Ex-F1 drivers baffled by Ferrari decision to sign Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will be teammates at Ferrari in 2014

Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso will be teammates at Ferrari in 2014

Jacques Villeneuve, but 1997 world champion whose father Gilles is one of Ferrari’s greatest heroes, has questioned the Maranello outfit’s unexpected decision to sign Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.

Prior to his slump in form and Ferrari’s decision to push him into sabbatical at the end of 2009, the Finn won the Italian team’s last world title in 2007.

Villeneuve thinks bringing the now 33-year-old Raikkonen back to Ferrari in Felipe Massa’s wake is not smart.

“Ferrari are completely insane,” the always outspoken French Canadian told the German newspaper Bild.

“He can drive a car fast, but he can’t work with the engineers, he can’t develop the car, he won’t go to sponsor appointments,” Villeneuve said.

Villeneuve is not the only one questioning Ferrari’s choice, particularly with the fiery Latin temperament of the current ‘number 1′ Fernando Alonso on the other side of the garage.

Jacques Villeneuve speaks to reporter

Jacques Villeneuve speaks to a reporter

“If Kimi starts outqualifying Fernando that would be a big one,” McLaren‘s Jenson Button said this week, “because Fernando is not the quickest guy but as a package he’s exceptional.

“It’s fun for us watching from the outside, but does it make the team stronger? I personally don’t think it does,” the 2009 World Champion added.

Former Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux agrees with those who think that Alonso plus Raikkonen equals trouble.

“It will last 3 or 4 races,” said the Frenchman, when pondering the ‘peace’ at Maranello at the very beginning of 2014.

“As far as character, I see Alonso’s as the weaker,” he told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Remember him with Hamilton at McLaren? The peace was short lived, and while I am the first to hope I am wrong, for winning the Constructors’ Title you need two very strong drivers and characters.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren did not work

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren did not work

“But, of these two, one is angry and one doesn’t care. Every Sunday there is the possibility that it explodes. Yes, as a neutral spectator, I like Ferrari’s choice,” he smiled.

Arnoux, now 65, thinks it is possible that Raikkonen will get the upper hand, “He seems to be more mature these days. Sure, his character is still the same, but since he [arrived] at Lotus he seems more consistent.”

“[Romain] Grosjean is still a mid-level driver and so it seems that Lotus has relied almost exclusively on Kimi,” he added.

On the other hand, Arnoux questions whether Alonso can cope with being paired with a driver of Raikkonen’s calibre.

“Definitely he has a bad temper, but this can also be a [good] quality when it is used in battle,” he said. “But not when it is used within the team, creating difficulties and divisions.”

Kimi Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso

Kimi Raikkonen with Fernando Alonso

“Frankly, I want to see if Alonso is really up to what people say about him. In Barcelona he did an amazing race, a masterpiece, but then for a few races he did nothing,” added Arnoux.

Something else that might spark Alonso’s fire is the extra workload that having Raikkonen alongside him might create.

The Finn is notorious for hating PR, media and sponsor work, and negotiates contracts that minimise his off-track commitments.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said this week: “I hope [Raikkonen’s] public relations will consist of wins, as well as a contribution to the team and a diligent presence in Maranello.”

“Alonso cannot take all the work on his shoulders alone,” he insisted. (GMM.)

Subbed by AJN.

  • hillside

    even Ferrari is baffled too

  • Spartacus

    The title said “Experts” but they’re quoting “Villeneuve”?

    It will the the first time that Alonso has been paired with an experience and credible team mate. We know what happend with the rookie, Hamilton, so Alonso will certainly have to up his game; which to be fair I think he has done since then.

    However, having Kimi as that credible rival in the same team means there’s nowhere for Alonso to hide. That’s why Ferrari signed Kimi. Either Kimi wins or Alonso does; win win for Ferrari.

  • Larry Thorner

    This “expert” also thought that Kimi won’t make it after his sabbatical.

    Usually I try not to use any bad language when I’m posting comments but now I have to say the Mr. Villeneuve is once again full of the brown stuff that comes from the rear end.

