There’s a reason why they call Kimi Raikkonen “The Iceman,” as he is often a man of few words. And that may have his new Ferrari teammate, Fernando Alonso, worried about what’s to come in 2014.
In an interview with Brazilian publication Totalrace, the two-time World Champion noted Raikkonen’s frosty demeanor and that in the end, Ferrari could miss the input from Williams-bound Felipe Massa.
“Definitely Felipe was a hard worker,” Alonso said. “He works day and night for the team to improve the car’s performance…I don’t know Kimi, but the rumors say that he speaks very little and is a bit more isolated. So I think that Ferrari could miss [Massa].”
Raikkonen was the last Ferrari driver to claim a World Championship in 2007, and how he’ll get along with the sometimes fiery Alonso will be a storyline to watch throughout the 2014 season.
But just as important is if the Scuderia can produce a car that enables both of them to have a chance at knocking off Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. A six-year championship drought is getting annoying for F1’s all-time winningest franchise, with president Luca di Montezemolo recently saying that he was “definitely sick of coming second.”
So while Alonso may be preparing to have some difficulties along the way with Raikkonen, he’s also fully aware that a strong car can overcome them.
“If it’s good, like the Red Bull, it doesn’t matter if there’s ‘Multi-21’, ‘Multi-35′ or anything like that,” Alonso said while referencing the drama that Sebastian Vettel and now-WEC driver Mark Webber had in their final year together. “Because the atmosphere in the team will be great.”
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.