Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Paul Ricard, 2019

Raikkonen says greater freedom Alfa Romeo give him is “priceless”

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Kimi Raikkonen says he is much happier at Alfa Romeo as he has fewer responsibilities besides driving the car.

What they say

Raikkonen was asked if he was happier after moving from Ferrari to Alfa Romeo:

Obviously in the big picture we want to be faster and have better results. But if you take that away what [when it] comes to working it’s been very nice.

There’s not [as] many people [as] let’s say Ferrari or other teams, [there] might be some places you lack a bit on that side. But that’s what I knew is a difference, that’s what makes a difference between big teams and smaller teams.

Apart from that it’s given me more freedom to do what I want outside of racing. I don’t need to run all kind of promotions all the time. I appreciate that much more than maybe people even think about. For me my own time is priceless. It’s definitely been much better.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Is the level of domination seen in F1 today unprecedented?

The big deal is that there is no other era of F1 like this. This is not par for the course. McLaren in the eighties fell off after their two years of dominance, as did Williams in the nineties. Ferrari in 2000s and Red Bull in 2010s had years interspersed in their runs where they did not dominate and their championships were barely won. Mercedes has faced no such year since 2014. In Red Bull’s four-year streak, two drivers’ championships were won by single digits. The closest non-Mercedes driver to a Mercedes drivers’ championship was 2017 and the gap was 46pts.

We’re not on year two. We’re on year six, and with a guaranteed Mercedes drivers and constructors championship double, and a very very possible seventh year in 2020. Think of any other sport where a team dominated, without hiccup, for six to seven years. If you can find one in the past 50 years, please look at whether the regulations were left undisturbed. I dare say you won’t find such a run, but if so, I imagine rules were shook up.

No one is blaming Mercedes for achieving success. But not everyone wants to watch it for a decade straight.
@Hobo

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 31 comments on “Raikkonen says greater freedom Alfa Romeo give him is “priceless””

    1. I don’t necessarily think it’s correct to say that Mercedes have dominated the past 5-6 years as while they have won both championships they only really had the best/dominant package in 2014-2016. In Both 2017 & 2018 they didn’t have a dominant car & did face a genuine title threat from Vettel/Ferrari which ended up falling Hamilton/Mercedes way more due to mistakes by there rival than them having a substantially better/dominant car.

      And even in the 2014-2016 seasons there was a good fight between Hamilton & Rosberg for the championship that went down to the last few races which is more than we saw in most other seasons where a team did have a dominant package but also had a dominant #1 driver who had no fight from his team mate.

      I’d say that the 2014-16 seasons were better in terms of the title fight that say 1992/93, 2001/02/04 where you had a clear #1 driver dominating in a dominant car with the championships been wrapped up mid-season.

      1. Agree with you. People tend to forget how every f1 era, at least from the 80s onwards, is dominated by a single team, by whatever reason (money, rules, you name it) we had more or less this kind of situation for at least 30 years…

        1. At least it was different teams. Not single team dominating for 7 years straight (yes I count 2020 to that). It is completely different when before the season you never know who will win it. Even if it is domination it hurts the sport much less if it is different team or just 2 teams.

      2. @roger-ayles @matiascasali – Just wanted to respond to what I think are fair points and then I’ll shut up. 2000 was the closest to 2017, in that Hakkinen ended up losing out by about 2-wins-worth of points after MSC dominated the final races and Mika had a retirement. in 2003 MSC only won by 2pts. Mercedes hasn’t really had anything like that. And 2017 was much like Ferrari with a dominant #1 driver.

        We were lucky that 2014-16 had Rosberg on the team. Imagine if there had been someone who won 2 races while Lewis ran away with it. So I agree that it was better in that respect, but for me only marginally.

        The result for me is 6 years is too long for 1 team to run the table. But just my opinion.

        1. Fair enough. I guess since I care a lot less about F1 than I did during the Ferrari dominance it doesn’t seem to bother me anymore. Ferrari seemed like an eternity since I disliked that cheat Schumacher and there was no chance of an internal fight at Ferrari like there was at Mclaren or Merc or even Redbull.

          1. @darryn – I was (and am) a big MSC fan. So we definitely saw those years differently. :) But even I got bored at some point. 2003 was a great year because it was so up in the air. If we had a few years like that now, it wouldn’t be so bad (to me).

            I also agree that I’m not as into F1 as I was then. While I find this annoying, I don’t really care.

