Frantic F1- Goodbye Kimi

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Dear kimi.

How is it going my friend? I hear the first WRC rally has not netted you points like your first F1 race did. I guess you need to put your back into it more. Sorry that was a bit tasteless wasn’t it? I will move swiftly on in that case then.

You see I’m just writing away here to you because (a) any Kimi post gets great response on our site and (b) I am following up a previous article on you and (c) well, according to a certain F1 magazine your estimated salary of 27 million pounds equated to you being paid £29,670.33 per racing lap you did. Wow, you topped the list easily.

Now of course this is all just a bit of fun, your estimated salary is just that, a guess. And we know you don’t get paid by the lap because F1 drivers would of killed whoever it was that had the idea to ban in season testing if that was the case. Sadly, this little list does not include Massa as he didn’t complete a full season, so we can not compare your salaries. Next on the list was Hamilton with a mere, pathetic £12,168.14 per lap. How could anyone live on that though? Though the cheeky Brit only did 904 laps to your 910. How lazy is that?

I am trying to think of the last time such a big earner in the sport got dropped from it. Maybe Villeneuve at the end of 04, he was on a pretty penny right? I wouldn’t lump you in the same category as J.V. though, that’s also pretty harsh. But the point I am trying to make is, where did it all go wrong? Everyone really wanted to see you at Mclaren for this season head to head with that Lewis chap. Instead, we have been left with a battle of the Brits. When I say that I mean John Button beating up Anthony, and vise versa. Why couldn’t that have been you in the seat instead?

If the rumours are true, the reason you are sitting in a WRC car rather than a Shiny Mclaren is money and sponsor commitments, the former was not enough and the latter was too much. You had an interest in rallying, and away you went. Since then it’s been a range of different statements. At one point you said F1 is unfinished business, then F1 is too political, then Rallying is more of a challenge. Now the the rumoured Red Bull deal for 2011 that saw you replacing Mark Webber has gone quiet (to be fair no one ever provided a shred of evidence that this was the case, just gossip) and maybe a mixture of you liking rally more and the F1 world moving on means we wont see you again in a F1 car.

Sorry, maybe I should just clarify what I mean by the F1 world moving on. See with the amount of cash you were asking for and your reputation not being its strongest it seems your star has waned a little. Back in 2007 when in your first race for Ferrari you won from pole easily, just 2 and a half years later each time you sat in that F60 and set a lap time people would think, “yes, but what could Massa do in the car?”
Ferrari knew you were no Schumacher, we all did. Though we did think you would be quick enough to lead the way and have Massa as a Barrichello. I mean No.2. Yet it didn’t happen. That pesky Brazilian took some tips from that multi world champ you replaced and improved his game 10 fold. He gave you a hard time and started to get ahead of you. In the mean time Vettel and Hamilton were grabbing headlines, becoming the big stars on all the magazine covers. Then that Button guy totally bucked the F1 career trend and won a title, rather than following what seemed to be a path of slowly heading to the rear of the grid and then being left on the F1 scrap heap. Whilst we were saying how well those guys were doing the only questions being asked about you were, where is he? In the midst of Hamilton-mania, Vettel, Rosberg and co, F1 moved on without you. The next stars are here and while you would be a great driver for a new or mid grid team, thats not your style to be mid-pack or a Trulli style driver. F1 still has its big names, you know if it hadn’t Bernie E would of stepped straight in and made damn sure you were on the grid. As it is now it seems its no problem to let you go.

Now the F60 was about as much loved as the F2005 in the hearts of the Tifosi. It was a poor car for the high Ferrari standards. Yet Massa seemed to get the best out of it compared to yourself, and was comfortably ahead, it seemed, when Rubens Barrichello’s car decided it didn’t want a spring anymore and left it straight in the path of a fast travelling Massa.

