When Ferrari pushed Kimi Raikkonen out of F1 at the end of 2009 not many expected to see the Finn back in the sport. By doing that Ferrari denied the world, possibly, the chance to witness the Iceman in his prime.
However, Raikkonen's impressive comeback with a resurgent Lotus, was enough to earn his seat back at the Scuderia; now partnering the man who displaced him.
However, 2014 was anti-climax for those hoping to re-witness the epic battle between Alonso and Kimi, like they had in 05. Instead, Kimi struggled with the F14T, and was nowhere close to the Spanish veteran.
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This also made hard to judge Ferrari's alleged driver equality. The Team did not have to use any Team orders for any driver, and the track positioning were separate enough that the front runner enjoyed the favorable strategy without any hassle.
Ferrari's claims that both their World Championship winning drivers, would be treated equally, was not put to test.
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With Vettel, the playing field would certainly not be that level. He is the future of the Team, the iconic signing. But should Ferrari be playing favorites when they're trying to re-stamp their might on the sport?
Should they be compromising or even risk compromising the result of two cars, so that a specific one may finish ahead?
After the disastrous 2014, and all the changes that followed, devoted fans hoped for a resurgence, and they have that.
Although, not directly challenging Mercedes, Ferrari do now have the pace to match the Mercs under favorable condition.
The Team should be striving to ensure they get the maximum from every race, not bothering whether its Kimi or Seb, who gets more points.
Kimi is at the twilight of his career. At 35, he probably has one more season of F1 in him, at max. Vettel at 27, has plenty of years to drive the Team forward.
Ferrari do not need to push Vettel to emphasize his superiority over Kimi, as such then. Already a four time World Champion, the German is the future of the company, quite likely the next World Champion Ferrari would have, while Raikkonen is the past: the last World Champion Ferrari had.
This is not a conspiracy theory, however.
The botched pit stop in Australia after the Qualifying debacle, could very well be human errors.
Vettel was chosen for the new aero upgrade package for the Spanish GP while Kimi struggled around with bitpart updates that only hampered the Finn.
But in Bahrain, when Kimi seemed certain to take the fight to Lewis for the victory, Ferrari seemed slow to bring him into the pits. While the official reason was that Ferrari wanted to ensure Kimi had a smaller last stint on the relatively delicate Softer tyres, there could be a secret reason as well.
By ensuring Kimi stayed out on his decaying tyres longer, could the intent have been that Kimi wouldn't be able to catch up with Nico ahead of him; and Vettel behind him on fresher tyres could catch up with the Finn. This would have meant Vettel had the chance to fight for 2nd, to follow up his victory in Malaysia.
The blue-eyed-poster-boy-signing, on the podium for his first four races while trying to lift up the beaten Ferrari does make a catchy headline.But if this does sound far fetched, consider the Spanish GP.
Kimi had been on fire in the practice sessions, and also in Q2, splitting the Mercs easily. However, a garage incident - and Kimi's unused Medium compound tyres were lose to damage by an overheating blanket.
A little hard to digest?
Kimi eventually managed only 7th after a poor lap, but had a lesser set for the race. Meanwhile, Vettel had a rickety relationship with his former team-mate Mark Webber. This included going against team orders and challenging Webber for the victory, Webber's car's parts used for Seb after he wrecked his'.
There was also a case of Webber's car being under-fueled in the Chinese GP 2013, which led to Adrian Newey stating on the Team Radio that the fuel barrels had been sealed for Webber to check and verify. But is Vettel to be at fault if Ferrari indeed are trying to pin down the Finn?
The problem lies with Ferrari. Their main aim should be to reclaim their place at the pinnacle, and F1 is a Team Sport. With Kimi and Vettel they have a perfect team, where both drivers respect each other, and can dominate the track.
Ferrari need to cut playing their tricks and go all out to displace Mercedes. Only then do they have the right to choose favorites amongst each other.
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