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Ferrari: Rivals fear the Iceman

2013-09-20 08:04

SCARED OF KIMI? Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali says F1 team rivals are afraid of Kimi Riakkonen joining the team in 2014. Image: AFP

Talek Harris

SINGAPORE, South-East Asia - Ferrari team chief Stefano Domenicali claimed rivals are scared as the Italian marque hit back at a storm of criticism over their re-signing of former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Domenicali said comments from Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and others questioning Raikkonen's impact were simply part of a "psychological war" intended to "destabilise" his team.

Current lead driver Fernando Alonso and Raikkonen also dismissed the speculation, which has blown up since the 'Iceman' was signed up for the 2014 season.

'THEY'RE AFRAID'

Domenicali said ahead of the 2013 Singapore GP: "Maybe they're afraid because we're strong, because honestly this is part of the psychological war that is part of this environment.

"The only thing is that, it's not so interesting for me because I don't listen. We have the luxury that everyone can say what they want... funnily enough, you never hear me speak about the others."

Schumacher has called the pairing of two strong-willed former world champions "explosive", while McLaren's Button suggested Ferrari's move was "great" for other teams.

Button told AFP: "I don't think they'll be trying to help the other driver. A guy that's achieved what they've achieved will not want to be helping out his team mate."

Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko also wondered aloud whether Alonso and Raikkonen would tear Ferrari apart but Alonso said the speculation was similar to when he first partnered Felipe Massa at Ferrari, which was proved wrong as the two proved good teammates.

Raikkonen, World champion with Ferrari in 2007, said he saw no reason why he couldn't work well with Alonso, who won the title in 2005 and 2006. The Finn said: "We are all old enough to know what we are doing and the team is I'm sure doing all the right things.

MONEY MATTERS

"If there's something, I'm sure we can talk it through. It's not like we are 20-year-old guys any more. I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure things will be good."

However Raikkonen, in comments which are unlikely to ease fears over how he will settle in, also revealed he left Lotus in a row over money, claiming they had failed to pay his salary. "The reason I left the team was really on the money side," he said. "And with things like they are, I don't have my salary. It's an unfortunate thing but I like to try and help the team as much as I can and I like to race."

Raikkonen did not go into further detail, but reports have said Lotus have fallen behind in payments to the Finn.

Raikkonen returned to F1 after a stint in rallying. He and Alonso go into the Singapore race fourth and second respectively in the standings behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Singapore GP weekend.
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