How do you solve a problem like Kimi?

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari, Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams, Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams pose for the end of season drivers' photograph on the pit straight before the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 29, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

For some, the decision Ferrari face for 2017 may be an easy one and for Ferrari, perhaps it is. For AUTOSPORT’s Edd Straw, it’s seems relatively straightforward too—that’s if Ferrari are serious about winning. Part company with Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn is running a strike rate of 53.5% in scoring against his teammates since returning to the Italian team in 2014. That’s 286 points to his team-mates’ 535. A rate that is woefully short of making the best attempt at winning a title again.

I won’t recount all the points Edd makes, he does them very well and has crafted a nice thought-provoking piece but I will add the juxtaposition of the Felipe Massa years.

The challenge for me toward the end of Massa’s tenure at Ferrari was that while he is incredibly likable and a real team player, he was not finishing nose-to-tail with his teammate and this was leaving too many points on the table for their rivals. The team have always favored a number one and number two driver scenario and in that format, it is critical that the number two role finish right behind the number one in as many races as possible and should the number one experience issues, the number two must take the lead and deny points to their competitors.

Back during the Massa debate, I advocated parting company with Felipe because he wasn’t scoring enough points. I wasn’t expecting race wins but he was woefully adrift of his teammates and you can’t be far behind and leaving points on the table. I like Felipe a lot and to be honest the departure seemed to be a great move for him at Williams.

It’s not an easy role as Rubens Barichello or Felipe Massa can tell you but it is proving to be difficult for Kimi Raikkonen too. Kimi fans won’t be happy with Edd’s conclusion but in the end, he’s right. Ferrari will need to look at the effectiveness of a second driver and they will have metrics they use to measure the efficacy of their second car’s program. If it isn’t delivering the points and qualifying performances they need, they will make a change.

problem like MAria

That’s easier said than done, however, as it becomes a question of who might be a suitable replacement and a lot of consideration has to go in to making a change like this given that Kimi, like Felipe, may be a real team player and comfortable in his secondary role. Who will Sebastian Vettel be comfortable with as he seems perfectly fine with Kimi?

There’s been lots of discussion over Sergio Perez or Nico Rosberg but would either of those drivers be a good fit? Is there another place for Kimi? Return to Renault and replace Palmer? It’s all part of Silly Season but in the end, I think Edd is right because it is the same reasoning I was arguing in Massa’s case, unfortunately Felipe’s replacement hasn’t quite accomplished what the team may have wanted.

On the flip side of the argument, if Ferrari feel he’s delivering enough and the price is right and he gets along with Seb and the team, they may be perfectly fine with what they have.

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18 Comments on "How do you solve a problem like Kimi?"

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Justrunningthenumbers
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Justrunningthenumbers
Ummm…from what i’ve seen this far in the season, it has been pretty close between Sbe and Kimi. Kimi has delivered 3 podiums (two 2nd! and remmeber one BS penalty which prevented a 3rd in Baku (really think about that guys)) and hasn’t been in the top 5 except for 3 races (one of which was Canada which was a bad team call on the pit in Canada, another for engine troubles in Australia and then there was Monaco which was driver error). He currently sits 15pts adrift of Vettel. In comparison, Vettel 5 podiums and has always finished in… Read more »
Justus Brennan
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Justus Brennan
Normally I would dismiss this as Kimi hype, but it’s actually something I’ve noticed this year. The speed has been there and for the most part when Kimi faltered so did Vettel. The strategy call that brought Vettel in at the end of the virtual safety car in Canada and almost caught him out completely caught out Kimi. The call that Vettel rightfully disagreed with in Baku Kimi followed and likely lost out from it. To me the Monaco blunder is the one actual sore spot that stands out. Kimi has been in this position again and again, long before… Read more »
myusername1234!
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myusername1234!
He has been closer this year, Monaco was a huge disappointment but any Kimi fan knows he has been pretty naff in wet races for years. The issue is the qualifying is still a big problem. 4 – 5 tenths gap to your team mate is OK when there is large field spread but when it is a tight weekend that can be the difference between 3rd on the grid and not even getting into Q3. I hope he is still in F1 next year as I think he still has a lot to offer and it would be fun… Read more »
Negative Camber
Guest

I agree he’s looked better this year. Of course the detractors would say that’s just because it is contract renewal time and he’s pushing harder. Regardless, I think Edd takes the aggregate and it’s hard to argue with totals regardless of how he’s doing now.

