​​​​​​Brawn Should Call Ferrari's Bluff
Autosport|January 04,2018

Sergio Marchionne claims that Ferrari will quit Formula 1 if Ross Brawn’s plans for cheaper, simpler engines aren’t to his liking.

IT IS ALWAYS DURING THE ENDLESS YULETIDE season that Formula 1 is at its quietest, but if things have been pretty still these two weeks past, there have yet been talking points, the loudest of which came from Sergio Marchionne’s pre-Christmas address to the world.

Little within it came as a surprise. The Ferrari president declared, for example, that Kimi Raikkonen was on his last warning, that if he didn’t raise his game in 2018, Sebastian Vettel would have a new team-mate the following year.

This had the feel of old news. Short of Michael Schumacher, Raikkonen is the longest-serving Ferrari driver, about to begin his eighth season in the red overalls. If he narrowly won the world championship in 2007, his first year in the team, more often than not he was shaded by Felipe Massa, and by ’09 Luca di Montezemolo opted to pay him off, so as to hasten Fernando Alonso’s arrival.

Raikkonen then disappeared from F1 for a couple of years, rallying with Citroen, even flirting with NASCAR. There was some surprise when he returned in 2012, with Lotus, and even more when he won a couple of races with the underfunded team. For all that, though, many were amazed when Ferrari asked him back for ’14.

There remain legions of Raikkonen fans, forever bewitched by his ‘don’t give a toss’ persona, but not even his most fervent supporter could claim that his second spell with Ferrari has been a success. In the past three seasons he may not have been blown aside by Vettel as he was by Alonso in 2014, but invariably Sebastian has had the upper hand, and there have been constant murmurings that Kimi is on borrowed time.

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