What’s one thing that Kimi Raikkonen has done that his successor at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, hasn’t? Win the world championship in his first year on the team.
What’s one thing that Alonso has done that the Kimster hasn’t? Ink a multi-year extension with the Scuderia after his first year on the team. Apparently Alonso and the top brass at Maranello are so pleased with each other that it seemed only logical to project their commitment farther into the future. It was announced today that the Spaniard will wear Ferrari red at least through 2016.
Alonso told the media in Barcelona today, “It was good news for me and my career to extend the contract and get an extension to 2016…I said last year the intention is to finish my career with Ferrari. I don’t imagine a better place to race for a racing driver.”
Of course, the Kimster once predicted that he would finish his F1 career at Ferrari, and, oddly enough, he was right. Now Alonso is making a similar prediction: “I have been lucky to arrive here last year and I felt at home from day one and I have the possibility to race here until the end of 2016, so it will be seven years in Ferrari. I am happy and privileged, and maybe in 2017 we will have another contract. I will see if I am not too old and if Ferrari still want me.”
Of course, even with seven Ferrari years under his belt, Alonso will still be left in the shade comapred to the all-time uber-driver at Ferrari, i.e. one Herr Schumacher. Schumi hung his helmet in the Maranello garage for 11 seasons, and he scored most of his 91 wins during those years. He was, and is, the most successful Ferrari driver of all time.
But that really takes nothing away fro Alonso. The Spaniard is, in a sense, the ideal Ferrari driver. He’s a passionate racer, yet also cunning, calculating and analytical. It’s an oddly perfect combination of qualities that few drivers seem to embody (Schumi and Senna both possessed it, but not many others from recent years).
One driver who didn’t possess this amalgam of traits was Kimi Raikkonen. The laconic Finn is a distinctly passionless racer (not that he lacks competitive spirit, but he’s such an emotional flatliner, he seems to embody the essence of zombie racing. Also, unlike Alonso or Schumi, he’s not really a thinking man’s driver, and he hates developing the car.
Looking ahead, will Alonso score big at Ferrari, and garner them another much-coveted title? Hard to say, but at least he’s in the best possible environment given the sort of driver he is. Ferrari, unlike many other teams, makes no pretense to giving their drivers equal treatment. In fact, they love to have a lead driver which the team can rally around. Likewise, Alonso (again, much like Schumi or Senna) loves to be the focal point of that sort of attention.
Thus far, it seems like an ideal match.