September 11, 2013

Silly Season Goes Nuclear

The annual Formula 1 Driver Relocation Program, better known as "the silly season", had a very early start this year when Mark Webber announced his retirement from the sport.  This led to rumors that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus and moving to Red Bull... rumors that proved to be incorrect when the team announced that Daniel Ricciardo would become Hannibal Vettel's plaything teammate next year.

But things got really interesting a couple of days ago when Felipe Massa received the long-discussed axe from Ferrari.  To be fair, the team has stuck by him through quite a few down years, years where a points-scoring teammate to HWMNBN might well have won the team a lot more in the Constructor's Championship.  As it is, the only driver that's started more races for Ferrari in their history was Slappy Schumacher.  No idea where Massa is going to end up, but he's already said that he won't be a pay driver and that he intends to be in F1 in 2014.

So now the question became, who would team with HWMNBN at Ferrari?  Clearly, the driver would have to be one of two things: totally subservient and willing to be an obvious #2 driver ("Fernando is faster than you..."), or someone able to stand toe-to-toe with the Spaniard in driving ability.

Unlike Red Bull, Ferrari dealt with the matter quickly... and went the toe-to-toe route, announcing that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus and rejoining the Red team in 2014, five years after his last stint with them.  He's also the Scuderia's most recent Driver's Champion, oddly enough.  It's obviously a great addition to the team, but one wonders just how HWMNBN will react.  He was on record as wanting Massa to be resigned, and the last time he was teamed with a driver as skilled as himself, he went on to earn the nickname "HWMNBN" by throwing temper tantrums and leaking information to the FIA, leading to McLaren being slapped with a $100million fine.

One suspects that Ferrari won't let him play that game... and that their chances for a Constructor's Championship just went up exponentially.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:35 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Kimi was the obvious choice for Ferrari, and as you said, it's going to improve their finishes as a team dramatically.  But unless the chassis suddenly becomes so utterly dominant that they can afford to swap podium spots, the odds of Fernando or Kimi being WDC go more or less to zero.  Vettel has to be smiling.

Posted by: David at September 12, 2013 12:13 AM (da+4f)

2 Every time someone mentions that, I hear the following:

NIA: The chances of that happening are very close to zero.
SIMON: Maybe! But they aren't zero, and for me it's the same as the 100% chance!

Posted by: Author at September 13, 2013 01:00 PM (RqRa5)

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