Raikkonen To McLaren... Return Of The Ice Man

Muazzin MehrbanCorrespondent IOctober 1, 2009

Bigger front wings, smaller back wings, KERs, scandals, crashes, new teams, new drivers, new winners. The recent decline of formula one as a spectacle was, expected to be halted this season with all the changes and drama that have unfolded so far. But the sheer inconsistency of cars, and regulation for the sake of better entertainment, have only ensured that Jenson Button looks set to crawl over the line and claim a crown that not many thought him capable of, especially driving for a rookie team. 

The Singapore night race did help somewhat to highlight the spectacle that is modern day F1, though it was the news that came after, which many will remember the weekend for. Fernando Alonso’s confirmed move to Ferrari next season has triggered what appears to be a rumour merry go round that speculates the most high profile chop and change of drivers taking place over the European winter.

If Ferrari has the outright best car next year, they will no doubt claim yet another driver’s championship courtesy of their proficient new signing. Alonso is, by anyone’s reckoning, an immaculate race driver who given the reliability will probably see the chequered flag at every race in 2010, such is his consistency. Yet the accommodation of the Spaniard comes surprisingly at the expense of another world champion and twice close runner up...not Felipe Massa but Kimi Raikkonen.

The quiet Finn, since claiming the title in his debut scarlet season, has become more isolated among the large Latin and Italian contingents at Ferrari. The decision to relinquish him of his position has left Raikkonen considering his position in the sport, unless a team with title winning credentials comes forward. One such team with the ambition and the need for a quicker driver, are Raikkonen’s former employers, McLaren.

A move back to the Woking outfit appears the most likely scenario should the Finn remain in F1, though his relationship with teammate Lewis Hamilton, and the performance of the McLaren next year, remain questionable. Unlike Alonso, or even Schumacher, it is not that Kimi is opinionated or overbearing that could make a working relationship difficult. It is the fact that at best, he appears remotely interested in team affairs and would be almost a silent partner for Lewis.

Hamilton would no longer enjoy the benefits of being the undoubted number one driver for the Woking team, nor would he be the centre of attention among engineers and managers, who maintain a lasting respect for Raikkonen’s abilities despite his departure three years ago.

Then comes the main factor, that could hurt Hamilton but probably benefit team McLaren. Raikkonen is very, very quick. In truth, though some may not agree, he remains the fastest man on the track, despite his form, car, and facial demeanours. There is every chance that, if McLaren have a title winning car, they will emerge from 2010 with both F1 crowns. Though, the British team, with their celebrity British driver, may have to settle for a Finnish world champion. The Ice man commeth...