team in this case.
I leave you with a few words on the whole affair from my friend, wrcva. He also did outstanding research on the entire Kimi, Ferrari, Santander thing. And is the main author of said piece on this blog: https://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/
So he is someone worth listening to.
What did you folks expect? Ferrari to let Kimi finish ahead of ALO in front of his countrymen in a race attended personally by Botin who happens to be the most important sponsor in F1? At a time when F1 powers are debating if they should get rid of tire blankets to save on electricity bills. Kimi signed up for this on a volunteer basis knowing full well he was walking into lion’s den, challenging ALO on his own turf. Kimi cannot just drive marginally better. He has to drive devastatingly better and do that in cars that sometimes can be personally inspected or be driven by ALO himself.
The good news for Kimi is that he showed what he can do to ALO in front of his home crowd on a track Finns would probably be hesitant to wave a Finnish flag. I’ll bet you ALO will not sleep well tonight because Kimi was way too close for his comfort today in an absolutely fu*cked up car that supposedly should suit him better. The bad news for Kimi is that now the politics will intensify. So, he has to watch his inter-team interests like a hawk, question and get informed about everything else happening at the pit-wall at all times. Even when who is in front don’t have any bearing on the WCC either.
Therefore, quit wasting your time arguing or analyzing this using race strategies that a normal and competitive team may execute. This was one race that politics were as important as racing. If not more, simply because it was in Spain – the home base of both Santander, ALO, and Botin who practically runs the country (Spain) in any case. If the same situation happened on another track, would Ferrari let the race run it’s normal and competitive racing strategy course without favoring ALO? That, I do not know…
As usual, the biggest losers are all of us (F1, Ferrari, ALO, Kimi fans) because of the betrayal by Ferrari for producing and fielding this lapped piece of junk – and that, I totally put on LdM. Forget F1, he now is hurting the Ferrari brand.
Thanks to wrcva for nailing it in a few paragraphs. We have not heard the last of it. If the saga and the farce goes on race after race, I see no reason to keep writing here as I dont fancy rigged games. I will watch Monaco. If not for anything else, then for curiosity and updates. Steve Robertson will have a busy time until then. He has already had talks with Matiacci. Anyway. Im tired of writing about another sad chapter in Ferraris history.
And with that, I am out.