If you were thinking in purely commercial terms, you’d have Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari with Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso at Red Bull with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo at Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton—or some variation of that.
If teams were really working to put on the best racing they could for the fans, then having the best drivers on the grid in the best cars on the grid capable of producing epic battles each weekend might be a good thing to do.
There are a lot of reasons this isn’t happening but it’s fun to think about. Regardless, Kimi’s departure from Ferrari may not have sunk in for some but as Toto Wolff says, it’s a bit of a shame, really.
“I think it changes a lot for F1 that Kimi is not in Ferrari anymore in a car that is able to win races,” said Wolff, in an interview with selected media including Autosport.
“He is a formidable character. He is one of the very few people in this day and age, with social media and the ego getting out of control, that stays true to himself.
“He has his values and stays true to his values, and he is authentic. That is what the fans love. So Kimi not in a Ferrari is a blow for all of us.
“But at least he is not out of it completely. He is in Sauber and it is shame that, with Fernando [Alonso] going completely and Kimi changing from Ferrari to Sauber, we are losing two unbelievable personalities in some way. Kimi and Ferrari as a combination was attractive.”
To be honest, Kimi is one of those personalities that would leave a void in F1 if he were to leave now. Fans generally like Kimi for his no nonsense approach. Sure, Sauber may not be fighting for wins in 2019 but perhaps Kimi can give the team a fighting chance to compete for best of the rest? Toto says:
“Kimi says he is coming to enjoy things with Sauber, but the Sauber proved to be a best of the rest car,” explained Wolff.
“It is also just 40 minutes away from home, so he is able to stay at home. I think with Fred [Vasseur, team boss] they have a racers group that is coming together, and a strong relationship with Ferrari, so why would he not continue to do what he enjoys doing?
“We were too much driven about what should he do: should he leave F1 because it is not a winning car anymore? But we are all here to be happy and we are all here to enjoy ourselves, and if driving is something that he truly enjoys then he is right to follow his passion.”
Some fans and pundits have called the move a shame—just as they have in regards to Robert Kubica at Williams—for denying a young driver a seat. I call BS. I’m glad they are both in the series. The notion of watching two more teenagers bounce around the grid knocking wings off, making silly moves and trying to hone whatever skills they have isn’t that fun. Watching two ace drivers like Kimi and Robert take the fight to each other is.
Hat Tip: Autosport