Right, so at long last it’s finally official, Alonso joins Ferrari, Massa stays, so Ferrari is complete, right? Wrong. Here’s what readers of P1Mag already know for a fact.
As already reported in P1Mag months ago, Ferrari is heading a motion by FOTA to allow teams to enter a third car. This will be decided by the FIA World Council on the 23rd of October. Not only Ferrari is waiting to hear from them. Most teams, with exception of McLaren maybe, are already considering this option for 2010. Smaller teams like Force India and Toro Rosso are keen to see this happen as well as there are currently enough good drivers in GP2 with substantial backing to be catered for.
However, there’s a contract in place between Ferrari and Räikkönen that cannot be cut in half that easily. Kim i’s manager, David Robertson, has made it clear to Ferrari that they will insist in the contract being fulfilled, if not by Kimi driving for the Scuderia, at least his retainer has to be paid 100%.
Apparently Ferrari believes that a clause in their driver’s contracts would allow them to pay-off the 2007 World Champion to leave. The difference between the two figures seems to be some 10 Million dollars and so for the moment there seems to be an impasse. That’s the reason why there’s no McLaren announcement so far, despite a mutual agreement in place.
However, to my knowledge the situation is such that the agreement with McLaren is a bilateral declaration of intent to work together as soon as Kimi is free to do so. And right now, according to the Finn and his management, he’s not. They insist that they got a valid contract for 2010 with Ferrari for Kimi to drive for the Scuderia.
What happens if the FOTA motion for three car teams is rejected by the World Council? Other than someone – and you know who that would be – getting in the way just for the sake of not allowing anyone from FOTA their will, I don’t see it happing. But if it does get rejected, it’s going to be Ferrari with a problem to solve.
Why the odd timing to get Alonso in now, might ask? And why get rid of Kimi and keep Massa? Firstly Kimi has certainly opened up quite a bit at Ferrari, but he’s still seen as a bit too laid back, if not stoic, in his approach. More importantly: Despite being hugely popular among race fans around the globe, neither Kimi nor Massa attract new business.
The only driver in activity capable of attracting multi-million sponsorship deals is… Fernando Alonso. Santanderat Ferrari is proof of that, Mutua Madrilena and Telefonica are said to be following suit. So Luca di Montezemolo’s plan was to swap one fast guy for the other and getting the 25 million a year retainer paid by Santander and with further sponsorship rolling in, the Scuderia is heading for a financially brighter future.
Next question: Why not kick Massa and keep Kimi? Simply said: Massa will be the perfect number two driver, even if not officially declared as such, and only costs half of Kimi’s salary. So you see, from a financial point of view it makes perfect sense.
So let’s wait for the 23rd of October, I’m pretty sure there will be announcements all over the place after that date.
Updates on this story HERE