Justrunningthenumbers
Guest
Justrunningthenumbers

Edd is an idiot! If you’re going to play that game, you should ensure everyone is playing on the same level. Take Perez’s last 3 seasons and lets see how he stacks up. This article is complete rubbish

Severo Mirón
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Severo Mirón

Don’t compare Pérez ( in a Force India), and Kimi (in a Ferrari). Kimi has been blasted by his Ferrari partners. Period.

Justrunningthenumbers
Guest
Justrunningthenumbers
No he is an idiot. lets look at last season alone because 2014 is not a good reference given the shambles that was Ferrari. 2015 Kimi: – 5 x DNF – 1 x 2nd – 2 x 3rd – 5 x 4th – Top 5 in 10 races – Top 10 in 4 races 2015 Vettel: – 2 x DNF – 3 x 1st – 3 x 2nd – 7 x 3rd – 2 x 4th As a number 1 driver, you would expect that Vettel would be ahead and you can see that in the numbers above. One of… Read more »
Justrunningthenumbers
Guest
Justrunningthenumbers

Actually i take that back, Edd is an idiot

Negative Camber
Guest

I don’t know Edd but I pretty confident he is far, far from being an idiot. He’s offered stats that are relatively self explanatory but perhaps if you read the article, you’ll recall that he has justification beyond just numbers. The nuance beyond numbers is where it get difficult to determine what to do…money being a large one.

longshot
Guest
longshot

The penalty didn’t prevent 3rd in Baku, he was caught & then overtaken on the final lap by Perez.

Daniel Johnson
Guest
Daniel Johnson
Also critical but overlooked here is the team dynamic. Priority would be to keep Seb happy and productive. The last year at Red Bull wasn’t either. Whoever you get it would be useful to have someone who knows they are a number 2 to Seb. Kimi isn’t a threat to Seb’s status and he likes a similar car and seems to genuinely get along with him. This is much like discussing mid level QB’s in the NFL. Yes they aren’t top tier but who are you going to replace them with that is? So it’s well and good to say… Read more »
myusername1234!
Guest
myusername1234!
I have mixed feelings. Clearly Kimi 2016 is not the same as Kimi 2006 and while he is a solid performer he is not on the same level as the top 3 or 4 guys any more. So does he represent great value for a top level salary? Probably not. But I look around at the potential replacements (the available ones like Perez & Grosjean) and I’m not convinced they would fair any better when placed in the pressure cooker that is Ferrari and lined up against a hungry 4 time WDC like Vettel. Then factor in that this year… Read more »
Rapierman
Member
Rapierman
Could we also argue the attitude and maturity issues? I don’t quite know how old Raikkonen is, but he comes across to me as the beach bum simply looking for the next wave. I don’t want that person on a team or behind the wheel. Nothing personal, but where I come from, the best workers that I know are mature, have a solid work ethic and is driven to either succeed or improve (which is another way to say that they give a damn). I haven’t seen this in Raikkonen. Sure, I’m okay with talking to beach bums, but when… Read more »
Peter Riva
Guest
Peter Riva

Vettel said it perfectly… he likes having an adult, a non-whiner, as his team-mate.

MIE
Editor

When Gerhard Berger was asked to describe his perfect team mate, he replied someone who is two seconds a lap slower. Kimi is working his way towards that level of ‘perfection’.

Justrunningthenumbers
Guest
Justrunningthenumbers

you guys a retarded

Negative Camber
Guest

Dude, lighten up a tad. We can disagree but let’s keep the personal attacks out of the conversation.

Just Another Tranny
Guest
Just Another Tranny

Unless they can get one of the Redbull guys they should stick with Kimi. From car set up to team dynamics Kimi is a suitable partner for Vettel, he will end up in the top six in points which is good enough.