Ferrari’s challenges this year are self evident in that they are off the pace to Mercedes—them and everyone else—and they seem to be struggling with the new 2014 regulations with a lack of downforce, tires and torque—much the same as everyone else.

To that point, Ferrari technical director James Allison says that Kimi Raikkonen’s struggles are really no different than his teammate, Fernando Alonso telling AUTOSPORT Ben Anderson:

“I am not sure that it is entirely fair to say that he is struggling more than Fernando,” Allison said.

“They both have similar feedback on the car.

“There are aspects of this year’s rules that makes the cars across the pitlane not an easy prospect for the driver.”

So the thought that Kimi has unique issue with his chassis that differ from Alonso’s are not necessarily the case. So what is it then?

“There is a lot more torque from the engine, there is a lot less aerodynamic grip, the tyres are themselves deliberately less aggressive than they were last year.

“All of that means the cars are quite a handful to drive – not so easy for anyone, be that at the front of the grid or the back of the grid.

“The sort of problems Kimi has with the car in traction, under braking, [and] downshifting are pretty much the same as Fernando, and I would imagine similar to those experienced at other teams.

“He is going a little bit slower than Fernando at the moment but that gap is closing as the year progresses.”

While that may come across as somewhat indicting of Kimi’s 2014 performance, in my mind I think it could be expected as Alonso has been at the team for a while. Surely an adjustment period is warranted having come from a few seasons at Lotus?

I’ll admit that I have not been convinced that Kimi’s arrival at Ferrari was going to put Fernando under massive pressure because I believe Alonso to be one of the very best there is on the grid. What we have discussed is the need to gain points and positions that former driver Felipe Massa was not scoring. That is the bigger concern at this point.

Jettisoning Massa due to a lack of points-scoring positions and pace on par with Alonso is a move I felt was past due but Kimi should be able to pick up the slack. I advocated bringing Nico Hulkenberg in instead of Raikkonen but I’m sure Ferrari know best.

Time, as always, will tell. If/when Kimi gets on song with the car, he’ll be there or thereabouts with Fernando and that’s what Ferrari wanted and I’m sure it’s what Kimi wants as well. I assume he has a hunger to win because I don’t think he was a “rich kid”.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • rapierman

    But, then, if he is on par with Alonso, why is he so far back, and what adjustments are there to make?

  • UAN

    Alonso’s good no doubt.

    But the actual quote from Allison is ““He is going a little bit slower than Fernando at the moment but that gap is closing as the year progresses.”

    Gap is closing seems to be an operative word. I think there is a lot in between the cracks type of things that Kimi still needs to get on top of. One of which is finding a good working relationship with his engineer – not that it’s not good, but really being able to communicate back and forth. And perhaps a bit better understanding of the tiny little things that can make the car go just a bit faster – something Fernando would have been on top of more with the time he spent in the simulator, and that Kimi probably doesn’t enjoy doing as much.

    There’s also the fact that Kimi and Alonso have probably different styles of driving that may or may not lend itself as quickly to getting on top of the current formula.

    Time will tell. Look at Lewis, Rosberg had the measure of him pretty much last year in the “same” car. This year it’s a far different story.

    There’s no shame for Kimi if he never consistently beats Alonso.

  • Rich Boban

    I agreed well enough with your post up until the last statement. Really? Kimi was hired with the thought that he could go the entire year while never consistently beating Alonso? Massa didn’t consistantly beat Alonso,
    I believe Kimi was hired to do more…..

    • UAN

      I think hiring Kimi was to motivate Alonso. I don’t think Kimi consistently beating Alonso was the primary thought though a bonus if that happened. I think rather it was a combination of one, to put ALO in his place, and two, have a driver that bring in points, and higher points, then Massa was. It wasn’t that Alonso beat Massa consistently, it was there was 3, 4 or more cars in between Alonso and Massa. I think Ferrari is hoping for more nose to tail finishes for their drivers (such as Spain two weeks ago).

      Also, it was insurance if Alonso were to leave the team – they’d still have a high quality, WDC winning driver.

  • The Ferrari is just not planted like the Mercs or even the Red Bulls. Compare Rosberg vs. Ricciardo vs. Alonso at the Swimming Pool Chicane. The Mercs and Red Bulls were zig-zagging, while the Ferrari was pirouetting and did not have the same kind of exit traction. This was true of both Fernando and Kimi. The car is holding both drivers back. Brake by wire makes it hard to gauge how much braking is being applied.

    Kimi is one of the best drivers on the grid… Alonso just happens to be the best driver on the grid.