            1. @hobo In the end I think that’s what makes these periods more tolerable. I am a fan of Hamilton and so it makes it more palatable for sure. I have never experienced dominance when I actually kind of liked the driver so that combined with my general lack of enthusiasm has made this one seem bearable.

      3. @roger-ayles

        In Both 2017 & 2018 they didn’t have a dominant car & did face a genuine title threat from Vettel/Ferrari which ended up falling Hamilton/Mercedes way more due to mistakes by there rival than them having a substantially better/dominant car.

        I completely agree. If Alonso or Verstappen were driving that Ferrari in 2017/2018 , we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation of 6 years of dominance by Mercdes. Mercedes was absolutely dominant from 2014-2016 , but since then it’s not their dominance, but poor performances by their rivals that seem to be skewing Mercedes’ performance.

        1. Totally agree.

          Mercedes were utterly dominant from 2014-2016.

          The last 3 years, if Ferrari/Vettel actually stepped up during the season and used their car to the potential it had, we would be seeing a Ferrari driver as current WDC.

          Also, don’t rush to change the rules to change the order. The Brackley factory are pretty good at rule changes. The wings changed this year and Red Bull struggled to adapt, Mercedes adapted. in 2009 the Brackley factory took new rules and dominated as Brawn. in 2014 Mercedes took new rules and put money where it was needed, the engine. New rules in 2021 are an opportunity for Mercedes and the factory to extend, not lose their lead.

          Be careful what you wish you.

      4. @roger-ayles, to support that point, it is worth remembering that, in 2017, it was actually Vettel who was the leading driver in the World Drivers Championship for the majority of that season, not Hamilton.

        The gap only really ended up being that large because of two key events – the crash in the Singapore GP that took Vettel, Raikkonen and Verstappen out of the race, an event that might have caused as much as a 40 point swing in Hamilton’s favour, and the Japanese GP, where the car broke down and Vettel potentially lost out on 2nd place, costing him another 18 points. It had been a fairly tight battle, and one that Vettel had actually been leading for some time – it was a case of those two races tipping the battle in Hamilton’s favour, and in both cases it was due to Vettel and Ferrari losing points.

        Equally, in 2018 we saw the lead of the WDC going back and forth between Hamilton and Vettel multiple times that season, and at the midway point it was Vettel who had the advantage. The German GP seemed to be a bit of a tipping point, given that Vettel never seemed to be as comfortable in the car after that race as he had been before it, but by the Belgian GP, the difference between himself and Hamilton was still surmountable – the sudden slump in form Vettel had, when he started becoming more error prone, did exaggerate the situation.

    2. That sounds like a pretty high-pressure environment for Gasly now. I’m disappointed with his performance this year…but putting controls on him like that while Max will have free reign must be very demoralising.

      1. I don’t think his performances can get any worse.. so I guess it’s worth a shot. Verstappen does have more experience in car setup than he does.

        1. I don’t doubt that Max can set the RB15 up better than Gasly for himself. But, their driving styles are clearly different, Gasly is not a new driver he will have set up many of his race cars before this one, being told that he’s not trusted by the team to set up the car himself is a pretty big kick in the teeth.

          1. PG can choose to be demoralized, or kicked in the teeth, or he can look at it positively in that whatever has happened til now hasn’t worked and at least the team is trying to help him, which of course I would expect nothing less, as a better Gasly makes for a better Championship standing for RBR in the end.

            I’m guessing much of his difficulty has been not just in learning the team and car and having to try to be close to Max in performance, but getting the tires to work all the while too.

            1. That should probably be done in the pits then, away from the press.

      2. It will be a baseline setup that he can then finetune to suit his style.

      1. I know you were probably focussing on motorsport in your comment @hobo, but you do get sports where you get “Mercedes levels” of dominance.

        Scottish football is going through one of those runs at the moment with Celtic on the brink of achieving the mythical 9-in-a-row for the second time in their history again, with Rangers having achieved that feat a little over 20 years ago. The All Blacks dominate Rugby Union, having won the last two world cups and looking to be favourites to win again in Japan this year. Australia dominate Rugby League and dominated cricket for decades. Juventus are dominating Serie A with 8 titles on the spin. There are other examples as well of course but I don’t want this to be a bulkier post than it already is!

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          11th July 2019, 13:25

          Football is all a different matter, unfortunately. Aside from any other sport.

