Inside Line: How Ferrari have transformed Kimi into a man of many words and wise ones at that

Kimi Raikkonen

Somehow Ferrari, despite having some of the finest Formula 1 brains in their midst, have yet again failed to kick start their season with a pace setting car and again find themselves on the back foot. Now, in the aftermath of a below par Melbourne showing it appears that the team’s media department is (for some reason) going into damage control mode which would suggest that something is brewing in Maranello.

“The two words that spring to mind after the Australian Grand Prix are patience and work. Scuderia Ferrari’s main aim is clearly to make the F14T more competitive,” began Ferrari’s latest press release entitled: Wise words from Raikkonen.

“The feeling is that many teams used this first GP of the season to get a better understanding of the complicated new cars and that raises the hope that, as the races go by, the spectacle will also improve,” added the spin-doctors.

Then they proceeded to quote from the man of very few words, Kimi Raikkonen, who now appears to have transformed into a right old motormouth since he returned to the team he took to their last F1  title back in 2007.

Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday 15 March 2014

The Iceman ventured: “I think that at the start of a season like this one, with new tyres but more than that, completely new cars, the main aim has to be getting to the chequered flag. We did just that and I was finally able to run a full race distance in this car.”

Kimi was obviously on a roll, “I’ve been in this game for quite a while now and I can say this is definitely not the first time that I’ve gone through a difficult first race weekend. We identified some general problems which we have to tackle in Maranello and there are other aspects linked to the set-up on my car to do with the brake-by-wire system. Getting this device working correctly is definitely something that contributes to the general feeling from the car, because it has a great effect on corner entry.”

(There are more than a few words in there that we have never, ever heard Kimi utter. Remember, he is the one famous for his staccato one-liners, not this kind of flowing oratory – a true transformation, or so Ferrari would have us believe.)

But there was just no stopping Raikkonen, as wise words continued to flow effortlessly from the Finnish wordsmith, “Having said that, the F14T improved right through Friday and Saturday and not getting into Q3 was not down to the competitiveness of the car. First of all, we have to stay calm. The team is united, we know what we have to do and how to go about finding more performance. We also know this development process will not happen overnight.”

TEST PRE-CAMPIONATO F1/2014 BAHRAIN 27/02-02/03/2014

“So we must be patient and concentrate hard on our work without watching what the others are doing. However, I’m sure that, if we work in the correct way, then right from the next race in Malaysia, the results can definitely be better,” concluded the Wise One.

Now we were going to carry this piece as news, but I simply could not resist analysing the essence of the piece, because it is a serious case of very naïve spin-doctoring, but at the same time clearly signals that all is not well in the hallowed halls of Maranello.

In this press release alone, which alleges to quote Raikkonen, we have more words from the notoriously tight lipped man from Espoo than he tends to speak in an entire year. And come on guys in red how can you expect us to believe Kimi said: “First of all, we have to stay calm. The team is united, we know what we have to do… blah, blah, blah.”

Kimi does not speak like that, unless he has been force fed some serious narcotics which I doubt he has. But that he even allows his name to be associated with such childish garbage from his team is astounding, and food for thought.

Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday 7 September 2013.

Veteran media man Luca Colajanni, the team’s long standing Head of Motor Sport Communications, departed to join Marussia in February, replaced by relatively inexperienced Renato Bisignani.

This immature press release is likely to have been drafted at his desk, and shows a total lack of knowledge not only about the media, but Formula 1 and Ferrari. But he is a rookie, so mistakes are made.

But orders for such a damage control piece to be concocted and distributed to media, come from high up, probably Stefano Domenicali’s office and this possibility, if true, is seriously alarming.

And as things stand I have to wonder when Luca di Montezemolo will take a leaf out of Ron Dennis’ book and stage a coup d’equipe to get Ferrari back in order.

My guess it is merely a matter of time before likable, but ineffective, Stefano is made redundant. Watch this space.

Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday 7 September 2013.

Meanwhile, right now I cannot make head or tail of what this all means as too many theories gush into mind – hopefully some of you can and will share your insights with us in the comments below.

We of course will monitor this saga and get in touch with all the gelati vendors we have befriended, during our visits to Imola over the years, to dig for some information on exactly what is going on at number 19 Via Abetone Inferiore.

Whatever the case it is an intriguing scenario that is unfolding in Italy, where no doubt the Italian media are sharpening their daggers as their beloved team once again looks set to under deliver. Another year of playing catch-up is going to be hard to stomach.

But, perhaps the most compelling factor of this Maranello soap opera is the sudden urge by our man Kimi – whose return Domenicali championed – to start yapping with such enthusiasm and spewing forth such pearls of wisdom, at this rate the Iceman will have his own talk show! (Inside Line by Paul Velasco)

Subbed by AJN.

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