Marbles ~ Laura Marieee: 11-11-09

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If you thought during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Kimi Raikkonen’s move to McLaren would be set in stone soon after- you thought wrong. Debates over his proposed salary continue, and in the meantime we still don’t have any other driver confirmations. So, what are Kimi’s options? If he doesn’t sign with McLaren, where will he go? Will he even be in F1 next season? If he does sign with McLaren, wouldn’t it be great to see potentially two of the best drivers currently in the sport battle it out in the same car? And just what does Kimi mean to F1? As ever, this is my take on it, feel free to have your say too…


Kimi started out in F1 in 2001, and after a season moved to McLaren to replace Mika Hakkinen, and he immediately impressed.

After five years with the team he moved to Ferrari, where up until recently he has had a secure seat. But that all changed when Fernando Alonso was signed a year early to team up alongside Felipe Massa for 2010. And now, Kimi is out in the cold, and while a move back home to McLaren is the likely option for the Finn, the team hasn’t been able to settle a fee with him, so as yet he may be out of a race seat for next season. And of course there is the fact that he won’t sign with a team unless they can give him a championship-winning set of wheels.

Kimi is popular among F1 fans. He may have been nicknamed the ‘Ice Man’ for his frosty personality, but that hasn’t stopped his fans growing in number, and many will be hoping that he still has a seat in F1 next year. While McLaren are probably one of the few teams who can guarantee Kimi the competitive car he so desires, there are plenty of other teams- i.e., the new teams- who would snap Kimi up with all his experience.

But while that may be the case, it is the fastest car on the grid that Kimi wants, and perhaps if he doesn’t get his way, he may make an early departure from the sport. And what would F1 be without Kimi? Well, it would still have its double world champion in Alonso, its veteran in Barrichello, its back-to-back British champions in Hamilton and Button, and its potential champions in Massa and Vettel, but F1 with no Kimi?

There’s just something about Kimi that makes him so easy to be a fan of. Where other drivers often come up against bad press – Hamilton and liar-gate, Alonso and his woes with McLaren – Kimi never really does anything wrong. When he’s good he’s really good, and when he has an off-day, he’s mediocre. But to lose Kimi because he can’t get a seat with a competitive team for next season would be a bit of a blow. You can’t argue the fact he has the potential to be a world champion again, and if F1 ends up losing Kimi, 2009 would not exactly be something to remember him by when he’s got far more to offer in his career.

As the days go by it points further to a ‘McLaren or nothing’, do-or-die, scenario where it really does look like Kimi’s only option is McLaren. But of course that comes with the rumours that Hamilton supposedly doesn’t want Kimi as his teammate. But for many fans two former world champions in the same team would be a pleasure to watch. With McLaren set to fight back in 2010, it would be like 2007 all over again, with both drivers battling it out to show who really is number one. And that can only be a good thing to look forward to for a sport which is currently dominated by pull-outs by teams and tyre manufacturers.

The sport is all about racing, and when he is on finest form, Kimi shows just how good a racer is. Hamilton has already shown just how determined he is to win, so to let them go head-to-head could be just what we need- no more team orders, just good old-fashioned racing between two of the sport’s finest. And with Kimi wanting a car to win next season’s championship with, to be in the same team as the sport’s youngest champion who is determined to take the title back off Button next year, we could be set for an exciting season ahead if McLaren confirm what we are all waiting to hear.

Kimi has a lot more to offer F1. He may be quiet, and he may have his off-days, but when he’s good, he’s brilliant to watch. Let’s just hope we find out soon where he’s headed, and that wherever it is, it’s still in F1. I for one quite like the idea of two former world champions at McLaren- both of whom will be fighting to win, and ultimately, to beat each other.


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