Now we get to the point where I last wrote about you. I suggested the real pressure was on you. That if Luca Badoer beat you it was game over for you. Firstly, I must apologise. I really, really got that one wrong. Luca seemed to try and pick up more speeding fines in the pitlane than he did places on the grid. To suggest that he would challenge you was a bigger joke than Piquet Jr’s career. The question was how would you do now you were carrying the Ferrari torch? And as a whole you did pretty well. A nice string of podiums and that win at Spa (where else) was the cream on the cake. Of course even then all people talked about was that if you didn’t have KERS you wouldn’t have held Fisi off, forgetting that you spent a season suffering with the contraption so getting the thing to work to your advantage is how F1 works. You might have been higher up if Ferrari had looked at the diffuser rather than a bunch of batteries developing the F60, so why take away from what was a good victory?

Overall you did a pretty good job. While Mclaren were improving the car all the time Ferrari decided 2010 looked a better bet and you had to drive your hardest with a car that was the same weekend in, weekend out – and as the saying goes in F1, if your standing still your going backwards. That meant the final race was not one to remember – with a car now outdated by F1 standards you finished an unnoticed 12th, letting Mclaren beat Ferrari to 3rd. Yet what could you do? After Massa’s accident Ferrari was a one car team: Badoer was way off the pace and Fisichella was only slightly better, but neither troubled the score card.

But now it’s time to say goodbye. How best to some up your time at the Prancing horse? As a Ferrari fan, it wasn’t too bad a title and some race wins were good. Yet there is a feeling of disappointment in there. I think it goes down to the lack of emotion involved. Maybe you were trying your hardest every race. I just couldn’t tell once you got out the car. The thing is with Ferrari is it is emotion. Its history its passion and devotion. I have great memories of Jean Alesi and he only won one race in all his time yet you knew he was trying. You felt his emotion, I can remember him in Spa 94 by the side of the track, broken down in frustration, wishing the damn car would last. You connected with him on that, felt for him, you knew he wanted to do well so badly that you forgave the lack of results and he is remembered fondly for his efforts.
Rightly or wrongly, the fact you didn’t get emotional made it hard for some fans to connect with you. It’s all ok if you are winning, but once that stops too and your teammate starts to beat you it becomes a different matter. I know off the track your totally different – gorilla suits and falling off boats drunk included. To that, I just have to remember someone I used to work with at an old job. He was a right miserable, moody human being, but all the time I was told “oh, he’s a great laugh outside of work”. Instead of that, I saw the whiney annoying idiot who I hated sharing shifts with. It’s the same with yourself. You ma ybe great outside of F1, but we never saw that. We got the robot side and that made it hard to feel bad when Ferrari decided they needed to replace you.

So good luck in your rallying hope you keep the car away from stuff at the side of the track. There is no doubt you still have star quality and F1’s loss is surely WRC’s gain. I guess you can take pleasure in the fact that Ferrari had to hire Alonso, maybe because they felt Felipe couldn’t lead the team. You achieved your goal of a title which is what you wanted and can look forward to trying to win in WRC. You know what, Kimi? Maybe its not just the lack of emotion that”s the problem. Maybe even though we told ourselves you’re not like Schumacher, deep down we still expected Schumacher-style results and that same connection to the team and fans.
If that is the case then you were doomed to failure by myself and the fans unfairly expecting you to be like that. Matching the level of domination from the Schumacher era was not possible in today’s F1. If that is the case then I’m sorry. F1 seems to be happy now Schumacher has returned, the possible sub plots with all the other drivers involved will be something else. It’s a shame your not in it but it’s hard to feel sad about it. Maybe we will see you again in F1, maybe not. To sum up your time at Ferrari it was great but there will always be that feeling there could have been so much more. However, you know you can easily blame Mclaren for the two championships you lost out on in 03 and 05. Maybe its best you didn’t go there after all.

Yours in anticipation of 2010

Frantic

PS. please don’t keep saying WRC is so much more better, it just sounds like sour grapes. True or not.

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