Has Kimi Fit into the Schumi’s shoes?

When everybody is celebrating Ferrari’s win in Australian grand prix, a clear observation on after race will give you fine details on Ferrari’s compatiblity with its new driver Kimi Raikkonen. Financial express has posted a excellent article on this matter, here it is!


Kimi Raikkonen is not Michael Schumacher. Will this come in the way of championship?

When Ferrari signed Kimi Raikkonen to replace Michael Schumacher, most experts warned that one of the biggest challenges that the Italian team faced was not the inconsistency, blind speed or risk taking (some times suicidal) instinct of the Finn but adjusting to the person that he is.

A sample of that was evident at the recent Australian Grand Prix. It was the round one of the 2007 Formula One season and Kimi, driving for Ferrari for the first time, won quite comfortably. Ferrari clearly established that they had a car that was superior to other teams and it was also Kimi’s first race win in more than 12 months. Under the circumstances, one would have expected some sort of celebration on the podium — to say the least. Kimi, possibly bored by his lonely stay inside the cockpit for the entire duration of the race (his radio failed completely), raised his hands and managed a smile. He made a feeble attempt to spray the champagne and finally, gave the bottle to Jean Todt to pass it to the Ferrari team crew below the podium. There was hardly any visible camaraderie between him and the team.

Seven-time world champion Schumacher, on the other hand, would have celebrated as if it was his maiden grand prix victory. And that is something Ferrari team is has got used to. He would have hugged the Ferrari crew members before walking up to the podium. Apart from his customary jump, he would have made eye contact with the Ferrari crew below who made that victory possible and personally, passed on the champagne bottle to his colleagues below after spraying it at them. While Schumacher’s celebrations would have eased after that and would have headed home to be with his family, Kimi would have just started to party!schu-team1.jpg

The way Schumacher and Kimi approach their work is also very different. While Schumacher involves himself thoroughly with the team including planning, strategising, setting up the car etc, Kimi prefers to handle just the driving part. As a driver he likes to drive fast and give the necessary feedback about the car to the team for improving the vehicle. On the other hand, the German would spend a lot of time with technical staff poring over tonnes of data that the computers generate on the performance of the car. It was this aspect of Schumacher that made him maximise the potential of his car. Having got used to Schumacher for such a long time, adjusting to Kimi who prefers to have his space will be something that will take Ferrari and its crew a while to adjust.

While it is too early to speculate the level of commitment Kimi will show to Ferrari, Schumacher and the Italian team had a relationship that was unparalleled in the history of Formula One. The team and Schumacher respected each other. Both accepted that the victories that followed would not have followed without the other.

At a competitive level, personality issues are not too important. The fact that Kimi won at Albert Park is a proof of that. But a closely knit team helps, especially when the team is down in terms of performance. The rapport Felipe Massa and Kimi have managed would have been evident had the Brazilian made it to the podium but that was not the case. Having got a very competitive car this year, Ferrari will be praying that personality issues does not come in the way of the team winning the championships.

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