F1 2014 Driver Review: Kimi Raikkonen

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Kimi Raikkonen

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 7
Races: 19
Wins: 0
Podiums (excluding wins): 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 55
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 12th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

2014 was supposed to be the year that Ferrari returned to the top of Formula 1 with the strongest driver line-up in the history of the sport. However, with a terrible car and an off-boil Kimi Raikkonen, it simply wasn’t to be.

For the first half of the year, Raikkonen was anonymous, finishing no higher than seventh before the Hungarian Grand Prix in July. He had been set for the podium in Monaco after a good qualifying and good start, only for contact with Max Chilton under the safety car and then a crash with Kevin Magnussen to drop him outside of the points.

Later flashes of brilliance did follow, particularly in Belgium, where the Spa-specialist finished fourth, but all in all it was a disastrous season for Raikkonen. Perhaps it wasn’t a lack of motivation, but more difficulties with the car and the new regulations for 2014. Next year, he’ll be working alongside one of the few drivers he gets on with – Sebastian Vettel – and it could hold better things for the Finn.

With his contract expiring at the end of next season, Kimi needs to step up and prove his worth to the new regime at Maranello if he is to remain at Ferrari for more than just one more year.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The 2007 World Champion ended a disastrous 2014 season, his return to Ferrari, in a career-worst 12th in points. Yet somehow Kimi Raikkonen ended the year in a more solid standing with Ferrari than he started, and that spoke volumes about what a weird year it was overall for both parties.

The stats are crushing. Raikkonen banked only one top-five start (fifth in Bahrain) and one top-five finish (fourth at Spa). He ended six spots, and more than 100 points down on teammate Fernando Alonso. For the first time since his rookie season at Sauber, Raikkonen went a season without a podium, and even that year he scored two fourth-place finishes and ended 10th in the points!

The usual trademark Kimi apathy in press conferences, which was endearing for most of his two years with Lotus, was gone as Raikkonen offered few colorful quotes or sound bites throughout the year. There were so many races where you’d look up and see him fighting over 12th or 13th and thinking, is this real life? In spite of all this, with Alonso’s departure and the management turmoil that surrounded him, Raikkonen was the one measure of stability throughout the year – the problem is that his stability was resigned to the midpack, a place neither was familiar with.

New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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