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”.