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Thomas Mallett2012-11-12 17:06:00

Can Raikkonen become world champion with Lotus?

Raikkonen took his first win in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago.

With Kimi Raikkonen back we’ve thrown another world champion back into the mix with ‘victory potential’ and he’s got a different take on how to conduct an interview too. Can he win the 2013 world championship though?

In the last couple of seasons, with Sebastian Vettel’s domination of 2011 and Fernando Alonso’s position at the top of the 2012 table for long periods despite not having the fastest car it has become glaringly obvious that consistency pays dividends. And it is this that Raikkonen has specialized in this year. Like Alonso ahead of him the flying Finn has only failed to finish in one grand prix so far this year his championship looks rosy because of it.

Unlike Fernando Alonso, Raikkonen has, though, been overshadowed by his team-mate for large parts of the season in terms of pure pace.

Romain Grosjean has demonstrated the opposite set of skills to his more experienced team-mate with blistering pace but a crash record reminiscent of a 2011-spec Lewis Hamilton on steroids. If we examine the accident in Abu Dhabi that removed him from the race we have to question whether the more experienced Raikkonen would have got himself in the same pickle. I’m not sure he would have done. It may not have been Grosjean’s fault but he still could have avoided the incident as he saw what young Sergio Perez was about to do.

So, while Grosjean’s season will feel like one of unfulfilled potential Raikkonen could feel (and examining his demeanor I don’t think he’ll agree with this) that his season has been one of over-achievement through the medium of consistency.

It gets better for Raikkonen though. After two years away in rallying he could, quite rightly, be accused of losing the last degree of pace that made his so exciting for McLarenMcLarenMcLarenUnited Kingdom, 1963 > present92 models
1888 photos
12 videos
when he burst onto the scene. However, as the season has worn on the old pace has started to come back, and with it the opportunity to use the LotusE20Lotus E20United Kingdom, 2012 > 201213 photos
’ long run pace to fight for wins and take advantage fully in a situation like the one that occurred last time out when a seemingly unbeatable Hamilton succumbed to a failure once again.

But that leaves the question unanswered as yet doesn’t it? Can Raikkonen win the Driver’s World Championship in 2013 now that he is confirmed as a LotusLotusLotusUnited Kingdom, 1952 > present68 models
956 photos
7 videos
driver next season? Ultimately I think it’ll be tough. Genii can’t match FerrariFerrariFerrariItaly, 1947 > present233 models
5149 photos
37 videos
when it comes to cash (and cash translates into pace), and Red BullRed BullRed BullAustria, 2004 > present12 models
1049 photos
3 videos
have Adrian Newey and a Sebastian Vettel who seemingly has fewer and fewer chinks in his armour.

That said, if Red Bull can’t improve their oven fragile reliability next year and Ferrari continue not to have the fastest car then Raikkonen could do a ‘smash and grab’ job and it might just be worth a punt.

PS.
And what if Lotus sign Romain Grosjean for the second seat? Well, he’s going to have to mature quickly because Formula One isn’t known as the Piranha club for nothing. He potentially has more pace than Raikkonen though at the moment and could play a supporting role in a title tilt. The same can’t be said of Felipe Massa as far as I can see and Mark Webber must be getting increasingly irate about being beaten by the young German. A secret weapon for 2013?

 

Encyclopedia
LotusLotus
E20E20
Engine
V 8 (90º vee)
Displacement
146 cu in
Top Speed
--
Transmission
7, semi-automatic
Maximum power
750 hp
Type
Single Seater
Fuel
Petrol
Fuel consumption (combined)
--
price
--
annual ownership cost
--

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