Hakkinen questions Raikkonen amid retirement rumours
Former World Champion Mika Hakkinen has expressed his disapproval at fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen’s recent statement that he is considering retiring from Formula One once his Ferrari contract expires after the 2015 season.
After enduring a uncompetitive start to the current season with the Scuderia, which has included only a handful of points and one retirement last time out at Silverstone, rumours have begun to surface linking the former McLaren and Lotus driver to retirement from the sport once again. Back in 2010 the Finn left the sport to compete in the WRC and NASCAR Nationwide Series, before returning to Lotus in 2012.
Despite an instant return to success with the Enstone-based outfit in 2012 and 2013, which included two races victories, numerous podium finishes and a streak of 30 races without a retirement, Raikkonen elected to return to Ferrari alongside former Championship rival Alonso for 2014. Naturally, many perceived such a strong line-up to produce competitive results, however only the Spaniard has managed to step onto the podium so far this season at China.
During the British Grand Prix weekend last time out at Silverstone, Raikkonen began to fan the flames with regards to rumours linking him to retirement once again, with the 2007 World Champion stating that a contract extension at Ferrari after 2015 would be unlikely. These comments have since led to criticism within the paddock, most notably from fellow countryman and former double-World Champion Mika Hakkinen who believes his comments were unwise and that they could lead to a negative impact on his approach for the remainder of the season.
“I don’t think that it’s particularly smart of him,” Hakkinen explained in his Hermes column. “When the mechanics and all the other people in the team know that a driver has plans to retire in a year and a half, their focus will shift more towards the other driver, who in this case is Fernando Alonso.
“When someone thinks about stopping, it will have a negative effect on their motivation. Then that person won’t be able to concentrate anymore on the many things you need to think about in Formula One.”
Although Ferrari have entered the new era of the sport with a reliable car, with no retirements so far caused by mechanical gremlins in stark contrast to the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes, the Scuderia sit third in the Constructors’ Championship and ahead of both Williams and Force India.
However, with Raikkonen currently 12th position in the Drivers’ Championship, a whole 68 points behind team-mate Alonso, it’s clear which driver has so far managed to squeeze every ounce of pace out of their F14 T car, as the Finn prepares to return to driving duties after his almighty shunt at the start of the British Grand Prix.
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