  • Forza Ferrari

    If Kimi is such a bad driver who can’t work with engineers, can’t develop the car and won’t go to sponsor appointments then why is he one of the most valued and sought-after drivers in the world? Surely Ferrari knows the qualities of Kimi and that’s why they hired him. All these “experts” are way over-exaggerating on this. Kimi is not the same person that he used to be, he’s matured a lot, and so has Alonso. And besides, Alonso and Kimi are good friends who respect each very much. It would be absolutely priceless if this driver pairing would prove all the nay-sayers wrong next season by forming a strong coalition. :D

    Forza Ferrari!!!

  • BigE

    Kimi will piss excellence on Ferrari.

  • fools

    I already knew when speculations of Kimi joining Ferrari would create tons of BAD PR. Its not even 2014 yet and press is already creating stories from the past and trying to manipulate the drivers and teams by placing poison by there bed sides.

    This is what I hate of the media. Surely they do a great job covering stories but when they try to create poison is sickens me. Why cant anyone from press just be positive? Why must they spit poison at teams and add pressure among drivers as they already have pressure while driving. It creates havoc and trolls too.

    This will only make Ferrari win and develop a better car. Anyone following F1 and Ferrari know this. Kimi and Alonso are friends. As Alonso already knows the media is trying to stir the hive already.

    Surely this will up Alonso game. No question. Im excited to see Alonso’s form in the 2014 F1 Turbo era.

  • McLarenfan

    An expert is not Villeneuve he is a ignorant Muppet I remember at BAR he said that Jenson would have to prove to him that he is good enough for his team, Jenson out drove him from day 1.
    Villeneuve put a LOO Roll under your chin to catch all the brown stuff spewing out!!!!!!!

  • Erich Lacher

    Ferrari thinks by bringing Kimi Raikkonen back is not smart,
    but it is super smart and super clever.

    Lets think about the marketing value of Kimi and the expansion of
    markets of Ferrari.

    Kimi can drive a car faster than all the others, if he has Ferrari and 2014 he has a Ferrari. And most important, he likes to drive .

    Al drivers like and respect him.

    He can work with the engineers. He can develop the car. Sponsor like because he can win.

    And Ferrari likes very much.

    Lets wait, who is winning the titel 2014.

    Best driver and best car Ferrari.

    Lets see at the end of season 2014 Mr. Jagues Villeneuve.

  • Ukwhite

    It is not first time Villeneuve gets it wrong. Kimi will do the job his own way, you cannot ask him for more.

    There is no such thing as friendship between team mates in F1, Alonso and Kimi is no exception. Listen to Button, Webber, etc. The relation will deteriorate, managing it will be art.

    I am a loyal Kimi fan, but fooling yourself he can dedicate his time to develop the car, PR and stuff is kind if wrong. I like Kimi the way he is, but I know he is far from perfect. Nordic people are loners. They say Kimi is the Iceman, but just look how much he enjoys when he wins, nothing iufferent than the rest of the pack, just a mortal with Suomi behaviour.

  • Foolish

    @fools forget about ferrari developing better racing cars. Ferrari cannot even get their wind tunnel working year after year and have to depend on japanese technology (in the form of toyota’s wind tunnel in cologne)!
    I’m a ferrari fan but italians are not outstanding engineers, especially in f1.

  • Forza Ferrari

    @Foolish
    Ferrari is the most successful F1 team with 31 titles 221 GP wins and their winning percentage is also the best throughout history plus many-many-MANY Le Mans wins, Daytona 24h wins, Sportscar Championship wins and other famous victories around the world…but yea, they can’t develop a good racing car hahahaaa are you really that dumb or are you just trolling? And you’re no Ferrari fan, don’t even try to pretend that you are.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Ferrari developed a car that in the last 4 years was 2x battling in the last race for the WDC. Really bad hey?

  • Derek Diez

    I am a Kimi and Ferrari fan as well, and 1 thing I know is that Kimi just loves racing and winning, and is really very good at it, which is what Ferrari is just looking for, he just doesn’t care about PR and F1 politics. and I know media cannot and will not affect Kimi. I’m just excited for F1 in 2014!

  • the fan

    jacques does it again! i highly doubt anyone takes him seriously

  • Erich Lacher

    Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Villeneuve were both good drivers.

    Its easy to understand opinions of Jacques Villeneuve.