Kimi Raikkonen was relatively tight lipped about the rumors that he could be on yet another short list to replace someone and this time it is McLaren that’s being thumbed as the repository for the Finn.
According to rumors, the team are keen to speak with Raikkonen about replacing Fernando Alonso should the Spaniard retire. Alonso have been catered to and his every whim accommodated by new boss Zak Brown. So much so that I’ve asked who is the bigger brand at this point? Is this Alonso Group Limited or McLaren Group Limited?
The uncertainty of Alonso’s future aspirations and whether that would include remaining at McLaren is the lynch pin in this shuffle. If Alonso leaves, then perhaps Raikkonen is someone they are interested in. Alonso may stay if he is allowed complete racing flexibility and his $20M salary.
The move, if it would happen, seems to be a marketing move in my opinion. Nothing wrong with Raikkonen, he’s a quick driver, but I sense that Zak Brown is approaching this with a marketing angle as F1 fans the world over loves Kimi. Kimi drove for McLaren from 2000 to 2006 but it was a different team then with similar challenges.
McLaren have Stoffel Vandoorne and a few junior drivers to choose from and getting Alonso to stay or signing a world champion like Kimi isn’t likely to change the results as the issues are the cars, not the drivers. McLaren know that and while it’s always great to have the best divers you can get, the team have a lot of work to do to take full advantage of a driver like Alonso. So why bring Kimi in? For me, it is a move to get a big name with a dynamic personality and marketability. Surely Lando Norris would be a consideration? Or…would they bring Kim and Norris in?
Fun rumors but they are just that, rumors.