Formula 1

Fernando Alonso & Kimi Raikkonen: Dream team or terrible twos?

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Most have their reservations (©GettyImages)
Most have their reservations (©GettyImages).

This week's announcement that Kimi Raikkonen will team up with Fernando Alonso at Ferrari in 2014 is one of the biggest driver changes at a team in recent years.

The reaction from pundits, insiders and fans alike has been mixed to say the least, so can the Alonso-Raikkonen partnership really work?

Certainly having two former world champions in the same team creates one of the strongest line-ups seen since the Senna-Prost days of the late 80's-early 90's, but, as we found when Alonso partnered with then rookie Lewis Hamilton in 2007, having two drivers fighting for equal status in a team can have dramatic consequences.

One of the men at the heart of that Alonso-Hamilton partnership is McLaren's now Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, while Whitmarsh admitted he was considering a move for Raikkonen for 2014 he is unsure as to whether the 2014 Ferrari line-up will work.

"I cannot imagine they will be happy together," said Whitmarsh to reporters.

"Kimi generally doesn't care about who is at the wheel of the other car, but Fernando will not deal with it well.

"Of course, both of them are clearly among the best drivers in Formula 1, so Ferrari has an incredibly strong lineup, but it could also put the team in a difficult situation."

As I mentioned the arrival of Raikkonen at Ferrari will create one of the strongest partnership's since Alain Prost teamed up with Ayrton Senna at McLaren, after a fiery relationship the Frenchman would leave for Ferrari and Prost believes the creation of another potentially fiery partnership is "risky" for the Scuderia.

"Speaking as a fan I would say it is good to have two number ones together," Prost told a French television broadcast.

"I think it's a choice born from a certain tension between Fernando and the Scuderia that has been clearly evident during the year.

"Now he will no longer be the undisputed number 1, at least not initially, and I'm not sure Stefano Domenicali has the ability of a Jean Todt or a Ross Brawn to handle a situation like this.

"In Italy the press applies a lot of pressure, so I presume that sooner or later there will be trouble," added Prost.

On that final point about the pressure applied by the Italian press they too have had plenty to say after the announcement and most of it is similar to what has been said so far, La Gazzetta dello Sport, one of Italy's most influential daily sports publications described the move as "bold but dangerous".

"They are two roosters in one henhouse, so they say, even if Kimi is not a rooster at the level of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton.

"But it will no longer be a team at the feet of one driver," the publication added.

Not all are expecting doom and gloom however, former McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard believes Ferrari's rivals need to be very wary next season of an even stronger Alonso thanks to the arrival of Raikkonen.

"In my opinion," he said, "Fernando is the complete driver and will raise his game with Kimi there for the next two seasons, which is a worry for everyone else."

And Coulthard, who partnered Raikkonen at McLaren, believes the likelihood of any fireworks will depend solely on how Alonso takes the arrival of the Finn.

"One thing I do know, having worked with Kimi, is that what you see is very much what you get," he told the Daily Telegraph. He is cool, unflappable and completely apolitical. He just does not get involved in all of the paddock conspiracy stuff.

"Like Felipe Massa at the moment, Kimi will get on with the job at hand and not rock the boat. He did not rock the boat in 2008 and 2009 when Felipe started to get on top of him.

"The question is will Fernando Alonso rock the boat if Kimi starts to push him close, or even beat him? I don't think so.

"A lot of people refer back to Fernando's time at McLaren in 2007, and cite that season as proof that he is liable to throw his toys out of the pram if he does not get his way.

"I disagree. I believe Fernando lost his cool because he felt destabilised and betrayed by the fact that McLaren did not deliver on promises made, rather than because a rookie Lewis Hamilton was challenging him."

In my opinion you have to think that Ferrari would not create the partnership if they did not believe the two driver's could work together.

Some have said the arrival of Raikkonen is in response to recent tension between Alonso and Ferrari but again I seriously doubt that as the team need two drivers it feels can help them win the constructor's championship as for how the driver's championship plays out, Ferrari would have to play it as it goes.

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