The cold blooded Finn will join the red hot Spaniard in a battle for supremacy- as teammates.
Ferrari have made their move.
With Felipe Massa leaving at the end of the season, upcoming names like Hulkenberg and Perez were associated with the Prancing Horses- to partner maestro Alonso in a bid to win their first Championship in 7 years. The Spaniard is likely to finish second to Vettel in the 2013 standings yet again, which makes it 3 out of 4 years for him.
His frustration must be obvious, and the management seems to have clearly figured that he will be pushed further if joined by a driver of his high quality. Hence, 33 year old Kimi Raikkonen has been signed on for a 2-year contract to join 32 year old Alonso- a first for Ferrari, with two ex Champions racing for them simultaneously. Alonso and Raikkonen were rivals for a long time in the post-Schumacher days, and even pushed the German to retirement after winning the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons between them. They were supposed to dominate for years to come, with both young in their late 20s, and no contender in sight. Unfortunately for them, this was the pre-Vettel era.
In a desperate move, Ferrari have dumped the upcoming driver+champion partnership, and now, Alonso has been put in a familiar situation. In 2007, he joined McLaren in a high-profile move that was supposed to have ‘rookie’ debutant Hamilton assisting him to his third consecutive World Championship. What transpired instead was a nightmare for Alonso for an entire season, where he not only finished below Hamilton, but had to endure watching the Brit kid take the 2007 World Title to the final race. He slipped back to an underperforming Renault for 2008 and 2009, fading into the background until Ferrari snatched him out of obscurity in 2010. He almost won the 2010 title, coming agonizingly close.
In stark contrast, Raikkonen won his first world championship in a massive upset over Hamilton in 2007 in his first season with Ferrari. He finished 3rd next season, and retired in 2009 despite being contracted till 2010. Raikkonen made his F1 return last season after 2 years of Rally racing. Some wondered if he had missed the speed boat, and doubted his ability to race in a new era with young guns. The Finn defied expectations and raced very impressively with Lotus to finish 3rd in a relatively competitive season. He seems to be struggling a bit in his second season with Lotus, lagging far behind 2nd placed Alonso- and is already looking forward to next season. This could be all or nothing for Alonso, and he would want to avoid the disaster of 2007, hoping to instead spur eachother on to end Vettel’s world domination.
They have a task on hand, because the young German will be a 4-time World Champion by then, winning seasons that should have arguably been the Raikkonen or Alonso era.