Alonso is known to like being the team leader and have a compliant teammate, much like Michael Schumacher before him. The last time he had a teammate capable of matching him, it created friction within the team and the Spaniard left McLaren as a result.
When things aren’t going his way he has often thrown his toys out of the pram to the extent of even challenging the Ferrari management, as reported by Autosport in July.
Add into the mix the fact that Raikkonen appears so laid back to the point of being horizontal and you have a pairing that is like chalk and cheese.
So can a coupling that seems to have trouble written all over it really blossom to give Ferrari the best chance of winning both constructors’ and drivers’ championships?
There are certainly reasons to believe so.
They can push one another to a higher level
Yes, a clash of personality can cause friction within a team but is it not better to double your chances of points scoring finishes at races?
Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost didn’t exactly see eye to eye to put it mildly but in their first season together at McLaren the team won an incredible 15 of the 16 races that season.
And for Senna and Prost, read Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber or indeed Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
Having two highly competitive teammates in a team together can work wonders for motivation and may be exactly the kick Alonso needs to propel him to greatness and a first title with Ferrari or conversely a second for Raikkonen.
According to Webber, it is exactly what Alonso needs to lift him to a higher level of performance as he told Autosport.
I think Fernando will see it as a positive thing. The positives for me are that Fernando needs to be pushed more on Saturday afternoons; which he will live for. Kimi will lift him and help him to get a bit more out of himself on Saturday afternoons. On Sundays there is no question, we know Fernando is a brilliant racer, but on Saturdays Kimi will lift him to another level.
They may actually get along
A lot has been written about the personality differences between Alonso and Raikkonen. One a Spaniard with a fiery Latino temperament and the other an ice-cool Finn.
Any yet we have seen exactly this kind of pairing gel well before. Remember when Juan Pablo Montoya joined Raikkonen at McLaren? People said it just wouldn’t work but there appeared no signs of friction within the team and the pair actually appeared to connect well.
There may not exactly be a sharing of technical information between the pair in the garage regarding optimum set-ups and both have differing driver styles, but it would be rash to talk up the chances of team infighting before the new season is even underway.
They’re fighting for a common cause
The bigger picture at Ferrari is that they desperately need to narrow the gap to Red Bull sooner rather than later.
The Milton Keynes based team has been utterly dominant over the last four seasons and is on the verge of a fourth successive constructors’ and drivers’ title.
For a team as big as Ferrari, not winning a title since 2008 will be a huge concern and both Alonso and Raikkonen will be working as hard as ever to address this issue in order to stop the Vettel juggernaut next season.
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