Reports in the Italian media have suggested that Kimi Raikkonen’s current engineer at Lotus, Mark Slade, will not follow the Finn to Ferrari at the end of the season despite the good working relationship they have forged over the years.
Slade and Raikkonen first worked together when the Finn joined McLaren in 2002, going on to win nine races with the British team before moving to Ferrari in 2007. However, the pair were re-united at Lotus where Slade worked alongside Simon Rennie as Raikkonen’s engineer in 2012 before Rennie left Enstone at the end of last season in favor of a move to world champions Red Bull.
It was confirmed last month that Raikkonen would be leaving Lotus to return to Ferrari for 2014, with many expecting Slade to follow suit. However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, the team is instead looking to promote someone in-house.
According to the publciation: “Ferrari have no intention of hiring Mark Slade to bring him to Maranello. The Finn will be asked to work with another engineer, chosen by team principal Stefano Domenicali, as the Alonso-Stella partnership is unbreakable.”
Andrea Stella had worked with Raikkonen in 2009 before the Finn’s departure from the sport. Alonso directly replaced Raikkonen, working alongside Felipe Massa who himself has forged a popular partnership with his engineer, Rob Smedley. Quite whether Smedley will remain part of the Ferrari set-up remains to be seen, but it is unlikely that he would continue in his current role with Raikkonen arriving.