          1. So domination in football is to be praised, but in F1 it is to be scorned? How is that fair?

        2. @geemac – I wasn’t thinking about motorsport to be honest. When @anon brought up the Audi dominance at Le Mans, I had forgotten all about it even though I was very aware of it at the time.

          However, I was thinking more of North American sports, which certainly are not the universe. In those cases, leagues have worked to make salary caps (the amounts teams can spent on players total) to somewhat level the playing field. There are still better teams and worse teams, and the better teams are more often in a better position at the end of the season (more often in the championship game, or more often in the hunt). But other teams still win titles in the midst of a dominant team’s prime.

          Part of that has to do with the structure (playoffs, best of 7, etc.), so it’s not exactly apples to apples. But my broader point was that the leagues used to have dominant teams and they made moves (especially with regards to money) to try to level it out.

    3. Although I am fed up with Gasly and I would like that seat given to someone else I really do not want to see the guy humiliated.
      I hope he doesn’t fall even further back now because he is being forced to drive what will essentially be someone else’s set up.

      And this from the article made me smile.

      “Gasly has not yet met our expectations, we are now trying to help him,” Marko told Autosport.

      So they haven’t even been trying to help him so far?

    4. Look! Kimi is . . . smiling.
      Says a lot really.

      1. @nickwyatt If his own time is so “priceless”, why doesn’t he simply retire? There is a price to pay for ‘earning’ shed loads of cash, while ‘living the dream’ – but Kimi has always given the impression that he considers himself above all that.

    5. Basically, RedBull are saying to Pierre: “you’re not allowed to play with your toys anymore, just take this puzzle that your brother already completed and put in the last piece. This way we’ll know you did a great job.”

      1. Rather, you can’t seem to complete the puzzle as well as your brother, so lets have you stand back and observe him some more before you try one again on your own.

        1. @robbie, the thing is, this is a situation that could well be in part a problem that Red Bull created in the first place, as they have paired a less experienced driver with a less experienced team of engineers – Marko explicitly states that Verstappen “has the more experienced engineering team”.

          You could, therefore, argue that the problem has arisen as a result of bad management on Red Bull’s part to begin with, as this was a foreseeable problem. When you have an inexperienced driver to work with, giving him a less experienced team of engineers is a choice that creates a scenario that could result in the driver and his engineers having the very sort of struggles with setting up the car that Marko is referring to.

          You could therefore argue that, whilst Red Bull might now be trying to help by giving Gasly’s team Verstappen’s set up, it doesn’t really tackle the underlying issue that the decision to give him a less experienced team of engineers helped create those problems in the first place.

          1. @anon Fair comment but I’m not sure it’s bad management so much as a case where of course Max is going to get the more experienced engineering team behind him. It hasn’t been working for PG but has for Max, but now they’re trying a different tack now that they see PG continuing to struggle. But they’re sure not going to take away from Max for that would surely be bad management. Surely it is not so black and white that there is, or has been, no communication at all between the two sides of the garage. Surely they have been collaborating all along at least to some degree. Sounds like they’ve been taking PG at his word as to what he thinks he needs, and that hasn’t worked. Surely the less experienced engineers have always been able to ask questions of the more experienced ones to help themselves and PG sort things out.

            1. @robbie, well, saying that “of course Max is going to get the more experienced engineering team behind him” does then raise the question of whether the team are now giving him more favourable treatment over Gasly, since it sounds as if the team have actively transferred the more experienced staff into Verstappen’s team before Gasly joined the team.

              Furthermore, there are questions over whether the idea of giving Gasly engineering crew the same set up as Verstappen is necessarily helping him – it turns out that they were already running that system in the Austrian Grand Prix, and it seems that Gasly was even more ill at ease with Verstappen’s set up than he was with his own in that race.

    6. Regarding the COTD: As some others above have pointed, the key difference between the Mercedes era and the other eras of one-team dominations is that both drivers have been able to win races rather than it being very one-sided as was the case with the Schumacher/Ferrari era or RBR’s 2011 and ’13 campaigns in comparison.

      Regarding the Autosport-article: Hopefully, that approach would start to show on his pace the further into the season we head.

    7. COTD @Hobo Italian football club Juventus has been winning the championship since 2011/2012 season. No rules changing or such. Other teams have to up their game, which is fair I should add. One should respect dominating teams, like Mercedes. It’s like you push for years to have the required titles to land your dream job, and then you show up with all that work and results, and now they change the admission rules and you look like a fool. It’s unfair on every level. Anyway, I’m not even closely a Mercedes or Hamilton fan, just to be clear.

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