On paper, it looks like the strongest team pairing on the grid, but many have speculated that their contrasting characters could be disruptive.
Even Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has admitted that the pairing could be a “dangerous” one for Ferrari, as quoted on ESPNF1.
Putting together Alonso and Raikkonen could be dangerous. But in Formula One ... everything is potential danger. I think that Fernando knows that he drives not for himself but for Ferrari. And Raikkonen knows that he is in the second half of his career, two very important years for him, with experience and responsibilities.
Both Alonso and Raikkonen are used to having No. 1 status, and Ferrari have traditionally favoured one strong driver, from Schumacher to Raikkonen and now Alonso—although Felipe Massa did buck that trend somewhat in 2008 with some sterling performances.
Alonso is known to have thrown his toys out of the pram when he doesn’t get his own way, and di Montezemolo was forced to publically scold his star driver back in July after the Spaniard criticised his car’s lack of competitiveness.
When paired with another strong character in Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, Alonso found the situation so hard to bear that he left the team after only one season.
Raikkonen can be a difficult character to manage, too, as Lotus discovered to their cost. The Finn refused to let Romain Grosjean past in Korea, leading to a heated radio exchange. He then walked away from the final two races after a dispute over his pay.
Having two big names in the same team hasn’t always worked for Ferrari. Nigel Mansell was always deeply suspicious that Alain Prost was getting preferential treatment at the team and announced his retirement midway through the 1990 season.
However, whilst there is certainly good reason to believe that things may not go smoothly, there is just as much reason to suggest the partnership will bear fruit.
Two drivers fighting to prove they deserve No. 1 status has worked in the past—famously at McLaren, where Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost brought out the best in one another, the team winning an incredible 15 out of 16 races in 1988.
The recently retired Mark Webber is one driver who believes that Alonso needs a stronger teammate to bring the best out of him, as quoted on 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.
Ferrari will certainly hope that it is Webber and not their own president who is proven right as they take the fight to rivals Red Bull and Mercedes in 2014.