Kimi Raikkonen is one of the best drivers in the world but he’s struggling against poor luck and an season set to be dominated by rivals at Mercedes and indeed within Ferrari itself
If you like to bet on sports in Finland the chances are you’ll have been keeping a close eye on Formula 1’s Kimi Raikkonen, perhaps even backing him on ComeOn! Sportsbook where for the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend they’re running a book in which you can bet on who comes in the top four at the finish, a state of affairs that says as much about Formula 1 this season as it does about the superb levels of customer service at ComeOn! Sportsbook.
When Mercedes hit the track in Australia the suspicions of many teams were confirmed, the silver cars were just faster……much faster, than theirs. The result of that opening Grand Prix of the season produced muttered comments from certain drivers not fortunate enough to be driving for Mercedes, but then, they’re racing drivers, a sub-species of human who always seem to lurch between being outrageously pleased with themselves when they win to being bitter and resentful when they don’t.
The snide complaints of the drivers were to be expected, no one likes losing, but the comments from senior figures inside some of the other teams were more worrying. The wealth of experience inside a Formula 1 team that gets the car and driver on the grid in the first place is usually in the hands of veterans of the sport, men (it’s typically men) who have seen it all before and just get on with the job in front of them, taking the rough with the smooth all completely in their stride.
Some threatened to cease participating, some bemoaned that there hadn’t been rule changes to level the playing field and others lambasted the sport they love with the word “boring”. When anyone can describe, with a straight face, the pinnacle of motor sport as being boring, something is very, very wrong. The problem is that penalizing Mercedes for their success will be no less popular with teams and viewers, and that leaves Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone with a problem.
Kimi Destined To Be Fourth?
If you were Finnish gambling laws of physics would somehow change to allow Kimi to challenge for the lead next race round Malaysia was almost proof that they might. Kimi’s charge from the back after his disastrous first lap puncture was an amazing drive that demonstrated just how much talent is balled up inside the iceman at Ferrari, and how close the team is to nearly challenging Mercedes in terms of performance and speed. But it still is only nearly.
F1 Circus Moves On To Bahrain
• Can Kimi rival Vettel at Ferrari?
• Can anyone on the grid rival Mercedes?
• Could someone please replace Bernie?
Ferrari won in Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel taking the top tier of the podium ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg, but even they will have to admit that without Mercedes unforced error, that would have been far less likely. That’s why ComeOn! Sportsbook odds on the eventual winner of the season have barely shifted despite Vettel having won a third of the races. Hamilton is still at 1.75 to take a third title, Rosberg trails him at 5.90 and Vettel, who has won more races than Rosberg so far, is back at 7.25.
Kimi Raikkonen’s chances? They’re pegged at 40.00 which says it all. The result in Malaysia might have sent some rays of hope through the clouds of despondency, but they were but fleeting as the F1 circus moved onto China where it was business as usual. Hamilton took the top spot, Rosberg on his heels in second and Sebastian Vettel grabbing another podium finish. In three races so far, three drivers have been on the podium. The same three drivers, each and every time.
That level of repetition isn’t good for any sport, imagine already knowing who will win the 2015 NBA finals. and indeed Formula 1 lost 5.6% of its viewers last year world wide, with the figures in the UK (which you think would have found Hamilton winning interesting) were down 5% on the previous year. Bernie Ecclestone, the aging F1 supremo, however, doesn’t seem to think the repetition of race results is what is causing this decline in interest on the part of the public. He has other people to blame, apparently.
Bernie Blames……Well Just About Everyone Really
In a Q&A that smacked of someone interviewing themselves, Bernie Ecclestone first blamed the commentators for making the sport too complex saying “many times commentators hide behind technical terms because they themselves don’t fully understand what is going on.” Which, if you think about, it insults not only the commentary teams, but also the fans who are, in Bernie’s view, not smart enough to handle all the technical details. And he wonders why they’re losing viewers…….
Next he made some bizarrely snide comparisons between the drivers. He lauded Lewis Hamilton for “living the life of a true champion” saying he was “no stranger to the red carpet which makes him a good ambassador for the sport” comments that stood in contrast to mention of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and the legendary Michael Schumacher (all former World Champions), whom he described as “reclusive and not so outgoing”. Driving at that fast just not interesting enough, Bernie?
Then the teams came under fire. Teams and sponsors “don’t breed characters”, and are “egotistic” according to Bernie, and then he said “I think there are some people in the paddock who don’t think beyond the next race.” Possibly, Bernie, because winning the next race is their job, thinking about the future of F1 is, and you’ll laugh at this, YOUR job, Bernie. Sadly it’s a job he intends to keep as long as possible despite how badly he’s currently doing it.
“When I’m gone, whoever does what I’m doing will probably do it in a completely different way,” he said raising the hopes of all those gambling news of his departure from the sport will come soon, “As to how different, you’ll have to wait until I get fired or die – and then you’ll see.” Given the level of predictability going into next weekend’s Bahrain GP, and how much he’s blamed everyone but himself, there will be more than a few people in F1 hoping for either one of those two ends to the reign of Boring Bernie Ecclestone.