Formula 1’s silly season has been declared open for a while, but now it’s kicking into top gear. Could Kimi Raikkonen be the man to replace Sebastian Vettel in the event of the German leaving Ferrari this year?!
That’s the theory raised by Italian outlet Circus F1, which says the veteran Finn returning for a third Maranello stint may be the Plan B.
Vettel is three places and exactly 100 points behind championship leader and long-term rival Lewis Hamilton at the halfway stage of a 2019 season that began with both the German and Ferrari pegged as title favourites.
However, the SF90 has not proven itself in race trim and Vettel’s efforts have been pockmarked with the continuation of errors that saw his title challenge against Hamilton last year go up in smoke.
Vettel’s future has become a subject of intense scrutiny, after his lambasting of modern F1 in the aftermath of having victory in Canada swiped by the stewards prompted suggestions he could be ready to quit the sport.
The 32-year-old insists he will be around until the end of next season at least, but evidence of waning powers at the wheel were on show at the British GP last weekend when he clumsily rear-ended Max Verstappen, possibly costing both a podium.
If Vettel were to depart, it would leave the Scuderia without a world champion in its line-up, which has not been the case since 2007 – when Raikkonen was crowned drivers’ champion.
If Ferrari wanted a champion in its line-up – as suggested by Circus F1 – it would leave options thin on the ground: Lewis Hamilton (happy at Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (says he won’t return to F1) and… Kimi!