It’s getting closer, yes that’s right the clock is ticking ever nearer and your hopes and expectations are about to be either fulfilled or left very disappointed.
Formula 1 in 2014 is being built up as one man versus the world, it seems no-one particularly cares who, but so long as someone puts that pompous, arrogant German in his place everyone will be happy.
Fans and some media will be hoping the first day the guy that few can accept as one of greatest of his generation – steps behinds the wheel of his new ride in Jerez, that somehow, some way Adrian Newey has got it wrong and that over-rated burglar of four world titles will be shown up as just an average driver who had a vastly superior car.
Yet Sebastian Vettel in reality has very little to worry about, even if by some miracle the all-new rules and regulations mean Red Bull are not dominating proceedings. If the worst happens and they're not on top at the first test, then Seb will simply knuckle down and help the team improve to make sure he’s back where he needs to be in time for Australia.
Sure there would be headlines about how maybe the F1 world is about to be turned on its head once more if Vettel is at least not in apparent contention near the top of the always dubious timings in testing, but one thing is for sure: he would not be having to worry himself about his new team-mate who, at least to begin with, will not look to cause trouble.
Maybe the media may look to try and stir something between himself and Daniel Ricciardo but on the whole the two poster boys for Mateschitz’s drinks company will be getting on just fine.
Certainly there will likely not be the sense of tension you might expect in the garages a few places down the pit-lane as the partnership dubbed ‘Fire & Ice’ look to form some sort of relationship to get a team slightly lost in the last couple of year’s right back at the pointy end of proceedings.
If you want a team where the media will look to stir up any kind of dissension and keep a very eager eye out for any cracks it is at Ferrari where two men – whose paths have collided several times before – will meet once more.
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have fought for world titles on at least three occasions, with the Spaniard winning 2-1 and there was the unease at which Raikkonen was dumped by Ferrari in favour of Alonso and his Spanish backing from Santander for 2010.
Certainly you couldn’t have two men further apart on the personality spectrum, as the nickname for their upcoming battle suggests you have the fiery Alonso who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and doesn’t often like being challenged by his team-mate and then there’s the relaxed, almost non-existent personality of Raikkonen, otherwise known as the ‘Iceman’ who would rather you just left him alone.
On a race-track, sure these two past world champions are very similar, both have immense talent, both have a steely determination and both will do whatever it takes to win.
It’s that competitiveness mixed with the history, including the tale of Alonso’s 2007 meltdown with McLaren, which many are looking at as being the catalyst for an explosive year inside Ferrari.
‘These two egos can’t co-exist’ some will say, ‘Alonso won’t stand being beaten’ others will proclaim and ultimately yes there may be a few moments where Fernando won’t be able to get the same preferential treatment as he got with Felipe Massa alongside him and low and behold what might happen if Kimi beats him to a point Ferrari ask the man they brought in to bring glory to Maranello to then help the man he replaced in the hunt for the title.
But I genuinely don’t see quite the same level of potential combustion that others do.
Firstly while they may have fierce battles on the track, Kimi would really not be the sort of guy to take any events on-track and make it into a public spat as the Alonso vs Lewis Hamilton confrontation became back in ’07.
Raikkonen, I’m sure, would handle things privately and/ or team boss Stefano Domenicali and President Luca di Montezemolo would immediately look to diffuse any possible situation.
Secondly Alonso really won’t want a repeat of what happened at McLaren and will have likely matured a lot in the seven years since those events.
Certainly as I say with Raikkonen any potential problems would likely be resolved by Domenicali and certainly Di Montezemolo privately and any thought of a stunt similar to that Alonso pulled on Hamilton in Hungary while at McLaren would not be tolerated, nor would I expect the 32-year-old Spaniard to attempt such a thing again.
Finally if Alonso will likely have any complaints, they would likely be with Ferrari for producing another car incapable of fighting whoever maybe leading the pack this season, whether it is Mercedes or Red Bull. As a result the chances I believe of Alonso and Ferrari falling out are greater than Alonso and Raikkonen doing so.
While of course beating each other is important the two of them will need to work towards a common goal, to be in the team that puts that pompous, arrogant German in his place because to be the man, you have to beat the man and currently that man is Sebastian Vettel and by beating him that will go a long way to becoming champion.
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