Former double world champion Mika Hakkinen has questioned Kimi Raikkonen’s comments over his future prior to the British Grand Prix.
The current Ferrari driver indicated ahead of the last race at Silverstone that he would not be looking to extend his contract with the Italian team which most believe ends at the end of 2015.
Having already said that Ferrari would likely be his final team before hanging up his helmet for the second time, following a two-year sabbatical in 2010 and 2011, the Finn, who is known for his laid back approach, is therefore likely to finally bid farewell to the sport if he follows through with his apparent intentions as he said in Britain.
Of course while losing a man with the uniqueness of Raikkonen will make for a sad moment for F1 as a whole, questions over why Raikkonen would say such a thing have been raised because of some of the implications and scenarios that could arise.
It is obvious that Kimi’s return to the team where he won his only world title in 2007 has been far from what was expected, the new V6 power units and characteristics of the F14-T have been hard for Raikkonen to master and in the meantime he has played largely second fiddle to his team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Indeed some on social media have suggested that maybe this could be the Finn’s final year if either party believe there is little point in continuing the partnership.
A man most expect to be part of the future at Ferrari, current Marussia and Maranello academy driver Jules Bianchi, enjoyed a successful day behind the wheel of the 2014 car during the third test at Silverstone just under a week ago and that too raised speculation as to whether Ferrari were considering their driver options.
But now, for the time Raikkonen remains with the Scuderia, the former McLaren driver Hakkinen believes his comments could have an adverse effect on how the team operates around him.
“I don’t think that it’s particularly smart of him,” he explained in his latest Hermes column.
“When the mechanics and all the other people in the team know that a driver has plans to retire in a year and a half, their focus will shift more towards the other driver, who in this case is Fernando Alonso.”
The so-called ‘Flying Finn’ also believes by merely having the words come out of his own mouth it suggests Raikkonen’s own motivation could start dropping.
“When someone thinks about stopping, it will have a negative effect on their motivation,” he added. “Then that person won’t be able to concentrate anymore on the many things you need to think about in Formula 1.”
Certainly for Raikkonen the spectre of a difficult second half of 2014, as the Ferrari team undergo changes instigated by new boss Marco Mattiacci, would not be giving him great reason to stay in the sport, but perhaps the hope of improvement and maybe a tilt at a second title in 2015 could see the ‘Iceman’ stay.
Either way it is becoming increasingly clear that the Finn, who is now in his 12th season in F1, is entering the twilight of his career, so if his comments are true, for fans and pundits alike, the next 18 months could be about enjoying having Kimi in the paddock before the sport loses another great figure just as it did Mark Webber at the end of last year.
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