Whether Monaco’s results were orchestrated or it was the result of Vettel’s blistering pace, it can only be known if a new piece of information makes its way to the public coming from the Italian Stable. People are going to debate for days to come and everyone is entitled to give the benefit of doubt to either conspiracy theory. But you’d be naïve to think that Kimi ever had a chance to be at least the equal driver at Ferrari.
The Italian stable which is celebrating its 70th year of existence wouldn’t be enjoying the cult status if it had not been exercising control with an iron will. The team that il-Commendatore founded is the personification of the man himself. No part of the team is bigger than the name Ferrari itself.
Little has changed over the years except for the necessary ones and in its 70 years of existence Ferrari, some things have become synonymous with the name Ferrari itself.
One of them is running with a clear-cut distinction between its two drivers with one being a Number 1 driver and the other Number 2.
While the Number One driver gets the complete backing of the team for the best possible result, the other driver’s job is to assist the number One driver and this assistance can go to greater heights in case the number one driver is embroiled in a championship battle.
This imperialist philosophy runs within the veins of the team itself being the personal ideology of Enzo Ferrari himself.
And in 2017 there’s no doubt who is the Number one and number two within the team. Even if you’re an ardent Kimi fan, deep down you know it that is the German and not the Finn who is central to the team’s ambition.
As times progressed, with such ideologies being looked down upon in every walks of life, F1 was not left untouched and neither was Ferrari. With the downturn in its form, the team’s image took a beating and in such an age the team could not run with the same old parochial lineage. Amidst a restructuring that did more than just eliminating the process that no longer was working, it was aimed at improving the image of the team as well which was facing flak for being too much rooted in the past.
But as they say, old habits die hard. Patently the two drivers were shown as equals, their friendship was used as a tool to advertise that the Stable had done away with the age-old tradition of running No. 1 and No. 2 drivers. The façade served them well for the first two years but the debate has reignited as Ferrari finds itself in a position to win titles this year.
Ferrari does not merely represent a Company, it represents Italy with all its values and glory and traditions. An imperialistic country at heart, Ferrari is no different and neither is the fact that those philosophies still run, although below the surface, deep into Ferrari. Do not hate them though, they are the reason that Ferrari derives its charms from. While other teams are no more than mere corporate faces, Ferrari is an emotion, it is grace and ruthlessness at the same time. Ferrari above everything represents a passion for racing, a passion backed by results and results achieved by ideologies.
In the light of this context, the treatment meted out to Raikkonen, however bitter to swallow, is nothing unexpected. While Monaco may have been the application of the same ideology in disguise, there would come instances in the season where the result would not be so less obvious. And to refresh your memory is it not has been the case for the past two years when Raikkonen has so easily moved over for his teammate on numerous occasions. And if you really look back, this has been the way at Ferrari. Schumacher-Barrichello, Alonso-Massa need I name more partnerships?
Barrichello represents the height of being a Number two driver at Ferrari, the man instrumental in Schumacher’s titles for who can forget when he had to move over for Schumacher in Austria in 2002 when he was leading the race on merit.
And isn’t “Fernando is faster than you” already famous.
Raikkonen himself has been on the receiving end of the better treatment, last in 2007 when his Brazilian teammate sacrificed a sure shot 2nd home win when the team conveniently pitted him earlier allowing the Finn to stop later and emerge ahead.
Whether Monaco’s upset was a carefully drafted Ferrari plan or a genuine result, Kimi’s body language did give us a glimpse that it’s not all rosy as it seems and that between the closed walls of the team he is the designated 2nd driver.