What will Kimi do….….?
It’s been a recurring theme in the silly season since 2009 and frankly it always bugged me when the Kimi lovers came out of the closet again with some outrageous plan for him to move back into F1. After getting unceremoniously booted out of Ferrari in favor of Alonso at the end of 2009, the iceman has dabbled around in anything he could find with wheels and an engine but hasn’t been hugely successful at it. While before I always rubbished the rumors and thought the iceman would never come back, this time it’s different.
Too many respectable sources are talking about it now for it to be mere speculation dreamed up by some hack reporter and apparently some sort of announcement on Kimi’s future at Williams is expected very soon. I’ve never been a big Kimi fan, though I have always respected his James Hunt- like ‘fuck ‘em all’ attitude. We say we don’t want corporate BS in interviews, well Kimi may not say much but you can be damned sure that whatever he does say, he means it… and he doesn’t give a flying fuck if it’s not-PC. His ‘I was taking a shit’ honest yet tmi answer to Brundle when asked why he missed the celebrations for Schumi in ’06 remains one of the funniest things to ever happen on one of MBs famous gridwalks. Perhaps this is exactly what Williams need, a lead driver with a strong personality who can give them a kick up the backside yet still be loved by the team.
While most people would genuinely like to see Kimi back, the major concern raised by most pundits is about his motivation – or lack thereof. He did seem quite uninterested in the 2009 season when the Ferrari wasn’t quite up to par, and the Williams will most likely not be transformed from a backmarker into a race winner over the next winter. Is Kimi ready to fight for the crumbs at the lower end of the grid? Will he be satisfied to have finished p10 dicing it out with the Saubers, Caterhams and Toro Rossos, knowing he dragged all he could have out of that car? These are genuine concerns but I believe the Kimi of 2012 will be a different Kimi to the one we knew in 2009. He’s had his fun, tried and failed at other disciplines and is now ready to return to his real passion, driving the wheels off an f1 car. You see it often in people; they hit a peak but then go through a rough patch as they change course in search of new pastures, only to come out stronger and wiser.
It may be surprising that Kimi would accept a drive with a back of the grid team – which let’s face it Williams have become- but times have changed. If Kimi is willing to accept an uphill struggle with no guarantee for success in a fledgling team, to me that’s proof enough he really just wants to come back in F1 and race at the highest echelon of motorsports. He’s been around long enough to know Williams won’t give him a race winner from the get go regardless of whatever they may promise him, yet should he still accept, it shows beyond doubt he just wants to race and that there is nothing wrong with his motivation.
I also love the fact that with such a big name in the midfield – well let’s hope for Williams they’ll at least be midfield next year – these teams will get a little bit more time in the spotlights instead of the FOM ignoring everybody finishing lower than 6th. You know we have a soft spot for the backmarkers here on the blog, so any extra exposure the mid the mid and back end cars get gets our full approval.
Like I said, I was never a big Kimi fan in his heyday though I did like him as a youngster at Mclaren but it is clear beyond doubt that he is one of the quickest guys out there, ranking right up in the league with Alonso and Vettel [sorry Hammy you’ve temporarily lost membership of that club after this season]. If the choice is between a burnt out Rubinho and Raikkonen, I wouldn’t hesitate, especially since Raikkonen even seems to be bringing some extra sponsorship with him, removing another big obstacle to his signing…the paycheck of a former WDC.
Signing with Williams is a huge challenge for Kimi but the possible rewards are commensurate to the risks he’s taking. If indeed the Qatari deal comes through, Williams should slowly be able to slowly start competing again financially against the likes of Red Bull and Mclaren, and with time may rise back up to former glory. The tech team has been overhauled quite drastically and while it will take time for the team to rise from the ashes, a few encouraging results with Kimi at the wheel will go a long way in revitalizing the team. Kimi’s 32 years old now, so while not exactly a spring chicken in f1 driver terms, it’s safe to assume he still has quite a few good seasons left in him. Though I usually deplore ‘old’ farts taking up seats, Kimi is a special case after all, and 32 is still 10 years younger than 42, ey Schumi.
Think of the legacy Raikkonen could leave behind if Williams does get back to its winning ways with him at the wheel. If he never returns we’ll remember him as that weird and moody Fin who could’ve done so much more. If he does go for it and succeed, he could become a true icon in F1 history. Chances are it will fail as there is no magic formula to build a winning car– unless you can hire Newey – but if he tries in earnest Kimi can then still walk away with honor and as a member of a very select group of drivers having driven for the three majors; Ferrari, Williams and Mclaren. The stat fanatics will also enjoy the fact that there would be 6 world champions on the grid in 2012, something unprecedented in f1 history.
I want Kimi to do well, as I want Williams to do well, and signing Kimi could really help create the sort of momentum and positive buzz the team needs to claw its way back towards the front of the grid. F1 is not always about the cold, hard numbers, it is also about passion and grit, something Williams used to have in bucket loads but seem to have lost somewhere along the way. Look at what happened to Renault, they hedged all their bets on Kubica and he was really the glue to hold that team together, to kick ass and drag them forward kicking and screaming if he had to.
Kimi could be that man for Williams. It could be the greatest comeback since Alain Prost. While Kimi hates doing PR, with his standing as former WDC and long time fan favorite sponsors will still be attracted to the team more than they are now. After all, a hitman/rapist with braces and the charisma of a kitchen sink speaking horribly broken English; and a desperate, whiny old dude as your driver line-up does not exactly make for excellent PR material either. With Maldonado surely staying unless Chavez croaks from his cancer, we could have the iceman team up with a guy who ices men, now tell me that isn’t a dream team!
Everybody loves a bad boy, and with all these ideal sons in law in f1 at the moment the sport really does need a bastard again.
Kimi, will you be my bastard?